JENNIE Interview With Vogue Japan (July 2023)
Into the JENNIEVERSE – An Exclusive Interview With BLACKPINK’s JENNIE.
In a rare and exclusive interview, our June cover star opens up to VOGUE JAPAN about her travel tips, her taste in fashion, and what it means to be a global icon. Welcome to the JENNIEVERSE.
Imagine a place where hot pink sand dunes undulate under a surreal sky, and BLACKPINK hits play on repeat in the background. For VOGUE JAPAN’s travel-inspired ‘World Tour’ issue, we asked K-Pop royalty Jennie to take us on a trip to a unique place, and this is where we touched down – the JENNIEVERSE. Wearing Chanel’s 2022-23 Métiers d’art collection, which was inspired by Dakar in Senegal, our cover star is perhaps the perfect example of what travel – both in the digital and physical sense – can mean in 2023.
With her dimpled smile and kittenish demeanor, Jennie – whose full name is Jennie Kim – is the blueprint for a new kind of global megastar. Growing up between New Zealand and Seoul, she might still be labeled a K-Pop singer, but her influence can hardly be contained to one nation. The first South Korean female artist to perform solo at Coachella in 2019 (with her aptly named song ‘Solo’, in addition, BLACKPINK was the first ever Asian female group to perform at the festival), she’s now making her mark in Hollywood with an acting debut under her stage name Jennie Ruby Jane in Sam Levinson’s grittily glamorous series The Idol, co-starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel Tesfaye (AKA The Weeknd). All this considered, we might well think of her as the first true example of a post-K-pop success story.
For the 27-year-old, her fame is like inhabiting two different worlds simultaneously. “Jennie on stage is charismatic and powerful, but off stage I’m just a normal, shy girl,” she tells VOGUE JAPAN. Still, with 80 million followers on Instagram (that’s more than the entire population of South Korea) and legions of BLACKPINK fans – known as Blinks – following her every move, staying down to earth can’t be easy. Search her name on TikTok and you’ll be met with a wall of fan-created Jennie content, clips admiring her dynamic choreography on stage to memes fawning over her famous hamster-cheeked grin.
What does it mean to her to have the kind of following that borders on – and often surpasses – obsession? And how can an icon possibly live up to the hype? For Jennie, it’s a matter of clear-headedness. “[An icon is] someone who clearly has their own opinions and thoughts,” she says. “To be called an icon you need to have the ability to question people with your own views and perspectives, rather than just giving the answer that everyone accepts or the story that everyone likes.”
Now in her seventh year in BLACKPINK alongside bandmates LISA, Jisoo and Rosé, she’s experienced enough to know how the game works. The best advice she has for aspiring artists? Be confident with the path you’ve chosen, and maintain that fierce, Jennie-style determination. “If you believe in yourself more than anyone else and work hard, you will definitely make things happen one way or another,” she tells Vogue. “A positive mindset is key, and filling your mind with positive thoughts can help you stay motivated. If you focus on the positive and look for solutions, you’ll find tough situations easier to overcome.”
Then there’s her viral style, which she succinctly describes as “natural and casual”, and which oscillates between thigh-high skirts, tie-up cardigans, and T-shirts with beaten-up jeans. Her everyday style might be chameleonic, but her favorite brand remains steady. “Chanel,” she says. It’s significant that Jennie was the last person to be handpicked by the late Karl Lagerfeld as a global Chanel ambassador, and wore a vintage Chanel dress from 1990 to her first Met Gala earlier this year – another mark of her increasingly international reach.
Being constantly on the road means she’s developed a failsafe packing list when flying. “[I take] a pillow, a sleeping mask, and an iPad,” she says. “And I always carry a lip balm with me because my lips are often chapped.” Over the years, she’s found the best way to stay comfortable while traveling is to bring a small piece of home with her on the journey. “When you’re in a new place, the unfamiliarity of your surroundings can be overwhelming, so it’s helpful to make your environment as much like your home and your room as possible,” she says. “My tip is to bring your own pillow, pajamas, and aromatic oils to help you relax.”
When she does manage to get some time off, she spends it in recharge mode: “I’m most comfortable when I’m lying in bed on my day off and not thinking about anything,” she says. Then, of course, there’s all-important voice care. “My routine before a big concert is to turn on the humidifier and drink a lot of warm water before going to bed,” she says. “I believe that a healthy mind comes from a healthy body. If you get enough rest, eat well, and exercise hard, your body and mind will follow.”
Back home in Seoul, one of Jennie’s must-visit spots is Namsam Mountain – the perfect location to gaze out of over the romantic scenery of the Han River. “If I had to pick one place in Seoul, it’s there, for the wonderful night view,” she says. Outside of Korea, the places on her travel wish-list currently include Amsterdam (“it reminds me of the time I spent with my band members during the tour. It’s a pretty interesting city”) and Africa, where she dreams of going on safari. “I have never been, but I love animals!” she says.
For the moment, Jennie’s plan is to continue zipping around the world, finishing up with press for The Idol before continuing onto the next stop on BLACKPINK’s second world tour. “Right now, the first thing to do is to finish the rest of the world tour safely, without any major problems,” she says. “Every moment is precious, but the most memorable moments are standing on stage and meeting Blinks from around the world that I haven’t seen for a long time.” Until then, you can catch her in the JENNIEVERSE.