[Hey, that’s me] Fangirling inside the closet
by Guest Beanie
When I first read about the synopsis of the drama Her Private Life, I wasn’t exactly fond or excited about the plot. Although I’ve been a fangirl for as long as I can remember, the idea of a fangirl character wasn’t appealing to me because of how they’re usually portrayed – loud and sometimes obnoxious. Wary that they’d show this side of fangirls, plus the fact that I’m not exactly a fangirl to any idols, I never thought the female lead’s character would be so relatable to me.
I wasn’t planning to watch the drama while it was ongoing. I thought I might watch it later only for Park Min-young. But as soon as the drama started airing, I started seeing photos and video clips online and thought to myself, these scenes seem interesting too. So with a few episodes aired already, I decided to give the drama a try.
I’ve encountered a few fangirl characters before, but what drew me to Sung Deok-mi’s character was the fact that she was a closet fangirl. She’s living a professional life that is completely separate from her fangirl life. None of her co-workers know about her fangirl life and only those who are really close to her know how obsessed she is. That’s also how I am as a fangirl.
Back in my early fangirling years, I wasn’t ashamed to tell the world who I was (and still am) a fan of. There was even a point when almost every person in my class associated me with the singer I was a fan of. However, as I got older, I started feeling like I was being judged for doing something that I love. It wasn’t a good feeling, because as much as fangirling gives me so much happiness, it also gives me anxiety over what people think of me. I began feeling embarrassed of the things I do, so I started suppressing all my fangirl feels and only shared them with people who I thought might understand.
I started becoming a closet fan. Like Sung Deok-mi, I went to find my own safe place and joined communities where I shared my thoughts and feelings with people who were fans like me. I could no longer confidently share how I felt in my personal accounts or with people in real life as much as I pleased.
However, I’m not as secretive about my fangirl life as Sung Deok-mi is. (I don’t think I’d refrain from telling my idols that I am a fan if I ever got the chance to meet them.) A few of my officemates and friends also know about some people and stuff that I like, but there is a certain level of closeness and comfort needed for me to reveal myself and confide my fangirl feels with them. It’s always nice to at least have some people whom you can comfortably share EVERYTHING without the fear of judgment because you know you share the same love and they know exactly why you feel that way.
I can see myself in Sung Deok-mi in many ways and there are sides of her that I still aspire to be. I really admire the way she’s able to balance her professional and fangirl life. Although at first she isn’t given the recognition she deserves, you can see how dedicated and how good she actually is at what she does. I also want to develop a strong passion for what I do so that I can wholeheartedly put my energy into my work without the need for recognition and rewards. (Also, I would love to have her closet! I always go heart eyes for her office attire.)
And of course, I dream about being as successful a fan as she is. Even if she was anonymous, she had been recognized and remembered by her idol as one of his most dedicated fans. What’s even more amazing than that is the fact that she’d been able to forge both a professional and familial relationship with him completely outside of her fangirling. Although I know such luck doesn’t come easily in real life, it’s very satisfying to watch Deok-mi’s fangirling journey. I know it’s quite impossible for that to actually happen to me in real life, but I can live vicariously through her.
Sung Deok-mi will always be one of the most memorable K-drama characters for me because of how relatable she is. Watching her become a successful fan gave me a different kind of heart fluttering feeling that is not romantic, yet something that’s completely familiar. I may not be able to tell the whole world about my idols, but I’ll continue supporting them anonymously – together with the people who share the same love for our idols. Having the chance to support them is something I’ll always be grateful for because in Sung Deok-mi’s own words, “Fanboys and fangirls are satisfied with looking from a distance, because just looking at the person brings you happiness.” I hope every fangirl or fanboy like me, closeted or not, keeps on finding happiness in what they do.
- [Hey, that’s me] The plight of the storyteller
- [Hey, that’s me] A college admissions monster
- [Hey, that’s me] To all the women I’ve loved before
- [Hey, that’s me] Hell Joseon international
- [Hey, that’s me] A mirror to my future
- [Hey, that’s me] I wish I were her
- [Hey, that’s me] Pieces of me
- [Hey, that’s me] Me in the trap
- [Hey, that’s me] Scissors and locks
- [Hey, that’s me] The mouse in the sharehouse
- [Theme of the Month] Hey, that’s me
Tags: Theme of the Month