[Interview]J.ae talks about her Maxim shoot

When Maxim rolled out its latest Korean edition issue here, there must have been double takes at kiosks across the country, especially with a familiar face in K-pop not known to bare much skin gracing the cover.

Since returning from a two-year hiatus with an album in February, J.ae has come back transformed into a bit of a sexpot, abandoning the plain-Jane look she donned since her debut.

Now that she’s single again, the neo-soul singer has been raising plenty of eyebrows for her racy turn as
Maxim’s July cover girl.

“Being single had a huge role in my decision to do the photo shoot because it was two months after my breakup,”
she told The Korea Herald.

“I was quite comfortable in that niche where I didn’t have to worry about what he thought.”

Covered in dirt and oil, she got down and dirty for the shoot, taking a detour from her usual girl-next-door image.
“I was in a theater about to watch a movie when I got a text message from my management company asking me ‘Hey, do you want be on the cover of Maxim?’” she said.

“I just thought that was the oddest thing, because in my 12 years in entertainment, no one has ever asked me to do something like that, even when I was at the peak of my career, so I thought, why not?”

“I’m a very private person. I’m not an exhibitionist, so the magazine didn’t really suit my personality. But then I thought, ‘If not now, then when?’ I texted back and said I would do it.”

But just because she says she’s not much of an exhibitionist, that doesn’t mean she’s shy about her sexuality.

“I’m pretty damn comfortable with my body because I don’t care. I walk around at home naked all the time,” she said with an almost matter-of-fact sincerity.

“If I did (care) I would have gotten a boob job.”

Initially entertained with the idea of being on the cover of a magazine famous for objectifying women, J.ae wasn’t without doubt on whether she had the proper “goods” to satisfy the magazine’s mostly male readers.

“I asked later if readers of Maxim normally like to look at photos of mid-30s women with flat chests,” she joked. “And then the folks over at the magazine said, ‘Oh, no that’s okay. We’ll make you boobs.”

“The make-up and stylists used super duper push-up bras to lift my breasts up to the point where my boobs were right underneath my chin.”

The run-up to the shoot wasn’t as smooth a ride as she had hoped. Miscommunication between both camps had put a damper on her spirits.

“I only had a week to prepare for the session,”
she said.

“When I thought I had a month to get back in shape, I even signed up at a gym. But after I found out I only had that much time, I didn’t even go once.”

So why all of a sudden did she become interested in exploring her carnal side?

“I’m just at a time in my life where I’m no longer shy,”
she insists.

“I think that the whole mid-30s thing is true for women because you’re just more comfortable with yourself, you’re not as insecure. You’re more accepting of who you are both physically and mentally.”

At 34, J.ae is still young, but in the world of K-pop, she’s no spring chicken.

According to her, with most female singers in popular girl groups so young, even those in that are in their mid to late-20s are considered to be nearing their expiration dates.

“Everything is visual in entertainment,” she said, adding “I’m not on television often but when I am on everyone before and after me -- the majority at least -- are 12 years younger. You’re reminded of your age constantly in this business.”

These days J.ae says she has been hard at work on a side project getting ready to open up two restaurants -- both burger joints.

For her, taking the plunge as a restaurateur isn’t something out of the ordinary, as she says her mother has run several eateries in the United States.

“It’s not to get out of show business, but to make something of what I’ve contributed for the past 12 years,” she said. “And I’m a gyopo, I know my burgers. My mother and I, being both fans of food and the industry, thought it was an appropriate avenue to explore.”

The Korea Herald
PS: If you like my articles, remember to vote for me - peacesinglove as your favourite author of the month on the voting poll!