2AM’s Jo Kwon Opened Up About Wearing Heels as a K-Pop Idol

K-pop idol Jo Kwon — who debuted in 2008 as part four-member group 2AM and has also since had a successful solo career — is sharing how wearing high heels helped him gain newly-found confidence as an artist.

Jo Kwon recently appeared on SBS Plus’s show Are You Eating Well? and took the opportunity to share a touching story about his childhood as well as how he and his family overcame their obstacles. Per Soompi, in his interview segment, the musician recounted that, as a child, he found solace and comfort in music. He soon began auditioning, eventually finding success in the music industry and providing financial relief for his family, even buying his parents a house. While narrating his story, Jo Kwon also discussed how his well-known love for high heels came to be. “I only think about wanting to live as who I am,” Jo Kwon shared about his backstory, “and something that wakes another persona inside of me is high heels.”

According to Jo Kwon, it was famed K-pop producer and record executive Bang Si-Hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment, home to BTS and TXT, who helped him unlock his artistry when he gifted him with a pair of high heels. “One day, Bang Si-Hyuk asked me whether that is something the public wants to see from me or if it’s something that I really want to do,” Jo Kwon recalled, per Soompi‘s translation. “I said that I want to do whatever I want to do, and he told me several weeks later that he saw a pair of high heels that would look good on me.” 

2AM was a joint venture between JYP Entertainment and Big Hit, so Jo Kwon worked with Bang Si-Hyuk until 2014, when the partnership came to an end. He did not reveal exactly when Bang PD gifted him his first pair of heels but he did share that, after he did, the key to his self-expression was unlocked. “I gained confidence and dignity that were as high as the heels were, and I felt like this is why I became a singer,” Jo Kwon said of the gift. 

Since then, Jo Kwon has parted ways with JYP and signed with Cube Entertainment but his love for heels has remained the same — and he has gone on to show off his fabulous collection both on and off the stage. As evidenced on his Instagram, he has performed dance routines and dance practices in stilettos and even rocked a sparkly red pair to promote his starring role in the Korean version of the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a story about a young boy with dreams of becoming a glamorous drag queen.

Though we are more than used to seeing Jo Kwon perform in heels by now, the genesis behind what’s become arguably his favorite accessory is new and fans are touched by the sweet story and the thoughtful gift. “So you’re telling me that Hitman Bang was the one who not only encouraged Jo Kwon to do what made him happy, but literally gave him his high heels so he could express himself how he wanted to? Say what you want about BigHit, but Bang Sihyuk himself is amazing. I’m crying,” tweeted a fan. “This is actually really sweet. I’m so glad JoKwon is able to wear what makes him happy, and that Bang Shi Hyuk/Bighit supported him and even gifted him heels!!! It must have been scary at first since men wearing heels was out of the norm, but JoKwon rocks them so well” wrote another. “Bang Pd really is a sweetheart, he really cares about the artists and wants them to be their most authentic selves. and to me, having unwavering support when you’re discovering urself [sic] is absolutely priceless,” added another.

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