Jennie Kim of immensely popular girl group Blackpink has opened up about her acting debut in HBO’s “The Idol” and the pressures of being a K-Pop idol.
Kim was born in Korea, but moved to and studied in Auckland, New Zealand when she was 10, for five years before returning to Korea and joining YG’s talent academy. The four-member group was formed in 2016 and has gone on to enjoy global success. They were the first music group and Korean female act to have five music videos accumulate one billion views each on YouTube and are the most-followed girl group on Spotify.
in “The Idol,” created by Sam Levinson, Kim acts under the stage name Jennie Ruby Jane and plays a backup singer and dancer to Lily-Rose Depp’s pop star who gets the opportunity to break out on her own.
Speaking to Dua Lipa on her BBC Sounds “Dua Lipa: At Your Service” podcast on Friday, Kim said: “Acting was definitely one of the things that I’ve wanted to explore, but when I do something, when I decide to really go for it, I know I need to do it right. And first of all, I wanted the new acting part of my life to be authentic, rather than just me trying to grab any opportunities that came to me – I really was being patient with with my first ever acting job. Which means when I was spending some time in LA last year, I actually got to meet Sam in person and I got to talk to him. And he talked me through the role that he wanted envisioned for me and everything – it really moved my heart.”
The whole thing happened very quickly and Kim was offered the job via text by Levinson. “It happened so casually, without anticipating the actual job. So it felt really authentic and real. It like moved me, it gave me courage to believe that this was the right thing to do,” Kim said.
Becoming a member of Blackpink involved nearly six years of training for Kim. “I’ve actually never really broken down how I did it. But the people who knew the importance of keeping their own identity and character within the training system are the people that are in the group right now – a lot of people got lost on the way because we were so focused to satisfy the people that we were working with, but we weren’t sure who we were doing it for, and how it can identify us in the future. Because it’s literally years of training, it’s not just a couple of hours. So you get really drawn into the lifestyle that they put us in,” Kim said.
Dua Lipa asked Kim about the Blackpink song “Tally,” one of the first where the group uses the F-word.
“Starting my career in Korea as a K-pop artist has restricted so many sides of me, where it wasn’t just allowed to be shown because I’m a K-pop idol. And I was scared, I think, also to express myself. And as things grew, over time, I was able to express myself and people would see it as breaking the boundaries rather than ‘she’s doing something that she’s not allowed to do’ and being able to open a new chapter for people that are starting in the business in Korea. That’s when I realized I want to break more boundaries for people in my culture to understand that expressing yourself as however you want – here shouldn’t be a standard. There shouldn’t be a reason to judge and just see it as, ‘oh, that’s how that person expresses themselves,” Kim said.
“So I think the song ‘Tally’ was one of the first songs that we actually say the F-word. And at first when I started performing the song, I couldn’t even say it out loud. I was like, ‘oh can I move away from the mic?’ Do people think this is like, not right? And then more fans were loving the song and I was connecting with Blinks [Blackpink fans],” Kim added. “While I was on stage when I was singing that song, they were like, ‘yeah, do your thing.’ And they were the ones who gave me my confidence and support to really enjoy the song.”
Earlier this year, Blackpink lit up Coachella with a set that included “Tally.” It was an emotional experience for Kim. “I was under so much pressure, I think it was my first time crying. Just as soon as I was off stage, I just burst into tears. It was so emotional. I was so proud. And the hard work that we put on and just the overwhelming feeling that we got from the crowd. It was just a lot,” Kim said.
About some of her performances that attracted criticism from fans, Kim said, “I feel like I’ve just disappointed my fans at some point of my life where it seemed like I wasn’t giving my best. But I haven’t had the moment to say this. But I want to say that I did not know how to control my body. And use my body the way I should.”
The singer says that she is not at her best when she is dancing in heels as it makes her uncomfortable and her stamina goes down. “I wanted to share with my fans that I’m still at a point where I’m learning about myself. If anything, let me be the person to share me like, from now on,” Kim said.
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