<VOGUE> 2014 May issue
2NE1 comes out in the 21st century breaking the “doll house” (concept) and they have been like that since day 1. If the 1st generation girl groups wore pink dress with a ribbon on their head and sings with a high-toned voice like a doll, then 2NE1 just plays harder. They’re rough and glowing. When they sang their debut song ‘Fire,’ they exploded like fireworks. Instead of being a girl group that looks more like of a flower, they were like a girl group that fell in the middle of the Amazon. The 4-member girl group who, without pretense, screamed “I want to go crazy, I want to be free,” Their concept wasn’t something provocative but it was something that each of them desired to do. What other people think isn’t important. They don’t attempt to be nice. While others try to be cute and seductive, their response is, “Try to follow me.” 2NE1 (members) are Asian females, in the world of female celebrities, they are a new existence that broke the stereotype. They reject being compared. There’s so many groups that come out like ready-made products but 2NE1 oozes with confidence and says only one thing. “I Am The Best.”
They’re still the same at being the best now. On February 26, they released their 2nd full album in 4 years titled <Crush> and it swept multiple music charts, ranking 1st place. They placed 61st on Billboard’s album chart “Billboard 200.” Beside Psy, they are one of the best Korean singers. The casts of America’s ABC dating reality show <The Bachelor> came to Korea and went to YG Entertainment looking for 2NE1 to learn their dance. Not only that, they also performed for <American’s Next Top Model>’s final stage. These girls who don’t compare their selves to others but instead compare themselves with how well they did yesterday. They don’t have interest in rankings or how well society thinks of them. 2NE1 is the 1st girl group in Korea to hold two world tours. Opening their first overseas concert in Hong Kong Asia World Expo, they performed for 8,000 audiences. These girls who are “billion dollar babies” on each stage shows that nothing is impossible. That is the truth.
I will single-handedly beat you | This music that makes you crazy | Do you hear it | MINZY they love me
Gong Minzy is a dancer since birth. She received her dancing skills through family genes from her grandmother, Gong Ok-Jin, who was a Korean traditional dancer. Even when she was just a toddler, when there’s music, she dances. “When I move my body in the streets alone, my mom would bring me back home. When I’m dancing, nothing’s in my mind. Maybe it’s because I want to wipe out everything? It’s just that I enjoy that moment.“
In a video of a dance competition in Gwangju, Yang Hyunsuk immediately noticed 4th grader Minzy’s dance skills. Ever since that time, she’d entered YG Entertainment as a trainee and continued on for 5 years. Faithfulness is another gift that God has given Minzy. “For this album, there’s a song included called, “IF I WERE YOU.” It’s about a sad love story, and because I have to express a melodramatic feel, I recall on the memories of when I was a trainee. During the times when I had to be patient, there’s something that I depended on. During that time as well, dancing offered me comfort. When I dance, I become happy.“
Dancing is something that Minzy considers her best friend for life. There’s another great dancer whom Minzy acknowledges, and that is Michael Jackson! “After we debuted with ‘FIRE,’ it wasn’t too long after when I heard the news of Michael Jackson leaving this world. I searched for videos of him on Youtube. I knew that he was a really great dancer, but I didn’t know he was that great.” Since then, she has collected Michael Jackson’s DVDs, CDs, and other related items of him.
How about our country’s 1st generation B-Boy, Yang Hyunsuk? Their title track’s title “Come Back Home” reminds us of the 90’s song with the same song title sang by Seo Taiji and Boys. The choreography brings back memories. “How can I judge them? The year right after I was born was when Seo Taiji and Boys’ ‘Come Back Home’ was released, and everyone did that dance during that time. If it was that famous, then it’s game over.“
To Gong Minzy, a great dance is when everyone loves that dance. CEO Yang also helped to choreograph for 2NE1’s “Come Back Home. “When we were practicing the choreo, I thought, ‘YG’s ‘moves’ are still alive’ haha.” Even though former dancer Yang Hyunsuk is in his 40’s, he’s still got the “feel” and even admired Minzy. For their double title track, “GOTTA BE YOU,” Yang Hyunsuk praised Minzy saying, “You really can do anything,” while they were practicing for a sexy dance move where the lyrics says “I have 9 lives because I’m a fox.”
Gong Minzy, who entered college this year at Baekseok University, feels thrilled as she becomes a college student. From Seoul to Cheonan, it takes 2 hours for her to go to school and she has to get up at 5am to prepare. She’s not Minzy who’s debuted as a singer for 6 years, but she’s only Gong Minji who is also a freshman. “Since elementary school, I only had 4 classes and when straight to the practice room afterwards. As for high school, I took the GED exam and passed it. I’ve never properly tried living the student life, so now I want to do even small things like eating with friends or doing homework together.” Minzy approaches her school friends first without constraint. “We’re all studying together so me being a celebrity doesn’t make me anymore special than them, right?” To congratulate their youngest (member)’s birthday and college entrance, Sandara and Bom even gave her a box with allowance.
Going to a Christian institution was unexpected. A dancing theologist! “In the end, it is beauty that will save the world,” says a female theologist from a theology university. “I thought I wanted to study theology. I’m from a house of devoted Christians, and I learned values and ethics through the bible. There’s many helpful contents for life (in the bible) but I think it’s a bit hard for young adults to comprehend it. If I have the Father as my mentor, I want to be able to spread positive thoughts and influences to my friends. Because the world is originally splendid.“
People who have control of their body are those who have a sense of balance in their life. After debut, the girl on TV with bobbed-hair who lived a busy life and went through puberty without complaints, Minzy was very mature. Minzy expresses herself as “a person who maintains balance.” “No matter how difficult it is, I don’t waver; the control of balance is in me. Anyone can lean on me and I’ll be able to help anyone.“
I am all of the female’s hot crush | Giving a rush that makes you heart beat fast | The pretty unnis like me | Because they become pretty if they like me.
‘All or Nothing’. Starting their world tour in Seoul last March 22nd and on to 9 countries, 12 cities, 2NE1 who released new music after 4 years; you can say their world tour is also their emotions. “After the release of ‘I AM THE BEST,’ we were more cautious. If we can’t release a better song than that, then there’s really no point in release new songs, right?” They had a feeling of being forgotten. The more time they had to think, the deeper their concerns get regarding music and the future. No one knew it was a hard time for them. “We only realized it after debut when we were so busy. Standing on a new stage and meeting new people was something we enjoy but, we didn’t have that opportunity for 2 years so it was painful for us.“
There was no such thing as sophomore jinx. Their 2nd full abum was successful and all the performances were there waiting for them. Being addicted to the stage was like their best catharsis and they gave everyone excitement. “I’m extremely happy because we released our new album. I think it’s in us to enjoy breaking stereotypes.” Today’s magazine photoshoot is no different. Park Bom who arrived late in the photoshoot location came with make-up that seemed like tattoo which surprised the members. “Minzy asked her if she was hurt. Haha. It was fun. When will we ever get a chance to show this side of us?” From palm tree hair, half-shaved and even reggae hair, 2NE1’s shocking-hairstyle icon Sandara Park was calm. “If you compare today with other (photoshoots), today’s in a better state.” If it was an experimental style, they experienced it to the fullest.
It was past 3am in the morning, and ramen noodles mania Sandara, out from nowhere, had a cup of noodles and started boiling the water. She was only able to eat it after the filming in order to keep her abs. “To me, there’s no such thing as taboo style. Even now. Because I want to challenge those. However, there’s a style that CEO Yang and our male staff hates. It was my reggae hair that I had during our last concert. They said to me, ‘Dara-ya, don’t you think you should look pretty for this?’ and I was somewhat speechless. They told me that after I had already done the hair… it’s ironic.” As stories were shared, the noodles were all eaten. CL had to hold a fake bird but she screamed, “This is fake, right?” Whenever the camera shutter goes off, CL who oozes with charisma sometimes changes into Chaerin who has a soft heart. Minzy‘s head naturally bent downwards because of the heavy necklace; she also had on thigh-high boots by Tom Ford and waited for her turn for 30 minutes with no complaints as her unnis prepare for their shoot. It’s difficult to find another girl group like them who checks on each other’s pictorials and give compliments to each other. The photoshoot ended past 4am.
“It’s been almost 10 years since we met, so now, instead of doing something special, we just think of continuing to live together.” CL thinks that each of their path are special and them being united like this is destiny. Their appearance, preference, interest, etc. “To me, 2NE1 is like this existent space.” Bom‘s expression that made her feel shy but also made her burst into laughter. Sandara revealed her honest thoughts. “2NE1 is like talented friends who all gathered together. Me being in the same team as them makes me feel proud but there are also times when I feel small.” Among these talented members who also have their own individuality, anyone can agree to it. However, 2NE1 becomes one when there is harmony in CL’s charisma, Bom’s singing, Minzy’s dancing, and Sandara’s gentleness.
6 years has passed and the two girls, Minzy and CL, who used to be minors turned into adults. This year, Minzy turned 2NE1 (21) years old. 2NE1 also conveys the meaning of a girl group who will always challenge music like with the heart of a 21-year old. “I wish time would stop. Once being 21-year old passes by, it won’t come back. Of course, even though time passes by, my heart will always be 21. If I turn into a grandmother who dances with a cane, then I’m the best grandmother!” 2NE1 isn’t scared of their future. Leader CL believes that “talent shows itself.” “To us, if there’s good music, passion, and love, then it’s like an ice pick drilling a hole in a pocket; it’ll show it self. At this moment, we are only doing our best and happily singing.“
Translated by: KellyJane@EROMAKNAE