A 13-year-old who tried getting into a Chinese boy band vowed to quit the entertainment industry for good after she was exposed as a girl.
Fu Jiayuan said she’s sorry for ‘deceiving fans’.
She slipped through the net at YGN Youth Club, which only recruits boys, usually aged between 11 and 13.
Pretending to be a boy, Ms Fu made it as far as boot camp and videos were posted of her training and performances on social media.
She said she lied because she was ‘young and ignorant’.
In a contrite statement this week, she said: ‘This incident has affected my school life and my family. I’m sorry to everyone who put their trust in me.
‘I promise I will not show up in the entertainment industry or on any video platforms in the future.’
Her gender was revealed by a web user who spotted her in a clip.
But others leapt to her defence and drew comparisons with the Chinese folk heroine Mulan who disguised herself as a man to fight for her family and country, which later inspired an eponymous Disney film.
A popular comment on Chinese social media site Weibo said: ‘The look of idol groups is so androgynous these days, so it’s hard to tell. Just let her join.’
YGN and similar popstar camps are seen as a gateway to fame and success in the music world.
The company said the mistake happened because auditions were moved online because of the pandemic.
It told the BBC: ‘Our staff were negligent in the work process.
‘In the future, we will adhere strictly to the company’s rules and regulations.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.