Kim Jaedong’s “Knock Knock Knock” – #21 SNSD’s Sooyoung

Interview by Kim Jaedong
Intro written and edited by reporter Park Kyungeun

“A celebrity is a person who wants to be a child at times, but is forced to become an adult”

>>These people are like pretty little nieces to samchons, younger sisters to army ahjusshis, and lovers or friends to people their age. SNSD is not just a girl group in our generation, but they are a culture icon. Now they have crossed over into Japan, raising popularity there and have become a huge export from Korea. To Kim Jaedong’s pleasure, he is an “oppa” to the nine members of SNSD. Hahaha. But he has no answer if you tease him, “you’re an ahjusshi, why are they calling you oppa?” He just says, “They still call me oppa.” He met with SNSD member Sooyoung. And why would he meet with Sooyoung? Before the captain of the fanclubs come flying over, I’ll explain. Because of the nature of this interview and the members’ busy schedules, SM recommended us doing this interview. So please don’t misunderstand!

KJD: How long has it been [since we’ve seen each other]? 1 year?

SY: Noo, what do you mean 1 year? I saw you at HaHa oppa’s house. I think it’s only been half a year.

KJD: I’m forgetful. You try being this old. Anyway, how did it feel like to get 1st place in Japan?

SY: I still can’t believe it, everything’s so amazing. I’ve promoted in Japan by myself before for 3 years. During those years, I’ve always wanted to go on the Japanese music program, “Music Station,” so I begged my management company, but we were too unknown to go on it. This time, we were able to go on the show so it was so amazing. The other members just thought, “Oh, we’re just going on the show,” but I silently cried.

KJD: You guys survived because you’re a group, but it still must be difficult to promote in a different country.

SY: The members are so precious to me and so loveable. Everybody asks if it’s difficult, but it just feels like we’re sticking close together to go on a field trip so we have fun. We even went to Disneyland by ourselves. We don’t have a “we have to be successful even if it kills us” kind of attitude. We just need to have fun and enjoy ourselves for our fans to have fun as well.

KJD: I don’t really like Disney. Actually, I just don’t like those things with the big eyes.

SY: *Sigh* Oh, oppa. I love Disney. It’s like a present from heaven! It was so touching watching Tinkerbell fly down on a wire that I almost cried.

KJD: You’re 22 years old, aren’t you too old to go to amusement parks or enjoy watching things like Mickey Mouse?

SY: It doesn’t matter. My older sister is 26 and she still loves Mickey Mouse.
At this point, Sooyoung was so cute and lovely that my heart should have been pounding, but it just felt like I was an oppa watching a little sister that’s achieved something great.

SY: Oppa, I’ve shot an ad for a fashion magazine before my debut once. It was around grade 8 at the time and I even did a short interview. They asked me which celebrity I liked, and I answered that I liked Kim Jaedong.

KJD: Why are you telling me this so late, and why are you whispering?

SY: If the members know that, they’ll bully me. I’m a huge fan of Jo Insung and Jo Seungwoo. I’ve never met them, but I really want to meet them one day. Same for Hwang Jungmin.

KJD: Hey, don’t change the topic. Out of nowhere, you said you were a fan of me… What, you’re not a fan anymore?

SY: I’m a fan of somebody when they’re unreachable and I haven’t met them yet. After getting to know the person, it becomes more of a close sunbae-hoobae relationship, and I’m not so much of a fan anymore. Same applies to you.
[Translator’s Note: Sunbae means “senior” and hoobae means “junior”. You apply it to a person more/less experienced than you in an area.]

KJD: Hm, that might apply to me, but it probably wouldn’t be the same for Jo Insung or Jo Seungwoo. They probably won’t become a close sunbae or a close oppa so easily. Even guys think they’re so attractive. But whatever, good luck. For some reason, it makes me sad and bitter when I see younger people.

SY: To be honest, I was so nervous and excited when they said I was doing an interview with you. It felt like I was going to talk with somebody who actually has his head on properly, like you’re one of those people who just get what I’m saying.

KJD: Whoa, so you’ve known? Haha, anyway, if the public is to keep being happy because of you, they won’t forget my distinct looks. Anyway, do you have a lot of samchon fans in Japan as well?

SY: No, just like Korea, we have a lot of female fans in Japan. There are a lot of unnie fans and eemo fans. When we’re on stage, fans that are around my age are the most enthusiastic. Samchon fans just quietly watch us.
[Translator’s Note: Eemo means “aunt” like samchon means “uncle”]

KJD: It’s probably because they love you but they don’t have enough energy anymore. It’s tough because you want to scream, but after just 2 minutes of screaming, you start coughing and our throats get clogged. Do you still receive a lot of fan letters?

SY: We get so many. Fan letters from Japanese fans are memorable because they study Korean and send us letters written in Korean. One person even sent us a present after reading a book. They didn’t just send us the book, but they wrote all the good lines or passages in a thick notebook and sent it with the novel. Somebody sent the book that Sean [the singer from Jinusean]sunbae wrote, and the person wrote, “I hope to have a married life like this couple one day”. I definitely had the same thought as I was reading it.

KJD: You’re already think of marriage?

SY: It’s just a thought. You know, about that one person out there in this world that I will end up with one day. Who they are is a mystery, but he has to be out there somewhere. I don’t know who he is but I imagine that his existence itself is lovely and it makes me curious.

KJD: I’ve been thinking those thoughts for 37 years now. Do you know how unfair that is? But I think it’s hard to live as an idol and date. You’re limited to the people that you meet and you’re so busy because of your schedule. You’re also limited in the places you can go.

Why do people go wild over SNSD? And not even Koreans, but fans from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other places. Sooyoung said that it was because of their “energy and passion”.

SY: Out of the members, I’m more on the stern side. I always think I’m lacking something. I share with the members a lot about the things we should change the next time, and I also pick out a lot of things from our choreography. If our lines aren’t right or our form isn’t in perfect order, I’m the one who would point it out the most often. I guess I can just say that I’m the “pointer-outer” of the group.

KJD: Bahaha. It feels like I’m interviewing an army sergeant or major or something. But what happens if you’re the one to make a mistake?

SY: Then the other members point it out to me. I’m thankful if they tell me if I’m doing something wrong. One thing I learned from living as a group was the importance of speech. It’s all in the way you say things. If I have the intention of finding fault in the other person, no matter how I say it when I correct them, the other person will surely get upset. And if I’m worked up or angry, I take a break and wait for myself to feel better before I correct the other person. That way, if I’m correcting the person without anger or bad feelings, then the other person would actually be thankful.

KJD: Why have you matured at such an early age? Well, I’m sure you were like this before, but…

SY: Being with the members all the time, I feel like I’ve become an adult. I think being a celebrity is a job where you have no choice but to become an adult. But my mom keeps me grounded a lot. My mom tells me, “No matter how many times you say you’re from SNSD, when you come home you’re my maknae [youngest] daughter, not SNSD.” And on the other hand, I really don’t want to become a grown-up having to take care of myself so fast. I want to be a young girl forever…

Talking to Sooyoung, it felt like she was my older sister. Come to think of it, when I thought I was just a boy that hasn’t matured fully, I suddenly realized I’ve become an adult myself. A long time ago, I couldn’t understand why adults drank soju out of a regular cup [and not a shot glass]. Now, I find myself drinking soju out of a glass myself while I’m eating a meal. That was when I first realize I’ve become an ahjusshi.

SY: Oppa, you know the type of lives celebrities live once they step off the stage – they lead an adult’s life, should I call it? Sometimes, we just want to be an immature 22-year-old, but the world won’t approve of that. Living as SNSD and receiving, there are so many more things that we are able to have, and we are becoming more experienced. I think that as we become more familiar and experienced in this [entertainment] world, we shouldn’t be afraid of growing up. I guess you can say that I don’t want to become and gain an image as the typical celebrity or star.

KJD: That’s right, you just have to remember your first intentions [or “remember your roots”]. If you can do that, then you’ll be able get rid of your empty feelings when you step off the stage. You have to keep yourself and be sure about where you stand without being influenced by judgement from others. Sooyoung as the celebrity might be a rainbow that fades later, but your position as Sooyoung the youngest daughter will never fade, and that’s a comfortable position to be in.

SY: I think we were able to become so popular because we just worked with the ideas of many other people. So much blood and sweat has been shed from, really, so many people for just one song to be perfected so we can go on stage. We just wear whatever clothes they give us, take pictures, and we just sing and dance like we practice. In general, we like receiving so much love, but sometimes, I think if we’re even entitled to all the love we receive.

Just like Sooyoung said, so many people must have shed their blood and sweat behind the scenes for SNSD, but I also know very well how many things an idol member has to give up and how hard they have to work. I know the effort that goes into gaining popularity and the effort it takes in maintaining that popularity. It probably goes the same for all the young people in this country, but idols have to have that burden and face the public as well.

KJD: I’ve always been curious… don’t you ever become envious of kids your age who go on blind dates and stuff?

SY: I can’t do those things, but I’m not really envious. I can go and watch movies, go to the amusement park, get my nails done, and dye my hair like other kids my age do.

KJD: I get envious when others go on blind dates because I can’t do that. Going on a blind date means that the two people don’t know each other, but since we’re celebrities, the other person would know me already. As soon as your face and name become widely known, you lose the fun of going on a blind date or being set up by someone.

At this point, I felt that this 22-year-old girl so full of wisdom is so incredible. Through her, it seemed like I was able to peek into a secret life, and not through the life of a SNSD member that everybody loves. Even on MBC’s “Fantastic Duo,” her co-MC Oh Sangjin always seemed like a big kid whenever he was next to Sooyoung.

SY: There’s something you don’t know, oppa. Girls always have a desire to look the best. Every day, I think that I can be such a choding sometimes. I get so upset and I can be so boastful about the smallest things… There are times when the members just really get on each others’ nerves. For example, if I wanted to get leopard-print nail art done on my nails, and another member comes in with leopard print done one day, I get upset and annoyed for no reason. But if I go to the nail shop and get my nails done with a nice design, I want people around me to compliment me so I want to show it off. Everybody thinks that way sometimes.

KJD: Mhmm, I get it. So you’re saying that there are times when the members fight. I think I’ve learned something more about girls today. Do you have anything you’re curious about the male mentality?

SY: Alcohol. Oppa, I know you like to drink as well, but I don’t get what you guys drink so much of that bitter alcohol. I also don’t understand why you guys would stay up all night playing computer games.

Yes, Sooyoung is not at the age where she would understand those things yet. I don’t even know why I drink my soju in a glass. In “Le Petit Prince,” a drunkard was asked the question, “Why do you drink alcohol?” He answered, “It’s so that I can forget that I am ashamed to be drinking.”
Haha, Sooyoung. You know, there are samchon fans out there that wish they could talk about their futures with you over some drinks. It’s when things like that can only happen in a dream that guys drink. And they’d drink thinking of that overnight.


Source: Kyunghyan Shinmun
Translation: [email protected]