Do you know about the ‘Orange Princesses’? Alluding to the representative color of Shinhwa’s official fanclub Shinhwa Changjo, orange, this is how the fans are referred to. Following Shinhwa’s return after 4 years, ‘Orange Princesses’ scattered everywhere have once again started to move into action.
During the past 2 months, OhMyStar has been holding chat sessions in a cafe in Gangnam with 5 formidable ‘Orange Princesses’, who have been fans for more than 10 years. As per the request of these ladies, their names will not be mentioned. They’ll simply be referred to as ‘Female #1’, ‘Female #2’ etc, and only details like their ages, occupations, when they became fans, will be revealed.
Female #1: Mid-30s / Freelance university lecturer / 1999 / Runs a fanpage
Female #2: Late 20s / Barista / 1998 / Runs a fanpage
Female #3: Mid-30s / Freelance designer / 1999
Female #4: Early 40s / Teacher / 1999
Female #5: Early 40s / Homemaker / 2001
The group Shinhwa is back. It has already been 4 years since their 10th anniversary concert where they promised their fans to meet again. To be precise, 4 years later, Shinhwa will kick off their comeback with their 14th anniversary concert.
With the exception of Shin Hyesung and Kim Dongwan, the other members are signed to separate management companies. Although everyone has unabated trust in Shinhwa, they worry about whether there will be obstacles not within their control along the way. But Shinhwa did not let their fans down. Exceeding the expectation of making their comeback in time for their 15th anniversary concert, Shinhwa has made it back a year earlier.
– Didn’t you worry about whether they would get together again?
Female #1: To start with, the members are very reliable. I’ve never been worried about them being in different agencies. They’re the type who will leave the company if the company isn’t doing well. (laughs)
Female #5: Didn’t they already say that they will regroup even in other forms?
The news of the 2-day concert on 24/25 March has already spread. The fans who have stuck with Shinhwa for more than 10 years are preparing themselves for the concert. Some have even applied for leave for the day after the concert.
“Sasaeng fans (obsessive fans who stalk and invade the privacy of celebrities)? We didn’t even think about it then”
– The idol fandom back then is very different from the idol fandom of today.
Female #4: The inclinations of fans back then and fans today are very different. Compared to fans back then, there are many more older fans now. In Shinhwa’s case, their fans grew up naturally with them.
Female #1: Shinhwa has more younger fans than I thought. There’s this type of people, they like singers but don’t want to only like idols like their peers, these are kids who are more mature in their thinking.
Female #2: The more serious ones?
All: That’s right, that’s right.
– ‘Sasaeng fans’ who invade the private lives of stars are becoming a social issue too. How are they different from the fans in the early 2000s who stayed overnight in front of the idols’ dormitory?
Female #2: At least we toed the line back then. We protected the members’ private lives.
Female #1: Back then it was a case of ‘the oppas are God’ so we were scared of them. We staked out in front of the dormitory but once Kim Dongwan appeared we all ran away. He opened the window and shouted at the fans, ‘why aren’t you going?’ (laughs) Lately the sasaeng fans are more like stalkers than fans.
Female #4: At least we didn’t try to teach the oppas what to do. Lately the fans are exercising a lot of influence and they seem to feel a sense of superiority.
Female #1: Celebrities have to be thankful to fans too. Honestly speaking the fandom of today shocks me. They have evolved a lot.
“SHINee’s ‘Wild Eyes’ left the deepest impression”
– Many younger singers have performed Shinhwa’s songs. If you have to pick the best performance of the lot?
Female #1: SHINee did well. More than anything SHINee is under SM Entertainment. Shinhwa is a group that came from SM too so it’s in a way a meaningful performance. SM’s new group re-enacting a song from a group that came out of SM. ‘Wild Eyes’ is a powerful song and they did it better than I expected.
Female #4: Indeed there’s no one who does it better than the original.
Female #5: Shinhwa performed this dance in their mid-20s, it seems that even younger idols now can’t compete.
Female #3: Shinhwa already had a manly feel to them when they were in their early 20s.
Female #1: Lately there are many noona fans so there’s more of acting cute.
– For their comeback there’ll be plenty of promotional activities. What are you most looking forward to?
Female #1: I’m looking forward to their stage performances, their album, and their ENG filming (e.g news/interview segments). It’ll be great if they can appear on programs like ‘Running Man’.
Female #2: Won’t they get exhausted within half a day? (laughs) I hope they can appear on ‘Infinity Challenge’ again.
Female #4: We can’t leave out the Tray Noraebang segment of ‘Happy Together’ too.
Hopes for the returning ‘Shinhwa’ – “In good health, and in style”
– Is there anything you hope for the returning Shinhwa?
Female #1: I hope they return in good health, and embark on their activities in style. Because Shinhwa is still alive. I hope they will enjoy themselves, just like before. And don’t get affected by the young kids.
Female #4: I hope they don’t get injured and stay healthy. More than anything else I hope the members enjoy themselves. The fans will only enjoy themselves if the members enjoy themselves.
– For how long more do you think Shinhwa can stay active?
Female #2: Until they can hold a dinner show? (laughs) Will they still be so playful then? I’m most worried about the members’ stamina. (note: usually older singers/entertainers hold dinner shows)
Female #1: They’ve passed the crisis and the difficult moments, didn’t they. So I think they’ll go on for a long time.
Female #4: Their bond won’t disappear even as they work on their individual activities. I think it will be good if they can go about their individual activities and then gather for group activities under the name of Shinhwa. All this can happen as long as they don’t disband, isn’t it?
Credits: OhMyStar + Absolut Shinhwa