South Korean actor-singer Seo In Guk never made the cut at the many auditions he attended in his pursuit of his show business dreams when he first moved from his hometown Ulsan to the capital Seoul in 2006.
According to an article in The Straits Times, slightly pudgy at the time, he encountered major obstacles thrown his way by an industry dominated by possibly surgically enhanced idols.
He had previously shared on a TV show his ordeal of turning bulimic after heeding the advice to shed some weight after an audition for JYP Entertainment, the agency behind boyband 2PM and girl group Miss A.
He lost the weight and went back for another round of auditions, only to be told that his singing did not improve. In hindsight, Seo reportedly said that all the vomiting he endured had probably damaged his vocals.
After three years, he finally got his big break when he emerged the winner of the first season of reality TV show Superstar K (2009).
In an e-mail interview with Life!, the 26-year-old Seo says: "I've taken part in many auditions. With all the challenges and eliminations, the determination to reach my goal grew stronger.
"I had dreamt of becoming a singer since childhood. I had this ambition after watching rocker Kim Jung Min perform the song Sad Promise in the 1990s."
He went on to score a recording deal under Jellyfish Entertainment and release albums, from his debut Korean mini album Calling You (2009) to his recent Japanese album, Everlasting (2014).
A day after Everlasting was released, it reportedly made it to the Top 10 of the daily sales of the Oricon chart on Jan 16.