Meeting groups like Cravity, WEi, CIX, and more, K-pop fan Grace can proudly say that she’s met most of her faves.
To those new to the world of K-pop, the fansign or fancall is seen by many fans as a top-tier goal to achieve. Like concerts, these events give fans the chance to meet their fave idols in person. But unlike concerts, a fansign is more intimate where the lucky few get to have one-on-one conversations with their faves, albeit for a short time. These events though are notoriously hard to get in with only a few hundred being chosen among those who participate. And not to mention the funds it takes to get your name in the raffle.
For 24-year-old K-pop fan Grace, she makes things seem easy. In a little over a year, the Filipina hasn’t just been to one, two, or even five fancalls. By her estimate, that number hovers around thirty, which includes a mix of calls with certain members and the entire group from at least five K-pop groups. Needless to say, that’s a lot and is an experience Grace is not taking for granted.
GETTING INTO K-POP
Grace first got into K-pop in 2009. Like many Filipino K-pop fans, her first foray into the magical world came from 2NE1. “I fell in love with their music, style, and personalities. They pretty much became my role models,” shares Grace. “After that, I found out about K-pop boy groups and began to stan most of the 2nd-3rd gen groups at the time. The first boy group I ever stanned was no other than the kings themselves, BIG BANG.”
As a self-described multi-stan, Grace admits that keeping up with the news can be tiring, so these days, she focuses on her ults, mainly Cravity, WEi, EPEX, and CIX. She also considered herself an NCTzen with WayV being her favorite unit.
If you want to know just how many fansigns or fancalls Grace has been a part of, she created a tracker just so she doesn’t lose count. And to make it even better, she has been able to speak with all her ult groups. That’s goals right there. Grace’s first brush with a fancall came in June 2021 with WEi’s. “I had decided to try for their 1:1 video call with my bias, Yoo Yongha. I remember joining several fansigns and lost about four to six times,” she recalls.
It got to the point where she was ready to give up. But Grace pushed herself to try one last time. And this time, the K-pop gods were on her side. “Just when I least expected it—I won. I cried in glee. I only had a few days to prepare for the call. I was excited, it was my first fansign ever, and I was going to talk to my bias.”
@wyviiiv [ 210718 ] Reposting since I finally had time to edit. My first fansign video call ever! ♡ with Yongha #WEi #위아이 #유용하 #YONGHA #videocallfansign #fansignvideocall #kpop #fyp #kpopfyp @wei__official ♬ Blueming – IU
To make it even better, the first person she saw on screen was not a staff, but Yongha himself. “Now, this part only starts to feel real after you introduce yourself and you hear them saying your name. I was nervous so I stuttered a lot, but it’s okay, because my bias stutters a lot, too. Although I was nervous, I somewhat felt a sense of comfort. The joy you feel during and after is worth it.”
Grace doesn’t have to look far to find these fancall entries. Most artists and groups share their fansign events on their official Twitter pages or their Daum Fancafe. “You can also follow the common twitter pages of sites, such as MyMusicTaste, Makestar, and KTown4U. There are so many more sites that hold fansign events, but you can easily find out about these if you’re on Twitter.”
TALKING TO IDOLS
While competing to get a limited slot against thousands of others can feel like the Hunger Games at times, Grace is a pro at this point. She has a system in place whenever she prepares for a fansign. “First of all, I make sure I’ve memorized my script, or in some cases where I don’t have one, I just prepare mentally, organizing the things I want to say. Then when that’s done, I have a test call with my best friend (who’s also waiting for her turn). We check whether the connection is good and do a quick run-through of our scripts.”
While talking to an idol may seem like a daunting task, Grace says that it’s the waiting that she gets most anxious over.
@wyviiiv first time posting a behind vid because this was the most interesting one so far #KIMJAEHWAN #김재환 #THELETTER #WANNAONE #원너원 #Jaehwan #jjaeni #videocallfansign #fansignvideocall #영통팬싸 #fansign #kpop #kpopfyp #fyp ♬ Hide And Seek – Wanna One
“While waiting for them to call you, the anxiety and nerves get hard to control, and your stomach hurts so bad that you feel like you need to the bathroom every five minutes. It’s no joke.” But once that video chat goes live and your face to face with your bias, it all goes away. “I usually almost immediately feel calm for some reason, depending on who I talk to, but I tend to treat all the idols as my friends, during the call at least, then after the call, I remember they’re these big idols. You will feel overwhelmed yet have a sense of relief after everything.”
@wyviiiv he remembered 😂 #CRAVITY #크래비티 #ALLEN #앨런 #AllenMa #fansignvideocall #videocallfansign #fyp #kpop #kpopfyp ♬ GO GO – CRAVITY
When you’re given just a few minutes to talk to a K-pop idol, what do you say? For Grace, she likes to shape the conversation based on the idol she’s talking to. But, she adds, “It’s case by case, you never really know what exactly the idols will do or say, so expect the unexpected.” If you want to be memorable though, Grace recommends using your creative juices.
“I always like to be creative and come up with fun and unique ideas that allows both of us to enjoy our time. This also helps leave an impression on them. Writing down scripts helps organize the flow of the conversation.” She also recommends memorizing whatever script you may have written down instead of reading it to make things more personal.
To be able to meet your bias, even for just a fleeting moment, can bring an untold amount of joy, something Grace knows well. “I found so much happiness in talking to my favorite people. It’s what I look forward to the most after a long tiring week. Talking to my biases and/or favorite groups always gives me a lot of strength and motivation.” While all her fansigns have been fun and memorable, Grace singles out two moments that are her favorites.
The first involves a viral moment of jealousy with Cravity’s Serim. “Serim had spotted my WEi album (which had Yongha’s face on the cover) placed on the display shelf behind me. He interrogated me, asking who it was, but I refused to tell him. He let it slide, but made me promise to change the picture to his, and that he will check the next time we meet. That day, Serim claimed his spot on my ult bias list.”
@wyviiiv a jealous serim…. 😭😂 #CRAVITY #크래비티 #세림 #박세림 #SERIM #fansignvideocall #videocallfansign #kpop #kpopfyp #fyp ♬ original sound – grace 🌱 – Grace 🖤 윔비
The second is a case of one of the most unexpected ways to make friends. “My best friend Irene and I had our calls at the same moment. It’s funny, because, at that time, we didn’t know each other. I somehow stumbled upon her fansign video with Seokhwa (WEi), watched it because they were wearing filters, then I suddenly heard my conversation with Yongha in the background. It gave me goosebumps. I messaged her right away, telling her how amazing I thought it was…then we became best friends.”
Grace has participated in so many fancalls that even some idols have recognized her and fondly called her “Wimby noona.” Believe it or not, going on multiple fancalls was something that Grace didn’t initially didn’t see the purpose of. That was until she got to talk to her bias.
“I tried again for Yongha (WEi) because there were so many things I wanted to say but couldn’t because of the limited time. During my second call with Yongha, he immediately recognized me. The feeling of someone important to you knowing who you are is the most wonderful thing in the world. What makes it even better is when they ask you to come and see them more often.”
@wyviiiv 365 DAYS WITH EPEX 💚 AND FOREVER 평생 이펙스 함께 @epex.official #EPEX1stAnniversary #EPEX한살됐어요 #이펙스데뷔1주년 #EPEX #이펙스 #금동현 #KEUM #위시 #WISH #뮤 #MU #아민 #AMIN #조민우 #BAEKSEUNG #백승 #김현우 #AYDEN #에이든 #YEWANG #예왕 #제프 #JEFF #kpopfyp #kpop #영통팬싸 #fansign #videocallfansign #fansignvideocall #fyp ♬ original sound – Grace 🖤 윔비
She adds, “To me, it’s like talking to a friend. You build a bond after meeting several times and they eventually expect you to show up. This also makes them feel so loved that you keep coming back to them and that you’re continuously supporting them.”
At this point, Grace very much knows her way around these fansigns. “I believe the best way to win is by increasing your chances, just like any lottery. Most of the winners will be the top buyers for obvious reasons, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, but never guaranteed, you can win by luck.”
But before you go and whip out that credit card, Grace has some words of caution, “Purchase only what you’re willing to spend and how much you can afford. I always compute my chances. It may depend on the timing of the event, whether it’s in the pre-order period, during promotions, or post-promotions. It can also depend on the number of winners, shop/site, and other factors.”
@wyviiiv 평생 위아이 ♡ #WEi #위아이 #요한 #김요한 #KIMYOHAN #유용하 #YONGHA #장대현 #김동한 #김준서 #석화 #강석화 #준서 #rui #루아이 ♡ #videocallfansign #fansignvideocall #fansign #영통팬싸 #kpopfyp #kpop #fyp #X1 #producex101 #pdx101 #1THE9 @위아이(WEi) ♬ Too Bad – WEi
To win a fansign usually requires fans to purchase a set amount of albums to get their name in the lottery. The more you spend, the more chances you get to win. As expected, these events are often a drain on one’s resources. For Grace, it just all came down to saving money to participate in video call fansigns when she can. “This was pretty easy to do during the pandemic since there was nothing else to spend my money on. There were no events I had to go to outside the four corners of my room.”
These days though, it has changed for Grace now that things are going back to some sense of normalcy. Instead of going on video calls, she instead saves her money for in-person events.
As for her advice on how other K-pop fans can be like her and see their faves multiple times, she doesn’t have the magic answer. Instead, she reveals that it all depends on the situation. “Simply, the more famous [the K-pop idol or group is], the more you will need to spend.” There’s no one-stop trick to instantly get into these fansigns. Even Grace has lost her fair share of calls.
@wyviiiv 🐱🖤 #CIX #씨아이엑스 #배진영 #BAEJINYOUNG #fansignvideocall #videocallfansign #kpopfyp #fyp #kpop ♬ Blueming – IU
Though, if you do manage to get chosen as one of the lucky winners, she advises that fans take an effort to learn their native language. “Learn Korean! Also, idols always appreciate you trying to communicate with them in Korean. They are often touched by your effort to make it easy on them, although they also try their best to speak in English. I believe their real personalities show when they speak their mother tongue.”
Elaborating further, “Only a few sites provide English translators during calls, but I recommend not having them translate everything you say or what the idols reply, because this will take too much out of your time with them, and we all know how that time is limited and valuable. It doesn’t hurt to learn and memorize the things you want to tell them, or if you really can’t speak Korean, perhaps print or write down the messages on a piece of paper.”
KEEPING IT REAL
While Grace has made unforgettable experiences from these calls, she reminds us that it’s the K-pop companies in the end who benefit the most from this all.
@wyviiiv A compilation of my fav boys calling my name 🤍🥺 Happy birthday to me 🎂✨🎈🤭 #CRAVITY #EPEX #WEi #CIX #CIIPHER #videocallfansign #fansignvideocall #fansign #kpop #kpopfyp ♬ original sound – Grace 🖤 윔비
“Fansigns are used as a marketing strategy to increase album sales while also giving opportunities for fans to interact and meet their idols. However, let us not forget that the main purpose of fansigns is for companies to make more money, it revolves around capitalism. Again, although the winners may be random, the ones who always win are those who spend the most. It’s just how it is.”
She isn’t discouraging fans to shoot their shot, but wants them to know that losing a fansign isn’t the end of the world. “I wouldn’t want to discourage those who would like to try. We can never rule out luck. Fansigns are just a luxury and aren’t essential for every fan. Win or lose, you’ve helped increase your group’s album sales!”