They were like that from the beginning. Of course, even now they still are. There has never been this style of girl group, not now, possibly not ever. In a world filled with following the trend, these girls stay stubbornly original, strong in their positions. We met with 2NE1 who rushed back from Japan.
(To start the interview, we all gathered together, when a siren rang outside.)
CL: (looks outside) What is this noise?
Interviewer: Today (March 15th), there is Civil Defense training.
CL: I was so shocked. Mentally, it’s still exhausting. I think I have to run away. (2NE1, while preparing for their Japanese debut, had to return home last minute due to the earthquake)
Sandara Park: It was really shocking. I can’t believe it even now. Since we were in Tokyo, we didn’t experience as much damage but…after watching the news back in Korea, I was even more anxious. It’s a really sad event.
Park Bom: We were training really hard for the Japanese debut, and the earthquake happened right before our first stage. But I couldn’t regret or feel bad that we couldn’t perform. We can always debut overseas later, but this is something really terrifying.
Interviewer: You completed a busy 1st promotion. You even had three title tracks.
Sandara: It was a new and beautiful city, I think. Just the fact that we got to try makes me happy. It’s work that we have to try three times as hard as anyone else. It was difficult but I’m really proud. Hahaha.
Park Bom: It’s a little unsatisfying and regrettable. If we had shown one track at a time, we could have shown a little more.
Gong Minji: It feels like time flew past.
Interviewer: It’s hard enough to promote one title track, but how much practice do you need to go on stage and perform three?
Sandara: There’s no set practice time or anything. But it takes the majority of our day. On top of that, 2NE1’s choreography keeps changing a lot.
Minji: We always practice like we’re performing on a stage. That way, we can have more fun and be more comfortable while we’re singing.
Interviewer: In order to perform on stage, it takes a lot of preparation time as well, right?
CL: That’s true, but I love that time the most. It’s then that I get ideas for music videos or outfits. When I get ready and think of ideas, my heart beats really fast. But then when I do that, the moment I get on stage, I go a little insane. Hahaha.
Interviewer: So that’s why you say “Nolja” before running up on stage?
Sandara: I think that’s what makes us feel more comfortable. You’re getting yourself excited, it feels like you’re getting more strength, and it also makes you feel good!
Park Bom: At that moment, I feel like I’m not Park Bom, but rather a different person. If I get up on stage as Park Bom, I feel like I would be so embarrassed that I wouldn’t be able to sing properly. When I was a trainee, I got in a lot of trouble for that. I even got a teacher from overseas to help me. Thanks to my teacher, Park Bom could show an image and charisma not really Park Bom’s.
Interviewer: You must have a lot of things you want to do, but because of training while you were little and 2NE1’s busy schedule now, you must not have any time.
Minji: But we get to experience things that none of our friends can, learn things that they can’t, which is kind of nice. The areas we lack in, we supplement with books.
Interviewer: During that time, you read?
Minji: Recently, that’s what I’ve been concentrating on the most. After I buy a book, I write down when I started it and how long I read it, keeping track of all my books.
Interviewer: What’s fun these days?
Minji: I like novels, and I also like mysteries. The book I read a while ago was fun. It’s called “Today is Service Day”, and I got it as a present.
Interviewer: What about the other members?
Park Bom: In my case, I went to college for a brief time…well, I’ve never missed reading or particularly wanted to (laugh).
Interviewer: And it’s not just because you went through it all already?
Park Bom: Ah~ I didn’t want to take it that far! Actually, it’s true. But now that I’ve spent several years for 2NE1 practice and promotions together, I kind of want to go out sometimes…
Interviewer: What do you want most?
Park Bom: A boyfriend!
Interviewer: Sandara, you too?
Sandara: I also want to concentrate most on love…ah, no never mind. I have to concentrate most on work! But even if I focus on love, I can still do my work well~.
Interviewer: The magnae (youngest) is the most mature.
Minji: Hahaha, do you think so? I think I remember hearing that before.
Interviewer: How about you, CL?
CL: To be honest, I spent all my time these days thinking about the Japanese promotion. It’s great that we get a lot of fantastic opportunities, but I wonder if it’s the right timing. Maybe we should try to be more successful in Korea. Since it was our first time out of the country, it was pretty serious.
Interviewer: Did you have confidence that, since you rose in popularity in Korea, you would have a good response from America? (Did you think America would like you?)
CL: Hahaha, that wasn’t quite it. I think that trying my best where I am is the most important thing. Will.I.Am liked my image in Korea, because the internet has no international barrier. Even if you don’t understand the language, you can still love the music. Whether or not I was Indian or from Sri Lanka and made music, people from the Philippines and Russian fans would still like it. That’s what I like to think.
Interviewer: As a leader, you must have had a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.
CL: Even though I’m the leader, I don’t really do much. My role is like any of the 2NE1 members.
Interviewer: Do your aged unnies (older sisters) follow you well?
Park Bom, Sandara: Eh, eh, who is the old unnie!
CL: The unnies are easygoing and lighthearted. They have more aegyo (cuteness) than us magnaes. And plus, everyone’s merits are remarkably different. So there’s nothing difficult about it.
Interviewer: Sandara, you were a popular entertainer in the Philippines before signing on with YG Entertainment. It couldn’t have been an easy decision.
Sandara: There was nothing hard about it. Except, at the beginning I had no friends so it was lonely. It takes a long time for me to open up and be friendly with someone. Dongsaengs (younger people/”siblings”) talked to me, and they came up to me, which really helped.
Interviewer: You were even spending time as an actress then but not here.
Sandara: I’m interested in acting still. I want to be a funny character or a main character in a horror movie. But first, I have to go further than the basics. Hahaha. The most important thing right now is 2NE1. If I have time later, I’ll do it then.
Interviewer: Other members must have things they want to do outside of 2NE1.
CL: We still need to improve. While we’re in 2NE1 together, I want to build more experience. Later, if we prepare, we can do other things then and we won’t be too late. But right now, soloing or doing other things in the entertainment industry is like being greedy.
Park Bom: I also like where we are now. But hip hop would be fun. It’s not the trend right now, but it would be fun to wear super baggy pants and do it. Hahaha.
Minji: If I could try something different, it would be being a magnae that was fresh, bright, and cute.
Interviewer: So we’re back again to the issue of style. All of you have an interest in fashion. You’d be well off being designers.
CL: I wanted to do that in the past…but I’m still lacking in a lot of aspects. I love clothes. If I did become a designer, I would choose to make clothes that I like. Rather than a fashion that anyone could wear comfortably, I’d make clothes I would want to wear, accessories that I would put on, shoes that I would wear.
Minji: A while ago, CL unnie was with Jeremy Scott for “Project Runway Korea” to judge, and I thought they were amazing. But instead of being a judge, I’d rather attend as a designer myself. To be perfectly honest, I’m the most masculine in 2NE1, but my tastes are actually quite girly (laugh). I like dramatic outfits, so I would design a feminine style for 2NE1.
CL: But it only happened to me because I was with Jeremy Scott. I would never to judge someone with my lack of experience right now (laugh). If it wasn’t for Jeremy, I would never have experienced the one-chance-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Sandara: I can’t design. So I will just shop (laugh).
Park Bom: Won’t Adidas Originals collaborate with us? We could put in our name and make sexy, cute clothes. Hahaha.
Interviewer: There’s many people that follow 2NE1’s style. You guys are fashion icons.
CL: We just love clothes, is all. Adidas Originals and Jeremy Scott were brands I liked from the beginning. Besides, the fact that they met up with each other is special.
Sandara: Even if you don’t accessorize, it’s still cool! Plus, it’s really comfortable.
Minji: At a Japanese performance, one fan was wearing the Indian cultural tattoos really similar to what I wore in “Clap Your Hands”. It was amazing. And I was also thankful for it.
Interviewer: Then what makes 2NE1 original?
Sandara: Hul, that’s hard. Hm…me, the coconut tree hair?
Sandara: Ah! TamTam that CL made me (in “2NE1 TV”, CL made Sandara a doll for a present)! That is really original. And…hm…my…elementary school kid charisma. Hahaha.
Park Bom: My voice! And my style, my looks, Park Bom herself is an original!
Minji: Since I’m still young, I’m not sure what makes me original…YG magnae? I want to be a good magnae to be the legendary, original magnae.
CL: I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who’s not original. Even if you try to find the exact same people, you can’t.
Sandara: All of CL is original. Especially her aegyo!
Interviewer: How close are you, CL, with Jeremy Scott?
CL: At first, he was a fan, maybe. But now we’re friends. Very close friends. Even though there’s an age difference, he’s like an unnie (laugh). We respect each others work, and we have a good relationship. We contact each other almost every day.
Interviewer: You must learn a lot of things.
CL: Music and fashion are really different genres, but in a wide scale both are forms of art. When we look at the same things, we feel the same way. I get a lot of experience.
Interviewer: You are so mature here, but in “2NE1 TV”, you often ruined your image.
Park Bom: I didn’t know I could talk so much and be so crazy. I thought I had a cool manner, with good pose, and spoke clearly. But that really wasn’t the case. It was a huge deal. I was thinking, what do I do now? But people who saw how natural my actions were liked Park Bom’s charisma. It was really relieving.
Sandara: I had no worries. Since members took the cameras themselves sometimes, I monitored with a lot of effort too. If what I recorded didn’t come on, I was so disappointed. Hahaha.
Park Bom: I’m not really good at making myself look pretty. Even if I try, it doesn’t work. But I thought the scenes I didn’t look my best wouldn’t come on the show. I’m a girl too…
Interviewer: You have a scary and strong image, so you must have wanted to look pretty.
Park Bom: Of course. Anyway, in 2NE1 I have the woman part (laugh).
Interviewer: In 2NE1, were you ever jealous of another member’s concept?
Minji: We’re all so different and have such different tastes that there wasn’t anything like that really.
Sandara: I love sneakers so much, I don’t understand the lure of high heels. More than anyone, I prefer pants over skirts.
Park Bom: This style is nice, but sometimes I really want to try a boyish look. Not anyone’s concept, just boyish!
Interviewer: What do you want to do next?
CL: Doing things we’re doing now well? Hahaha. Trends come and go, like 2NE1’s style changes with new music. So I think more than thinking about what to do next, that who can do it fastest is more important.
Interviewer: So CL, you’re the most greedy one. I’m curious about your role model.
CL: It’s too hard to pick just one, because there’s so many people I respect and look up to. Right now, I would say Queen and Prince.
Interviewer: Does that mean we get to see rocker CL?
CL: Hahaha, no, not that. My father loves rock, so I guess I inherited some of that. I like rock music as well as chic rock style.
Interviewer: Is that why you’re wearing that awesome ring?
CL: This is my addiction. Usually, I’m wearing a huge ring around most of my fingers.
Interviewer: What do the other members usually enjoy wearing?
Minji: Me, training pants. I have several black ones. I’ve seen fans that drew me in them.
Sandara: Right now, I’m attached to Jeremy Scott’s wing shoes. Items I like get so used and dirty to the point that you can’t even use it, but a while a go, people said it was so dirty I had to get new ones.
Park Bom: Me, short things. Hahaha.
Sandara: Everyone acknowledges those Beauty Queen Legs!
Interviewer: Now that I see your faces concentrating on this interview, I’m suddenly curious. When you concentrate, what faces do you make?
Sandara: Minji lifts and pushes her face towards the speaker a lot.
Park Bom: (suddenly pushes her face to the editor) Like this. It’s kind of awkward. She fixed this a lot, but when she was younger it was a lot worse.
Minji: Oh, besides that, I want to open my eyes wide, but as I concentrate, my eyes get smaller. For the fans that watch me through TV, I want to show them at my prettiest with large eyes, but it doesn’t go for much more than a couple of seconds.
Sandara: I frown.
CL: I don’t really know…
Minji: CL flares her nostrils. Hahaha.
CL: That’s when I’m feeling happy! When I concentrate, no matter how much people around me try to call me, I can’t hear them. Ah! During our promotions, I don’t sleep. Is this too scary? Because of our schedule there are times when we really can’t sleep, but I feel like if I sleep more than 4-5 hours, I’ll get lazy.
Interviewer: When can we here 2NE1’s new songs?
CL: Even we don’t know that…
Sandara: Hahaha. If there’s a stage, wouldn’t you be able to tell by our passionate performance?
CL: I don’t think it’ll be on the stage that you’ll know. I think you’ll know by our passion and results. So far, we have one recording, and this interview. These kinds of things, you can see 2NE1’s passion.
Interviewer: Then this was our passionate interview!
Translated by kpopluvr @ygladies.com