Interview with LEGGO: Hyelinikid

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This month, we interviewed Hyelinikid. He runs a well-known fansite and sometimes shares his stories on EXID Discord. There are many stories that we wanted to ask him to share for this article, but we had to settle on just a few to keep this article from becoming a book. We decided to focus on Hyelinikid’s beginnings, touch on our idols’ personalities, and conjecture about the future.

First, Who is Hyelinikid?

You probably know Hyelinikid from their YouTube channel. They do the Research on Hyelin series, and they put together a very sweet fan music video last year.

Still, our first question was, “what does Hyelinikid and staff do?” We thought that we knew the answer beforehand, but there is a lot more that we did not expect.

Yes, of course, our main operation is around video production. However, we do any business to promote all EXID members. We have three teams – one for video production, another for social media, and other for general affairs.

Hyelinikid, listing what they do
  • Video production:

Video production team comes up with ideas for videos that the general public will likely to watch about, and then get hooked on EXID. The idea is to get first-timers binge watch.

Hyelinikid, about their video production team
  • Social media:

Social media team promotes the videos, but they’re also involved in managing online platforms for Leggos and hosting online events (back in the days, anyway). For example, we’d done raffles of gift certificates for those people consistently streaming on Melon.

Hyelinikid, about their social media team
  • General affairs:

Not many people know about the general affairs team, but their main tasks are talking to the Entertainment Agency (mostly Banana, not anymore) on fans’ behalf, managing all offline fan support like the subway ads or cafe events. They also used to be involved in legal & secret investigation services, where we were catching people infringing on copyright of Leggos, selling illegal EXID things, finding out things in advance to stop any mishap of the Agency, as well as talking to other broadcasting companies for supporting the EXID members.

Hyelinikid, about their general affairs team

Basically, they do whatever they can to support our idols.

That is to say, we do do a lot.

Hyelinikid

Starting the Fansite

Every story has a beginning, and a fansite begins with a fan. We asked, “how [and when] did y’all get started?” Hyelinikid shared the story from fan to fansite.

Yes! Haha I believe I decided to become a fan in 2014 (I watched the Hani fancam on Facebook). […]

[…] Then after a year of being a light fan, I wanted to do more for the fandom as a whole, so I looked around to see what I could do, and then a Hyelin Facebook fanpage was hiring a manager. I decided to apply and got it! That was October 2015.

Hyelinikid, story of becoming a fan

YouTube channel started in February 12, 2016 – so between Hot Pink and L.I.E. I was also a Facebook page manager since October 2015, but then I realized the power of YouTube in terms of promoting your idols, so that’s why I decided to start something for our idols.

Hyelinikid, about starting the YouTube channel

As my channel got bigger, and got involved in many supporting activities, I noticed my limit in doing things from outside of Korea. So I got other people to help me out, one by one. At our heydays, there were about 26 staff. Current staff all came on board after DDD (late 2017?).

Hyelinikid, about the growth of the channel

He went from a fan like you and me, to a Facebook page manager, then finally to the owner of the YouTube account that we all know and love.

Boost to Popularity

EXID got a boost overnight because of the fancam. Hyelinikid has a similar story. I had heard this story in the past, so I knew that I had to ask: “Can you share the point where y’all got popular?”

When I first started in February 2016, I was just one of EXID channels on YouTube. Back then, we had 7 channels including myself – 2 of them which started on the same week as me. A good thing for fans was there was always a new video to watch every day. Not so good thing was that I was in direct competition with everyone and my quality of videos lacked back then hahaha. No complains though, I am still friends with them and I learned a lot about video production.

An event happened that would change the popularity though. It was when I made a video about Hyelin vs Jeonghwa (Episode 11) around May 2016. About an hour after I posted the video, I started receiving a lot of messages from fans congratulating me. Having no idea, I had to browse around what was happening…and then I noticed, there was a Instagram post of my video from…none other than Jeonghwa herself!

Hyelinikid, story about being noticed by Jeonghwa
Screenshot of Jeonghwa’s Instagram post about Hyelinikid, image from Hyelinikid

The caption says, “that’s right…we are cute and friendly sisters of Maebol-ee and Jeopjeop-ee!!!! #sensible #ourLeggo’s #videoisthebest”[1]

I counted 200 messages that day (with 200 downvotes of my social media post bragging about her post, out of jealousy)

So I didn’t know this, but apparently it was a big deal because it was known in the community for videomakers to almost never get recognition from idols, relatively to those uploading fancams or photos. And it wasn’t just a heart or a like, it was a whole post, about a fan who wasn’t even around a long time.

That video has 100K views I believe 🤔 Really good boost, and a huge increase in my subscription.

Hyelinikid, story about being noticed by Jeonghwa (cont.)

Of course, an idol making a post about you is sure to boost your popularity! Ah, that must’ve been great!

That’s when I decided, I’m going all-in with these ladies with my life 😂

Hyelinikid

Meeting the Idols

Such a dedicated fan was sure to meet EXID. I asked if he got to attend a lot of fansigns as a fansite master. There was a delay, but he eventually did meet them multiple times.

Not for a while, unfortunately. 🙁 I had some opportunity to meet them, but it didn’t work out as I was in grad school outside of Korea. One of them was an invitation ticket to the first Leggo Show, where my video was selected for a prize but I couldn’t accept it since I couldn’t go.

I was very sad then, so I really wanted to go to Korea and see them in person sometime in life. […]

Hyelinikid, explaining the delay of meeting the idols

That opportunity came when I graduated, which after a month was the DDD promotion. I dropped everything to go to Korea for 3 months to attend all filming and fansign events. Probably the best time of my life.

13 music shows and about 12 fansign events.

Hyelinikid, about attending events

What are the idols like when you meet them?

EXID members are the nicest people I’ve ever met. They each have they own charms, but overall, they’re just…so…nice. I can’t find a word to describe my excitement haha.

Hyelinikid, about what the idols are like in person
  • Solji:

Solji is definitely the big sister – checking in on fans, like asking “did you eat?”

Hyelinikid, about Solji
  • LE:

LE is very sweet as well, using kind words, get scared easily, and showing her niece’s video saying “isn’t she so cute?!”.

Hyelinikid, about LE
  • Hani:

Hani is very thoughtful with her words and I got the vibe where she wants to give her wisest answer possible. Very considerate person overall. When she looks in your eyes though, her eyes are like that Puss in Boots. You’ll know what it means to melt your heart.

Hyelinikid, about Hani
  • Hyelin:

Hyelin is hilarious, almost like a best friend you’ve known for a long time. Lots of TMI and randomness…within a minute, she asked me from “do you like seafood” to “check out my new phone! This has all kinds of features hehe”. It’s great though, you get energized from her positiveness (as Hani said).

Hyelinikid, about Hyelin
  • Jeonghwa:

Jeonghwa…she’s reserved at first, but once you get to know her and you hear her addressing you as oppa, y’all going to heaven, that’s for sure. That is all.

Hyelinikid, about Jeonghwa

The Future

Hyelinikid knows a lot about EXID and has met them, so we wanted to ask him about the hiatus. EXID’s hiatus began a year ago. While we do have some group activity, we mostly follow their solo activities. “How is Hyelinikid working during this time, and what are your hopes or expectations for the future (of both Hyelinikid and EXID)?”

What a bold question to end the interview! This is a challenging time for most. There aren’t as many group activities, and fans are also getting older, so they must take care of their own busy lives as well. Throughout our fandom history, I’ve seen so many people putting their lives into stanning EXID, and I’ve also seen so many people leaving after being burnt out.

Since 2019 summer, I’ve changed the direction of Hyelinikid to “work as needed basis”, so still do something about EXID but while taking care of your real lives. The idea is to stay as fans for a long time.

We held a vote to dissolve Hyelinikid right after the Me & You promotion. All staff voted no, saying there has to be someone who have to support all the members even after this “transitional phase”. I really appreciate our staff’s dedication, so I want to keep it up to their expectation to stay around our fandom and celebrate any activities that our idols will bring us.

Having said that, everyone thought we will see no activities from EXID members, but look what we have in July! Solji’s solo album, LE’s potential album, Hani’s new drama, Hyelin’s new TV show, and Jeonghwa’s movie debut. Our members are trying their best to bring something to us, so I want to do the same and stick around as long as possible. 🙂 We joke around staff saying “we should be around to do a fan support for their Diamond Jubilee (60th birthday)” hahaha.

Hyelinikid, about the hiatus and the future

“Diamond Jubilee”–I love it!

Because ya know, we’re stannin queens 😉

Hyelinikid

We ended the interview with some words from Hyelinikid about new fans:

[…] thank you so much for putting all this together. One thing I wanted to see in our fandom was to see fanpage masters from our new fans. I believe in succession and circulation of people in charge, so we stay sustainable for a long time. Always great to see someone like new who are passionate about trying new things and do whatever you can do help our fandom. 🙂

Hyelinikid, closing statement about the value of new fans

Thanks to Hyelinikid for sharing his story. If you are interested in the raw transcript of the interview, it is available for download <here>.[2]

Footnotes:

  1. Translation from Hyelinikid
  2. Raw interview transcript: https://downloads.leggonews.com/articles/hyelinikid_20200701.png

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