[Asia E Reporter Lim Hye Seon] It’s hard being an idol living in the ‘World of Variety’. This is because it’s hard to gain popularity just by being a good singer. To survive in the monstrous entertainment industry, one must be equally good at singing and dancing, AND be witty. They have to show laser-like charisma on stage, and are also expected to approach the viewers on variety shows by being frivolous and funny.
I realised something one day while watching TV. On some variety show’s ‘Girl Group Special’, all the famous female idol groups like Girls’ Generation, Kara and Brown Eyed Girls were there but 2NE1 was nowhere to be seen. Then I looked back and realised I’d never seen 2NE1 on any broadcasts except music shows.
It made me curious. What could their secret be? How does 2NE1, a girl group that doesn’t do ‘variety’, manage to walk their own path and still stand strong against all their competition?
So we open the diary of 2NE1’s Sandara Park, the self proclaimed ‘publicity gainer’ for the group. The single most famous example of a Korean artist debuting in Korea after being active in a foreign country’s entertainment industry, Sandara Park made her TV debut through “Human Theatre”, neither a music nor variety show. 4 years and 5 months after that, Sandara and her fellow 2NE1 members took the Korean music industry by storm.
When I met Sandara Park for the first time in their practice room, she was just as calm and collected as I’d expected. Her clean skin and looks that make her look so much younger than her age made me jealous as a fellow female. She approached me looking pure and unaccessorised.
Asia E News will sift through the course of Sandara Park’s life through 12 segments. From Sandara the ‘lady-like child’ through to Sandara the ‘overseas breakthrough artist”, we reveal Sandara Park’s thoughts and feelings through her ‘Star Diary’. And we also find out 2NE1’s secret to popularity.
”Did I make some mistake? Have I done something wrong? I’m pretty sure I haven’t…”
Sandara Park widened her already large eyes in surprise as I told her I was interviewing her for ‘Star Confession’.
”I thought you were making me confess to some huge mistake that I’d gone and made without even realising. When you said ‘Star Confession’ my heart started pounding, I was so confused. (laughs)”
As I held in my laughter at her naïveté, I said “You were that surprised? Let’s call it ‘Star Diary’ then.” and the smile on her face returned. So the follow up interview [to G-Dragon’s] ‘Star Confession’ has now become ‘Star Diary’.
“Sandara, while you tell me about yourself just think of it like you’re playing and have fun, okay?”
The Sandara Park on stage is exuberant. Her vivid features and refined individually as well as her freedom and pureness really make her stand out. The music she expresses is also like that. There are no unnecessary adornments but it’s still powerful and shows individuality.
Underneath the flashy outfits and thick eyeliner, Sandara shows a completely different face and charm off stage.
Her bare face and modest clothing showed no signs of pretence. She was honest but dignified. When she wasn’t being cute, Sandara Park’s words increased my trust in her and also caused much laughter.
”When I meet someone for the first time, I don’t really talk much. I’m quite shy. That’s why I find it difficult on variety shows. Especially ‘Family Outing’, making a single guest appearance was horrible. I felt it first hand.”
In the middle of November last year, Sandara Park appeared on SBS’s ‘I like Sundays- Family Outing’ along with the girl group After School[‘s UEE]. There was even a controversy about ‘unfair treatment’ as the show seem to centre more around UEE.
”I could tell after filming that people would focus more on UEE. I just stayed quiet all throughout filming, totally opposite to UEE who was being really cute. I didn’t say a word. I thought to myself ‘This isn’t the place for me’.”
This side of herself upset Sandara a bit, but she accepted that she couldn’t keep up with ‘variety’ and let it go.
”President Yang Hyun Seok and the members consoled me after watching ‘Family Outing’. Do you know what they said? President Yang said ‘Dara, it’s okay. It’s because you did so bad.’ and the members said ‘You were so cute, you looked so little just sitting there beside them. ..That is consolation right? (laughs)”
translations by sjay.x @ YGL