I first came in contact with SarangInGayo in 2012, the year I truly dove into the Hallyu Wave. Since I was one of the lucky few to understand English, I did not rely on Brazilian outlets for information regarding K-Pop, but while stumbling upon SIG (for the intimate), I realized that they did much more than provide breaking news. The outlet was first created by Natália Pak, daughter to Korean immigrants in Brazil, as an online forum for all things Korea. In 2008, SIG began its journey as Brazil's first and biggest media outlet dedicated to Korean entertainment. Today, their team is made up of editors, collaborators, and columnists. The team does not focus solely in translated content, but they also promote original content, divided into different editorials, to cover all aspects of Hallyu Wave.
Needless to say, my media-nerd self was soon enchanted by their content. My first contact with Natália Pak was early 2015. My close friend and I had merged our Brazilian fanbases dedicated to BTS in late 2014, and she had just recently parted ways with our teams when I first reached out to Natália. My friend had been the one previously in contact with her and, now that she was gone, I was assigned with the honors. I was pleasantly surprised to come across such an approachable, enthusiastic leader like Natália. With the exponential growth of K-Pop in Brazil, I had already become accustomed to being belittled to only a fan status by those working with all things Hallyu. Natália was the complete opposite. After sharing only a few conversations, she suggested that we meet up.
It was after that meetup with Natália that I truly felt like I too, a fan, could aid in the spread of Hallyu. Natália and SIG were what guided me to cover BTS’s 2015 The Red Bullet stop in Brazil as part of the official press. That opportunity was how I met Érica Imenes. I have to publicly apologize to her for the countless emails and KakaoTalk messages prior to the concert. She was the one directing the press and aiding us in our coverage. I unfortunately only saw or talked to the both of them sporadically after that, until I joined SIG myself. While my time at SIG was short and dedicated only to the translation of content, it only served to enlarge my respect for Natália, Érica, and the work they do with SIG.
SIG is a true hallmark of K-Pop in Brazil, and I was ecstatic to see that they would be the ones writing the very first Survival Guide to K-Pop for Brazilian Hallyu fans alongside young-adult novelist Bárbara “Babi” Dewet. Entitled K-POP: Manual de Sobrevivência, their book was launched on September 3, during the prestigious Book Biennial in Rio de Janeiro. The co-writers initiate their readers into the world of K-Pop with exclusive photos, information, and tips to understanding Korea's complex yet engaging entertainment realm.
In an interview with media outlet UOL, the co-authors comment that their goal is not to dictate right from wrong, but to open a discussion since things have changed in the diffusion of Korean culture with Brazil. The book was the second bestseller during the Biennial, awarding a second autograph session during the convention. As I watched this all happen in my dorm room in New York City, I’m happy to watch from afar as SIG takes yet another step into the expansion of Hallyu in Brazil. But, even from a distance, I’m glad to see SIG being yet again the bridge between professionalism and fans. What drew my attention to SIG was the personal connection their staff had with every published piece. Their newly published book is no different.