For more photos (official + scans) of BLACKPINK for this issue, click HERE
“BLACKPINK”. I entered this name, formed out of two clearly contrasting words, into the search engine. News about their lastest single “As If It’s Your Last”’s music video reaching 60 million views on YouTube in the shortest amount of time for a K-pop group appears. BLACKPINK, a group that debuted in August of last year, already has 3 videos – “Whistle”, “Boombayah”, and “Playing With Fire” that have reached 100 million views. They’re a rookie girl group with a global fandom that YG Entertainment painstakingly created for a long time. If anyone had been wondering “Will they be able to bring something new to the table?”, they would have been immediately silenced by their enchanting visuals, their trendy songs, and their flawless, brilliant performances. And today, they grace the cover of <ELLE> Korea as the first K-pop group to do so. After intense competition and many years of training, the four best of the best, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa were revealed. Amidst all their appearances in music shows and variety programs, the busy girls wiped away any indication of fatigue and came to the studio.
Jisoo (JS): “The four members were determined to debut 1-2 years ago, and so our good teamwork is borne out of being with each other 24/7. We just had our first radio appearance, so we were nervous yet it was fun. Not so long ago, we met our fans for the first time through a meaningful fan sign event.”
In BLACKPINK, a group that doesn’t have a set leader, Jisoo is the ‘eldest’ who takes on various roles. While exuding a fearless girl crush charm on stage, in interviews and on broadcasts, we see a blushing and shy girl who will hold the microphone for her younger members or do funny body gestures.
JS: “It’s because I think that the members will loosen up more if I act like this. Normally, I’m the quiet type. Although when I’m excited, I’m the most hyper and behave noisily.”
Jisoo gives off a tenacious feeling after she speaks that belies her innocent looks, and she shows a resolve that will be able to withstand the tough and uncertain nature of the entertainment world.
JS: “In this line of work, I think it’s necessary to be sure and to have a strong resolve. I’m not the type of person to hold in feelings. When I’m sad I’m sad, and when I want to cry I cry. I have the personality that expresses how I feel and I think that lessens stress.”
Jennie posseses a round, yet charming face that radiates a chic aura. She is a member whom YG introduced very early on even before BLACKPINK’s official debut. Many who assumed her to be the so-called ‘visual’ are surprised once she demonstrates her powerful rap and dance skills on stage.
JN: “I was so surprised by that kind of attention that people gave me after our debut. The only thing I did all throughout our training period was to practice rapping, singing, and dancing, so I had confidence standing on stage, but I wasn’t used to people evaluating me on my visuals.”
While studying in New Zealand with plans to study abroad in the US, Jennie revealed her heart’s desire to have a music-related career and came to Korea.
JN: “I thought that if I just keep doing what I was doing, I might not be able to find work that I love. That’s why I called my mother, crying on the phone. I told her that I can’t be the teacher or the lawyer that she wanted me to be.”
She’s a girl who followed her own instincts to forge her own destiny. Even just by looking at fan-taken pictures of Jennie’s “casual clothing fashion”, one can’t help but think that there isn’t any occupation that suits this girl who is overflowing with feeling other than ‘STAR’. Who is Jennie’s girl crush model?
JN: “My number one will always be Rihanna. She possesses everything I seek.”
While Jennie might be called BLACKPINK’s visual center, Rosé is the group’s sound center. A huge contributor to the addictive and unforgettable nature of “Whistle” and “Playing With Fire” after just hearing it once is Rosé’s unique voice. Even then, this girl who grew up in the quiet countryside of Australia didn’t know of the treasure-like talent that she possessed. In 2012 through her father’s suggestion, she joined a YG audition and got 1st place (beating the odds 700:1). A future that Rosé had never even dreamed of til that day unfurled.
RS: “It’s impossible for me to say that it wasn’t difficult to be away from my family at that age. Aside from the members, I didn’t know anyone, or any other place in Korea. Because of this, I listened to music more and liked it more. Because of music, I endured a lot of stress, but again because of music, I find my only comfort.”
Lisa from Thailand, who is the same age (21 years old) as Rosé, is another member who entered YG through overseas auditions. Her joy was exceptionally big at passing the auditions, since her dream of becoming a K-pop singer stemmed from listening to Big Bang and 2NE1’s songs.
LS: “It’s something I really wanted to do, so I wasn’t worried at all. But because I’m the only daughter, my mom and my dad were very worried.”
To Lisa, who studied Korean for 2 hours a day for 4 years, and who loves eating pork potato stew, Korea isn’t an unfamiliar foreign country.
LS: “Ever since not long after I arrived in Korea, it’s felt like home. I know how to ride the subway well, and I know how to find my way around well.”
When Lisa visited her family for the first time in a long time in Bangkok, she was surprised by how fans could already recognize her face. Nowadays as they are nearing their Japan debut, she seems to marvel at the experience of being able to travel between countries frequently.
LS: “It’s fascinating. It makes me think about how I even got to this place.”
As night fell, their photoshoot officially started. There were concerns about whether this less-than-a-year-old rookie group would be able to pull off Saint Laurent’s edgy newest collection, but in a flash, the members’s shy facade vanished, and they filled the monitors with their abundantly confident poses and gazes. You could feel that BLACKPINK had the possibility of following in G-Dragon, CL, and other YG artists’s footsteps in combining music and fashion and showing their one-of-a-kind creativity, and becoming a new style icon.
BLACKPINK (BP): “We have yet to show many things. We want to try various things and find our own colors. That’s also the kind of image of a woman that we want to show. A woman who knows what she wants, and a woman who knows how to confidently show it.”
Rather than be engrossed with catering to the ideals of the public, they have the confidence to repeatedly try new things and win over the public’s love. The new girl group history that BLACKPINK is writing has already begun.