[OPINION] ENGENE reporter meets ENHYPEN for the first time

Jairo Bolledo

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[OPINION] ENGENE reporter meets ENHYPEN for the first time
Journalism school taught me to hold myself together and appear professional at all times, in and out of the field. But this school of thought was put to the test when I met global sensation ENHYPEN for the first time. 

As a journalist, I signed up for a job that requires meeting prominent government officials and leaders. In my case, as a justice and police reporter, I’m used to covering lawyers and police officials, and I know how to present myself in front of them. 

Journalism school taught me to hold myself together and appear professional at all times, in and out of the field. But this week, this school of thought was put to the test when I met global sensation ENHYPEN for the first time. 

I’m a months-old baby ENGENE. I became a fan quite recently, after watching their “Polaroid Love” performance on YouTube. I knew the group even before I became a fan because they’re popular worldwide and some of my family members are ENGENEs too, but I started to take an interest in them myself after seeing that particular video clip. I binged on their discography as well as on the competition show that formed the group.

Fast forward to May 27, I got the chance to cover their press conference in Taguig City ahead of their May 28 fan meet at the Mall of Asia Arena, organized by clothing brand Bench. I was really nervous meeting them for the first time; I had a hard time picking what to wear and trained myself for hours how to react in front of them. (READ: Enhypen ‘blessed, happy’ to know Filipinos enjoy their music)

When the organizers ushered us into the venue, my face immediately turned red with excitement and nervousness. I sat on my assigned seat and prepared my two phones: one for recording and the other for live tweeting. I have been a reporter for almost three years now (excluding researcher and producer experience), but that day felt like it was my first time covering a press conference. 

Shortly, the seven-member group entered – Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, and Ni-Ki – and my instincts as a reporter prevailed over my fanboy heart. I took their photos and videos and posted them on social media as part of my job as a multimedia reporter. But while doing so, I was smiling the whole time. Ever heard of the term “screaming internally”? That’s what I felt when I first saw them. 

My hands were shaking the whole time. If not for my phone’s built-in stabilizer, all my photos and videos that day would have been blurred or shaky.

I really enjoyed the press conference; it felt like they were directly speaking to their fans. Even though I did not have the chance to ask them anything due to limited time, the 30-minute press conference felt authentic. You could see in their eyes that they were genuinely interested in answering the questions given to them. 

As a fan, what sealed the deal for me was the group’s repeated mention of ENGENEs throughout the press con because this showed how they value them. It reminded me of that one i-LAND episode (the reality show which ENHYPEN members won that paved the way for their K-pop debut), where the contestants were really touched by how fans valued their craft. It seems ENHYPEN is giving back to their fans.

The press conference also humanized the group to me as they answered more personal questions and queries about their discography. It made me appreciate them more, since I heard their responses first hand.

The press conference ended and I grabbed the opportunity to take photos around the venue. I even sat and had my photo taken on the chair used by Jungwon, ENHYPEN leader and my bias, during the press conference. That day was among the happiest moments in my 2024 so far. 

Back in the office, I told my colleagues about my sweet experience. I even jokingly told one of my bosses that my lifespan had been extended by an extra 10 years because I saw ENHYPEN. But kidding aside, meeting my K-pop idols really ignited a fire within me. 

My friends and colleagues know me for being obsessed with beauty pageants and RuPaul’s Drag Race. ENHYPEN thus completed the triumvirate of the things I am most passionate about. Ever since I became a fan, I started watching their music videos, vlogs, and TikTok clips every single day. 

[OPINION] ENGENE reporter meets ENHYPEN for the first time

It’s hard to be a journalist, especially in a country like the Philippines, where people in power have little respect for truth tellers. Now, ENHYPEN is part of the list of things that keep me sane when the world around me gets a bit too toxic.

Now I understand why people invest so much time “stanning” their idols. Beyond entertainment, listening to their music and appreciating their artistry give one joy and serenity.

So if I may suggest, find a new hobby – or idol to listen to – and give your world a new set of colors. Mine’s orange now. – Rappler.com

The views expressed by the writer are his/her own and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Rappler.

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.