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Bae Suzy's "Doona!" shines a light on K-pop idol pressure & mental health

Bae Suzy does it again! Her most recent drama Doona! premiered on Friday, October 20, 2023, and is a must-watch! We dissect Bae Suzy's character and the pressures facing K-pop idols today!


Bae Suzy (left) and Yang Se Jong at the "Doona!" press conference (Dispatch)
Bae Suzy (left) and Yang Se Jong at the "Doona!" press conference (Dispatch)

Starting off as a manipulative beauty, Bae Suzy's character, Lee Doona, is a former K-pop idol who suddenly retires from the entertainment industry. She lives by herself on the first floor of a share house and is a recluse, barely interacting with any of her housemates. She meets a second-year university student, Lee Won Jun (Yang Se Jong), who is patient and kind and sees Doona for who she really is. The two start a back-and-forth relationship testing their emotions for one another until finally they give in to their feelings.



K-pop idol mental health


With their careers under constant scrutiny, K-pop idols are required to have a certain demeanor and aesthetic, at least in public, when interacting with fans and performing. But when fans become over-possessive and invasive into their favorite idol's private lives, it can be downright dangerous. We have seen idols break down in tears over live-streaming events or take a break for personal health reasons.


Bae Suzy posing for cameras during "Doona!" press conference (Dispatch)
Bae Suzy posing for cameras during "Doona!" press conference (Dispatch)

Bae Suzy does a wonderful job of portraying a former idol plagued by the pressure to be a top idol who struggles with trust issues as she closes herself off from society. Her character, Lee Doona, is cautious but often times "bitchy" attitude rubs people the wrong way and gets them to hate her. Luckily she meets a very patient and understanding Lee Won Jun who takes the time to know her and finds a connection that not many around her do.



How to move forward


Both fans and industry insiders must understand the importance of mental health and pressure on K-pop idols and give them some time to recuperate from live performances, showcases, meet-and-greets, etc. We have seen how BLACKPINK's Jennie had to leave the stage during a performance to take care of her own health.


Still from "Doona!" (Netflix)
Still from "Doona!" (Netflix)

These are very important issues that need to be addressed and we as fans have to understand that idols are humans too. They need their privacy and we need to respect it. The possessive attitude fans have is a dangerous game to play as it often sends a bad message to the rest of the world about how K-pop fans are. We need to do better.


Let us know your thoughts on these issues and whether you have seen Bae Suzy's new drama! Comment below!


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