It’s been about five hours since we met, and the sounds of laughter haven’t stopped once.
Chuu: It didn’t sound too loud?
No, but I’m amazed. Where does such bright energy come from?
Chuu: I’m relieved then.
Choerry: We both innately have a lot of excitement. If I was alone I would’ve been calmer, but because we’re together I think our energy is even higher. I tend to follow the mood so if there is someone full of bright energy like Chuu unnie, I follow along.
Chuu: Same. It’s more exciting when we are in sync like today.
Choerry: We have many similarities.
Even your names sound sort of similar. I heard both of you got these stage names when you debuted as Loona.
Chuu: My birth name is Kim Jiwoo. If you pronounce Jiwoo fast, it sounds like ‘Chuu’. That’s why I'm named that. There isn’t a particular meaning.
Choerry: It wasn’t intentional, but for me too, if you say my birth name Choi Yerim fast, it can sound like ‘Choerry”.
Kim Jiwoo and Chuu, Choi Yerim and Choerry. Are there gaps between the pairs of names?
Choerry: Choi Yerim is the eldest daughter who was class president all throughout middle school. I tend to have strong leadership and am proactive. But after debuting as Loona, I’ve been asked often I was the youngest or an only child. I think It’s because my displays of affection grew more frequent. Ah, and my social awareness too, maybe from becoming a professional. Because Choi Yerim does lack social awareness, haha.
Chuu: You might be shocked, but Jiwoo is brighter than Chuu. I have quite the deep history of brightness that I've built up since young. (Laughs) And I’m not too sure about Chuu yet. People see me with a cute and sunny image, but I don't think that'll be all of it. Could be more mature, or a completely different side could reveal itself, too. I am learning more about myself too as I continue idol activities. But I do want to always preserve my bright side like right now.
I’m sure you have opposite sides to the bright ones you are showing now. How do you control the swings of emotion you experience throughout your activities?
Choerry: I do feel a large difference in my emotions on and off the stage. Especially at concerts. While singing on stage, I’m excited, happy, and it feels like I’m the best in the world. But when it ends and I come down, I feel relieved, but also bittersweet and sad. But thankfully those moments don’t turn into worries or stress. That’s one of my fortes. If there comes a moment when my happy mood abruptly sinks, I control myself by quickly thinking of or look for something I like. This job I have naturally comes with large swings in emotions, so I've accepted this and quickly found a way to recover.
Chuu: To be honest, I used to avoid depressing emotions. Before, I used to think that I was someone with 90% happiness and joy, and only 10% sadness and depression. I figured I'm a bright person, so I tried to hide what existed on the opposite side of that emotion. But recently I've changed a little as I've been taking time to examine my inner self. Just because I’m a bright person, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have sadness, depression, or anger, so I decided not to ignore them. I am in the process of becoming more honest with my emotions. Nowadays, I can say that the ratio of happiness and sadness is about 70 to 30.
What is the side of yourself that you like the most?
Choerry: Of course, it's how I am on the stage. Whatever stage it is, I equip my confidence before stepping onto it. I also try to compliment myself often. Even if it was disappointing at the time, I tell myself "I did well enough" and instill confidence first. That way I can do better next time.
Chuu: I must have big dreams. Because I've never thought that I’ve clearly performed well or that I’ve met my expectations.
I want to ask about Loona, the team you two belong to. How might you define Loona?
Chuu: I think Loona is undefinable because we show something new every time. And so we're also a team that makes you look forward to what change will come next.
Choerry: We've really attempted a lot of things. Every time we attempted a new concept like that, it's fun to learn that "Ah, so people like this side of us." Even going forward, the goal is to keep showing different sides rather than staying in one area.
What would be a new concept you want to try?
Choerry: I like Oh My Girl sunbaenims' dreamy music, and I want to try something like that too.
Chuu: Chungha sunbaenim's "Play" and Oh My Girl sunbaenims' "The Fifth Season". I wonder what it'd look like to try these two in Loona's unique way.
There was good news recently, right? You entered the top 40 of US Billboard radio charts. Sounds like you're the second K-pop girl group to do so, after Blackpink.
Chuu: Especially shocked because it was something we'd only ever heard of, and so it had felt even more distant. I'm so grateful because it makes me realize the affection of fans who support us even when we can't meet them.
Choerry: First off, I can't believe it. "Us?" "Really?" We just kept saying stuff like that. It doesn't even feel real to me yet.
The achievement must feel even sweeter because you didn't become well known right away, but instead there was this time of waiting.
Chuu: Right. We've been active for longer than people might think. And a lot has happened in that time. And yet, this whole time we've only recounted stuff like "We stayed up for so many nights when we shot that music video," "This and that happened while we prepped that performance." But I'm so happy because these days, we're hearing good news one by one, and we can now talk about what we've achieved. I got into this work because I wanted to do it, and I've never expected any rewards, but these achievements do give me strength as we try the next thing.
Choerry: We were able to endure well because we were 12 instead of alone, and I love that we can celebrate the results of that all together.
Chuu is the first member to publicize Loona widely. As your bright appearance at a fansign became popular you're now appearing in variety shows, and your solo YouTube channel "Chuu Can Do It" is also getting good reactions.
Chuu: Some motions I did when I got excited at a fansign got clipped into GIFs and got popular. I was amazed. To be honest, I felt a lot of pressure at the start. I'm grateful that people might get to know Loona through me, but I was also very worried. I still feel like that, but I'm still going to do my best so that every member can be known.
Who will be that next person?
Chuu: Heejin has a lot of charms. First of all her looks are my style, haha. Some people have a different personality than how they look on the outside, but Heejin is exactly the way she looks. She is such a good person. She's also mentally mature, so even though she's younger than me, she is someone I rely on a lot. And she's good at so many different things too.
Choerry: I want to talk about Go Won unnie. You know how some people look small and frail, but when you get to know them they're determined and self-assertive, right. Go Won unnie is like that. When I'm with her, I also find myself not being shaken and becoming stronger. She's a cool person.
Chuu: After that, Choerry.
Choerry: Good choice. Haha.
What do you want Loona, and yourself, to look like?
Choerry: Both as Loona and as Choerry, I want to be respected by everyone. And I want us to be a team that gives people a lot to talk about when they think of us. It won't be easy, but that's the goal I want to pursue.
Chuu: I want us to do so well together, that we climb to a level where I myself feel like "This is enough." I'm hoping for that day. The day when I can tell myself, "Well done."