As I’m sure you all know, KCON 2017 NY (presented by Toyota) is only a few days away and I’m so flipping excited, I’m finding it a little difficult to calm myself down enough to focus on the tasks at hand. (Which is bad because there are A LOT of things I still need to get done before I head East.) Still, with KCON so close at hand, it thought it might be fun to take a little time to shine the spotlight on some of this year’s special guests. There are so many amazing people who come together to make KCON as awesome as it is which is why I thought it only fitting to introduce a few of them to you. After all, these are the people who work tirelessly, all year long, bringing you all sorts of Hallyu-related content. It seems only right to take a moment to get to know a little about them and maybe glean some KCON-related wisdom from them as well.
First in this little mini-series is Joan Vos MacDonald. A journalist and author, Joan is the one picked me out of the crowd all those years ago and invited me into the world of Hallyu-related journalism. Taking me under her wing, she taught me so much about writing, journalism and showed me just how awesome it is to have a friend and mentor who not only shares your passion but also helps you grow and encourages you along the way. Truly, Joan is one of the people I look up to the most and I’m so happy we have something like KCON to bring us together. I’m also eternally grateful to her for many things but at this particular moment, I’m thankful she took time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her love of Hallyu, what she’ll be doing at KCON 2017 NY and a few words of wisdom for those of you heading to Newark later this week.
Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? Who you are, what work you do in the world of Hallyu, where can people find you on the inter-webs, etc.
I’ve written about kdrama, kpop and Korean culture for a variety of sites, including Kdramastars (under my own name and pen name Julie Jones), Kpopstarz, OddnessWeirdnes.com, Kultscene, MacGProductions, Hello Giggles, Mental Floss and Paste.
How did you first get into Hallyu? What first drew you in? What solidified your passion?
A friend turned me on to Boys Over Flowers and I soon found I was crazy in love with kdramas. Then I discovered BigBang. There was no turning back.
What’s your favorite drama and/or K-Pop group? Who’s your favorite actor? Favorite group? Favorite idol?
Hard to limit it to a favorite drama but here are a few: Empress Ki, The Master’s Sun, Fated To Love You, Flower Boy Ramen Shop, lately Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Favorite actor? Again hard to narrow down, but I love Lee Jun Ki, So Ji Sub, Lee Jong Suk, and actresses Lee Si Young, Ha Ji Won, Gong Hyo Jin. Favorite group: BigBang, also BTS, EXO, 2NE1, 2PM, Nell. Idol: G-Dragon, T.O.P., CL and Jay Park
Since first jumping into this Hallyu Wave, do you have a favorite moment or memory? Is there one moment that sticks out as special? Something that makes you say, “Yes, this is why I love Hallyu!” Would you mind sharing?
There’s one kdrama moment, which was visiting the palaces in Seoul and soaking up that historical kdrama vibe. It was so thrilling to be in Seoul in general, recognizing drama locations. My first BigBang concert was so exciting, I’m not sure I ever recovered. The moments before the concerts start make your heart flutter.
As one who’s going to be taking part in KCON 2017, what is it you’ll be doing? Where will people be able to find you? Will you be in NY or LA or both?
I’ll be at the Next Kdrama Star panel at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in New York.
Is there something you’re really looking forward to during this year’s convention?
All of it. The music, the dancing, the food, getting together with fellow fans and k-media journalists.
Do you have any advice for those who might be attending KCON for the first time? Any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Experience as much as you can. Taste the food, visit every booth and panel. It’s so much fun.
If you get a chance to stop by Joan’s panel this weekend, do it. Not only will you have a chance to join in as we discuss K-drama’s rising stars (aka squee over our latest bias wreckers) you’ll have the chance to chat Joan and the other panelists afterwards. (Woohoo!) You can also find Joan on Twitter: @gekophetmuziek, her website: JoanVosMacDonald.com, and also on Kultscene.
As a side note: one of the new and rather exciting changes coming to this year’s KCON is the ability to ask special guests (like Joan) all sorts of questions via KCON’s official mobile app. All you have to do is download the app onto your phone, tap on “Programming” and then tap on the “Q&A” box at the top of the page. From there you can ask pretty much anyone, pretty much anything which means you can get answers to all of those questions you’ve been dying to ask. It’s a pretty sweet idea and one I’m super excited about. (Not that I’m really expecting any questions to come my way… I just think it’s a cool idea.) Of course with KCON 2017 NY only a few days away you’ll want to be sure to get those questions in ASAP!