Gong Minji – let’s get STARTED
People have known Gong Minji ever since she was 15. You can find videos of her auditions when she was in middle school as well as pictures of her trainee days, when people on the internet had a little bit more interest in 2NE1. With her round face and her hair cut short under the ears that showcased her young looks, and of course with her flexible and flowing dance skills that matched the rhythm with her grandmother, Korean dance expert Gong Okjin, showing that the talent came from her family, everything about this girl’s appearance screamed ‘dance prodigy’.
She has spent her teens maturing and growing in the society a little bit earlier than the others in order to pursue the career she had dreamed of. Also, on January 1st, 2013 at 12AM, she has become an adult. While going through her adolescent period, during which there were more things she couldn’t do than could, what she wanted to do once she becomes an adult is much more simple than expected.
While her friends wanted to run to the bar in order to try ‘chimaek’ (T/N : ‘chimaek’ is the short for fried chicken and beer in Korean) as soon as they legally become adults, she kept on thinking about what she wanted to do once she turns 20 on stage during the year-end concerts.
Even though alcohol isn’t on top of her list, she wanted to become a little bit more daring on stage, and also had the bold plan to drive a Hummer once she gets her driver’s license. She also wants to travel and study like she couldn’t do in the past. Since you can’t become an adult like you change clothes, she has decided to enter this new world step by step.
It’s been like this until now. Gong Minji has started to change like that and also remained the same.
Just recently you’ve celebrated your birthday. Did you celebrate it differently than usual?
It was a day when I had no schedule, and I didn’t even have a party with my friends. I just went to the aquarium with my family. I can’t go out on a regular basis. The few times I go out with my family to eat, people keep turning my way and sometimes I feel the sorrow of an animal caged in a zoo.
Still, it was my birthday so I couldn’t just stay home so I went out, and it was a lot more fun than I expected. It was my first time seeing a shark. We made jokes of how the aquarium’s water had the same color as my hair. I felt like I was back in my childhood. It honestly was the most ordinary day, which is why it is a special memory to me.
Are you working on a new album?
I’m not sure whether it’s in shape to be a full album, but we just started the countdown for our comeback. We usually focus on dance songs but we worked hard to show a diversity with ballads, and this time we added another genre. There’s still a lot I can’t say, but I personally had always wanted to break away from the restraints and try a different dancing concept. YG sajang-nim had given a strict order not letting me do sexy dances since I was underage. But now I can actually get into it (laughs). It’s one of the things I wanted to do when I become a 20-year old adult.
The other members’ individual activities are pretty active. Do you have a singer you’d want to make a collaboration with by any chance?
Usher! When 2NE1 gets more famous I really want to stand on the same stage as Usher since I really love hip hop. These days I’m into A$AP Rocky. His songs are my style, and more than anything else, he’s cool. Usher and A$AP Rocky are both my ideal types.
There’s Lee Hayi who joined YG through <K-POP STAR> , and there must have been more juniors in the agency.
I think the maknae position is no longer mine. (laughs) There are a lot of trainee juniors of mine. Though, since the recording studio is on a different floor and practice rooms are different, I rarely meet them, but when I do, I want to give them helpful advice and take care of them as much as I can. But when 2NE1 was preparing for debut, besides my members and I, the only other female singer senior was Gummy unnie. We had to stick together. So, as a senior of those trainee juniors that dream of debuting, I really want to be nice to them since now I’m a unnie too.
You are ten years younger than your fellow members Sandara Park and Park Bom. I am curious to know how you guys get along.
The unnies are really mischievous. They’re curious and like to joke around a lot. While they can sometimes be as tender as friends, they also always take care of me so I can count on them. I am not a maknae who has a lot of aegyo. I can’t really say tender things, nor can I really express my affection to the unnies.
That’s why I once wrote Dara unnie a letter. The content wasn’t really important so I don’t know whether it touched her or not. She gifted me a red bag and wrote me a reply for my last birthday. ‘Minji has now become an adult. I can’t believe it. Sobs sobs‘. The unnies have seen me grow ever since I was in sixth grade, so this birthday was really different from the others.
CL unnie also gifted me an iPhone 5 since I was still using my old phone. Bom unnie, hm, she said she’d buy me something later. It’s probably because she was busy. I understand, unnie. (Laughs)
Since this isn’t really an important thing, I have grown to rely on the unnies when it comes to emotional things. Since we’ve been together for a long time, we know how to respect each other. We know what we have to understand and we know what each of us lacks. We complete one another.
What sort of person is Gong Minji according to your members?
My nickname among the unnies is ‘telephone pole‘. They said that since I’m of the reliable kind, it feels like I will always be at the same place no matter what. Whenever I hear bad reviews or things I don’t want to hear, my expression automatically gets sulky. The unnies give me advice to deal with this in a braver way.
Your schedule should be pretty packed, but looking at your Twitter, you even make clothes and draw.
I am the kind of person who can’t stay inactive. When I am home, even if it’s just housework, I need to do it diligently to be satisfied. Recently, I’m into wearing clothes I personally designed, even though I can’t sew the clothes myself. While we were promoting in Japan, I would drop by fabric stores to personally buy some cloth. I would send my designs to a factory to make these clothes, then I would finish the detailed ornaments. I’ve already made three sets. I’ve even worn some on TV. I was the proudest when the stylist oppas asked me what brand my clothes were.
There are lots of your peers who have already started to find their path. They could be jealous of you who have already found yours.
My friends tell me they are jealous of me. It’s because I have only been digging one well ever since I was really young that I was able to come here. I found what I wanted to faster than the others, I am really thankful I got to pursue my dream in this environment. But at the same time, because of my activities as a singer, I didn’t get to go to a middle school outing. I also regret the fact I couldn’t attend high school properly.
This is why I am currently preparing a qualification exam. Now that I’m 20, there are fewer and fewer limitations on what I can experience so I feel like I will be able to try a lot more things than in the past. Dancing, writing and drawing. Like that, I want to find out more about myself. But more than everything, I want to express myself honestly.
Say something to <Marie Claire> which is the same age as you.
Since we’re the same age, is it okay to speak comfortably?
First of all, congratulations on turning 20. Just like me, <Marie Claire> who reached 20 years, think of this road as a new start. Let’s become friends. (Laughs)
Source: Marie Clair magazine
Magazine Scans: KongMinzy.com
Translated by Kaeryn & 2NE1luvr@ygladies.com
Tags: marie claire
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