Dark eyeliner and light blonde hair; controlling the stage with her attitude and overflowing charisma, that’s CL
Who could’ve thought she likes cooking, loves drawing, and enjoys watching romance-comedy films?
This is an interview with 2NE1′s leader, CL, and feminine, smart, Chaerin.
Photographed by Kim Youngjun
Q: Tell us about the process of 2NE1′s new album?
We are really focusing on the recording right now. Because it’s been a over a year that we’ve released an album other than our single ‘I Love You’, we’re preparing a lot of songs for our new album. It’s been so long since we’ve had our comeback so we’re really being careful. And it’s also true that I’ve been wanting to do a solo.
Q: Is the new album as shocking as ‘I Love You?’
I can’t really decide on that one. But there’s a fast, ’2NE1-like’ song, and there’s also a slow song.
Q: As an artist, you experiment on many things, do you get stressed thinking about showing the fans something new?
I have the tendency to get tired of things easily. I’m the type to always want something new. If I keep repeating the same things, I have no motivation to move forward. I can be unpredictable, but that’s only when I’m CL. Chaerin (CL’s real name) is the total opposite of that. Though I have many sides of me, I keep the same lifestyle. It’s possible that you won’t understand this.
Q: Compared to someone who follows trends in music and fashion, you’re more of someone who sets trends. That doesn’t seem like something (T/N: an image) that is deliberately thought of or planned by the company.
I don’t deliberately plan. For fashion, I can’t ignore the trends, but I would choose which ones to adopt for myself. But it’s not fun to just be trendy. Depth is also important. Just like in fashion, it’s more important to focus on the hidden details rather than the design that you see on the surface.
The way I treat my clothes is that, I think the energy of the person who made it and the time that they have invested in it makes it worth more than just its expensive price. Therefore, I always wear them with a thankful heart.
Q: Last summer, after watching 2NE1′s concert, I was so touched seeing the overflowing passion and energy of four girls. Where does CL get this energy?
I think it all comes from your mentality and passion. When I’m not working on something, I sleep for 12 hours, but when there’s work to do, I can do with only 2 hours of sleep. Singapore was the last location of the tour, and whenever I think of that moment when I’m singing in front of thousands of people, I feel overwhelmed.
Normally, I’m not the type to cry, but by the time I reached my house in Seoul, tears were just flowing. I feel somewhat frustrated when I don’t think about where to use that energy I receive, and all I think about is to just immediately work.
Q: You’re at that age where much attention is placed on dating and having fun. Do you think that others stereotype you due to your bold and daring image?
Actually, I’ve never drank alcohol in one gulp. I’ve tried it, but I’ve never gotten drunk. I’m a Pisces so I don’t really like not being sober. I’m the type to be attentive at all times and I feel that I’d rather get drunk on work than through drinking alcohol. Unexpectedly, I’m kind of a party pooper. When there’s something funny, I get serious all by myself.
Q: Could it be because of the strict atmosphere in the home of an educator? There was a recent topic on your dad being a professor.
Not at all. My parents drink and know how to play even better than I do. Also, even from when I was young, my parents never scolded me or forced me to do things. I grew up in with freedom and learned to be responsible myself. They wouldn’t scold me even if I didn’t do well in a test as to them, it was my own decision to do so. They would tell me that my future is in my own hands and that they would like me to find a job that I would have fun in.
I was terrified that I was solely responsible for my life. Also, I was entrusted with the responsibility to manage my own money from the moment I debuted. When I was sixteen, (Dad) made me a passbook and told me to rely on myself to become a beggar or a rich person. So since then, I had to learn how to manage my own money.
Q: So it was because of your extraordinary parents that you’re walking a different path from your peers who lead ordinary lives. Have you ever wanted something different from the path you’re on?
Last year, last year I had longings for a normal life. Studying, then marriage.. I had a heart that wanted a natural order like this in my life. It seemed that CL and Chaerin had a conflict. But after I thought about it, I realized that there isn’t much difference (T/N: between normal life and idol life).
My friends who are schooling are also full of worries and get really tired too. After thinking about it, I realized that I don’t live a normal life, because I would feel too confined in one; I felt at ease after I realized that.
Q: Then what’s the daily life of Chaerin like? Actually we feel that your real name is so feminine when compared to the image of CL. Is there such a difference in your lifestyle too?
I feel really happy when I’m eating something delicious at home and I’m watching a sitcom or a romantic comedy with a guaranteed happy ending. I would choose lovely things that are unrealistic. I can’t watch movies too close to reality that would directly affect my state of mind.
Q: You’re unexpectedly feminine. Could it be that you have more feminine sides to you?
Although this might be hard to believe, I have the most feminine sides out of the 4 members (of 2NE1). I like learning how to cook, dramas and romantic comedies, also the Western ones, the most. When I was in school I really liked the story of kids that transformed as they survived bullies, like in ‘Mean Girls’.
I had a really nerdy side to me back then and perhaps I saw myself in these characters. However, not everything that results from the ‘blooming’ of your female hormones matches all girls. I’m not the type to gossip or slander anyone and also talk in a nasally voice so those would be really hard for me.
Q: I heard that you paint in your spare time?
I still paint pictures. But I don’t show them to anyone as I have a personality that does not want to show anything that is that is not perfect yet. Although I’ve talked about writing songs before, I don’t wish to challenge this area if I can’t write better songs than Teddy oppa. For example, just like today, I received makeup from the professionals who are better than me at it.
Q: Who else is aware that CL cooks, draws and even watches romantic comedies? This seems like a total opposite of the charismatic and confident look that fans are familiar with.
As I said before, that is the life of Chaerin. While CL is my personality on stage, in daily life I have a side of me that has strong opinions and is stubborn too. I have a quiet introvert side too but that has caused misunderstandings. I didn’t want to go drinking and have heard that that sounded cocky, should I say that you should think of me cutely instead? If not for this strong image I guess it would be easier to accept that I could be shy. (Laughs)
Q: If you were to reveal a recipe that you’re most confident of?
I’ve learned to cook a French dish and I’ve also been imparted the skills in Korean cooking too by my grandmother. Among these I make Bean Paste Stew (된장찌개) really well. Also, cooking in a LeCreuset pot is the best. Add just slightly more than enough water (to the pot) and put in on a high fire. After the water boils reduce the heat to a very low fire and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 mins, off the fire and keep the lid on for about 5 mins and it’ll be done.
Q: To what extent do make-up and beauty play a part in your life?
Because of my occupation, it’s almost a 100%. I didn’t take care of my skin or had interest in makeup from young. However, as far back as I can remember, it seems like I’ve always had an interest in fashion. I wanted to try a variety of things, but the clothes Mom bought were always too boring so from my 4th year of elementary school onwards I started go shopping on my own. As I didn’t have much money, I always went to vintage shops.
Q: Lately, has any exceptional designers caught your eye?
Actually, nowadays, instead of specific designers, I’ve been more keen in collecting vintage styles. Not long ago, when I went to London, I was so excited that I could visit such a wide variety of amazing vintage shops, vintage Chanel, Versace, Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, and also got to see Castelbajac’s old archives that I’ve heard of.
Q: Right now, thick eyeliner and blond hair seems to be CL’s trademark when you are in front of the camera.
I tend to draw on thicker eyelines as I don’t have double eyelids. I don’t know when it started but I don’t feel comfortable if the eyeliner is too thin. (Laughs) About hair colour, I want to try a natural black colour too, but everyone around me kept telling me I’ll get grey hair if I do that. It’s so scary. I’ve got to choose the best option between grey hair and blonde hair. However, pink and colorful hair look cool too.
Q: Where do you usually get information on beauty from?
Mainly I just listen to Bom unnie. Because she seems to have more ever more extensive knowledge (on the topic) than professionals. Actually with regard to beauty care I don’t know much. When we’re actively promoting, right from the start, I have makeup on everyday. I would be sweating (with makeup on) and I would often be plagued with skin problems. Therefore, these days I go for skin treatments periodically.
Besides that, nail care and eyebrow care are also the things that I cannot leave out. Also, to maintain the blonde hair, I go for treatments religiously. And lastly, I’ve heard that scalp treatment is needed to take care of my scalp well and will also prevent wrinkles from appearing on my face, so I’ve been doing that. But as always, the most important thing is ‘what you eat’.
Q: Do you perhaps, have any complexes?
Too many. I try to hide them in their own areas though, such as at the feet. I can’t tell you about all of them, but if I were to pick one it would be my hands. My hands are so plump and are not pretty right? So I always keep long nails and never dreamed of cutting them into squares.
Q: Do you want to get medical help to overcome your complexes?
I’ve always been stubborn with regard to plastic surgery. When I was a trainee, I received lots of suggestions to do double eyelid surgery and to cut away the protruding part on my nose bridge, but I didn’t want to mess up parts that I thought were the most charming. So I didn’t do it. But right now, I cannot do so and truthfully, am not interested at all. I can transform with makeup instead so it’s fine.
Q: In work and daily life, how do you find the balance between CL and Chaerin?
Through the appropriate use of tension and relaxation. Also, I’m starting yoga again. From middle school onwards, I would do yoga with my mom and younger sister, I think there’s nothing better than (yoga). When I’m stressed I would listen to some music and dance around crazily, and I also like to meditate alone. My dad always tells me that ‘cooking is the pinnacle of art’, whether its cooking or drawing, I like them as I can silently concentrate on it by myself.
Q: As they say, birds of a feather flock together; it seems that you have many people around you with distinct colours and personalities. I don’t think this is a result of your deliberate socialisation?
Ordinary people seem to not like me. They tend to think that I’m a little weird and I like to hang out with people that I can learn from. I don’t know why, but I like hearing about a variety of other people’s lives. That’s why even when I was attending school I only had a few friends that were of the same age. The rest were all above 30. Even when I was in school I played with my aunt and her friends and also with my mom’s friends. There’s a saying by Bruce Lee. If you want to be real, be with those who are real. (T/N: Not sure what the actual quote is in English but this is the literal Korean to English translation)
Q: 2NE1 can’t be an idol group forever. Have you thought about what the next step could be?
I think that that’s part of our charm. Because we know that this cannot be forever, we do things to our best abillity and are always grateful. ‘If we don’t do it now, then when else would we do it?’ We have thoughts like that.
Q: What is the music that you’re always listening to these days?
The 2NE1 songs that we’re recording. Once we start recording, I don’t listen to other music so as to not be affected.
Q: If you were to date, what type of men would you date?
I like a man that I can respect. Except for young men. Other than age (as I heard that my preferences would change as I get older), as long as our conversation flows well and his butt isn’t flat, it’ll work.
CL really seemed to dig deep for this interview, what revelation surprised you the most?
Source: Harper’s Baazar Korea
HQ Scans courtesy leechaelin.com
Translated by firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: harper’s bazaar
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