[INTERVIEW] Minzy’s Interview with Marie Claire Korea (March Issue) - ‘GIRL ON TOP: Gong Minzy’
‘Let’s Get Started’
It’s been 5 years since her debut as 2NE1, and Gong Minzy has just entered her life as a 20 year old. She is now ready to enjoy her youth more than anybody else – photographed by Zoo Yong Gyun
People have seen Gong Minzy since she was fifteen years old. And those who were a bit more interested in 2NE1 would have been able to watch her elementary school auditions or pictures of her during her trainee days floating around the internet as well. With her round face, short hair reaching only to the bottom of her ears, and a baby-face – the elasticity and flexibility to dance skillfully was a definite plus that gave her the nickname “Dance Prodigy”, along with the fact that the great Madam Gong Okjin of Korea’s traditional dance culture was her great aunt. Stepping into the world of society at an earlier age than most others, she was able to spend her teenage years as a mature and faithful girl by fulfilling her dream career. And on January 1st, 2013 at 12:00AM, she became an official 20 year-old adult.
While waiting for her teenage years (which limited her from doing many things that only adults are allowed to do) to pass, she made a surprisingly simple list of what she wanted to do the moment she became an adult. When all her friends ran to the nearest bar or pub to experience the “chicken & beer” ceremony most people do the moment they become legalized adults, Minzy, on the other hand, pointed out all the things she wanted to do on the New Year’s stage performances in celebration of her “adultification”. Although alcohol was still a bit far from the top of her to-do list, she listed that she wants to become more daring and bold on stage and that she wants to get her driver’s license and haul a ‘Hummer’ around. She wants to go on a trip and even finish studying in school. Since becoming an adult isn’t as easy and fast as changing into different outfits, she’s decided to take one step at a time into the new world. Just like she has been doing all along. And just like that, Gong Minzy began to change, as well as stay as her same self.
Q: It was your birthday not long ago. Were you able to spend it a bit more special than other times?
A: I didn’t have anything scheduled for work that day, nor did I have a party with friends. I just went to the aquarium with my family. I usually can’t go out that often. When I do end up going out with my family to have a meal once in a while, due to all the people who look back and stare at me, I feel a sadness, kind of like an animal that is trapped inside a zoo. But because it was my birthday and I couldn’t just stay home all day, we went out for a bit and it ended up not being so bad after all, I had a fun time. I saw a shark for the first time and had a big laugh comparing the aquarium’s blue water color to my own hair color saying it was like apetetic coloring. It was as if I had returned to my childhood. To be honest it was an extremely normal day, which is what made it an extra special memory for me.
Q: Are you in the midst of working on a new album?
A: We’re unsure if it will be in the format of a full album or not, but we’ve entered the early stages of a comeback. Until today, we made most of our songs based on dance music genre. However this time, we worked hard to try to showcase our ballad skills and a different side to our talent, but we were able to add a more diverse genre on top of it all. Although I cannot speak of it any much more, I really want to try a new choreography concept that steps out of our usual style. For the longest time now, CEO Yang Hyunsuk had laid out a strict command that I am not allowed to do sexy dancing due to my being underage. But technically, I’m now allowed to do so if I wanted (laughs). It’s one of the few things I’ve always wanted to do the moment I turned 20.
Q: The other members tend to do many solo activities, but have you ever considered any specific artists that you wanted to collaborate with?
A: Usher! I wanted 2NE1 to become more widely known and popular until the day we will be able to stand on the same stage with Usher. I really enjoy hip hop. Lately I’ve really been into ASAP Rocky. His music really matches my taste and most of all, he’s cool and awesome. Usher, ASAP Rocky, they’re all my ideal men.
Q: With Lee Hayi having passed
A: I thought to myself that I am finally no longer the “maknae” (of the company). (Laughs) There are even a lot of new trainee juniors as well. Honestly, it’s pretty difficult to see or run into them (trainees) that often since our recording studio and dance studios are on different floors. But whenever I get the chance to meet them I want to give them as much advice possible as I can give and care for them in my best of my ability. Even now it’s still the same, but when we (2NE1) were trainees, the only female senior we had in our company was Gummy unni. Our members and I had to stick together all the time. That’s why we want to be there for our juniors who dream of debuting. Because I am now an “unni” to them as well.
Q: Members like Park Bom and Sandara Park are ten years older than you. I’m curious how you get along with them.
A: Those two unnies are such pranksters. They have a lot of curiousity and they love to prank and play a lot. They’re rather more like friends to me and the way they treat me like their own friend and how they still care for me like older sisters – they’re very reliable. I’m not a “maknae” with a lot of “aegyo” (cuteness). I’m not very good at talking about affectionate or tender things and I’m also not very good at showing my affection towards my members as well. That’s why there was a time when I wrote a letter to Dara unni. It didn’t say much, either, but I guess she was very touched by it – for my birthday she bought me a red purse and wrote a response letter back to me. It said, “You are now an adult. I can’t believe it. *Cries*” They saw me since I was in 6th grade elementary school, so I think they felt a sudden change and difference in me this past birthday. CL unni got me the new iPhone 5 since I was using the previous model of it. Bom unni, hmm, she said she would buy me something soon. She was probably very busy. I understand, unni (laughs). Not just for materialistic things, but I rely on them (members) for emotional and mental needs as well. Because we’ve all been together for such a long time, we know how to respect each other in every way. Which things we need to understand and which parts we need to fill for them that they cannot do themselves. We fill each other up.
Q: What kind of person is the Gong Minzy that the other members always talk about?
A: The nickname the members gave me was “telephone pole”. They said the reason being is because I have such a reliable and dependable personality that no matter when they look back or turn to me, I’m always standing in the same spot for them. On the other hand, they tell me my flaws as well. Whenever I hear a bad evaluation, criticism, or anything I don’t want to hear, I pout my lips instantly. They advise me to become more dignified and brave in those situations.
Q: You must be very busy with all the crammed schedules, but judging by your Twitter updates, it seems like you often enjoy making your own clothes and drawing.
A: I’m the type that can’t stay very still. It’s to the point that if I’m at home and have nothing to do, I’ll start doing household chores and cleaning the whole place up to be satisfied. But lately, I’ve fallen in love with the fun in making my own clothes and wearing them. I can’t do the sewing myself, but there is a fabric market I visited in Japan while promoting where you can buy your own fabric and materials and draw out your own designs, having them shipped to a manufacturing factory that can sew it for you. I always do the finishing detailed touches; I’ve already made three outfits. I’ve even worn them on television before. I feel the most proud and honored when our stylist oppas ask me which famous brand I bought them from.
Q: Many of your friends who are the same age as you are just now beginning to find a path or career course. There is a high possibility that they are envious of you since you have already found your career and have been so successful.
A: My friends have personally told me that they are envious of me before. Because all I had to do was easily dig a small well at such a young age to get to where I am now already. Compared to others I was able to discover what I wanted to do at an early age and the environment around me supported and helped me make it possible, so I’m very thankful for that. Yet because of my promotions as a singer, I missed my junior high retreat and was not able to proceed onto high school, which disappoints me. That’s why I’ve been preparing for my GED (high school qualification/diploma exam). Now that I am 20 years old and many restrictions and limitations have been abolished, I feel like I can attempt many more things now. I can dance as much as I want, write and draw as much as I wish, and at the same time find my true self. Whatever or however I do it, I want to express myself in the most honest way possible.
Q: Any words or advice you’d like to give
A: Since we’re the same age, may I speak comfortably (informally)? First off, congrats on becoming 20 years old. Just like me. After being in the running as
Translated by: Stacey@EROMAKNAE (@big_seunghyun)