[INTERVIEW] 4MINUTE Cosmopolitan - May 2012

Volume up! 4minute!
We met with 4minute who really has gone "volume up" with voices that support their powerful existence.

We expected a strong image overflowing with charisma, but we were a bit surprised with the sudden, strong, "girlish" feeling!
Gayoon: Haha, we hear that a lot! To be honest, we have a lot of aegyo. But it might just be since our image is always a strong one, we never have the opportunity to act cute even when we go on variety shows.
Jiyoon: For the most part, our images (personalities) are judged based on the appearance we have on stage; however, since our music and our performances are intense and strong, I don't think it's a bad thing that people have that sort of image for us!

When we saw Jiyoon's twitter especially, we thought, "Is this really 4minute's Jiyoon?" We had to confirm it several times! Every one of your tweets are filled with so much aegyo that we didn't think it really suited you.
Jiyoon: I'm sure there will come a day when people acknowledge the real me. I believe it will.
Gayoon: If we were to choose the people who have the most aegyo in 4minute, it'd probably be Hyunah and Jiyoon.
Hyunah: 4minute fans will probably know how cute Jiyoon unni really is.
Sohyun: Ah, I'm the maknae but I have the least aegyo! It's really an issue. It's all my fault.
Jihyun: Even if you have no aegyo, effort is the most important thing anyway. Haha.
Gayoon: Whenever Sohyun tries to be cute, it's a little awkward. For her and for the people who watch, it becomes awkward.
Sohyun: But compared to before, I've gotten much better. I've practiced while watching the other members.

Haha, you practice all sorts of things! By the way, what are you going to do with those large dark circles! When you make your comeback, you'll probably be much busier. It worries us to see you looking so tired already even before your comeback.
Hyunah: Ah, this is nothing though. Instead of thinking of this photoshoot as work, we came here with a light state of mind because it's so fun.
Jihyun: We might be looking more tired because we came here directly from the airport. We stayed in Thailand for three days because of the K-pop concert and came here right after we got off the airplane.

Ah, on a Sunday, and this late because of the time difference! You probably want to go home quickly and rest.
Sohyun: Rest when our comeback is so close? We're scheduled to go to the practice room right after this, I think? Today we'll probably finish practicing at dawn.

Wow, you're not joking! Are you all really okay? Aren't you tired?
Gayoon: Hehe, we're okay. A schedule like today's is nothing compared to other days.
Hyunah: She's right. There was once a week when we couldn't sleep for almost five days. We couldn't even erase our makeup for five days so we had so much trouble with our skin.
Jiyoon: For the most part, all idol groups are probably going through the same thing. Even when we went to Thailand there were about 20 other groups that went to perform with us. Everyone else seems to have similar schedules.

Still, the fact that you're not complaining even a little bit... it's quite amazing. Especially Sohyun who is still in high school. We saw that you were reading a book during hair and makeup.
Sohyun: Hehe, I try to study whenever I have time since I'm in my last year of high school. And even though I'm quite sleepy, I can handle it so I'm fine. Even going to practice is exciting more than exhausting. On top of that, there is only a little more time before our comeback so I'm quite nervous yet thrilled.
Hyunah: Honestly, there are times when we feel sorry for Sohyun. She debuted when she was in her last year of middle school so when she should have been spending time with her mother and growing up, she started this kind of life. I think it might even be the reason why she hasn't grown taller.
Sohyun: Is everything you just said in a good way or bad way?
Hyunah: Of course in a good way. Haha.

Since all idols seem to have similar schedules, you probably get really close. Are there any groups you're especially friendly with or groups you want to get to know?
Hyunah: Everyone is really close with each other. Even though we're from different companies and in different groups, everyone has experienced the same things throughout their careers. Among the singers who are currently promoting as idols, most of them have been company trainees and have gone through that debut stage.
Gayoon: I'm sure everyone knows that Hyunah used to be a Wonder Girls member. Jihyun unni was also a JYP trainee. SISTAR's Bora actually practiced with us before too!* Everyone has experienced the desperate desire to debut, and everyone has worked extremely hard [to get where they are] so there is almost no choice but to become close with each other.
Jihyun: But 4minute is kind of different! We actually try to avoid being seen in public. We remain close with our old friends, but in other cases we don't really make any new ones.
Hyunah: You do have a point there. We are actually kind of closer with the older adults like Yongman, Hyungdon, and Gong Hyungjin instead of other idols...

Really? That's pretty surprising.
Jiyoon: Well like we've mentioned before, our image was kind of powerful from the beginning. Since there were not many people our age with a similar concept, they seemed almost reluctant to approach us first. If you meet other idols, please tell them that we are very friendly, cool, and not scary at all. But anyway, we are not the type of people to go up to others first, so we've never really had the chance to make completely new friends.
Jihyun: That's right. The older adults actually start conversations with us first.
Gayoon: Ah, also recently, Super Junior's Sungmin oppa actually said that we were the #1 hardest girl group to talk to. Although now that misunderstanding seems to have been cleared up.
Hyunah: We're actually known as the group who doesn't really come out of the waiting room at music shows. Maybe it's because we were stuck with the image of "the group who only hangs out with each other," but it seems like there are fewer and fewer people who approach us first now.

If we sit back and think about it, idols are actually really amazing. You sing well, dance well, do well on variety shows, and even act well. That's all-around talent! What is it like to live as a Korean idol group?
Hyunah: Besides what you've mentioned, we even have to be physically fit. Our physical health seems to be a bit different in particular so we've never won anything at the idol track and field or swimming competitions. It seems like the expectations for idols have really raised.
Jiyoon: Even though it's tiring sometimes, I enjoy it. We can do music that we want to do and we can perform in not only this country, but in overseas countries as well. It would be nice to have all-around talent, but rather than dealing with the burden of achieving that, we never forget 4minute's true colors. We try to stay real and focus on our music.
Sohyun: I've never thought about this deeply, but I'm very happy whenever I'm performing. There have been troubling moments and there are sure to be more difficult moments to come, but I don't think I will ever feel like giving up.
Gayoon: Honestly, besides when we are performing, we go on with our lives without thinking that we are celebrities. Even when people recognize us on the street, there doesn't seem to be anyone who really cares. We're just busy going shopping, chatting, and playing together.

There doesn't seem to be another 4minute member, besides Jihyun who came out in "A Thousand Kisses," who acts. There are many idols who take a shot at it. Do any of you not have plans to do so as well?
Gayoon: Although I do want to try it if given the opportunity, I don't think I'm ready.
Jiyoon: I'm not interested in acting yet. I'd rather study music more and take a shot at writing lyrics and composing music. My dream is to become a singer-songwriter.

Apparently two of you were born in 1990, the Year of the Horse...
Gayoon: Haha. Yes, Jiyoon and I are Year of the Horse. Jihyun is an earlier '90 so she is Year of the Snake. I've heard that Year of the Horse girls, for the most part, are strong-minded, but I think we are softer. Are we not?
Sohyun: You're right. It's because you guys are still young.

Haha. If you look at other idol groups, there seems to be ranks between unnis and dongsaengs so they use formal language and are polite towards one another, but that doesn't seem to be the case for 4minute!
Hyunah: Not in the least. Although I am 2-3 years younger than Jihyun, Gayoon, and Jiyoon unnis, I call them by their names all the time.
Sohyun: Typically the maknae gets to do everything first in all situations, but that is not true for our group. No matter what, we decide things by doing rock paper scissors.
Jiyoon: It's not even like our ages differ by that much so it seems awkward to be formal with one another. We'd rather get by comfortably the way we do now.

Haha, it seems like girl groups with members of the same age can often get jealous of each other, but the relationship between you guys seems great.
Hyunah: We do, don't we? Even though we're always with each other, the chattering never stops. It's surprising even to me.
Gayoon: Maybe it's because we're so close with each other, but I really can't stand hearing someone else talking badly about one of us.
Jihyun: These dongaengs really have surprisingly cool personalities. Even though there are problems that arise occasionally and it may be hard to bring it up, we can get over it easily with just a "Ah, really? I got it. It's okay!" This is why it's so comfortable between us.

You are all so much thinner than regular models. It doesn't look like you pay attention to your diet much though. It seems like you are drinking a venti frappuccino one second and eating a hamburger the next! It also looks like Hyunah is eating snacks all the time. What's your secret to staying fit?
Hyunah: Haha, I think we eat a lot just to scare the staff sometimes. We really eat a lot. But on top of that, we exercise a lot. It is critical for idols to stay healthy because of their schedules.
Gayoon: If we go on diets or starve ourselves, we're too exhausted when we perform. It's especially important for performance groups like us to eat well!

According to people who work with idols, idols seem to date even if they are extremely busy. There are even some idols who bravely admit that they are in relationships. What about 4minute? Do you all really not have boyfriends?
Sohyun: We really don't. We would like it if we did, though.
Hyunah: Hey maknae, if you're that sad about it, how do you think I feel? No, what about the unnis?!
Jiyoon: It's not even that our company prohibits relationships. We're actually free to do what we want, but the singers in our company are too well-behaved.
Sohyun: It's not that we're not popular? Honestly Shinsadong Tiger oppa made the song "Mirror Mirror" after he heard me asking if we were really this unpopular with guys.
Jiyoon: Everyone kept saying that we could get boyfriends while promoting "Mirror Mirror"! We didn't even get into relationships with friends we have now.

No way! Rumors of someone liking someone else never spread either? Your stylists have never tried to set you up with frequent customers?
Gayoon: Ah, why are you making us even sadder about this? We'd also like it if we got into relationships even once.
Sohyun: But even with the upcoming promotions, everyone seems to be saying we'll all get boyfriends.
Jiyoon: Who said that? Are you gaining hope with words like that again?

Okay, let's calm down now! Do you think it might be because of your charismatic and powerful image by any chance? To be honest, it's not like you all are as girlish as other girl groups.
Hyunah: If you really got to know us, you'd know that we are really girlish too.
Gayoon: It might just be because we're so close with each other. We always hang out only with each other and gossip...
Sohyun: It seems like we are becoming more miserable trying to think of reasons. We might just have to accept it. Hahaha. You don't know though. Let's wait and see with our "Volume Up" promotions!
Gayoon: Eh, I don't even expect it anymore.

Ah, "Volume Up" will be released any minute now! (*This interview took place late at night on the 8th.) How do you feel with your comeback so close?
Jiyoon: We're coming back after almost a year. We're very happy because we are coming back with great music that will surely not disappoint fans who have waited for such a long time. We're really waiting to see our fans' reactions. We're so excited already.
Gayoon: We are not a group that comes out as often as other girl groups on variety shows. Besides Jihyun unni, there is no other member who acts, so fans might be quite disappointed because of that. We also don't stay in the country often because we have so many overseas activities. On top of that, fans might be exhausted from waiting so long for our new album. Now that it's finally come time for our comeback, we really know that we have to be a 4minute that our fans can be proud of. We always feel very sorry for our fans for some reason. Anyway, we are very excited and happy to see our fans again.

Are you concerned at all about another girl group, SISTAR, coming back at the same time you are?
Hyunah: Hm, we are. Because we want both of our groups to do well. As we've mentioned earlier, Bora has a special relationship with 4minute. Hyorin and Jiyoon unnis also became very close during "Immortal Song 2." Since we have so many connections with each other, we are sincerely supporting SISTAR.
Jiyoon: It's a friendly competition that will only be beneficial for us both. In that way, coming back with SISTAR is a good thing!

Is there any specific thing you guys wish for as the group 4minute?
Jiyoon: There's a phrase we always say--that 4minute will become the "only" instead of the "best." We hope to become a group that continues to try to fulfill that goal.
Gayoon: We hope to continue staying true to 4minute's colors while appealing to our individual personalities.
Jihyun: I like how things are now. I know that we have to keep improving musically, but it'd be great if we could continue doing things in the same manner.

* Interview says Bora but we know it to be Soyu who trained with 4minute.

Source: Cosmopolitan
Thanks to: electronicfunkytown@4-minute.com
Translated by: Chris@4-minute.com