Name of fanclub: WE ARE T International Fan Club
Year formed: 2012
What is your role in this fanclub (what position)? President/Founder
Was there any special reason that led you to form this club/gave you the idea to form this club?
I've been a TVXQ fan since 2006. I never had the opportunity to join the official Cassiopeia fan club, because you needed a Korean resident number. Not only that, but SM Entertainment does not have open membership weeks to register new fan club members annually. After the split of the original five, I made a conscious decision to follow Yunho and Changmin and was fortunate that AVEX (in Japan) re-opened their BigEast official fan club membership, completely wiping out all previous memberships and starting from scratch in August 2011. Even then, it was only available to Japanese residents, (my daughter and son lived in Japan at the time). Although I have been an BigEast member since 2011, it was difficult for international fans worldwide to have a stable, dependable source of TVXQ news and updates. We also wanted to have a voice with SME, to express our desire to bring TVXQ to the US and other global locations for a world tour.
Thus the reason We Are T was formed. I met with a marketing representative from SM in Los Angeles in 2012, explaining my purpose, as it is not to compete with Cassiopeia or BigEast, because there's just no way we could ever do that, but we needed an English speaking, fan-based fan club, that caters to international residents worldwide. Today we have over 30,000 members registered on our website, and 7,600 members on Facebook. It's a small, grass-roots group that join together virtually in their love and support for U-Know Yunho and Choikang Changmin!
What do you like about TVXQ?
Wow, what's not to like? I wrote a reflection article back in 2012 while undergoing cancer treatment.
These two, Yunho and Changmin are the epitome of KPOP & JPOP. When you hear fans use the term "The Kings," it truly fits TVXQ! They paved the path for every other group that fans stan today. If only other group fans realized that the idols they love and cherish so much actually idolize Yunho and Changmin, because of everything they've accomplished these past 13 years! They ushered in the Hallyu Wave, and if not for groups such as H.O.T, Shinhwa, TVXQ, Big Bang, and BoA, then KPOP wouldn't exist. But truly, there is no one that does it better on stage than Yunho and Changmin! I've seen them live in concert over 180+ times now and traveled to Korea and Japan dozens of times. It never gets old. Each performance is electrifying. It's so dynamic, with Yunho's passionate overall charisma, his dancing, his mastery of the stage, his expressions, his sheer dominance; and Changmin's god given vocals, his unmatchable range and the way he carries a lyric, Changmin expresses so much via his eyes and hands, not to mention his recent attention to his body, LOL. :D
I listen to TVXQ at least once a day, usually every morning on my drive, or on my walk, and it reminds me of how their music encouraged me, motivated me and impassioned me to keep fighting. I have had cancer three times (breast, stomach and uterine/ovarian) with the most recent surgery just this past fall in 2015. Each time I need cheering up, whether it's chemotherapy treatments, radiation or getting ready for surgery, I put on my headphones, and blast my TVXQ playlist and it takes me into a dimension where I know I can win. They give me the strength and courage to muster on. I credit my recovery partially to TVXQ, and of course to prayer and my faith.
Have you ever met the group/members of the group?
Yes, I've been very blessed to have met them on several occasions. I've met them at fan meetings, at fan signings, I rode the TVXQ Train for the 10th Anniversary in Korea and got their autograph, I've met them backstage at concerts, and I've greeted them/seen them off at LAX. Each time I feel giddy, thrilled, excited and nervous just like a teenager and I'm a grandma! The most, most memorable meeting was last year, when they came to LA for the Korean Musical Festival 2015. I was able to go backstage and meet them, share special words just before my stomach cancer surgery, receive their words of comfort and well wishes, and best of all, I was hugged by both members. I will never ever forget it.
What events does your fan club do?
Our fan club has done several fundraiser events for the members, we've purchased birthday gifts and greeting gifts, and supported their individual dramas. For Yunho's "King's Ambition" and Changmin's "Scholar Who Walks the Night," we sent rice wreaths for Yunho, and did a food truck and special cast and crew gifts for Changmin. We have also done bulk orders for their solo albums, for international fans. This might not sound like a big deal, but their solo albums "U-KNOW Y" and "INTO THE WATER" can only be purchased by BigEast members via the BigEast online store in Japan. I had to order hundreds of CDs and have them shipped to the US and then ship them worldwide to our club members.
Unfortunately we are only able to physically meet together at TVXQ concerts in Japan or Korea, but we help each other get tickets, as they are very difficult for foreigners to obtain. USA fans, specifically SoCal residents, are able to meet once a quarter for small gatherings at my house where we have Blu-Ray concert viewings where we can cheer with our red light sticks, or sing karaoke to TVXQ songs and play TVXQ quiz games for prizes. There is, of course, delicious Korean pot luck dish dinners! :) We've even live streamed these events on TwitCast and had some fans from around the world join in from the Philippines and other countries! Every attendee leaves with a TVXQ goodie bag. Most recently we had a fan club booth at KCON 2016, where we sold t-shirts and dog tags in support of TVXQ, so that new fans get to know who the Kings are, and old fans don't forget them!
The next event is planned for December, 2016, and we'd like it to be special because it's TVXQ's 13th Anniversary, so we may need a bigger venue! We are also doing a special fundraiser for KFAM LA, a Korean American Social Services organization in KTown, in conjunction with TVXQ's 13th Anniversary. Any funds we raise will be donated to KFAMLA.org, which will benefit women and children's well being programs, including anti violence, among Asian American families.
How do you communicate with other members in your fanclub?
Facebook and Twitter. We do have LINE and Kakao groups for admins and event planning.
Proximity of members?
We are an international fan club with members in many countries, including Europe, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Canada, the US and even Korea!
What message would you like to give to TVXQ fans around the world?
There is a song from the Catch Me Tour, called "TVXQ Makes Your Dreams Come True." For me, this is truly the case! My message to TVXQ fans worldwide is to continue to love and support Yunho and Changmin as TVXQ! They will continue to fulfill your dreams in the most amazing ways through their music, concert performances, TV dramas, and so much more. It is fulfilling and heartwarming to stand by their side. I will ride the TVXQ train until they decide to stop, which isn't happening any time soon! ♥♥