Vogue Korea Interview With JISOO (April 2022)
JISOO, a member of the K-pop girl group BLACKPINK , has been described in turn as beautiful, friendly, jolly, playful, cheerful and sweet. Impressive as these descriptors are, they don’t really do her justice.
For her Vogue photo shoot, JISOO strides out in a black silk Dior dress with cutout details. Wearing round-toed combat boots and smoky eye makeup, she sits down casually to pose for the cameras. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this sexy, rebellious and perhaps even tough.
“Wearing a dress like this was a big challenge for me,” she says at the end of the cover shoot for Vogue’s April issue. “Still, I was like, ‘OK ! Let’s do this.’” It’s well past 1 a.m., and the session has included the filming of four videos. In a husky voice that reminds me of the stillness of dawn as well as the vibrancy of a sunny afternoon, JISOO elaborates: “That dress makes me look very mature, doesn’t it? But I felt like rebelling against that sort of appearance. I wanted to give the clothes a different feel. I wanted to introduce an element of surprise and make people realize, ‘Oh? It can look like this?’ Especially at this sort of photo shoot!”
Fashion is a powerful and intuitive medium, and it may well be the case that the world-famous members of BLACKPINK are able to express themselves most effectively on a visual level. What matters here is their attitude. While they surely must attend numerous meetings and plan meticulously before standing in front of a camera, they never appear to be trying too hard. No matter what groundbreaking ideas they are trying to express, they always look completely natural — as if they were born to do this, as if they instinctively understand the pure pleasure that fashion can give.
“It’s fun!” JISOO enthuses. “I also enjoy discovering new sides of myself. I want others to see me and feel that it’s OK to change and take on challenges — and to become more confident.” When asked to pick the most comfortable outfit and the one that best represents her, JISOO chooses the beige jacket that she wore at the end of the shoot, explaining, “It’s because I’ve never had that feel before. It was refreshing. People tend to associate Dior with simplicity or lovely designs, but I think their latest collection is varied and bold, and that it blurs gender boundaries.” JISOO and Dior may be alike in that they both enjoy striking out in new directions and shattering accepted images. “We’re breaking down preconceived ideas together,” JISOO agrees with a laugh.
During the interview, JISOO frequently uses words like “new,” “fresh” and “challenge.” Looking back, it’s clear that JISOO has been changing constantly. We have witnessed her growing at her own chosen pace in pictorials and on stage over the past six years. In fact, JISOO’s singing and dancing skills have improved markedly since her debut, and she’s become highly regarded for her strong vocals and consistent live performances. For JISOO, though, growth goes beyond improving her techniques and includes developing as a human being, expanding her world and absorbing new ideas. This applies to acting, which she has recently taken on in earnest.
“I’ve met a lot of new people,” reflects JISOO. “I’ve learned that what comes naturally to me can feel unfamiliar to others, and that people in different fields of work have the same sorts of thoughts and problems as I do. You could say my view of the world has expanded a little.” She’s learned that taking an interest in others and having consideration for those around you can lead to personal growth, teaching you how to take the initiative in your own life and develop healthy self-love. “I think I’ve learned to put myself first since I started acting,” muses JISOO. “I’ve done a lot of thinking. After continually asking myself, ‘What do I need now?’ and finding my own answers, I feel I’ve learned to look after myself better. This has made me value myself more, and it’s helped me a great deal.”
JISOO hates to cause trouble for those around her or create any kind of negative atmosphere. She’s kindhearted in a refreshing sort of way, and her nickname, BLACKPINK’s “mood maker,” suits her well. I noticed that when a young fan of JISOO’s visits the set, JISOO goes out of her way to interact with her. JISOO tries to talk to the nervous fan whenever she has a spare moment, praises her style (the fan went to a hairdresser before this event) and, after the shoot, invites her to help select the photos. JISOO later tells me with a laugh, “The girl said that she liked all the photos we took today. So, I said, ‘If you like them, that’s what matters. I can get a good night’s sleep tonight!’” This is the JISOO that we’ve seen in numerous live broadcasts — someone who’s always positive and lacks a hidden agenda. In fact, I’m beginning to believe that her affable and apparently sincere manner in front of the public may well be her true nature.
“I’m terrible at lying,” admits JISOO. “Recently, I played a game called ‘Among Us’, which is similar to the game ‘Mafia’. If you get the role of the Impostor, you have to pretend that you’re someone else. Most people want to be the Imposter because it’s fun, but when I’m the Imposter, I can’t help but look miserable. Everyone says they can tell that I’m the Imposter just by looking at my face. I’m incapable of even telling white lies.”
JISOO has contradictory qualities. She’s bright and distant, like a being from another planet, yet at the same time, she’s strangely intimate, so that it’s easy to strike up a friendship with her. It’s safe to say that her unusual charm — being approachable and extraordinary at the same time, being an enigma yet still resonating with the public — is at the core of BLACKPINK’s identity. These qualities allow people to idolize and admire the world-famous K-pop group as well as empathize with them. And JISOO does all this naturally and with quiet acceptance.
She has always kept her composure, even when Vogue UK and Forbes proclaimed BLACKPINK to be the most powerful girl group on the planet, when the group’s YouTube channel accumulated the largest number of subscribers in the world, when they performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, when their “Sour Candy” collaboration with Lady Gaga was released and when they participated in Dior’s S/S 2022 show and attracted the largest crowd that Paris Fashion Week had ever seen.
“I’m not just saying this, but when people say I’ve accomplished something great, I’m not so sure,” says JISOO. “Ten years ago, I used to practice using Lady Gaga’s music, so of course it was a great honor to collaborate with her. But somehow, it seemed more like we had become friends and decided it would be nice to work together. And when performing at Coachella, I wasn’t really aware of how large the stage was or how much the audience was enjoying the show, because I was preoccupied with completing the performance without any mistakes. While other members said, ‘JISOO! There were so many people out there. This is so exciting!’ I just gasped for breath and replied, ‘I wasn’t aware. I was just focusing on the people in the front row. I was in a daze,’” she recounts with a laugh. “I still don’t feel very different, so it’s no wonder that I haven’t changed much. That’s probably why people around me say I’m still the same as I was before my debut.”
This all shows how grounded JISOO is — she remained unfazed by everything around her. “I like that quality of mine,” confides JISOO. “I feel proud when I find myself not being swayed easily. People often look at others and think, ‘I want to have that’ or ‘I want to be like that,’ and forget what they really wanted to do. I hate that feeling. I believe how I see myself is more important than how others see me.” It seems that JISOO is able to say what she needs to say and do what she needs to do without emotional upheavals, to figure out exactly what she wants by constantly examining herself and to accept her current situation matter-of-factly. For a world-famous celebrity like her, being able to protect her identity is a great advantage.
Naturally, the word JISOO chooses to describe herself is simply “JISOO.” She doesn’t have a role model. Her plan is to continue step-by-step on the path that she thinks is right for her toward the “future JISOO.” “I want to be a person who focuses more on my own happiness as I move forward,” she asserts. “I feel that I’ve been rushing ahead while tackling problems that pop up suddenly along the way. My mindset changed because I went through a lot. At some point, I started prioritizing what I need to do to be happy. So, if I imagine the future JISOO is really happy, and that I’m becoming that person, it makes me happier now.” Hence, JISOO is proceeding calmly, her eyes set on herself.
cr. Vogue Korea