Right after finishing his solo fan-meet in China, Duan Yi En returned to Korea immediately.

After taking a quick rest, he arrived at the photo-shoot venue to do his makeup, styling, photo-shoot etc. Despite running up and down, he’s still very detailed when it comes to work. During break time, he doesn’t forget to share with the staff about the interesting little things that happened. Even though he’s not someone with many words, he was still really playful. This young man, only when you walk close and observe, you’ll realize the positive energy radiating from him. He is GOT7’s American born Chinese member —- Duan Yi En.

One day, around noon, Duan Yi En was having lunch with his friends in the campus back in USA. He was engaged in a conversation with his friends about skateboards and suddenly, he was reminded of the incident whereby his friend broke his skateboard the day before. He stood up all of a sudden and jumped onto the table; he said to his friend while laughing, “Remember to get me a new skateboard”. Who knew, out of coincidence, and also due to this leap of faith, Duan Yi En stood out in the crowd, stood out of the ordinary, and got into the Korea entertainment industry. Because at the time, right at that moment, JYP Entertainment’s casting team leader walked past Duan Yi En and his friends. During this trip, he was planning to look for the “star” in Arcadia High School where Asians made up more than half of its student population. At that moment, Duan Yi En who jumped onto the table, stood out from the crowd. He has a fresh look, so good looking and is so energetic. What a good looking sunshine young man! One will search high and low only to find it when one least expects to. The casting team felt overwhelming happiness, like one who just found a treasure.

While thinking back on this scene, Duan Yi En was however, really calm. “Back then I was really young, I didn’t have a concrete plan for the future, and definitely the thought of being an artist has never crossed my mind. In addition, in the US there wasn’t really a lot of casting like this except for movie casting, of course.” That year, Duan Yi En’s parents who had a certain level of understanding of Korean artists told him that JYP Entertainment is one of the top three entertainment companies in Korea and if Duan Yi En is willing (to try out), they will be supportive of him. Even so, Duan Yi En still didn’t think much into this. It was only until his friends knew about the casting and thus convinced him that it was a rare opportunity and that he could give it a try. Only after that, Duan Yi En gave it a serious thought.

The young man who was once lost, because of an occurrence, started figuring out his future.

Life is full of uncountable and interconnected choices to be made, and the final decision would lead us to walking a different path of life. Between schooling and performing, Duan Yi En who had zero music foundation had a hard time deciding what he wants. But he knows deep down his heart, one can afford to take risks when one is young, even if he fails there’s no regrets. After all, there’s always opportunities to pursue his studies but the door to performing on a stage might not always be open for him. Thus, in 2010, Duan Yi En picked up his luggage filled with dreams and aspirations, and started his journey to achieving his dreams in Korea.

A special occurrence with his dream

There are certain things that have to be done at different phases of life. The only thing we need to do is to do well in what we have to do in this phase of life, and to live in the moment. Which was why the way I lived my life before (becoming an artist) was just like the others. Everyday it was just going to school, returning home from school, play, living a simple yet happy life. If nothing goes wrong, I would walk on a path with me entering a university, finding a job, living a very structured life.” Duan Yi En is not someone who’s good at structuring a dream, but he understands the simplest truth of life – to live in the moment.

The occurrence with JYPE’s casting team broke the silence Duan Yi En originally had in his simple life and changed how he originally walked on a stable path but opened up a window that leads him to an unpredictable future with lots of opportunities. Actually, even after Duan Yi En passed the audition and became a trainee in JYPE, he still wasn’t sure if what was ahead of him was going to be applause and flowers or a tough journey filled with uncertainty. As the trainee days began, there was no returning to his once simple and comfortable life. It was then replaced with the stressful life of being a trainee, the tough process of learning and training, and the loneliness of being in a foreign country. When all these came crashing on Duan Yi En, he was, however, unexpectedly determined. He spoke to his mother on the phone saying: “Given the current situation, if studies and training go on at the same time, I might not be able to do well in both of them. Since I’ve made my way to Korea, let’s put the company’s training as top priority.” Duan Yi En’s passion for the stage is the reason for such strong determination. Just like how there are monthly, mid terms and year end exams, the trainees also have fixed evaluations to go through. Duan Yi En shared the first time being on stage was also the first time he tasted the sweetness behind all the sweat and tears, the first time he got to experience the magical feeling of being on stage. Thereafter, he fell in love with the stage, and was even more determined that he had to debut in Korea.

Duan Yi En’s dream isn’t one that’s considered as ambitious, but it is always able to reach a unique tomorrow that belongs only to him given the environment that he’s currently in. When being asked whether there’s anything that interests Duan Yi En recently, he said that he’s relatively more interested in fashion nowadays. Who knows, perhaps in the next ten or twenty years, there might be a designer with the name of Duan Yi En in the fashion industry?

To live blissfully like a bird

If he’s able to fulfill an unrealistic dream without having to worry about anything,

Duan Yi En would say: I want to fly, I want to fly freely in the sky like a bird.

The reason why Duan Yi En likes skateboarding isn’t unexpected. The excitement when one’s speeding while skateboarding, the feeling of flying while doing the tricks, these are irresistible to Duan Yi En. What’s rare to see is that, when facing work and life, he is still able to find a positive balance. Work hard play hard, being fully immersed while working but never forgets to appreciate the beauty in life when he’s having his personal time.

Even though Duan Yi En loves what he’s doing now, he would never allow himself to be drained out because of work, as that might cause him to not want to work anymore. Perhaps, this is why sometimes people may feel close to Duan Yi En, but other times he may seem like a stranger?

Being in the entertainment industry that sees popularity as the top priority, there are many artists who see this as a norm, so does Duan Yi En. That’s because Duan Yi En clearly understands, if he wants to fly even higher and further, it’s not about the huge achievements at a point of time. While facing China’s entertainment industry, such a mindset and attitude is of utmost importance.

When being asked what’s his expectation for himself this year, Duan Yi En’s answer was unexpectedly shocking. He said “Achieving a goal is important, but I hope to live blissfully. The plan or goal one has should be able to make the person feel blissful. Even if one’s heart is filled with the overwhelming passion to achieve more, if in the process of fulfilling it one feels insecure or unhappy, not being able to feel even a bit of happiness, then I would rather not have a goal like this. I hope that no matter what I’m doing, I would always be able to derive happiness from it.”

It wasn’t meant to be a question of such great depth, but we’ve gotten such a different answer from Duan Yi En. We then continued on the discussion of what’s happiness, and the answer from Duan Yi En showed us a different perspective. “Not having any stress and with a peaceful mindset, that’s happiness. Of course, not having any stress doesn’t mean zero stress. To me, as long as the level of stress is one that I can handle, I think that’s not considered as stress.”

It’s a really simple fact, but not everyone is able to truly understand it. The Duan Yi En who’s always thinking for others, the thoughtful young man who’s filled with so much positive energy, and also has such a matured mindset, it’s inevitable for one to admire him so much. We believe that in the near future, Duan Yi En would be able to walk on a flowery road, leading to a blissful life.

The leap of faith Duan Yi En took many years back, enabled this young man to walk into the visions of many people. Looking back at this path, the young man’s initial heart has never changed. In order to not let the fans down, he always has a heart of gratitude.

A young man of such, that’s Duan Yi En.

Translated by marktuan.net

Photos: Madame Figaro Mode