SEOUL • A contestant on a South Korean singing show said she shed 15kg to chase her musical dreams after learning that K-pop singer Ailee (above) had lost weight.
But Ailee, 29, who also appeared on the Hidden Singer programme on Sunday, said that move to protect her career had been a mistake.
Tearing up, she revealed that she was a victim of the ultra-competitive K-pop industry, which markets pretty singers with svelte bodies to a huge fan base worldwide.
At the time, she weighed between 49 and 50kg and was always hungry as she had to curb her food intake, reported The Korea Herald. "I was saddened by the fact that I had to go on a diet to sing and perform on stage," she said.
She noted that it came at a cost as she could not sing to the best of her abilities after losing so much weight, describing the period as "the most depressing time" in her career.
She has since made a U-turn. "I decided not to care about how I look. I am happy now and it is more important that I am satisfied with my singing. The most important thing is to love your own body," she said.
Viewers applauded her stance while slamming the industry that has also seen some singers - Seo Ji-won and SHINee member Kim Jong-hyun - committing suicide.