This it is, guys. The countdown to KCON 2017 NY is over. Tonight the weekend’s festivities kick off with Klub KCON and from there on out, its non-stop Hallyu goodness for the next two days! *does happy dance* To wrap up this little mini-series of mine, I’ve got one more KCON 2017 Special Guest I’d like to introduce to you before the weekend and all of it’s shenanigans hits.
Once again I’m introducing you to one of my awesome and amazing friends. I honestly don’t know how I got to be so blessed, having so many friends whom I both love and admire but I am. I’d call it luck but I think there’s more to it than that. Whatever it was that brought us together, I’m happy I can introduce Tamar to you today. She’s an incredibly hard worker, passionate about what she does and is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. I can’t even count the number of times she’s just randomly sent me a message, just to check in on me and see how I was doing, and I love her for that. As a writer, Tamar has done so much more than I ever will and I admire her for that. While I could sing Tamar’s praises for ages, I’ll won’t. Instead, I’ll let her introduce herself and ask if she has any experienced words of wisdom to share with us as we venture out to the Prudential Center tomorrow…
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.
Hi, I’m Tamar. I’m a freelance K-pop writer and a regular columnist contributor for Billboard.com, and I also frequently write for NBC News, Paste Magazine, and KultScene.com, the latter of which I co-founded. I can be found rambling on Twitter @TamarWrites. Occasionally I post photos on Instagram using the same name. I also recently opened tamarherman.com, so please check that out!
How did you first get into Hallyu? What first drew you in? What solidified your passion or sealed the deal, so to speak?
I needed background music to listen to while in high school, and some people on some writing forums I was a part of suggested I listen to K-pop. I remember seeing 2PM debut, and being enthralled. I don’t think they were my first MV, but it was just so out of this world. I had to look into it more, and I never looked back.
What’s your favorite drama and/or K-Pop group? Who’s your favorite actor? Favorite group? Favorite idol?
Favorite drama: Ah… I’ll give you a few: Answer Me 1997, I Can Hear Your Voice, Kill Me, Heal Me
K-pop Group: For guys, Super Junior and INFINITE (don’t make me pick between the two. I’ve lost friends over this.) For girls, SNSD and Sunny Hill. I could also add Bolbbalgan4, Epik High (pre-Shoebox), and Nell to that list. (So, good job Wollim at creating acts I’ve really enjoyed!)
Favorite actor: Hmm, that’s tough. I’m not gonna comment on this, cause it honestly changes with each drama I really enjoy. Right now I guess it’d be Gong Yoo, from Goblin, or Lee Jin Ki, because even though Moon Lovers had its issues he always impresses me.
Favorite idol: I’m not gonna touch this one. Please don’t make me :p
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?
After being a K-pop fan for a few years, I participated in Quiz on Korea 2012 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp_a3h-327Q) while in college. It was the first time I went to Korea, and I got to represent the US in a multinational competition, which in itself was amazing. But it was even better because I met all these wonderful people from all over the world, and the majority of them were there because our interest in Korean culture–I was already an East Asian Studies major at this point– got us there, and for many of us it was because of K-pop. I’m still really close with many of the people I met. That two week trip helped me make the decision to study abroad in Seoul later that year, and that was when I began writing about Korean music and culture for the first time.
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 both NY and LA. Still TBD as to what I’ll be doing at LA, but I’ll be on a panel in NY at 11AM on Friday morning to discuss the different type of K-pop fans. I’ll be running around doing interviews the rest of the time.
Is there something you’re really looking forward to during this year’s convention?
I saw Highlight as Beast at their Beautiful Show in Seoul in 2013 and I really, really am looking forward to seeing them perform again. They’re so great live!
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?
Drink water. It’s hot outside at the Prudential Center. Just remember to enjoy, and don’t get too intense about any of the little dramas that may show up over the day/s.
If you get a chance to stop by Tamar’s panel on Friday, do it! (I’ll even save you a seat!) Also, if you have any questions for Tamar, be sure to send them her way via the official KCON mobile app. From there she’ll be able to answer all your burning questions. Woohoo!