"My personality is more like a beast than my looks. Fierce animals take time before they hunt for
their food but once they start hunting,
it only takes them one clean and strong shot. This is similar to my personality."
The real game starts below the stage! - 2PM Nichkhun
Nichkhun is Korean girls' Superstar. His face that shines as if a star had accidentally landed on Earth, his warm and kind heart, and his charisma on stage. There are too many reasons why he steals women's heart. Well, this is his image as Nichkhun on screen. But what would he be like when he's in front of a camera that's been turned off? As a person who challenges himself to be on the cover of , you can feel his persistence not as an entertainer but as a man. The current location is an underground studio in Nonhyun-dong with a boxing ring with sandbag and skipping ropes all over the place. Isn't it a perfect place to meet a real man named Nichkhun.
A man with claws of a fierce animal
The group 2PM that Nichkhun belongs to is called by the name of original 'Beastly-dols'. But from his looks, he has a gracious and precious image like that of a deer rather than a beast. The jungle ruled by the law of 'survival of the fittest' does not seem like his base. But he calls himself a 'tiger' or a 'lion'. "My personality is more like a beast than my looks. Fierce animals take time before they hunt for their food but once they start hunting, it only takes them one clean and strong shot. This is similar to my personality. One of the reasons why I started to work out is because I disliked my feminine and weak-looking image."
So he became bulky. His reason for starting to work out? As a boy he was a badminton player and also liked and enjoyed sports such as Muaythai and golf. But his skinny figure was always a complex. He was only 57kgs when he first arrived in Korea so you could imagine how thin he would've been compared to his height(180cm). His arms were thinner than that of a woman and he did not gain any weight no matter how much he ate. He started weight training in January 2010. For his health, and to become 'bulky'.
Reason for wanting to be on cover? I became envious of 2AM's Changmin, Chansung, Kwon and even Seulong being on the cover. I even gave a little nudge to my trainer saying "Shall I have a go?" I wasn't confident about my skinny figure. But his trainer told him "You can do it, too. Let's make it." So that's how I started. And I even wanted to become the recipient of the Cover Model Award when I went to receive the award for Chansung at the Cool Guy Competition. So I really had to train hard for these to happen.
What kind of training did you do? My real training started in December last year. I had to tackle tough end of year schedules but I trained almost everyday for 2 hours on average. Even just for 30 minutes if I was busy. Because my body did not have any fat I was able to skip running and jump straight to weight training. My will to do a little bit more than what the trainer had told me to do also helped a bit, too.
Are you happy with your results? My weight that was 61kgs at the time of 'I'll be back' promotions had gone up to 68kgs. It was personally surprising as I gained weight by increasing muscles, not fat. The pain of not gaining weight even if I ate was overcome by exercising. I'm so happy that I'm not a skinny 'anchovy man' whenever I look at the mirror. And my arm becoming thicker.
The hardest thing while training? To sustain my new figure. It's easy to pump my muscles by lifting heavy equipments but to sustain it was the hardest. I get stressed because of my schedule that doesn't allow me to exercise everyday. Sustaining abs were hard but the hardest was the arms. My triceps are initially very weak. I couldn't even lift 60kgs on the bench press before I started exercising but now I can lift up to 90kgs. I wanna become a bit bigger than I am now. But I guess there's no other way than to keep exercising. There is no answer to exercising and designing your own body figure apart from continuous effort.
How did you control your diet? I had a set diet, too. To eat as much as I want. I just ate and ate whether it be meat and salad, vegetables and rice. I had food such as beef or steak after exercising. I also took protein supplements. But I didn't gain any weight. It was a torture eating 7 meals a day. Other members were jealous of my diet but a diet to gain weight is equally difficult as a diet to lose weight.
Nichkhun's armour-like chest muscles are a hot issue. A recipe for making chest muscles? I recommend bench press and push ups. Even if I couldn't go to the [fitness] centre, I still did 3 sets of 50 push ups at backstage. I also did sit ups at home either before bed or in the morning.
Was there a motivator when exercising? I usually did my work out with a bigger person. Especially like Chansung or Jinwoon, Taecyeon and Seulong as they all were bigger compared to me so I exercised even harder. I wanted to beat them. And of course I was unhappy at times. Because I still looked smaller even if we did a similar amount of pumping.
What does exercise mean to Nichkhun? Self control. It is mind control. My mind of trying to do 120% rather than 100% when I was worn out had helped me not only when I was exercising but when I was promoting on stage. It makes me think to do a little more when I am extremely tired. I personally like sweaty, competitive and manly sports rather than individual sports. But I'm not so good with soccer or basketball.(Laughs)
"Sports is all about self control. It is mind control. My mind of trying to do 120% rather than 100% when I was worn out had helped me not only when I was exercising but when I was promoting on stage. It makes me think to do a little more when I am extremely tired."
Stories inside his heart
Nichkhun is only 23 years old but his way of speaking and acting is highly mature. To borrow a quote from a staff member, all the members in his team follow Nichkhun like their older brother and respect his words. Blowing up his cheeks in front of the camera shows his childish side but after you shave a layer off him, you can meet his controlled self since he was a young boy.
You seem more mature than your age. There is a saying that my father had always told me since I was a child. "Always think as if you are 2 years older than your actual age. Think carefully. Think before you speak." My father said the reason why God had placed our mouths at the bottom of our heads is so that we think before we speak. He had taught me countless times to think before speaking or acting. I think that got stuck in my head from listening to him so many times.
Is your father your mentor? My father is my mentor, my teacher and my friend. He was very poor when he was young. He looked after his family by working as a computer engineer in America. Father had always taught us to 'act independently' and 'the importance of experience than knowledge'.
Even when I was deciding about Korea he told me "you can build your knowledge by studying but you can build experience through this opportunity." And that it will be a chance for me to prove what kind of person I can become through many different experiences. I still seek for advice from my parents. Because when I look back, they are always right.
Then what is your mother to you? She also has the same mind as my father. She wants me to learn how to survive on my own rather than keeping me safe in her arms. She's a 'so cool mum' but an angel to me at the same time. She's always on my side.
What kind of things does Park Jinyoung PD tell you often? Jinyoung stimulates or 'whips' more than he gives 'carrots'. He tells me to "just be a good person than trying to be a good person all the time." Because I am an entertainer, what he means is that you have to become a good person yourself so there is no need to be taking care of your image constantly rather than taking care of your image to look like a good person. I always have this saying repeated in my mind.
What is Nichkhun's way of communicating? Firstly, I try to listen and feel sympathy for the person. But I tend to speak directly and give advice when I have to. I've lived by myself for over 12 years and moved around lots. And I've experienced many different situations compared to people around my age so I usually talk about my experiences.
Do 2PM members communicate well with each other? We are the best friends and colleagues. If there is a problem we always get together at our dorm and talk about it. We release everything through speaking our true thoughts. Although we're all boys, we never use our fists.
Anything you want to learn from your team members? Wooyoung's humour, Junsu's singing skills, Chansung's charms, Taecyeon's cool personality and Junho's motivation to put things into action.
What are your weaknesses? I have a lot of worries. And I have a feeling of pressure that I have to do everything myself. I tend to do things that I could just ask my manager to do. If other people make mistakes I think that it's all my fault and my responsibility. It wears me out physically but that makes me feel comfortable.
What do you think is the most characteristic feature of Korean culture? I like the culture of keeping strict manners between seniors/juniors in society and siblings. However, Korean men are very fast tempered. This includes our members. They eat as if they drink their food but I still eat my food the slowest. They often suffer from indigestion but I've never had to go through that.(Laughs)
* For more information please refer to p118 of March edition.
Q: "Do you know about Khunwoo is real (Nichkhun & Wooyoung couple)?"
A: Of course I do. Wooyoung is a dongsaeng that personally I like very much. He listens to my words the best. We always share a room in hotels, do a lot of skinship, and go everywhere together, so it might seem that way sometimes. But he's only a dongsaeng I treasure a lot and nothing more. I'm 10000% straight."
Q: 3 things that a man must do before you die?
A: First would be to be on the cover of . Second is to make a family through marriage. Last but not least, to buy a house for my parents. I really want to buy a good house for them......
Source: e-men's health
Trans by Haeda & Egle @ 2pmalways ; buckme for the tip
Source: Wild2Day.org 1 & 2