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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

In October 2017, the seven members of the K-pop group BTS were tasked to create an imaginative character to represent each of them and another to represent their fan base. What came out was the world of BT21, each character with their own story, personality, and design inspired by their correlated BTS member. All eight characters agreed unanimously to be non-binary by BTS. As stated, each one has its background story of how they arrived to meet one another and find the place they belong. Mang, created by J-hope, arguably has the most heartfelt background story. 

While most BT21 characters are inspired by real-life animals, Mang is an unknown creature. Their face is hidden by pony-like masks. An adorable feature is the mask having the nose heart-shaped since J-hope’s lips turn into a heart when he smiles. Although the mask may seem cute, it comes from a sad history.

When J-hope first debuted with the rest of his members he was the member to receive the least amount of support. From receiving hate comments about his dancing, rapping, and even his looks, he developed a strong sense of insecurity. For a short period of time, J-hope eve wore his own mask to cover the bottom half of his face. This reality was mirrored in Mang’s history. Being insecure in his looks and talents when performing in front of a crowd he was given a mask to wear until he became confident. 

During the last few weeks, the BT21 world has released trailers and other content announcing the removal of Mang’s mask, revealing his true self. Many fans perceive this as a new chapter for Mang since J-hope is also entering a new chapter by enlisting in the military soon. Regardless, the removal of Mang’s mask will provide countless lessons for fans around the world.

From insecurity about their looks, skills, talent, weight, and even their faces, J-hope anticipates this action to help BT21 and BTS fans to build confidence within themselves and be their true selves. 

With this in mind,

I hope you keep the story of Mang in mind

As you enter the world with your true self

Love and take care of yourselves.

My Queens, Kings, and Royal Theys,

Please Love and Live Your True Selves.

Alma Perez

Texas '25

Hello, ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ I am a current student at UT Austin majoring in Neuroscience. I plan to write about the many experiences I have lived through in the first 19 years of my life. I hope you read and enjoy it! p.s. yes, I have a therapist and psychiatrist, don't worry <3