This is an exclusive interview done with the Wonder Girls by COOL, an idol magazine based in Taiwan. It includes an interesting write-up on the Wonder Girls on the whole and personal interviews (3 questions) with each member. Many thanks to 白家老王 for typing out the whole interview in wondergirls吧.
The Wonder Begins…Wonder Girls Exclusive Interview
What would you do if you were WonderWoman? The answers from the five of them were out of this world. Of course, the quest for world peace won’t fall on the shoulders of these five lasses who aren’t even 20. But asking them to create their own miracles won’t be too much to ask right? The girls never knew that from the moment they sang “Tell Me”, their life would just get a little bit more interesting. What else can we do besides looking on at them with our mouths wide open at this miraculous sight?
“Retro difficult initially, but got more and more interesting”
Since releasing their first single on Feburary 13th 2007, they have managed to swept all major charts with their “Tell Me” song. Not only has “Tell Me” charm people of the same age, it has also won the affection of guys in their 30s. Even army men who usually likes sexy singers aren’t spared from this. Korean professional gamers take to doing So Hee’s “Omona” action when they achieve victory. Even funnier is that bulletin boards for fighting sports which is totally unrelated to music is full of discussion threads about the Wonder Girls.
“Saying that we are Korea’s Little Sisters are kind of exagerrating,” So Hee shly said. During “Irony” time, many people in their 30s didn’t know who the Wonder Girls were. But even employees now wearing formal suits in JYPE are also humming “Tell Me”. Many people who liked this song even posted videos of themselves dancing to it on UCC sites. “We saw that traffic police and even army men are dancing to it (smiles).”
One thing worth mentioning is that the dance for “Tell Me” was passed to them through their producer, Park Jin Young while he was still in America. When they chereographed the dance, many of the movements wasn’t there yet, but six hours just before the MV filming, JYP suddenly appeared online and the members/dancers had to quickly make changes to the dance. “This was our first time trying retro dance and we could dance as how we want it but had to retain the traits of 80s dancing. It was quite interesting and fresh for us.”
At the start of the MV, there was a part where they poked part at JYP’s, “She was Pretty” dance and Sun Ye explained, “Haha, we never meant it that way. If we say that (She is Pretty) is turdy, doesn’t it reflect on us as well?
Those who have seen JYP’s “Tell Me” UCC video might have feel that he is overdoing it. It looks “X-rated” but thankfully, the Wonder Girls have used cuteness to replace the sexy element. At the same time, the Wonder Girls find that “Tell Me” is a very difficult song to sing. In using Stacey Q “Two of Hearts” as Sampling, does it mean they have to imitate Stacey Q? But to most of them, it was difficult since they didn’t have a clue who Stacey Q was. “We had to sing it sharply but Sun Mi’s voice is kind of coarse. It was very tough initially but we managed to do it and can now call ourselves “CD girls” (smiles).”
Even though their mentor JYP said that Wonder Girls was only formed because of leader, Min Sun Ye, the other members have gradually grown to balance out the group. Before their debut, they learnt dancing from Rain and vocal training from Im Jeong Hee. Even now, they are also staying together with their Chinese language teacher who accompanies them to nearly almost all their events. In this way, they can learn from her whenever there is a break. Even if they can’t understand some words now, they can understand the gist just by looking at their teacher’s eyes. “When the teacher starts asking us in Chinese, we still reply back in Korean (smiles).”
Everyday without fail, they would try to catch a wink while commuting between school and performance locations. They can’t attend their brothers/sisters entrance, graduation ceremonies or have gatherings with friends/relatives. Sun Ye and So Hee mentioned before that they are 2kg lighter than what their profile information indicated when they debuted. This is perhaps the price you have to pay for being a singer and something that people usually don’t see.
Min Sun Ye Interview
She always brings a feel of security to people around her. She underwent six years of training before finally debuting. Her outstanding talent and willpower is something to be admired. Her experience of living with her granny since she was little has made her more matured than girls of her age. Her innate sensitivity makes her most ideal to become one that leads her members. She particularly loves a brand of tea beverage that Jeon Ji Hyun endorses and so her dream is to become a model like her. How? Isn’t she an adorable girl?
Cool: What kept you going after having to endure so many years of training?
Sun Ye: I think my greatest source of energy came from my belief. It may be because I’m a Christian and so I developed a sense of confidence about myself. I dreamt of being a singer when I was little, and I have never thought about a career in anything else in 19 years of my life. I had great confidence in myself always and this has made me what I am today!
Cool: As leader, what do you think your pros and cons are?
Sun Ye: It’s only now then I realise that there is a reason behind me training for six years in the company. I am not saying that I am already very good but just that I have learnt many things during this six years and also realised that I still have room for improvement in many areas. Because I grew up under the care of my granny, training also made me realise many things that I never understood in the past. If I didn’t have this six years of training, the one in this position today might not be me. Truthfully, I felt burdened to be given this leader position because I felt that I was lacking in many areas. I kept on worrying about how am I supposed to lead four members. But I slowly accepted my destiny and rather than worrying, I might as well learn how to do it well. I grown a lot during this time and never felt that there was a particularly trying period. The members have all been very obedient and the only thing that worries me, is I am not doing it well.
Yoo Bin: Don’t worry, you’re doing fine!
Sun Ye: Aiyah! Aiyah! (Does Omona action)
Cool: How do you feel seeing that you are having your exams soon?
Sun Ye: Exams…in midst of preparation, many areas I still need to work on. There are many universities I want to go to, and there will be many modules for me after I enter it. Even if I am lacking in many areas of studies, I must still carry a hope. For me in my present situation, I hope to become an actress in a musical. So to fulfil my dream, I am working hard to get into an university. I believe that hard work will lead to a good result!
Cool: Thing you want to do most after becoming a university student?
Sun Ye: To live a normal life. Because of my activities, I can’t go to school often. Although my six years of training included my junior, middle and high school, but university life is one of life’s most important memories. For example, places like clubs, I want to go with Yoo Bin unnie; When you go to the school library, you need a pass, things like this make me feel like “I am a student in this school” (smiles).
Park Ye Eun interview
She is so carefree that she is nicknamed “Park Oppa” by fans; She can tolerate not washing her hair for one week when it’s vacation time. She never ever thought of doing anything else other than becoming a singer. It would really be a waste of resources if she isn’t a singer since Ye Eun has great vocals. She like Shin Hye Sung so much that she joined his fan club. She however doesn’t mind dating guys who are younger than her, “Isn’t this the trend now, girls dating guys younger than them?”
Cool: Reason on wanting to become a singer?
Ye Eun: When I was in junior high, I joined a Christmas carol group, something like a choir. But I did a solo myself and it was my first time singing in front of so many people. This was also the first time I felt goose bumps standing on the stage. I felt at that point that my path was to become a singer, and I set my heart on becoming a superb singer!
Cool: How do you feel seeing that you are having your exams soon?
Ye Eun: Very limited time to prepare because we always have activities going on. But I never gave up on studying though and am always doing my best to revise during waiting and break time.
Cool: Thing you want to do most after going to university?
Ye Eun: Backpacking in Europe!
Yoo Bin interview
Yoo Bin received training under GD Entertainment for two years and actually emigrated to the States with her family since she was little. But she couldn’t forgo her dream of becoming a singer and so came back to Korea herself. Once she thinks of her family in America, she would keep eating to try and forget it and thus feel less sad about it. “I want to fulfil my dreams through the Wonder Girls and I am happy to meet them (Wonder Girls). Once I am on stage, I would realise my inadequacies and will push myself to keep working hard. I feel like I am getting younger just by being in this group (smiles).”
Cool: Did you gain anything after appearing in Shinhwa’s MV?
Yoo Bin: It was fleeting and I didn’t know how a MV was filmed. I learned a lot thanks to this and understood the process of putting a MV together.
Cool: Any problems faced as a new member integrated into an existing group?
Yoo Bin: I was pretty worried initially and felt a lot of pressure. But the other members took good care of me and my worries gradually reduced. Especially the first time when I stood on stage, I felt really excited. I treasure every moment when I am on the stage and strive to give my very best.
Cool: What do you think your charm is?
Yoo Bin: I think it’s my voice! It’s quite different compared to other girls, and as a singer, it should be pretty unique?
Sun Mi interview
Often referred to as 4-dimensional Sun Mi, how special is her world? We somehow get an inkling from 10 over fans who picked this nickname for her. Sun Mi who loves lessons associated with earth and the galaxy was asked about her nickname and she replied, “Earth is a lovely planet, heard that in XXXX year, earth will collide with a small comet, what a sad thing~” She is widely acknowledged as the member who has a good temper and always creates funny moments for people around her and is a fresh breeze of life.
Cool: Your reason for becoming a singer?
Sun Mi: I actually dreamt of becoming a teacher when I was in grade 5 of junior school. During school events, someone would push me to sing and dance, I would keep saying, “I can’t! I can’t!” but I always ended up on stage. As time passes, I felt slowly that maybe I am suited to become a singer! So I joined an audition in 6th grade and this is me today!
Cool: How do you feel when you debuted on stage?
Sun Mi: I was really nervous during the first rehearsal, because everyone like the production people was seeing us for the first time. We kept on thinking how can we give a good performance and got extremely nervous as a result. But when it was time to really perform, we didn’t feel so nervous anymore. The feeling of being able to perform in front of everyone after training for two years is really great.
Cool: Heard that you want to try acting besides singing, why?
Sun Mi: Acting is a very faraway thing for me at the present moment? Because there’s too many things that I have to learn. As to why I want to try acting, it’s because I hope to let everyone see a different side to Sun Mi, so if given the opportunity, I want to give acting a go.
Cool: If you were to act, your most suitable role would be?
Sun Mi: I have a bubbly character so I want to try a quiet role, or something special, like those dumb yet adorable character, or something that’s cool and especially suave. Haha! There’s simply too many of them!
Ahn So Hee interview
So Hee who often gives people a feeling that she is arrogant actually has a very feminine side to her. When faced with difficulties, her attitude to it would be, “If you find it difficult, then the problem would just get more and more difficult. Just look at it from a simpler perspective and do your best to solve it will do!” The youngest So Hee actually looks upon being the leader as her ambition. When people hear about “I Like It Hot”, they would think that it’s a restricted movie. But this movie actually depicts the female perspective of the 10, 20 and 40 age bracket people towards love. So Hee plays a high school teenager and is a couple with Kim Bum of “Unstoppable High Kick” fame. This made the other Wonder Girls members jealous, “We are all High Kick fans, so even if we have to look at Kim Bum from afar, it’s fine by us (smiles).”
Cool: Your expression has recently become a hot topic, even Hee Chul has joined your fan cafe, what’s your opinion regarding this?
So Hee: That expression is actually done by all of us. But because the camera only focused on me, my expression became a highlight topic. Many people think that it’s only me but actually the other all does that as well. Haha! But because of this, I got noticed by a lot of people, so I am very thankful.
Cool: What do you think your charm is?
So Hee: Charm? Although I am very young, but once I’m on stage, I will become very happy in an instance. And looking at my face, I do look a bit younger, so I make the stage become more interesting, is this considered my charm? (So Hee looks on embarassed)
Cool: What’s your take after your acting stint in “I Like it Hot” movie?
So Hee: Don’t really know what to say, this was my first attempt at acting, so I had to start from scratch. It was kind of alien to me initially but I got used to it gradually and also met with the production crew to understand the filming process which got me relaxed. I also realised that besides singing, acting also has its own undeniable charm.
Cool: Do you hope in future to carry out acting and singing activities together?
So Hee: Yes, If I am given the chance (smiles).
Off the record
We have heard that Wonder Girls were pretty fluent in Chinese and we really seen that today. Although they didn’t talk much but their pronounciation was pretty spot on, their standard definitely equals that of a Chinese speaking person and really shocked us.
During the interview, Yoo Bin and So Hee’s attention was focused on something we bought there which led to Sun Ye exclaiming at one point, “Why does it feel like it’s my own interview, the rest of you say something!” She really does have the aura of a leader!
(Report from Cool Magazine November 2007)