Small armies of polished, choreographed, picture-perfect idols trained from near-childhood… That’s the face of K-pop, or the Korean pop music sweeping the world. For all that high gloss, though, it’s also the world of some self-made, maybe a little unlikely celebrities. Such is the reality of Bronx native Michael Smith-Grant, better known online as the YouTube vlogger Mister Popo, who boasts tens of thousands of subscribers and millions of total views.
Smith-Grant has parlayed his devoted K-pop fandom into online celebrity–and now real-life celebrity, too. He’s been able to recently quit his day gig to fly around the country hosting K-pop events, and even travel to South Korea itself twice this year. We caught up with him–among hordes of fans clamoring for selfies–to get the scoop on his transition from online to IRL K-pop star status. Check out what he had to say.