Without a doubt, Red Velvet’s Irene is truly shining on stage right now as part of the group’s first subunit with fellow member Seulgi. However, many fans have pointed out that she hasn’t always had the opportunity to show her talent outside of the group. Now, frustrations are rising after Irene revealed her insecurity over the lack of solo activities she’s had over the years.
In a recent Q&A to promote the release of “Monster”, Irene and Seulgi were asked whether there’s anything new they want to try out. In a rare candid moment, Irene opened up to fans about her thoughts on her activities since Red Velvet’s debut in 2014.
Irene explained that while Red Velvet’s activities over the past six years have been plentiful and ongoing, she never had the opportunity to pursue her own activities.
That made me feel like I wasn’t making my own stuff. Looking back at the end of the year, I’ve done a lot as Red Velvet, but I haven’t achieved much as Bae Joohyun [Irene’s real name].
Unsurprisingly, Irene confessed that this lack of solo work led to insecurity over whether she’d be able to try something new without the rest of her groupmates beside her.
I had self-doubts whether I’d be able to try something new. Because I haven’t achieved much as a sole member, I thought, ‘Will I be able to do something new?’
She went on to say that now, she wants the opportunity to shine in her own ways, challenging herself and making “my own stuff”.
Since debut, Irene has appeared in several magazine photoshoots and modelled for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Chamisul, Damiani, and Clinique. However, when it comes to idol and performance-related activities, Irene’s past schedule is shockingly bare given her popularity.
For example, despite all Red Velvet members being listed as vocalists in the group’s official positions, Irene didn’t have a single OST, collaboration, or single to her name outside of the group until 2019.
Her first single, a feature on DJ Raiden’s “The Only”, was released in August last year with little promotion. In comparison, her fellow members have released around 60 non-Red Velvet songs between them.
On top of that, she also has few lines of her own in the group’s songs. In recent mini album The ReVe Festival: Day 1, Irene received the least lines—just 12% of the total distribution.
Likewise, Irene has expressed an interest in acting many times over the past few years. However, she hasn’t had an opportunity to do so since starring on web drama Game Development Girls back in 2016.
After hearing Irene open up about her self-doubt, fans took to social media with their sadness and frustration. Many called on SM Entertainment to promote Irene better as an artist and actress in the future.
I feel sad when Irene was talking about how she has done a lot as red velvet Irene but not much as Bae Juhyun for herself. I wish SM allows her to do more solo activities such as acting and promotes her well as an artist as well. @RVsmtown pic.twitter.com/mqPiSzYLS2
— SeulKea IRENE&SEULGI #MONSTER (@seulkea) July 8, 2020
After Irene opened up about her self-doubt in the Q&A video, Seulgi sweetly assured her that “it’s not [too] late”. Likewise, many fans agree that they know Irene can still make it as a soloist and actress in her own right—as long as she starts getting the opportunities she deserves soon.
thankfully despite sm giving her the worst management possible for years she’s still insanely popular (and still looks super young) so i have no doubt she’ll make up for all that lost time
— &🍉 (@reveluxe) July 8, 2020
Watch the full Q&A for yourself (with English subtitles) here: