AOA Chanmi‘s mother, Lim Cheon Suk is making everyone tear up in this recent interview!
Lim Cheon Suk sat down for an interview recently. She began by talking about how she was born in Daegu, to a father who was an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler, and forced her to steal for him. When she wouldn’t, he beat her savagely.
She then opened up about how her mother took her and her siblings and ran from her father, and that she never finished high school. Lim Cheon Suk learned hair dressing at age 17, after a kind hair dresser told her that it would be a good fit for her, and soon opened her own shop at age 26. Her salon soon became a popular teenage hang out spot, because her haircuts were trendy and she didn’t charge much.
The salon then also doubled as a refuge for youth runaways, with whom she’s established such a strong bond that they all call her “mom”.
In the interview, Lim Cheon Suk also opened up about her daughter, AOA’s Chanmi. Lim Cheon Suk mentions how surprised she was at Chanmi’s passion and energy to debut as an idol. Despite all the hard training and tests, Chanmi made it into the final round and debuted as AOA in 2012.
Lim then revealed that she remembers crying the first time she saw her appear on TV. She traveled to Seoul from Daegu every day to check up on her before heading back down to work at the salon, and said that she knew how hard Chanmi worked because she was there to see it every day.
Lim Cheon Suk then talked about Chanmi’s difficult times. Around three years after their debut, Chanmi suffered from severe depression. She received a call from FNC Entertainment one day, saying that Chanmi had disappeared. They weren’t allowed to use cell phones so they communicated only through email. Lim emailed her and was able to get a hold of her.
She went up to Seoul right away and met up with Chanmi. They went to a restaurant but Chanmi didn’t eat a thing. On the fourth day of being together, Chanmi commented that no matter how hard she tries, there’s nowhere for her to go anymore, and that it will only be downhill from now on. Lim Cheon Suk then revealed that if Chanmi had quit back then, the contractual fee would have been too much for her to pay. But she would’ve tried anyway.
Chanmi, however, said that she’s come too far to quit, and headed back to the company.
I’ve come too far to quit now.
After their brief meeting, Lim Cheon Suk was always anxious about whether or not Chanmi was okay, and she always worried that Chanmi might try to harm herself. She continued to make the long trip to Seoul every day for the next 2 months to check up on her daughter. The constant traveling soon took a toll on her, and she ended up catching the flu and losing close to 80 pounds!
But one day, Chanmi told her,
I’m okay now, mom.
And this is when she thought,
Okay, Chanmi will live now. Thank goodness.
—Lim Cheon Suk
AOA debuted as an 8-member group on July 30, 2012, with single album Elvis, and a title track of the same name. They hit popularity with “Miniskirt” in 2014, and also enjoyed considerable success with their appearance on the survival show Queendom in 2019. They recently made their first comeback as a 5-member group, with mini album New Moon and title track “Come See Me”.
Lim Cheon Suk still runs her shop with young runaways. In her spare time, she volunteers at prison to teach hair dressing skills.
Watch the MV for “Come See Me” here!