[Article] 2NE1, The Joan of Arcs who are forging a new generation


The 4 member group 2NE1, representatives of Korea’s young generation, is leading the world’s youth culture. Nylonistas at the forefront of the generation, like Mizuhara Kiko (model and actress) and MADEMOISELLE YULIA (DJ) all talk about them. Also, their songs have been played on heavy rotation on Street Kids, who has wide network. Their music style, dubbed the “new hip hop generation,” fuses various genres, such as rock and reggae, with hip hop. 2NE1 is known for their edgy fashion sense and powerful, provocative attitude, as seen inCL and Minzy’s incredible dancing and rapping and Bom and Dara’s beautiful voices. With their brand new style, they broke into the K-Pop world that was overrun by doll-like idols, garnering much attention and picking up awards for Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Female Group Award, Best Music Video, and Best Digital Single at the 2010 Music Awards held in Asia. And in March, these incredible 4 made their debut in Japan!

There’s a little anxiety about performing in a country other than Korea for the first time, but before going on stage, we always say, ‘Let’s play!’ I’d like to keep it fun.” Perhaps it’s this easy-going approach that fits in perfectly with today’s generation. How do they stay on top of current trends? Is it because they’re managed by YG Entertainment, the company that also manages the super popular 5 member group BIGBANG, and frequently come in contact with what’s ultramodern?

BIGBANG definitely helps us out a lot! They’ve made their Japan debut before us. And because of that, we were able to perform as guests on huge stages. We’re very close. Everyone’s really busy, so it’s mainly conversations in the car or while waiting (presumably during various events), but whenever we have time, we’d go grab a bite together or something.

An exotic pop style with contrasting borders
From the left, Shirt worn by CL ¥86,100 ($1,052 USD), Skirt ¥73,500 ($898 USD), Fur ¥542,850 ($6,631 USD), Shoes sample item (retail price unavailable), Dress worn by Bom sample item, Top worn by Dara sample item, Skirt ¥73,500 ($898 USD), Shoes sample colors ¥73,500 ($898 USD), Top worn by Minzy ¥120,750 ($1,475 USD), Skirt ¥102,900 ($1,257 USD), Shoes ¥94,500 ($1,154 USD)
Above values are expected MSRP (PRADA / PRADA Japan), all the rest are the stylists’ personal items.

The person behind them is their producer Teddy, who we interviewed in the February special Korea issue of NYLON Japan. It’s been said that he “produces” everything including 2NE1’s new music style, individualized raps and dances for each member, and even the visual direction of the group. “We basically work with everyone, not just Teddy-san. All the staff, like the stylists and the MV director.” "When we get together, it’s not like a formal meeting. We start with small talk, and sometimes we get a lot of ideas about songs and shows from that. Everything just flows naturally.”

It’s common for artists with upcoming releases to be forced to go through training, but that doesn’t seem necessary at all for the 2NE1 crew, who represents the new generation’s ideas. With the support of such a creative staff, the new generation group, 2NE1 has established their image as cool, powerful, and independent women. Is there a hidden message behind all this?

It’s not like we want to break any molds. I feel like that’s actually the opposite of innovative. I think fashion and other things start tying in naturally as we approach songs and music in our own style. Our main priority is music, so if we’re doing a strong song, the outfits will be strong too. And if we’re doing a softer song, the outfits will be adjusted accordingly. I think it’s just our style, with all that included.” Pursuing their dreams, they enrolled in YG Entertainment’s training school through successful auditions and being scouted and made their debut in a “natural” manner as BIGBANG’s little sister group in 2009. At the time of their debut, there must have been a lot of pressure being labeled as "BIGBANG’s little sister.” They’ve achieved so much up until now, winning various awards and such, and they continue to be successful.

There might have been times when we felt a lot of pressure during our debut period, but we also gained a lot of attention because people were interested in 'BIGBANG’s little sister." "We took it as good pressure to motivate us to do our best. Plus, we do what we do for the music, the music videos, and performances, not to win awards, so I don’t think that’s changed. I want to remain unchanged and not forget that 'Let’s play!' mentality.

CL Q & A

What does the members call you?
- Aside from 'CL', "LION". Because they said my haircolor and expressions resembles a lion.

You can speak English, Japanese and French?
- I lived in Japan until i was 11 years old. I studied in an international school.

When were you awaken by singing and dance?
- My father loves music, the 'along with music' environment was very natural. I loved dance that i went to school and learned starting from jazz dance. I've seen myself standing on stage in my dreams many times, that confirmed me that i need to do it.

How did your dream come true?
- I was a big fan of 1TYM's Teddy (currently a producer of 2NE1) that i wanted to join YG and auditioned. It took me 4 years to get in, and after that i trained for 3 years.

We heard that YG raised the four of you as treasured kids.
- I was told before we debuted. It seems like we were planned to be solos. I think the results were great.

What do you do on a day off?
- I in fact, don't go to clubs and shopping. But it seems like everyone thinks i like to party. I like times when i'm at Teddy's studio listening and talking about the songs he made, and when i go to the park for a walk. It's different from my image right?

What kind of person were you when you were a student?
- I was the nerd type, that's all i can think of. I had friends and i was a kid who talks a lot, but still...

Can you tell us something about your recording with WILL.I.AM?
- It was something very new. I think everyone was happy. But because i didn't want myself to end the experience by just being happy, i was helped to draw up the better of myself. I was quite surprised because it was very different from Teddy's method, but we were relieved during the recording because he was there for us. The release of the music from that time is still undecided,but it should be soon. Please wait for it.


What song, which artist do you like these days?
- It never changes, Beyonce!

Tell us your music history!
- R&B and HIP HOP. It hasn't changed.

Aside from 2NE1, what are you crazy about?
- To be honest, make up! I like make up more than clothes, enough to even guide 2NE1's make up myself.

What make up do you recommend now?
- The "Bom make up". When we were promoting the song called Fire from our first mini album, i had blue eyeliner on or black around the eyes. That was quite popular then.

Please tell what you want to achieve in 2NE1 after a year, 5 years and 10 years
- First, after one year, to be popular in Japan. In five years, to be famous in Asia. In ten years, maybe by that time i'm not a singer anymore, but my dream is to help someone who is reaching to be a singer in this industry like me.

What made you become a singer?
- I came out in competitions when i was young, but i guess the time when i was in America and one day i thought 'I'll just listen to music, i don't need to eat food!'.

When did you go to America?
- When i was 13 years old. Althought 7-8 years has passed since i returned. I majored psychology.

Please tell what your favorite bag is and what's in it!
- CHANEL bag. My essentials are phone, make up kit and medicine.

What's your favorite type of man?
- someone with a good sense of character.

How would you be like when you like someone?
- the type who changes! I do things that i usually can't do!

Tell us here a secret you can't tell anyone!
- When sleeping, i check the smell of my bed first! (laughs)


01 NYLON: What does everyone call you?
MINJI: Mingkki.

First CD that you bought?
"Milkshake" by Kelis.

The style of music that you listen to?
I've liked dance from the start and so from that, I've tried to listen to various genres. At the moment, I really like English bands and Japanese music. I have also began to like Electro.

Electro artist that you currently like?
Daft Punk, probably.

Any culture or trends that you are currently giving attention to?
Lately, I've been into English bands, the 80's English punk style!

[b]The fashion brand that you like?

GIVENCHY! My bag too is the GIVENCHY Nightingale, I've waited for it to become less expensive. The design is cute!

Things that are necessary inside your bag?
Cellphone, iPad, Givenchy perfume!

Your dream when you were little?
A creative dancer.

You are the grandchild of a very famous dancer in Korea?
From when I was born, my grandmother did not have that much of an influence on me but since becoming a singer, I have received a great amount of advice from her.

A point that you would want to accomplish with 2NE1?
It (my wishes) still hasn't changed at the moment; I would like to go on for a long time with 2NE1. I would like us to remain as the central focus of fashion!


NYLON: What is your nickname?
Dara: Mountain rabbit. (laugh) Since I'm called a rabbit too, and the 'San' in my first name means mountain.

It seems like you're quite the mood maker?
I've taken the role of raising up everyone's energy and tension. It's similar to my role of being 2NE1's PR/publicity chief.

The first ever CD or album that you bought?
It was a tape of Seo Taiji & Boys, a dance group that our company president Yang Hyunsuk (YG) was in. I was around 2 years old when I had it. At that time, that type of music was embraced by a lot and as an elementary school kid, I enjoyed that music. The way I dressed, such as my pants and the hat that I'd wear, were influenced by HIPHOP.

At that time when you were little, what kind of music did you listen attentively to?
When I was in middle school, I was into pop. I liked Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and such but upon entering YG, with the members' influence too, I've started to listen more attentively to hiphop.

The fashion brand that you like?
I like the casual style. Inside my bag are tissues, perfume, hand cream, lip balm and also other things that the members might need.

You are mother-like?
I bring medicines when i go overseas.

What is Dara's ideal date?
It would be a time where it's raining and we've forgotten our umbrella. Then he'll remove his jacket and put it around me. That's my kind of ideal date. (laugh)

The type that you would fall for or change for?
Sometimes, I don't really take notice of the charms of a person. I think that the person that I like will be sweet and kind in his own special way. Ah, it is about charms after all. Even so, there are still a lot of important points!

So your overall type is?
To be honest, I've only had one experience in love and I was still a kid then. I'm thinking, ah maybe I'll get to meet the right one. At the moment, I've become very busy so I don't have that much time to go out. I'd like to meet someone who is a "Hana Yori Dango" type of a guy (a Hanazawa Rui), someone who has a prince-like character, but the members have repeatedly told me "There's no one like that!" (laugh)

Source: May 2011 issue of Nylon Japan
Scans Credit: as tagged, DC2NE1, Bomico, CLbaddestfemale@wordpress.com
Reuploaded by: crazyxcami@YGLadies.com & nyxtime@YGLadies.com
Translated by xgdara, Superior Music, and Jinhae @ygladies.com