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Profile Of A K-Pop Fan: Big Bang And Lee Michelle Inspire New York's Cara Frank To Pursue A Career In Broadcasting

By Staff Writer | September 26, 2015 05:47 PM EDT


NAME: Cara Frank

AGE: 22

HOME: West Babylon, New York

CURRENTLY: Working in retail and broadcast engineering

INTRO TO K-POP: "Believe it or not, a MMORPG [massively multiple online role-playing game] got me into K-pop. I shouldn't say that - it 'restored' my interest in K-pop."

"I first came across K-pop in 2009 while I was on YouTube. I came across Big Bang's 'Koe wo Kikasete' ['Let Me Hear Your Voice'] music video. They way they looked. The way they sounded - I thought they were so different from the usual J-pop I listened to at the time. I was fascinated, awe-struck. I was stuck on them for a couple days until they eventually faded from my life. I didn't think much about them for a very long time."

"This is where the MMRORPG comes in. Growing up, I was the anime kid who went through a Gaia Online phase for a couple years. Even though I was on Gaia Online for a long time, I didn't come across K-pop again until 2010 in a forum that I was a part of on Gaia. I was part of this forum for a couple months, making some friends along the way. We would talk about anime, roleplaying, fanfiction, our every day lives and so forth. If you're not familiar with Gaia Online, you can create your own signature, which basically means cool graphic designs, fancy lettering, with bright colors, anime icons, and whatever. The same could be done with the forum posts. You could design your forum posts with pictures, fancy symbols and designs."

"While I was in this forum for those few months, this one girl had these anime-ish looking guys, with their 'real life' selves in these colorful suits and they were dancing, in her forum post design. I didn't think much of it; my curiosity wasn't triggered. Mind you, I had no idea these five guys were the same ones I found back in 2009. Then, one day, out of nowhere, I decided to click on it. It was Big Bang's song 'Lollipop Part 2.' The same awe-struck feeling washed over me again, but it wasn't the same one that came over me when I first saw Big Bang, if that makes sense. Watching them in their bright colorful outfits, outrageous but playfully dancing, and (at the time) these odd lyrics. I couldn't understand a thing, but I was having way too much fun."

"While watching the video, my heart literally skipped a couple beats faster when I saw Daesung. I was love struck! It was love at first sight for me. After that, I did my research. I went into Google, typed their name, and when I saw 'Koe wo Kikasete' was their song, I lost my s**t. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. I honestly lost my mind. After that, for the next several years, I drove my parents up a wall with Big Bang. My life literally revolved around Big Bang. It came to the point that when I went to college, I did audio projects on Big Bang and anything K-Pop related. I even did my senior thesis on K-pop."

THE DIFFERENCE: "Nowadays, American pop music is so watered-down that it doesn't seem to be relatable anymore. I'm going to quote the ever-so-fabulous Pink: 'I felt embarrassed and sad. And old. We're getting old. But in all seriousness; I felt sad because music is supposed to inspire. It saved my life. This trash won't save any kid's life. In a world that is even scarier and with lives still worth saving, who will stand up and have a soul? Disenfranchised to say the least.'"

"American pop music isn't inspiring and it all sounds the same. The English songs the [K-pop] groups and solo artists do are inspiring and deep! Want an example? Go look up Tablo's 'Dear TV,' and you'll understand what I mean. When you listen to K-pop, whether it's the first time or for a while, it sounds different to the human ears. There's just something about K-pop that makes it stand out from the rest. What could that something be? Who knows? It could be the unique beats, the intense and silly dance moves, the over-the-top clothing, or the groups themselves. Is there really only one explanation on what makes K-pop different from the rest of the world, not just in America? I don't think so."

LAUNCHING A CAREER PATH: "I just got my radio show, KPOP&U, confirmed as part of the line-up for my school's radio station. When I was in high school, I had a dream to bring K-pop to the American radio waves, but I was very hesitant about doing it. No one really knew about my silly dream until I got to college. I didn't want to tell my parents, because I didn't to deal with their disappointment. They were already disappointed in me for giving up my writing. I added salt to the wound when I said I didn't want to pursue [writing] as a career. I told them I wasn't going to be happy doing that. They respected my wishes, but I knew they were disappointed, since they told me that they were. Let's throw in for the fact my parents were highly annoyed at me for obsessing over K-pop. I dealt with their usual racist remarks and ignorance. I fought them tooth and nail on how they were wrong about a lot of things. If I told them I wanted to pursue a dream that had to do with K-pop, I knew they weren't going to have it.

"As time passed, I continued to go through the motions of becoming a good broadcaster. I eventually landed an internship in the second half of my junior year, and that's when I finally opened my mouth about my secret dream to someone in my field. I proposed the idea to my mentor. While I was terrified to hear what he thought of it, I was happy to finally get my dream off my chest and out into the open. What came next, though, was what really threw me for a loop! My mentor's face lit up, and he told me I had something special, something unique. He wanted me to make it happen. My mentor told me the even if no one else supported me on the idea, he would. It was then I began my journey in getting my show on to the American airwaves. And for those who want to know, I did end up telling my parents. They weren't too thrilled of the idea at first, but they knew that doing this was going to make me happy. Since then, my parents have been some of my biggest supporters.

"I was working on putting this show together for two years while I was at college. For a long time, I didn't think I was actually going to see it through to the end. I was constantly being let down and getting dragged through the mud. There were promises that were broken, continuous lying, and uncertainty. It was an on-going cycle of frustration and tears. I felt like I was failure every step of the way. When I thought I took a couple steps forward, it ended up being a hundred steps back. Over the course of my journey, I did stop working on the show for a couple months. That was the lowest I've ever felt in the fight for my show. At the point, I wanted to give up my dream all together. I felt that it wasn't worth it. I told my mentor that I wanted to give up. I have never seen him get so angry with me. I made him angry and disappointed. When I saw I made another key person in my life feel disappointed, that was a wake up call. After that, I was back in the studio two days later. It has been almost three months since then, and now my show is ready to get aired not only in America but also Korea. I'm going international! My fellow K-poppers, be sure to look out for me and KPOP&U very, very soon!"


WHY BIG BANG: "Big Bang, hands down, is my favorite group. I can produce another thesis piece on why I love Big Bang. Mind you, my first thesis presentation was over an hour long. If it's Big Bang, I can make that thesis piece go on for days. I think simply asking 'Why?' is not enough. There are a lot of explanations to why I love Big Bang. My love for Big Bang was blooming throughout my years in high school. Like any other young teen of America, I felt the world on my shoulders. I dealt with social problems and anxieties, confused emotions of a hormonally stressed out teenager, the stigmas that still latched on to me from middle school, and so forth. Through it all, Big Bang helped me get through it. Now, I won't say it was entirely on Big Bang. Of course, I had my best friends from high school and my family, when there wasn't usual fighting. However, I can say at the same time Big Bang was a huge chuck of getting me through the everyday struggles of a teenager."

"At the time, I felt I couldn't really turn to anybody; not my friends, not my family. But, like many others going through a hard time, I turned to music. Listening to Big Bang, watching Big Bang's performances and their interviews; all of it helped me get through such a dark time in my life. They taught me how to love myself a bit more; how to slowly smile again, even if it was a small one in the beginning; how to not let myself get put into a dark place again. I felt happy. It was small, but it was my happiness, and Big Bang brought that to me. They helped me in feeling what it was like to be happy again. From then on, whenever I went through a hard time or began to go to the dark place again, I looked to Big Bang, because I knew that they were going to get me through it all. They would be one of the key contenders to help pull me out of the darkness."

FAVORITE SONG: "Sunset Glow"


WHY LEE MICHELLE: "To me, Lee Michelle brings something different to the table. Yes, she's half African-American and Korean, but it's much more than that. At least, that's what I would want the rest of the K-pop scene to think. The primary focus on Lee Michelle is for the fact she's of mixed heritage, specifically African-American and Korean, which you hardly ever see in the K-pop scene. To me, though, it should be more than just about the color of her skin or her ethnic background. Her heritage should not be seen as a stigma. Now, if you want to focus on her heritage, look at it in a positive way and not in a negative."

"She serves as an inspiration for people not only in her home country, but around the world as well. This young woman is beautiful inside and out, and she possesses a voice that is unique and different from many, and I emphasize many, Korean idols and singers. I can appreciate and greatly respect someone who deals with cruel hardships WHILE making their dreams come true. On top of that, she's super cute and precious. Have you seen the girl's smile?"


If you'd like to be featured in the "Profile Of A K-pop Fan" column, send an email with a recent photo of yourself to Please include the subject header "Fan."

Tagged :  cara frank, Profile of a K-Pop Fan, Big Bang, micelle lee, kpop&u


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