The go-to K-events host weighs in on her enviable job
For any K-Pop or K-Drama fan, hers is THE dream job. In Korean press conferences and fan meets, television and events host Sam Oh leaves others green with envy as she is usually seated right next to the stars.
Aside from her charm, Sam’s ability to quickly switch from Korean to Filipino and English gives her the advantage. Born in South Korea, Sam moved to the Philippines with her family when she was just six years old and has been based here all these years. When asked about being tagged as the go-to host for K-events these days, she smilingly agreed, “There’s not many of us who can do something like this, so I’m very lucky!”
Sam’s hosting career kicked off in 2005 when she had a TV stint with ETC. A casting call was made, and she auditioned and eventually bagged the job.
“It’s been like 17 years,” the bubbly host estimated how long she has been hosting on different platforms. “But you know, with these Korean celebrities, much less than that.”
She recalled her first Korean celebrity event to be the one with superstar Lee Min Ho (Boys Over Flowers, The King: Eternal Monarch), sponsored by a local clothing brand. Opportunities started trickling in since then.
“The Filipino fans just love everything that’s Hallyu (Korean wave). It’s been amazing,” Sam explained. Just like them, she is also a K-drama fan, but one who keeps her viewing habit at bay.
Asked if she still gets starstruck, Sam told us that she is like the rest of us. “I do!” she confirmed, “To see them in the flesh is always like ‘Oh, wow!’ It looks like they just popped out of the screen.”
She then debunked the misconception that she bonds with the celebrities all day. “That is not true,” Sam corrected. “Sometimes, the first time I see them will be onstage already. You can imagine the starstruck factor. I mean, it’s a lot,” she emphasized.
Sam let us in on her secret to conquering getting starstruck and the cold feet. “It’s the preparation. It’s when I feel like I did my homework, I already know everything that I have to know if I have to stretch (keep the audience entertained during lull time) because I know it happens. That will give me some comfort and the confidence to relax a little bit.”
Her concerns are valid. The moment Sam steps onstage, the possibilities, good and bad, are endless. Adding to the nerves is the occurrence of unforeseen events.
“You know, every K celebrity who has come has been so gracious, but the most memorable, oh my gosh, is the recent one when Kim Soo Hyun (My Love From the Star, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, One Ordinary Day) was here,” Sam began her anecdote.
“He had never had Hawaiian pizza. So, we had Hawaiian pizza brought to him on the stage for him to try it for the first time in front of his Filipino fans and we dropped the pizza.
Onstage!” she cringed in disbelief. “But you know what? He ate the pizza! That was pleasantly surprising for me.”
As a host, Sam said, the incident spelled panic inside, but the kind actor made her job more manageable.
Speaking of close-to-fangirl moments, Sam’s high school self would also get the kilig feels and be thrilled to know her current work is aligned with her dream job. Sam shared, “In my high school yearbook, in our senior year, we all had to finish the sentence ‘Ten years from now, I’m going to be a _____’ and I wrote ‘I’m gonna be an MTV VJ!’
As advice to high schoolers or anyone dreaming of becoming a host, she has these to share, “Never underestimate a show. It might look simple or easy on paper, but until you show up and see everything, you really never know. And events always have an unpredictability factor, so you really have to do your homework. It’s being prepared that gives you that confidence when you’re hosting.”
I can only wish Sam the best in getting prepared in case she encounters her crush of the moment soon. She hopes to meet the award-winning actor one day but expressed a legitimate fangirl concern. Sam quipped, “I’m not sure if I want to interview him because I don’t know if I’ll be able to contain [the emotions], but if Gong Yoo (Goblin, Train to Busan, Squid Game) comes here, oh my gosh, that would be so exciting.”
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