Have you ever wondered what it’s like to spend hours with EXID? Have you ever fantasized about dining with them? If so, then you are certainly in for a treat in this month’s edition of Interview with LEGGO!
We’re going to deviate from the norm in this interview. Instead of going back and forth in discourse, Sean will tell his story uninterrupted. Without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to LEGGO Sean:
Hello everyone! My name is Sean, a LEGGO from Vancouver, and I’ve been a LEGGO since Hot Pink (late 2015) – though I didn’t discover EXID because of Hot Pink. Long story short, a gif of Hyelin and Solji ended up on the front page of Reddit at the time, and I checked out other videos in the comments and fell in love with how funny EXID was. In early/mid 2016, I joined a Discord server dedicated to EXID (usually referred to as EXIDcord), where I met many more LEGGOs. The rest is history.
In 2017, EXID and Makestar announced a joint fan-funded project, and LEGGOs had the option of several price options/tiers, the most expensive of which included a ticket to a fan meeting with EXID. At the time, I actually didn’t have the financial means of affording a flight ticket and accommodation in Korea, so purchasing the highest tier seemed out of the question. However, another LEGGO from EXIDcord that I was friends with at the time generously offered to cover much of the cost of going, and with his help I was able to afford to go to this fanmeeting (he had told me that he recognized how big of a fan of EXID I was and had no issue with helping me out – I will be forever grateful for his generosity).
Having been a poor af student for most of my life until earlier that year, this was actually the first time since my childhood that I was leaving Canada for another country, so it was very exciting for me to say the least. The fanmeeting was scheduled for January 20th, 2018, and I landed in Korea on the 19th. It was the only flight available at the time – had I had a choice, I would have given myself a couple more days to get settled. By the time I arrived at my AirBnB, it was already the evening and getting dark. I only had a bit of time to get organized before I had to go and meet with two other LEGGOs from EXIDcord who were also attending the fanmeeting (they had arrived in Korea earlier than I did). The time between arriving at my AirBnB and meeting up with my friends was a real stressful couple of hours. I had trouble getting my “wifi egg” to work (which wasn’t a real wifi egg that you could usually get, it was an old phone that I had to turn on the wifi hotspot on to use). It was my first time using the Seoul Metropolitan Subway (obviously), and I was just overwhelmed with how to use and understand their system. I ended up taking the wrong train and went in the wrong direction for a while before realizing my mistake lmao.
I eventually met up with the two other LEGGOs in a cafe in Hongdae, and from there we went to have some food and drinks. A funny anecdote from that night was that when we were ordering drinks, we saw on the menu something called a “king cup” of Hoegaarden (but since it was in Korean, we didn’t quite understand what the “king cup” meant). We thought it was some sort of pitcher, so we ordered one. The waiter looked at us funny and was like, “Just one?” and we confirmed. When the beer came, we realized the “king cup” really was just that, a giant-ass beer mug meant for one person. We sheepishly called the waiter back and ordered two more. After the food and drinks, we had a walk around Hongdae, but since it was already late we couldn’t do much else. We needed to get up early for the fanmeeting after all. In fact, I was kinda scared that I might be too jetlagged to wake up on time, so we made an agreement to do a roll call in the morning lmao.
Luckily it seemed we didn’t need the roll call, as we all woke up early. The excitement of meeting EXID was a good motivator of course! I got ready and headed to the meeting location in another part of Seoul (I would find out later that it was nearby one of Banana Culture’s offices, and CUBE). I signed in with the Makestar/BCT employees, and chilled with my friends while we waited for all the LEGGOs to arrive. One of my regrets is not mingling with the other LEGGOs a bit more, but I was a bit nervous because my Korean was nowhere near conversational.
After a while, we finally got the announcement that EXID was arriving, so we were corralled into a group and told to face one direction. Then we see a big black van arrive, and out comes LE, Hani, Hyelin, and Jeonghwa (Solji was still recovering from her surgery and could not attend). A lot of the other LEGGOs exclaimed or cheered, I was just standing there speechless in mild shock lmao. The members lined up about 20 feet away in front of us and gave their greeting. Honestly, at this point I thought that this was about as close as we were going to get to them for the rest of the day. The itinerary they had given us wasn’t super detailed, so I wasn’t sure exactly how the events of the day were going to pan out. Anyway, I can’t remember a lot of what was said during this initial meeting, as I was so in shock of seeing EXID with my own eyeballs.
Then it was time to board the bus to head to the actual fanmeeting location, and to my amazement, the members were handing out our lunches to us as we got on. I got my box lunch from Hyelin, if I remember correctly. I said thank you to her, but because the line was moving quickly, and she seemed to be quite focused on handing out lunches, she wasn’t able to respond. We sat down, EXID went into their own van, and we headed off to the location.
The drive was about an hour and a half, and we arrived at some sort of semi-remote community center that had an auditorium and stage on the inside, and some tennis courts and playgrounds on the outside. We were led to the main entrance, while EXID went to a side entrance. Once inside, we were all seated in rows of chairs in front of a stage. After a short while, the members came out of a door to the side and took their place on stage as LEGGOs cheered.
Then, the book signing began. I was in the second row, so it was going to be a while before it was my turn to head up to the stage. While the signing was going on, any member that wasn’t busy signing something was engaging with us LEGGOs in the audience. I was sitting directly in front of Jeonghwa, and at one point we made eye contact. She obviously noticed that I was a foreigner, and she said (in English) “Hi, where are you from?” I replied (in Korean), “I’m from Vancouver!” She thought for a second, and then exclaimed “Oh, Canada!” and started talking about the drama “Goblin”, presumably because it was partly filmed in Canada. I wonder if she knows how far Vancouver is from Quebec haha. At one point, I also made eye contact with Hyelin, and we waved at each other.
Eventually, it was my turn to head up on stage. I was somehow nervous yet surprisingly calm at the same time. I had been memorizing some questions or things I wanted to say to each member, and that helped keep my mind focused. First up was LE. After she said hello, I introduced myself in Korean. She said something back to me in Korean, and I assumed she said something along the lines of “Your Korean is good!”, so I thanked her. But after I thanked her, she laughed. So, I’m guessing I totally misunderstood what she had said to me and made a fool of myself lmao. I told her that I made music as well as a hobby, and she said she wanted to listen. (I couldn’t really give her a URL or even my handle at the time, so I later posted on the fan cafe. I wonder if she ever saw it). After she finished signing my book, I gave her the small souvenir I brought, as well as the one for Solji (I got them little Canadian animal keychains).
Next up was my EXID BIAS, Hani! Since Hani is good at English, I decided to converse with her in English to avoid any mishaps (I had already decided this before the LE incident lmao). After our initial introduction, I told her about how I went to the same highschool and university as one of her cousins (true story – and some of my friends were friends with the cousin). At first she was skeptical, or didn’t understand, so I mentioned her cousin’s name. She was so shocked by this that she almost screamed LMAO. She exclaimed very loudly and said that she was so shocked in Korean. When she composed herself, she told me that I should say hi to her cousin for her when I returned back to Canada, and I agreed. Our convo was going on a bit longer than usual because of this, so one of the managers was trying to hurry me along. She finished up signing my book, and I gave her her souvenir.
Next was Hyelin. We greeted each other and she started signing my book. She was having trouble reading my name since it was in English, so she had to reach out and trace my name with her finger as she read it haha. As she was signing, I told her (in Korean) that we were the same age (1993 gang wut up!) She then said (in English), “Oh, then we can be friends” and shook my hand.
Finally, it was Jeonghwa’s turn. After our greeting, I told her about how I liked her songs with Pinkmoon (if you haven’t checked them out, you should). She asked me which one was my favourite, and I honestly couldn’t choose so I said I liked them all. I can’t remember if we talked about anything else. After she finished signing my book, I gave her the souvenir and also dropped off the rest of my souvenirs meant for the whole group (a couple of maple syrup bottles and some maple flavoured treats lmao). Then I went back to my seat. I noticed a little while later, one of the managers was inspecting my gifts. I had wrapped the maple syrup bottles in quite a bit of wrapping to avoid them breaking in transit to Korea, so it was not obvious they were bottles of syrup. It looked like he was a bit suspicious of them lmao. One of the LEGGOs had given them stuffed animal versions of each of their pets, it was pretty cute. Also, me and my friend noticed that LEGGOs would generally give treats to LE so that she could open them and pass them down to the rest of the group. The treats would always end up with Jeonghwa, and stayed with her for most of the time, which is the bunch of packaging you see at the end of the table by her lmao.
After the signing, EXID was ushered into the side room again, and the LEGGOs were instructed to clear the auditorium of the chairs to create a large open space for the games. A Makestar/BCT employee came around with a large envelope, and we were to pull out a random piece of paper with a colour on it. I pulled out a lime green one. It wasn’t obvious at first what this was for, but became clear when the members came back out wearing the colours that were on the piece of paper. Jeonghwa was wearing a lime green hoodie, so I was on her team, and we also received hoodies with our team leader’s name on it.
We gathered into our teams in the four corners of the auditorium, and the games began. One of the games we played was like the charades they had on shows like Weekly Idol or Idol Room. As LEGGOs we had to read a card behind our team leader, and our team leader had to guess what we were trying to act out. The hard part was that there were categories, and the members played rock paper scissors (?) to determine who got to pick their category first. We ended up picking last, which left us with the “animal” category. Seeing as how the other teams didn’t want to pick this one, it seemed like it was going to be tough. And it was. When it was my turn to act out an animal, I got “hippo”. I remember thinking Oh god, how am I going to act this out, and how is she going to get it? Hippos don’t really have a distinctive action they do, so I gestured with my arms that I was fat, and mimed a sort of swimming motion. Luckily, Jeonghwa was able to guess it after a few attempts, so props to her for saving me from too much embarrassment lmao.
The next game we played was a team vs team game, where we had to flip large discs on the ground to be our colour. At the end of the time limit, the team whose colour was the majority facing up, was the winner. Let me tell y’all, this game got VIOLENT LMAO. There were times when LEGGOs were half tackling other LEGGOs to the ground, trying to rip the discs out of each other’s hands. LEGGOs were pretty much wrestling and bumping into the surrounding chairs, it got WILD. The staff there were trying desperately to calm everyone down lmao. At the end of the game that our team was participating in, a LEGGO on the other team flipped a disc right in front of me long after the time limit was up. I yelled “Hey!” and flipped it back to our team colour. One of the staff members saw me flipping it, and thought I was the one cheating, but my team had my back and we all yelled and pointed at the real cheater LMAO.
The final “game” was a round of karaoke, I’m guessing so that we could somewhat chill out. But when it was our turn to sing Up & Down, Jeonghwa was so excited and was more yelling the song than actually singing it LOL. At the end of it all, after tallying up the scores from the different games, it turned out that our team was in last place. When we regrouped with our team, Jeonghwa tried to cheer us up. She put her arm around me, and her other arm around another foreigner LEGGO, and started jumping up and down while exclaiming “Yay!”. She told us that even though we lost, we did well. Then we got to take a selfie with our team leader (gonna cover my face in this one because my tired-ass looking mug is a bit to close for comfort lmao). We also took a pic as a team, and individually with the members.
After the games, it was time for the barbeque. EXID had gone back to the side room, while us LEGGOs were sent outside to the bbq area. There were four sets of tables underneath a big tent, with some large grills in one corner. I was one of the first few to arrive, and since we weren’t told to sit at any particular table, I chose one at random. However, a minute or so later, the rest of Jeonghwa’s team arrived and all sat at a different table. They noticed that I was sitting separately and waved me over to come sit with them. After several more minutes, everyone was sat down. Then, EXID arrived on the scene. As Jeonghwa passed our table, my team members were jokingly calling out to her (in Korean) “Where are you going~?” She just smirked and gave us a side glance and sat at a different table lmao. (I don’t think she DIDN’T want to sit with us, just that the idea was for the members to mingle with other LEGGOs, to be clear). The member that ended up sitting with us was Hyelin! I was sat at one corner of the table, while she was sat in the middle on the other side, but since our particular table wasn’t that big, we were all sitting quite close together.
The food they provided at the bbq was bbq sausage, lettuce, and assorted toppings for the lettuce wrap. The managers and other staff were the ones cooking the food, while we got to just sit and enjoy it and talk. Most of the time, Hyelin was conversing with the K-LEGGOs in Korean, but every so often she would attempt to talk to me in English to try and include me in the conversation. I really appreciate her for doing that, knowing that her English is not the best in EXID! I can’t really remember the things she asked me about anymore, as my jetlag was catching up to me and I was starting to get a headache. At one point, I wanted to pour myself some water, but before I did, I offered some to the guy sitting beside me. He kinda just ignored me, and the girl sitting across from us noticed and told him that I was offering water. He just shook his head. Then Hyelin noticed what was happening and said that she would like some as she held out her cup to me. At the sudden prospect of pouring an idol water, I got nervous LOL. My hand started shaking a bit as I was pouring her the water – I hoped no one had noticed but I think they did as the girl that spoke earlier said something and laughed (though I can’t be sure exactly what she said as I was quite focused on pouring the water).
A little while later, and I’m not sure what prompted this, but Hyelin offered to feed us a lettuce wrap by hand LMAO! She made a wrap for each of us, and gave them to us one by one. I remember when it was my turn, all I was thinking was “Don’t somehow make a fool out of yourself, don’t accidentally bite her fingers or something” LMAO! A couple of other LEGGOs from other tables had noticed what was going on, and came over. I assume they must have been Hyelin stans. Not wanting to open the possibility of having to feed all the LEGGOs there, Hyelin had to turn them away.
By now it was the end of the bbq, and we were instructed to help dispose of all of the garbage.Once that was done, we were all kinda just standing around and chatting with the members. Hyelin, myself, and a couple others from our table were standing around a heat lamp, as it was getting pretty cold. Hyelin turned to me and asked me, “Do you have a question for me?” Unfortunately, my headache was hitting me in full force, and I couldn’t think of one for the life of me. I told her in Korean that I didn’t have one, and she joking got mad, exclaiming “Why not!” in Korean. I just laughed and replied “Sorry!” A few minutes later, it seemed that a couple LEGGOs had asked the members for more selfies, and once others had noticed, we quickly formed lines to have our turn taking selfies. I think this part was unplanned, as the staff members looked a bit hesitant to allow this at first. They realized it was unlikely to be able to get us to stop, so they let us continue. I took my selfies with Hyelin, Jeonghwa, and LE first. I didn’t want to hold up the lines too much, so all that I really said was a thanks after the selfie.
Hani was the last member for me to take a selfie with. When it was my turn, I sat down beside her and prepared my phone. As I was doing that, she thanked me (in English) for coming out to the event that day. I told her that EXID should come to Canada/Vancouver, and she said that she really wanted to. After we took our selfies, I thanked her and got up to leave. Just as I was about to walk away, she put her hand on my arm, so I stopped and turned back to her. She held up her other hand in a fist and whispered “Fighting!”. Me being the tired dumbass that I was, and being taken off-guard by the situation, simply replied “Yes!” in Korean. Immediately after I left, I realized that a more appropriate response was probably to reply “Fighting!” as well. I’ve been kicking myself in the butt for that ever since lmao.
As I was heading back to the auditorium to get my stuff, I noticed a large group of LEGGOs off to the side of the pathway. When I got closer, I noticed they were standing around LE. She was showing us videos of Wooyoo (her dog) on her phone. After a little while of that, LE was called away so that EXID could prepare to leave as well. I got my stuff and returned back outside to wait for the boarding of the bus. As we were waiting, the members boarded their own van, and waved goodbye to us through the van windows. We all called out our goodbyes to them, and with that, they left. And that pretty much concluded the fanmeeting. The bus ride home was uneventful, other than chatting a bit with my friends about the event.
Some closing thoughts. This was definitely an event of a lifetime, and I’m so thankful that I got to experience something like it. The event lasted about 6 or 7 hours total, from about noon to 7pm, and there were at most 50 attendees. Something like this is definitely quite rare in the kpop world, especially considering the intimate nature of it. Not many kpop stans can say that they spent a day with their favourite idols, let alone casually converse, play games, and eat bbq with them. Some highlights were Hyelin feeding me by hand, conversing with Hani, and being on Jeonghwa’s team – but I definitely cherish each moment of the event. My friends and I heard later on that the foreigners that attended the event were a big topic of chit-chat among the members when they were preparing in their dressing room. I hope I left a good impression with them!
Thank you for taking the time for reading about my experience, I hope you enjoyed it! And big thanks to LEGGO Ghostie for inviting me for this interview! I always love being able to tell the stories of my kpop career. I do have some others, so if people liked this one, perhaps I could talk about more in the future. I’m most active on EXIDcord than anywhere else (I am the admin after all). If you aren’t already a member but would like to join, here’s the invite: https://discord.gg/PYmB6gF. I also recently opened a kpop stan account on Instagram, @beeforthehani. I will be posting pretty casually on there from time to time. Feel free to follow!
Thanks again, and have a great day!