“BLACKPINK is always hungry.”
Q: You’ve cut your hair for the first time since you debuted. Is there any particular reason for this transformation?
JS: Although I just grew my natural hair long completely throughout high school, I’ve wanted to try having short hair even just once. Actually, for an image change I wanted to dye my hair at first, but my hair was so damaged that it wasn’t possible (laughs). So then I thought that I should do something with my hair and so I had it cut. I think it suits the album’s concept – a more neutral and fierce rather than feminine feel.
Q: In YG promotional materials, you were unveiled as BLACKPINK’s Jisoo, the pure and innocent visual, but nobody knew you were mischievous and liked gags. How does it feel to have been ‘caught’?
JS: I’m the youngest at home, so I grew up in an environment where I couldn’t help but be a jokester. I like watching gag programs and copying them too. I also like playing a lot of cute tricks. Yeah. So I knew I’d be caught soon.
Q: BLACKPINK is always setting new records. To have finished a long training period, and to successfully be living out your dream, are you enjoying it properly?
JS: Rather than enjoying it, I would say that I’m always running towards my goals. My goal is to give our fans, who expect something new from BLACKPINK, and who give us a lot of love, a sense of pride and satisfaction in us. We’re never satisfied, and we’re always working towards doing better. BLACKPINK is always hungry. Haha.
Q: You’re YG’s only girl group. Do you think you have some sense of duty to fulfill?
JS: Because we’re the only girl group, rather than a sense of duty, we feel that because we represent the name of the company, we work to not disappoint all those who anticipate something from us musically.
Q: Do you remember your first impression of the members?
JS: Perfectly. When I started as a trainee, Jennie and Lisa had already started ahead. When Lisa had just arrived, her Korean was very awkward, but she gradually improved to be as good as a Korean. Seeing that, I thought, ‘Wow, her acquisition skills are amazing.’ Of course, when she didn’t know the proper Korean terms, we got along just fine with body language. Jennie, because she had already gotten familiar with the survival program-like life of a trainee, she was like a senior (sunbae) who taught me a lot of things and led well. I’m always grateful. And Rosé was the last one to arrive. She came alone from abroad, so just how I felt for Lisa when I first met her, I thought that I wanted to be strong by her side just as I was helped before. But then she was really bright and got along well (laughs). It was even better that way. She was the first member who could play an instrument. Her guitar playing is really cool.
Q: You’re almost entering your 3rd year after debut. What is the biggest difference between the BLACKPINK of the debut era, versus the BLACKPINK of today?
JS: We’ve sort of developed a sense of responsibility to live up to expectations. Before our debut, we simply hoped that it would be great to have a stage to stand on. It would be great to have fans. Or we would think about whether we would end up being liked. But after debuting, we feel that we’re working very hard in many areas in order to make even just one person be more satisfied with us. Even though we make our preparations perfectly, we never know if we’ll be able to show 100% of it once we’re on stage.
Q: BLACKPINK has no leader, so you can’t help but live up to your role of being the eldest. As the youngest in the family, but the eldest in BLACKPINK, could you talk about the most difficult and the best parts about that?
JS: Each person goes through difficult times for different reasons. And even though I will never 100% understand because I’m not the person involved, we’re all in the same team, so we would understand each other best. When the members are wavering or having a difficult time, they definitely need someone to lean on. During those times, when I want to give them strength as the eldest, but I end up not being able to, I think those times are difficult. That’s how a big sister feels, right? The best part is when the kids treat me well because I’m the eldest. Haha. A simple reason.
Q: You’re always a bright jokester so it’s difficult to imagine this, but when you’re in a slump, how do you get out of it?
JS: When I’m down, I give off some sort of ‘aura’ so even the girls don’t go near me. Haha. I’m the type that quietly destresses alone, and when I talk to my dog ‘Dalgomie’, he listens to me well. Also, when I read books, I don’t think of other thoughts and just focus. Truthfully, even when I’m down, there aren’t any huge changes. In that case, I figured it would be faster for me to change my mindset, so I try to empty my mind.
Q: achieved over 100 million views. What did you gain from this program? This was the first time you showed your real self, right?
JS: The fans have been curious about our real selves since our debut, and we’ve also been waiting for this program, so we’re glad that they ended up liking it a lot. I still have regrets that I should’ve done better, and that I should’ve showed them this side of me. I want to try doing it again next time. Our team has also been together for such a long time, but outside of going to eat in front of our house, we hadn’t really gone out together. We were able to go to Jeju Island and Thailand and create many memories for ourselves. Memories that we make together while working are different.
Q: The members seem to often go out to eat. You’re of different nationalities, so how do you choose the menu?
JS: Everyone eats everything well. To the point where we brag if we end up being the most picky. We particularly like Thai food, so when Lisa wants to eat it, we’re all able to eat it as well. At first, I couldn’t eat Tom Yung Goong because there was so much spice, but now I’m the first one to crave for it. Haha.
Q: It seems like BLACKPINK hasn’t had a single failure since your debut. Even then, what is BLACKPINK’s, and your own, biggest worry recently?
JS: We’re always nervous when we release something. “Shall we try this this time?” “How will it look if I try wearing this this time?” We’re excited about such things, but at the same time we worry, “If we do this, what will people’s reactions be?” But we try not to worry too much. We place more significance in facing the challenge, and just think about things after they happen. It’s important that we make something of our own out of the time we spend worrying. We need to be careful not to let our time spent worrying go to waste.
Q: As a “Girl Crush”, BLACKPINK is unique in having many female fans. Do you have anything you want to say to those who enjoy BLACKPINK’s music?
JS: Music is music, but there are many people who like us for our fashion or for other reasons. It would be nice if people saw BLACKPINK and somehow gained confidence in themselves. Those clothes didn’t suit us well too at first, but we kept persevering to wear them so that they would suit us, and that’s how we made them into our own. Nothing ever just suited us perfectly from the beginning. So for our fans, find your own charm, and gain your confidence through that.
Q: Please say something to your fans who’ve waited for the album for a long time.
JS: You’ve waited such a long time. Personally, I think this is really a time when we’re coming out with new sides of ourselves. I hope you can enjoy and be satisfied with our new sides. We’ve recharged our energy a lot during this time, so we’ll definitely DO. OUR. BEST!
“It had been a long time since we gathered, and it felt like a ‘unity switch’ had just been turned on.”
Q: You seem to have been looking attentively at your picture that was just taken. Do you like it?
JN: I’ve always liked taking pictures and being in pictures. Photoshoots don’t count as work. I liked that photo I just took.
Q: Every photoshoot you have is a masterpiece, so much so that you have the nickname ‘Photoshoot master’. What’s Jennie’s secret to coming out beautifully in pictures?
JN: I look at magazines a lot. Being confident and enjoying it is important. Even when they yell ‘Cut!’ I still want to keep shooting (giggles).
Q: Many videos of your college festival performances are on YouTube. How did it feel performing in campuses?
JN: We get a unique reception in college festivals, and the atmosphere is intense so it’s one of my favorite stages to perform on. It feels like we’re really communicating with the audience. While performing at college festivals, my desire to go on stage on TV grew.
Q: The fans surely also missed seeing BLACKPINK on music shows. BLACKPINK’s first mini album comes out on June 15 right? (The interview happened on May 27). What was the reason you made the fans wait this long?
JN: The preparations took a long time. We kept wanting to show perfection – How do we show a different stage from before? We did research, tried different directions, recorded… That’s why it took a long time (laughs).
Q: Give us a hint about BLACKPINK’s new concept.
JN: (Firmly) I can’t tell you that.
Q: Just one word?
JN: No. I think that you’ll watch us more the more your curiosity grows (laughs).
Q: Then out of 100 points, how many points would you rate your confidence?
JN: Confidence is always at 100 points. It’s not the kind of confidence that’s “Ah, you’ll like it without a doubt,” but the confidence that we’ll be able to show our new side properly. We prepared a lot.
Q: Last May, you received a lot of love promoting in Japan. What was your most memorable moment?
JN: Our first showcase. It was our first time performing in Japanese, and I’m glad that more people than expected came to see us.
Q: I heard that your Japanese greatly improved? Then you’re fluent in 3 languages – Korean, English, and Japanese. What’s the secret to mastering Japanese quickly?
JN: I can only do half of Japanese. So it’s 2.5 languages (laughs). The secret to mastering Japanese quickly is to watch a lot of Japanese dramas. I take the script and try to read it too.
Q: In a previous interview, you said, “I want to live without losing my sense of adventure. I want to live while learning everything.” What are you learning recently?
JN: I want to make natural soaps using my preferred fragrances and send them to people as gifts. I’m thinking about visiting a workshop.
Q: You like making things with your own hands and you seem to be good at it too. The macaroons you made in look like they could be sold.
JN: When I’m learning, I quickly pick things up. We’ve been so busy because of the comeback recently, that I bought baking ingredients but haven’t been able to use them.
Q: In one interview, you said, “Rather than having fun, I live anxiously and live while urging one another on.” Living that way must come with a lot of pressure and stress.
JN: We still have a long way to go to feel those kinds of things (pressure and stress). That’s why when we feel like we’re going into a slump, the members come together and say, “During our next promotions, let’s try to do the things we weren’t able to do this time. Let’s try this for our fans.”
Q: Even then, you must destress somehow, right?
JN: Yes. I play with my dogs at home. When I have a lot to think about I clean my room. Of course, I just clean my own (laughs).
Q: That’s a healthy solution. You also had an interview as a trainee where you said, “When I’m having a difficult time or am uneasy, I blast music of my favorite artist out loud alone at dawn and practice while thinking about my future.” Whose songs do you listen to a lot?
JN: It depended on my mood. When my mood was really bad, I’d console myself with Amy Winehouse’s music, and when I wanted to be excited I’d entrust myself to Rihanna. Looking back, it was a meaningful time. After classes and while preparing for evaluations, dawn was a time I spent for myself. I enriched myself with the music and performances of so many great artists during this time. It can be considered a form of image training too.
Q: Who gives you the most strength when you’re having a difficult time?
JN: I don’t want to rely on anybody when I’m having a difficult time. The reason being that, in the future, if I’m having a hard time and that person isn’t there, then I would collapse. My mom and my friends won’t be able to always be by my side. Each of the other members also have their own difficulties to deal with too. That’s why I either write by myself or listen to music by myself or unwind by cleaning. And when I wake up after going to sleep, “It’s a new day!” and I gain strength and start again.
Q: The Jennie I met last year felt like a bouncy young girl, but after talking to you today, it feels like you’ve become more dignified and your mindset has strengthened.
JN: Ah, I’ve been working at that recently. I’m not the kind of person you say I am. That dignified feeling (whispers) is because they’re filming next to us so we can’t raise our voices. My tone just became more dignified without me realizing it (laughs).
Q: Among all the compliments you’ve heard recently, which one made you feel the best?
JN: This is so difficult. (Pondering carefully) The comment ‘I trust only you guys and am waiting’ really touched my heart. It took us a long time to debut, right? So everytime we’re practicing during a hiatus we wonder, “What if our fans lose interest in us and leave us during this time?” But I saw the comment “It’s okay if you steadily prepare. I trust only you guys and will wait,” and it gave me strength. “This was unimaginable, right? I need to show them,” that kind of heart soared.
Q: When did you feel most thankful to the members recently?
JN: We spent some time individually for a period of time. So when we suddenly gathered again for promotions, it seemed as if a “unity switch” had just been turned on. Even though we spent time separately, we’re strong when we’re of the same mindset. Each of the members does what she’s responsible for well, so I’ve developed a sense of responsibility too.
Q: In last year’s interview with , you wanted to gain the moniker “BLACKPINK who you can listen to and trust.” What do you want to hear this time?
JN: “So cool.” It’s a really simple phrase, but it would be great if people said, “BLACKPINK looks so cool on stage!”
“The members are truly important people in my life.”
Q: Many people call your voice “special”. What do you think about your own voice?
RS: To be honest, I can’t think of my voice as something special. As I trainee, all I wanted was to be able to sing well. But after our debut the public and the fans would say that it’s special, so I was a bit surprised.
Q: Your appearance on music variety programs like “King of Masked Singer” and “Fantastic Duo 2” also made your voice even more widely known.
RS: They were programs I really wanted to go on. I’m thankful to have such good luck. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect when I went on the show, so I prepared a lot anyway, but every time I went on, I think I gained much in return. It was a really good experience.
Q: You grew up in Australia, and upon your father’s advice, you auditioned and won the competition with 400:1 odds, and then came to Korea to become a YG trainee. What did it feel like when you first stepped foot here?
RS: I was about 16 then. I was bewildered. I didn’t really know that I was going to be a trainee. Even when I concretely stepped foot on Korean soil, it never felt real. I came to Korea with my family, and we went around the company, looked around the practice rooms, and met the members. Just as I was gradually getting used to it, my mom and dad told me, “Chaeyoung-ah (Rosé’s real name), live well here from now on.” At that time it was like there was suddenly a “Ding.” I was startled to the point of asking, “Mom, where are you going?” And then the thought finally entered my mind, “Am I living here away from them from now on?” It was my first time living by myself in my lifetime. It was a fact I knew beforehand, but I had never thought about it so I was shocked. That moment left a deep impression on me.
Q: It seems like you adjusted well since then and have become BLACKPINK’s Rosé.
RS: There were difficult and unfamiliar times too, but I was surrounded by many good trainee friends. And I was able to push through together with Lisa who was in the same situation as I was. My members are truly important people in my life. They’re friends, family, people I can lean on, and we also learn from each other and grow together. When I’m having a difficult time, I look for Jisoo unnie who lives in the room next door. I share a lot of thoughts with my friend Lisa so we mainly talk about those. When I need advice, I look for answers from Jennie unnie. We’re good influences to each other in many ways. That’s us.
Q: When you were in Australia, you could freely play your guitar and sing. But now, you have to sing in front of many people and aim for perfection. Is that difference palpable?
RS: I think that having the sense of responsibility to work for perfection is good for a musician. The more I have that, the more energized I am, and the better I can sing. When I’m alone, I’ll never find out whether I sing well or not. Now that I’m actually singing I think it’s a big help.
Q: In , you looked like you were having fun going around Hongdae with the members. Have the four of you recently gone out together again?
RS: We often go out to eat among ourselves, but what’s recently been memorable is going to college festivals. The four of us have a lot of fun playing around and communicating on stage. It was a fun memory that we enjoyed together.
Q: You get a lot of responses during college festivals. Do you feel any difference performing at college festivals versus performing at music show broadcasts?
RS: First of all, college festivals have a much larger audience, and so communicating instantly with them is enjoyable. For music show broadcasts, I like creating them together with the cameras and the staff who made the stage. I think that’s one difference. The college festivals this year were exciting too as expected. We were in a position to impact others, but instead we were the ones who were impacted tenfold.
Q: How do you maintain your physical fitness?
RS: I continue to do pilates. When I dance our choreography this time, I find myself needing to be fit too. When the weather was bad, I would go to the gym to do aerobic exercises. I also go to the Han River. I really love the Han River. I love it so much that nowadays, while I used to go out and ride my bike too, now I particularly enjoying going out for a run. The weather is perfect so when the sun is lower, I go out and run.
Q: I heard that you’ve also started a hobby of collecting LPs. What’s the most recent item that you’ve gotten?
RS: There was an episode in when I went to an LP shop. I bought a Beatles LP there and that’s my favorite. First of all, the colors of the LP itself are very beautiful. And recently, I’ve been enjoying listening to the Beatles. Yeah. My favorite member is… John Lennon?
Q: Music may be work, but it looks like it’s also a hobby for you.
RS: Listening to music is my favorite thing. I did this when I was a trainee too. When I’m extremely excited I turn the music up loud and hilariously sing along to it with Lisa. Recently, when I’m having a rough time I listen to music too. When I find the perfect song. That moment is really. Truly. Happiness.
Q: The new album that fans have been waiting for is coming out soon. What kind of charm will you be showing?
RS: The previous song had a brighter and fresher feeling, but this time we’re working to show a more dignified and charismatic version of ourselves. We also paid a lot of attention to our style. We prepared extremely hard, so this is another album I’m rather attached to. For the longest time, this was something that only we knew and liked, so we wanted our fans to listen to it as soon as possible too and know what we were feeling. I hope it can be our modest gift to them.
Q: A ‘gift’?
RS: Yes. Our fans are people we’re extremely grateful for. They’re always curious about us, but until now, there are still many things we haven’t shown them. This time, I want to give them as much as I can of what they want. Through our stages and our music, our sincere and cool selves, our perfect selves, I want to show them as gifts.
Q: What do you and BLACKPINK want to show through your music?
RS: What I consider to be the most important when I sing is delivery. When I practice and judge myself, it’s based on whether or not I was able to deliver the lyrics and feelings properly. Music is one form of acting too, after all. As for me, more than acting, I want to become a singer who’s conveying my own story. I want to express my story in the way that resembles me most.
“Even during our Japanese promotions, I kept thinking about ramyun and kimchi. I want to meet our Korean fans soon.”
Q: Your Korean pronunciation has improved so much compared to last year’s HIGHCUT Interview. Now you know the meaning of “Teong Jang” (To not have money *T/N: She learned this in a VLIVE), and you’ve also famously said, “Korea is our country, Thailand is my country.”
LS: Routinely, when I encounter a Korean word that I don’t know, I immediately ask my unnies and jot it down in a notebook. Before, I would ask, (while pretend to hold something) “Ah, Unnie, this is a great feeling, what do I call this?” Jisoo unnie would reply, “The ‘sense of grip’ is good.”* (laughs) I watch a lot of Korean dramas too.
*T/N: There’s no English counterpart so it’s an awkward translation.
Q: What’s the most interesting drama now?
LS: “Something in the Rain”. The first episode was so interesting that I downloaded it. When I’m free I’ll watch it again.
Q: In one interview, you mentioned that you wanted to cry while watching the movie “Along with the Gods” but you held it in. I think you must now be able to watch a Korean movie without subtitles at all.
LS: When I watch a drama or a movie with Jisoo unnie she explains it to me. Even when we’re in the theater, she helps explain it to me really quietly. In the end, the mother cries while saying, “It’s all my fault,” right? Everyone in the theater (while closing her mouth with her hand) was sobbing, but Jisoo just said “Hmm?” and didn’t react. That’s why I was able to hold back my tears.
Q: Jisoo doesn’t have any tears right? When your parents paid you a surprise visit in , Jisoo was the only one who didn’t cry.
LS: (While giggling) That’s right, that’s right. Jisoo unnie really doesn’t have any tears.
Q: Were there any other times when you cried while watching a movie?
LS: I watched a movie with Chaeyoung in the dorm. The title is “Be With You.” But the ending is so sad. The mother has to go back again, but the father because he’s anxious (while she clutches her heart) goes “Ugh” and collapses. That scene was so sad that I cried so much.
Q: I heard that you recently started taking care of a cat in the dorm?
LS: Yes! His name is ‘Leo’. He’s male. I used to raise two cats in Thailand too. I really like cats.
Q: So you have experience as a ‘butler’ too. Do you know what the term ‘butler (집사)’ usually means when it’s used nowadays?
LS: I do. It’s a person who takes care of cats! (laughs). Back in Thailand, my mom and dad would help look after the cat, but now that I have to raise him it’s very troublesome. I have to clean his eyes every morning, and if he makes a mess I have to clean up after him.
Q: Even then he’s beautiful, isn’t he?
LS: Yes. Nowadays even though I’m stressed, it all disappears thanks to Leo. But Leo hasn’t been listening lately. He keeps biting me. He’s gotten stronger recently so it hurts.
Q: If you don’t discipline them properly they’ll keep biting.
LS: I don’t know how to get angry. (While trying to get angry) “Ssssp!” Even if I make that kind of sound, Leo just goes “Hiing~”. (While extending her hand) I don’t even know why but I just end up saying “I’m sorry. I know. Do it. Bite. Bite.” He’s so pretty I can’t get angry.
Q: You seem to have a lot of affection. I heard that Jisoo’s nephews/nieces (*T/N: I don’t know what the gender is, and whether it’s singular or plural) like you as much as they like Jisoo. I think I know the reason now. I heard that they cry every time they have to leave you?
LS: Yes. They cry a lot. (While making crying sounds) “Cry~~”, they do that. It’s so cute. I like kids. That’s why I play with them and carry them on my back. I like praising them a lot too.
Q: When asked to describe yourself in one interview, the words you used were “Dance, BLACKPINK, younger male sibling”. What does “younger male sibling” mean?
LS: Each of us has our own character in BLACKPINK. Jisoo unnie is the bright one, Jennie is the chic one with a lot of aegyo, and I’m like the younger male sibling. I play a lot of pranks, and I do a lot of headlocks.
Q: Among the members, which member do you play the most pranks on?
LS: Jisoo unnie. Her reaction is so funny (laughs).
Q: Recently, you’ve been busy with preparations for your new album and college festival performances. Can you give a hint about your new album?
LS: Hint? Did Jisoo unnie give a hint too? For now, (I’ll say that) we’ve worked hard to show many sides of ourselves. Hihi.
Q: Not so long ago, BLACKPINK’s official lightstick was released. Did you contribute ideas for that too?
LS: Yes. We all said that making it this way would be cute, and they made it while taking that into account. I love it. It’s cute.
Q: Let’s talk about your Japanese promotions too. How was your performance in Japan? Was it very different from performing in Korean?
LS: The Korean fans. Our Japanese fans, please sing along with us in an extremely loud voice too. Please cheer for us loudly too. They’re both special. I’m so thankful.
Q: Was there a time during your Japanese promotions when you missed Korea?
LS: There were some times when I would crave for Korean ramyun. I like Japanese food. I like sushi, tempura, and don. But I thought, “It would be perfect if I had Korean ramyun and kimchi here too.”
Q: You’ve completely become a Korean. In the HIGHCUT interview one year ago, you mentioned that your favorite Korean food was “Gamjatang” (Pork with potato stew). Is it still the same?
LS: I love gamjatang the most. It’s spicy and so tasty. My manager oppa buys it for me sometimes, and other times I would go to the store at dawn by myself just to eat it too. Not so long ago too I went with the members to a gamjatang store after practice.
Q: When did you feel most thankful to the members recently?
LS: I’m thankful for when we were onstage during the college festival and told each other, “Let’s bring our energy out and do our best again.”
Q: And when did you feel most thankful to the fans?
LS: It’s been almost one year since we came back, hasn’t it? In that time, I hardly saw the fans at all. Even then, they keep waiting for us, and I’m so thankful for that.
Q: What are your goals for 2018?
LS: I want to promote actively as BLACKPINK. I want to meet our Korean fans a lot. I also want to go to a different country and perform.
Q: Finally, please give us a reason to listen to BLACKPINK’s mini album.
LS: Wow! Hold up a minute. Uhm. It’s our first album right? And our lightstick was just released right? That’s why you should definitely listen to it (laughs).
Translation by @black2dpink824
SCANS by @BP_On3515
#HIGHCUT Vol. 224 #BLACKPINK
#1 on charts whenever they release a song, the’re the country’s first girl group to have 2 MVs with over 300M views, achieved in less than 3 years after debut. #BLACKPINK is back with their first mini album in a year, #SQUAREUP. With the shining visuals of these girls manage to carry every outfit well, as well as an interview filled with their bright energy, they join us in Vol. 224 of HIGHCUT. Check them out.
Translation by @black2dpink824