“Favorite artists are like the sky, seeing them smile keeps us going. Our fanclub is like a bed. We’re at our most comfortable when we’re with them.”
Being part of a fandom may be regarded by some as a waste of time and energy. Little do they know that beneath the surface, there’s a whole lot of positivity going on within each fandom. People who call themselves fans transform their love for artists or bands into a life-enriching inspiration. At the same time, they also spread the positivity to others. People who succeed at their jobs, students who excel in school, or those who are simply driven to better their lives, they used to be part of a fandom at one point or another.
Among them is Noppanut “Boun” Guntachai, one of the cast members of hit Thai BL series ‘Until We Meet Again’ as well as its sequel and ‘7 Project.’ Even though he’s a celebrity himself, he also told us that his life has been inspired by one of his idols. Today, we’ll be exploring the world of fandom and learn a thing or two in the process.
Being a fan
“I’ve been a fan of GOT7’s Mark Tuan for about 4 years already. I liked him first time I saw him in an MV. I love his fashion style and his personality. I like the way he talks. He seems like a straight talker – just like me. I own a lot of his merch, but my absolute fave would have to be a CD signed by him. It’s something I dreamed of owning, but I didn’t really know how to acquire stuff like this. Luckily, one of my fans managed to get one for me. I was super happy. I keep it in my room, and I refuse to take it anyway because I’m scared that it might get scratched (laughs). I almost went to GOT7 show once, but it was cancelled due to Covid-19. I really want to go to their concert, even if I have to travel to the US for it.”
What kind of fan are you?
“I’m the kind that respects the distance between fans and artists. I adore my idols’ work, but that doesn’t mean that I want to get to know them on a personal level. I don’t want to talk to them, become their buddies or anything like that.”
The advantages of being a fan
“It encourages me to keep on living my life. Seeing my idols’ IG stories or their tweets after a long day at work gives me such a boost. It takes away all the fatigue and stress I experienced that day. I never would have thought that one person would have such an influence on the lives of many others.’ Once I’m in the show business, Mark also inspires me with his fashion sense. I want to be able to get to where he is one day. He went through a rigorous training, and it made me realize that if he could do it, then I can do it too. Being a fan also gives me a lot of positivity, which I then pass on to my fans. When my fans use me as their inspiration and succeed academically and professionally, I get very happy for them.”
Any peak fanboy moment?
“I got into some heated Twitter drama because I wanted to defend for Mark’s privacy. One of his fans followed him to his house and that wasn’t cool. I understand what it was like because I experienced something similar. Someone once followed me with their car and I had to keep driving until I lost them. I mean, it’s one thing to want to meet your idols at concerts and events, but once that’s over, we would appreciate a little privacy for ourselves. Artists have to rest, and we all want to feel safe and at ease when we’re at home. It’s not cool to come back home and see people clamoring at your front door. I used to be part of Captain Chonlathorn’s fandom. I was still working full-time then, and I would leave work early so that I could go see him at events. Sometimes I would just ditch work entirely. I feel a bit guilty looking back on it now.”
Some people think that being part of a fandom is nonsense, what do you say to that?
“Those people have probably never been where I’ve been. Sure, it can cost a lot of time and money to be in a fandom, but what you get back in return is definitely worth it. A lot of people can’t get emotional support, inspiration or motivation from those around them, but they find those things in their idols.”
Walking in their shoes
“I understand my fans because I myself used to be one. It made me understand the meaning of ‘unconditional love.’ They have to wait for hours just to get 10 minutes with us. They spend their money on giveaways and making nice things for us for our birthdays. Everything they do for us, no matter how big or small, takes a lot of planning and money. That’s why I make sure that whenever I get to meet my fans, I always make the most of it and make them feel fulfilled. It’s a mutual relationship.”
“I always tell my fans that they shouldn’t do anything that would bother them. Don’t skip classes or ditch work to come see me. I’ll be here for a while, so come see me whenever they’re free. I’d tell them right out that they should put their future first. I won’t be here forever, but your future will, so please focus on that. I don’t think my idols would feel comfortable either if they knew that I put myself in a tight spot, supporting them.”
Being in a fandom Vs. having a fandom
“It’s different. I’m not saying which is better, but I like them both. Favorite artists are like the sky, seeing them smile keeps us going. Our fanclub is like a bed. We’re at our most comfortable when we’re with them because we can truly be ourselves.”
Scandals in a fandom and how to handle them
“I don’t like anything that has to do with money fraud. It happened before in my fandom. It was one of my long-time fans that I used to see all the time. After finding out what’d happened, I felt so crushed. I don’t understand how they could do such a thing to my supporters. A lot of people were sadly a victim. Now, whenever my fans want to start a project or a donation, they would have to discuss it with me and my label first. It has to be greenlit by us to prevent stuff like that from happening in the future.”
Being a fan, Boun’s style
Boun is one of those people who turns the positive energy received from his idols into motivation. That motivation has, in turn, enabled him to succeed in what he does. Being in a fandom is far from just a craze because it gives people a sense of purpose and a push that they need to go on living their lives. Who knows, you might find what you’ve been looking for in a fandom if you’re open to it.