How Song Ji-a's career crumbled in days: the Single's Inferno star was cut off by friends, edited out of variety shows and she deleted all her Instagram posts following fake luxury fashion furore

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breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Even if you haven’t watched Single’s Inferno, Netflix’s hit dating reality show, you’ve most likely heard of its breakout star, Song Ji-a. The influencer, who already had a relatively large audience, saw her popularity spike immediately after her appearance, with her followers surging from around 400,000 to over 3.7 million in a few weeks after the show’s completion.

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breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Song Ji-a in Single’s Inferno, wearing a top later revealed to be fake. Photo: Netflix

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But her beauty and bold personality aren’t the only things that have captured people’s attention. Recently, she’s been making headlines for the wrong reasons. It started with claims that she was buying knock-off luxury items to curate her wealthy image. Although she has since confirmed those rumours and uploaded a lengthy apology, she still continues to make unsavoury headlines.

So what exactly has happened since that fashion controversy?

She’s deleted all her social media posts

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breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

She initially deleted all her posts that contained apparently counterfeit items. Photo: @dear.zia/Instagram

Since uploading a lengthy handwritten apology to Instagram, Song has deleted all her Instagram posts – the apology is the only one remaining, with the comments turned off. Similarly, she’s also set all her YouTube videos to private, and recently uploaded a four-minute apology.

The video already has over three million views at the time of writing, though, like her Instagram post, comments have been turned off. She announced she’ll be stepping away from social media to take time to “continuously reflect on my actions”.

There was an attempt at an explanation

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Her agency released a statement to explain her purchases. Photo: @dear.zia/Instagram

When the controversy first broke out, Song’s management agency, Hyowon CNC, released an apology and later explained why she bought the counterfeit goods featured on her Free Zia YouTube channel. The statement said: “It’s all our fault. It’s the company’s responsibility to check the creator’s styling but we thought that respecting Free Zia’s own styling was a way to communicate with the subscribers on a more intimate level.”

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Her agency claimed that the influencer wasn’t aware the luxury items were fake. Photo: @deuxreasons/Twitter

Later, CEO Kim Hyo-jin stated in an interview that when Song was asked where the items were bought, she explained that she bought them at street stalls because she thought they were pretty. According to Kim, Song wasn’t aware the items were fake, and that she never intended to “look rich”.

People were understandably sceptical. This was further fuelled by the fact that Song had been open about her dreams of launching a fashion brand, and the statement was seen as a weak excuse.

Her agency threatened legal action against malicious commenters

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Not long after, threats of legal action were made against malicious commenters. Photo: @dear.zia/Instagram

Song’s initial apology only fuelled more criticism, with people starting to speculate that even her luxurious apartment may have been bought by her agency to curate her “rich girl” image. The agency promptly stated that the comments were false, and that Song had saved up her own money as a model and creator, and rented the apartment herself. They also revealed that they would “actively take legal action” against those who spread false rumours.

Even friends and co-stars have cut ties

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Song Ji-a and Kim Hyun-joong on Singles Inferno. Photo: Netflix

Not long after the controversy first came to light, Song Ji-a’s Single’s Inferno co-star Kim Hyun-joong unfollowed her on Instagram, and many speculated that it was due to the controversy. However, he claimed that he hadn’t even been aware of the controversy, and that he merely unfollowed her to prevent rumours.

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Song Ji-a and Kang Ye-won. Photo: @kangyewon0315/Instagram

He wasn’t the only friend to cut ties, at least publicly. Actress Kang Ye-won, co-CEO of Song’s management agency, recently deleted all Instagram posts with Song before making her account private. The two seemed close friends, frequently posing on social media together, but Kang’s recent deleting spree led many to speculate that she might want to cut ties with the influencer.

She’s being edited out of variety shows

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Song Ji-a previously appeared on variety shows like MBC’s Video Star. Photo: MBC

Song has had no shortage of variety show appearances, especially since her recent mainstream fame, but after this controversy, it seems those opportunities are being cut short, with many shows simply deciding to edit her out of future broadcasts.

Her appearance on The Manager (also known as Omniscient Interfering View), scheduled to air on January 29, is among those being edited out. Though the network MBC initially stated they were not removing Song’s scenes, they soon backtracked, announcing on January 21 that the broadcast would be carried out as normal with Song’s footage edited out.

breakout star, Song Ji-a, YouTube videos, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Despite the controversy, her footage in Knowing Bros was not edited out. Photo: JTBC

However, she was featured in Knowing Bros’ most recent broadcast on January 22, and while JTBC initially intended to cut her out, the episode was aired with Song’s footage still in it. The producers responded to criticism, saying that it was hard to delete all of Song’s footage without deleting the entire episode. It seems that in a matter of days, the influencer’s career has been destroyed completely.

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