Saturday night’s red carpet event was unquestionably one of the most enjoyable experiences during my time at KCON NY. In an effort to keep things fair among the press agents in attendance, those of us who were in the back of the press area on Friday were brought to the front on Saturday. With that being the case, I soon found myself sitting on the floor of the red carpet area, not two feet from the stage. Granted, I was on one of the extreme edges of the stage, which meant that not only would all of my pictures be skewed to one side, I’d also have to work really hard to keep them all from looking like I was photographing straight up each idol’s nose. It wasn’t the easiest of tasks, to be sure, but it was one I happily took on as it’s just not every day I get to photograph celebrities as they walk the red carpet.
Once both the press and fans were all settled in, the evening’s red carpet event began. For the second night in a row, Danny Im acted as host and semi-translator (he himself admits that he’s not really qualified to translate much of anything) for the event. MAMAMOO was the first group of the evening to make their appearance on the red carpet and they were every bit as delightful as I’ve always imagined them to be. They were sweet and funny and just so darn adorable to watch as their fans constantly called out to them, cheering them on both as individuals and as a group.
Eric Nam was next to walk the red carpet that evening and he was every bit as charming as he has ever been. Having seen Eric Nam at previous KCONs in LA, it was interesting to watch him take on the role of the interviewee rather than the interviewer. Making his first appearance at KCON as a part of the performing lineup, he proved that he’s definitely got what it takes to charm a crowd. With a lighthearted sense of humor and just a touch of flirting, he won the hearts of many that night and I have to admit, mine may have been one of them.
The next group to walk the red carpet was one I’d been most excited about when their appearance at KCON NY was first announced. Having fallen in love with them upon their debut, I’d been delighted to see them when they’d performed in Toronto back in May but that one brief fan meeting hadn’t been enough to satisfy me. In fact, it only made me love this group more than I already did, which considering how much I like them, is saying quite a bit. Needless to say, when DAY6 made their appearance on the red carpet, it took a very extraordinary amount of energy to keep my inner fangirl in check. Lucky for me, I have more than my fair share of experience wrangling my inner fangirl and I did my duty as photographer without embarrassing myself. Actually, I did such a good job of filling the role of professional that it wasn’t until I got home and started editing pictures that I realized I’d unintentionally drawn the attention of a couple of the group’s members. I have no problem admitting I had a bit of a moment as I sifted through those photos and the only explanation I can come up with for this is my bright pink hair. I guess sometimes it pays to be odd.
As DAY6 wrapped up their time on-stage, the energy in the room went from excited to frenetic, as the anticipation for the evening’s final group grew palpable. As BTS appeared out of the shadows, the audience went wild and every photographer in the room started snapping pics at lightning speed. It’s always very stressful when you’re photographing a group so widely loved, as the pressure to produce quality photos increases dramatically. Even so, all that stress just kinda disappears when you’ve got J-Hope’s brilliant sunshine smile beating down on you. Oh! His smile is just so lovely, seeing it in person makes life worth living! (Pardon me as my inner fangirl begins to show…) Having BTS stand mere feet from me has happened to me on more than one occasion but it never gets old. Every experience is different, every encounter memorable. This time I had a moment of eye contact with Suga so intense I had to stop taking pictures because I felt as if I needed his permission to photograph him before I could continue. It was only after he looked away that I was able to resume my work and, again, I’m guessing it’s all thanks to the hair. I had moments of eye contact with a few other members as well but none so intense as that and all I can say is, I may never have normal colored hair again.
The only problem with attending an event like KCON’s red carpet is that ends way sooner than you’d like. Long before anyone in that room was ready, BTS was saying their final farewells and before we knew it, they had disappeared back into the mysterious backstage darkness and we were being shooed out of the room. After experiencing so many incredible moments, it’s difficult to go back to the “normal” world, but somehow I managed. Though now that I think about it, having an amazing concert to look forward to definitely made the transition easier. Well, that and knowing I’d get to do all of this again in just over a month… KCON LA, here I come!