Cover Girl Story: Jessicaism
Jessica is a “sun”. She gives energy to people in her surroundings by shining by herself. Designer Son Jung Wan professedly picks Jessica as his muse. The start of their ties began 4 years ago when they met at Son Jung Wan’s fashion show. “I was thirsty for a challenge and needed to find a young muse that could move me. As soon as I saw Jessica, I thought, ‘Ah, if it’s this friend, I think she can give me inspiration.’” At that time, Jessica was determined to get out of her cute idol singer image; as soon as they met, she said, “I, too, want to find a side of me I’ve never imagined to discover, so please help me!” It’s important for Jessica to shine as Jessica herself and as SNSD’s Jessica. In order for that moment to shine the most, she doesn’t treasure herself.
Jessica: These days? We recently finished up our Japan concert and tomorrow morning, we’re flying to Taiwan to have a concert. After I got back from Japan, I rested for a little while. How long did I rest for? One day? That day, besides recording [in the studio], was spent very ordinarily. I got to sleep in. I had lunch and got skin care. Since my hair is done every day, I went in to get hair treatment. But if you think about it, even on “resting” days, I go in to get skin care or treatment, so there’s really not any days where I can actually relax and rest. Still, for dinner that day, I went out with my friends and ate delicious Teppanyaki.
CECI: You really go to all directions of the world. Do fans vary from country to country?
Jessica: At the Paris showcase, there weren’t many Asians and since they were all Europeans, it was pretty fascinating. There’s this one performance that I do with my sister, Krystal. We performed the song “Tik Tok” in every country [for the SM Town concerts], and so far, I’ve never seen a crowd [like Paris] that gave such a great response and sang along with us. It was an exciting and new experience. Japanese fans are very calm and they’re proper even at the airport. They never push their limits [with us]. They get together and wave to us and they’re quiet fans. Fans in Korea, Taiwan, and other countries are very enthusiastic. Should I say they’re active? I don’t know how to explain it. The energy is a bit different.
CECI: After debut, you participated in various activities, and now you’ve met a great number of people all over the globe. Amongst all of the people you’ve met, who has had the greatest influence on you?
Jessica: There is someone who has greatly influenced me and given me a lot of help, and that’s actress Park Min Young unnie. I met her when I was in middle school, so it’s already been 8-9 years. People in my surroundings say that we’re very similar; that’s how much we’ve come to resemble each other. The way we act, talk, and think is very alike. Since Min-young unnie is older, it’s probably me following her. When I decide something, I ask Min-young unnie and really consider her opinion.
CECI: Was it just from the very beginning “Huh? I can be friends with this unnie!” sparks flew like that?
Jessica: Yes. She’s like family. I can talk to her about personal things and work-related things. If I have any worries, I go find her. If either of us are mad, we vent to each other. She’s an unnie but also my best friend. I really think it’s a blessing to have been with someone like that for such a long time.
CECI: Then if there’s a serious worry on your mind right now? Something that you need to call your unnie about to work it out?
Jessica: Um. It’s not that I don’t think about the direction I’m going, but I’m the type to just hurry up and finish the things that befall upon me. My life is too tight for me to look far ahead and worry about the future. First of all, there’s too much work and schedules. I definitely look at the big picture but if things like the Taiwan concert or our comeback befall upon me, I’m the type to quickly take care of those things one by one. I’m working to try to focus more on those types of things. So if I have any worries, it’s stuff like that since right now, there are a lot more things related to SNSD than to my personal life.
CECI: In some ways, it seems like you’re very realistic.
Jessica: You’re right. There’s this girl “Jessica” in the group SNSD. There are 9 girls in SNSD, so I think that it’s important to shine not only when I’m with them but also when I’m by myself. So it’s true that I think about how I can shine and in what way. Thus, I’m always experimenting with this and that and also transforming little by little in the process. It would be great if people could accept this change.
CECI: In what kind of ways do you think you can shine?
Jessica: There are things like this photo shoot.
CECI: The keyword of this photo shoot is “Man”. Are there any times when you really do wish you were a man?
Jessica: When I have to wear heels and dance. When we put on a show for 3 hours and film music videos, it’s really hard. When the time comes to film music videos, I envy men. I’d rather wear insoles than heels. [Laughs] However, if I could be born again, I’d still choose to be a woman. We can style and look good! To be honest, this mannish feeling is kind of awkward. Whether the style you like is overall chic or mannish, it’s important to put in lovely points. But I think photoshoots that feel new are the most fun.
CECI: Truthfully, one of the revealed charms of Jessica is your voice. It’s a clear yet soft and thin voice. That’s why bright songs like “Naeng Myun” and also ballads suit you so well. Personally, what kind of music can you just close your eyes to while singing?
Jessica: People tell me that bright songs suit me well. But I like bossa nova or jazz. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. I like Olivia so I listen to her music a lot. I liked the song “Caramel Coffee” that I sang with Tiffany for our duet because it had a bossa nova feel.
CECI: Are there any lacking things as you’ve lived as SNSD?
Jessica: That…blind date? If I see my friends that went to college, the person that introduces the two people doesn’t go out [to the date]. The people that are meeting just get each others’ numbers. So that’s how they meet…I find it fascinating. I’m kind of scared, but I want to try it sometime. It’s something new…that you simply receive the number of someone you don’t know and meet them somehow. I don’t really like going around in large groups, so I don’t think I’d do the meeting (group blind date) kind.
CECI: You have fans, SNSD, and SM family within the company. But it seems like there would still be times when you feel lonely
Jessica: When I go overseas, I get lonely. When I’m in the hotel room…after we finish the show and go back to the hotel, take a shower…the moment I lie on my bed, my mind is cloudy. An empty feeling? I miss home so I often video call my sister and my mom. Sometimes, I even shed tears.
CECI: Still, since you were born in San Francisco, don’t you feel somewhat comfortable when you go to America?
Jessica: No. Even if I go to America, it feels like travel. Since I came here when I was in 5th grade and now I’m 23, Korea is my home.
CECI: As you lived as SNSD’s Jessica, what part of you has changed the most?
Jessica: I usually don’t laugh. But I laugh a lot now. Ah, no that’s not it. Rather than not having laughter, it’s more like I’m not the type to express my feelings a lot. If I asked myself “Why don’t I laugh?”, I think the answer was “Because it’s a hassle to [laugh]”. I think I thought like this: Is it necessary to laugh? Is it necessary to give a good impression? But as I promoted as a SNSD member, things changed. SNSD’s energy is a bright energy. I received that energy and all of a sudden, I was unable to stop my laughter and now I just go around laughing all the time. The basic things about me haven’t changed, but it’s true that I’ve become a lot brighter. I’m thankful to my members and also to the fans that like this side of me.
CECI: What would you like to say to the friends that are working hard, dreaming to be like SNSD?
Jessica: Giving “advice” is kind of embarrassing, so I’ll just say that I think it’s good to do work that you like. It’s good if you find happiness within that work, but I don’t want to recommend starting off with just a buildup of high expectations. Draw a big picture. Little by little, if you carry out the tasks laid out for you…within a moment, that picture will really appear.
If you watch male idols perform a challenging dance or break dance, you simply think ‘Oh, nice!’ and are impressed. But if you watch 9 girls form a line and hold a performance in which no mistakes are made, you feel admiration and think ‘How is that even possible?’
“Seriously, for how long does one have to practice to have a performance like that?” It seems like she’d get questions like this all the time, but her response was big. “Wow! I think we’re able to do what we do because there really are people that notice [our effort]. We practice a lot. If you think in terms of what’s getting broadcasted, we’re working hard to be on stage for about 3-5 minutes. We’re able to accomplish this not only through our practice, but because of the staff that goes through so much trouble to prepare us. I’d be thankful if people noticed this and sad if they didn’t.” It’s a crisp answer, but there is no sugarcoating. There’s no enhancing nor muffling. That’s why Jessica is chic.
Cr: CECI Magazine (October 2011), translated by me