I know this sounds crazy.
People always say the relationship between idols and their fans is another type of love and it requires another type of reciprocity. That’s true. Each idol – singer, songwriter, artist, creator… everyone possible – and each of their fans builds up their own unique connection from scratch. They create their own type of love language, expression and appreciation. The feelings can go both ways, but they can’t never be the same, because from you to the celebrity you love is just one person liking another person, often only temporarily part of your life. Yet, from that person to you – or to be more exact, that person to hundreds, thousands or millions people, all loving them in their own ways, is way different.
People can say liking or loving someone popular is selfless, because they will never know who you are, but as someone who has been involved in this fandom life for years, (and dedicated a piece of my soul for that – no regret!). Maybe the point is not loving back after all, but it depends on you and how you want to spend your precious love.
So why self-love?
I know it sounds irrelevant, but let me tell you about Taeyong, who is the leader of the Kpop boygroup NCT. His fans give him tons of nicknames, one of which is “Rose”, named after the scar near his eye that has a rose-shape. I really like this story. He once said he did not like that scar before, but because his fans love it and refer to it as something beautiful, he started to love it himself too.
I just find it so endearing, and fascinating too. I have seen tons of appreciation posts on social media about idols and their utmost normal features – the moles, the birthmarks, the snaggle tooth, the scars. There are so many things that these fans love which I believe, from an outsider point of view, many people who are not part of the fandom will find it utterly bizarre. From an insider point of view, I am often left amazed how people can love another human-being in such a beautiful and sincere way. You might say it only happens to these idols because these people are already their fans and they also know them through their products – movies, music, etc. This is true, I admit. But I find myself slowly changing, I look at these features of myself, people I love and of people I don’t even know, and unknowingly start to appreciate them. It’s like a whole change in perception, a new discovery about beauty and how I perceive myself.
Those things can be one’s insecurity and what they want to erase, that is totally fair. But seeing that there are so many people truly appreciating the same thing you also have and hate, it can do wonders to your self-confidence.
You are beautiful, and no matter how ugly you think parts of your body are, they are definitely not and there are so many people out there who will give it so much love. They will remind people of all things pretty.
Author: Bao Thu Nguyen
Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung
Illustrator: Hanh Tran