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
There was a time when even if you didn’t know about Greek or Roman myths and legends* (*also Shinhwa in Korean), but when it comes to the names of all the members in Shinhwa, you’ve got them memorized.
Even now when you hear the opening section of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’, you continue with a rap and shout out ‘Twinkling Of Paradise’. Your favorite color is orange. Even when it wasn’t raining you put on a raincoat. During your impressionable and sensitive high school years, you wrote fanfics and seriously considered majoring in creative writing.
If you’re a Shinhwa fan, try recalling the memories of your ‘fan life’ during the past 14 years. Ranging from the 20s to the 40s, 5 ladies chatted for 2 hours about the 6 men they have loved for the past 14 years. Even if they talked overnight, they won’t be able to finish sharing these experiences accumulated over such a long time.
The materials collected over 14 years are enough to start a museum!
Do you still remember the days of using your measly allowance to buy lots of magazines (there’s also the way of co-buying the magazines with friends who like other groups but if the two groups are on two sides of the same sheet – FAIL!), cutting out scraps from newspapers, and recording from TV and radio? If you’ve kept that spirit of meticulous record-keeping, you could have gone on to become a national asset in the world of cultural research.
– Since Shinhwa’s been around for really long, fans must have a large collection of photos, videos and other materials.
Female #1: From the 2nd intake (of Shinhwa Changjo) onwards, the raincoats are all different and I have all of them. All of the magazines and newspaper cutouts featuring Shinhwa, I have them all at home.
Female #2: They’re all stacked as thick as a mattress under my bed. Now the materials are mostly on my computer but it was fun collecting papers.
Female #3: I have the recordings for all of the concert dates. I labeled all of the audio files by month and date.
Female #1: I used to steal my younger sibling’s learning cassette tapes to record the members’ radio appearances.
Female #2: But even for those tapes, some you could record over, some you couldn’t.
Female #1: I really envy the fans now, during those days the quality of the video files was very different. Most of our files were RealMedia files, and the quality wasn’t good so Shin Hyesung would keep jumping. (laughs)
– In the past, fans sold photos that they took. Prices depended on the range from which the members were photographed. If the face was as small as a pea, it cost 200 won, like that.
Female #5: Now the fanpics are all of high quality. Fans have even better cameras than journalists. The fandom is evolving, we have to keep studying and work hard to improve too.
Female #1: People say these days it’s embarrassing to take out compact cameras.
Female #2: Just a while ago I wanted to buy a camera, and I happened to meet a fan who was buying the latest model for Shinhwa’s comeback.
Female #5: The reporters upload their photos very quickly, while fans upload theirs slightly later, but they will carefully do some correction and adjustment before uploading.
“Fans who can’t go to their dormitory would go for a Shinhwa tour”
– Many fans often staked out in front of Shinhwa’s dormitory. Fans who found it difficult to follow them everyday could find out more about the members outside of TV programs by reading about accounts uploaded by other fans. Particularly in the case of Kim Dongwan, we hear that he was very strict with the fans.
Female #2: Actually I had been going to Shinhwa’s dorm since middle school. I went less frequently during high school and then followed Shinhwa around again in college. There are many stories about Dongwan oppa giving money to fans for bus fares.
Female #1: When we staked out in front of their dorm, if a milder member came out we’d all stand by and watch. If Kim Dongwan appeared we all ran away. Kim Dongwan would yell at the fans outside the window and ask why we’re not going home.
Female #4: There was once when he threw out a toilet plunger.
Female #1: And everyone wanted it.
Female #4: In my case I only went to the concerts. Fans like us who couldn’t follow them around went on a holy pilgrimage called the Shinhwa tour. Like visiting Shinhwa’s Kyochon Chicken branch.
– And such as going to the tonkatsu restaurant that Shin Hyesung’s mother was operating.
All: Star Tonka!
Female #1: Honestly the food wasn’t very good.
Female #2: The restaurant felt a little gloomy, didn’t it?
Female #1: We often held our fanclub meetings there. But why did they name it Star Tonka? Up til 2004 I could still remember what I did on which day in my fanlife, but now it’s a bit hazy. I’d look at the photos and wonder, when was this?
“When Junjin got injured, they said he might die”
– Having been active for such a long time, Shinhwa members are exceptionally injury-prone.
Female #1: I can never forget the time when Junjin got injured while filming ‘Good Friends’ at SBS.
Female #3: It was really difficult to hear people telling us to prepare ourselves mentally as he might die. But that episode was aired. As if nothing happened. Looking at the filming set it was really scary. But he was told to keep tumbling. He had no more strength left so he fell and then got injured. At that time the fans just kept crying like crazy. After that we got worried everytime Junjin jumped.
Female #2: If you’re not a fan, you won’t remember that he got injured. It’s really upsetting to hear people saying why is he a public service officer when he dances.
Female #5: The members don’t look after their bodies so they often get into accidents.
– Do you perhaps sometimes feel that the oppas are getting older now?
Female #1: It’s still the same now. Even more so when the members are playing among themselves. But I get shocked seeing idols born in the 90s. Instead of ‘the oppas are getting older’, it’s more of ‘Shinhwa are really veterans.’
Female #5: The fans surprise one another when they go to Shinhwa concerts. The young kids get surprised when they see the adults, and adults get surprised when they see the young kids.
Female #1: The oppas are of some age, so I’m worried about them having to run around on the big stage. The fans are joking among themselves, whether the songs will all have ballad arrangements for the second day of the concert.
Credits: OhmyStar + Absolut Shinhwa