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HollandCourtesy of Holland

K-pop’s first openly gay star Holland wins the Dazed 100 2018

This year’s list is topped by a sensitive singer who is leading the charge for LGBTQ representation in his home country

Having received over 30,000 votes from the public, emerging K-pop star Holland is your winner of this year’s Dazed 100

The Dazed 100 has been open to votes since April, featuring 100 people and collectives who are shaping the future of youth culture. In a close race, Holland battled with Stranger Things actor Sadie Sink, Russian model Sasha Trautvein, The Internet musician Steve Lacy, and 14-year-old Hollywood star Storm Reid for the top spot.

Holland emerged earlier this year with the smooth ballad “Neverland”, a song about overcoming stigma to find happiness in a same-sex romance, with a video that – in a first that’s essentially revolutionary for K-pop – depicts two men in love. 

“Neverland” received huge support worldwide when it was released, racking up millions of view (9.5 million to date, to be exact). But, because of the taboo still surrounding homosexuality in Korea, Holland is not signed to any major entertainment companies. The “Neverland” video, despite its sweet, very PG style, was also slapped with a 19+ age restriction on its release. Very few celebrities are publicly out in Korea – and in K-pop, Holland is the first. 

In a video interview with Dazed, premiered on Instagram’s IGTV, Holland discussed what it was like growing up in a country where his sexuality is taboo, and where there were no gay role models to speak of in pop culture. “Although at that time there wasn’t a single role model to look up to in Korea, I was very consoled by foreign celebrities,” he said. “So I thought, ‘I want to be a famous person like them’... I’m working harder because I want to be a special person to my fans too.”

Clearly, he’s achieved his goal, as his fans came out in their thousands to support him on the Dazed 100 – and his journey is only just beginning. Watch our full video interview below.