Edited by Yang Bo-yeon, a freelancer, for Noblesse Men.
Not the Album of the Month, or Movie, or Employee, or Recommended Stocks, but Girls of the Month. I had a culture shock when I first saw the concept photos of girl group Loona on social media. Like 12 magazine covers, each individual filling up the panels with different characters and loveliness. To think that the appearance of a girl could be this diverse. It was like seeing tubs of Baskin Robbins ice cream in all shapes and colors. These adorable, cute, pretty, innocent, and mature ladies thus filled up an entire year.
In truth, the tools of a female idol group are predictable. They might dance in sexy or acrobatic ways, or match in synchronized choreographies, or have a unique concept or excellent vocal abilities. But Loona does all this well. They dance well, their angles are perfectly matched, and their singing is quite skilled. And then they show off their lovely sides through these varied charms. So Loona has no main vocalist or dancer. No wonder, because Loona consist of elite members, selected from fierce competition. They look hopelessly tender, but in reality they are well-prepared stars for the next generation. This issue of Noblesse Men met with two of these twelve girls armed with their own charms. It's the lovely yet adorable member Chuu, and Yves who attracts with her mature yet husky voice.
The Girl Who Delivers Love, Chuu
There's a girl who showed up on MBC's How Do You Play? this February and showed off a matchless charm. "Really? You know me? That's such a gift." (Everyone smiles) The girl's single utterance towards Yoo Jae-suk, said with a lively tone, expression and gesture like the protagonist of a romance comic, stood at the center of attention as it generated numerous memes.
Her name is Chuu, this 1999-born girl who's a member of Loona, and she possesses a mysterious power to make everyone smile. As an idol she has stood on music show and performance stages and landed on six Billboard charts, and as a solo she is cruising through various variety shows and YouTube channel Chuu Can Do It. "There are so many moments when I am so grateful that it doesn't feel real. I especially never thought I'd get this much attention out of variety or YouTube content. I prepared diligently, of course, but I personally don't think I'm very humorous, so I just tried to show off my charms and that helped me enjoy the filming, and I think that showed through. Naturally."
Chuu's behavior, like drawing a heart with her arms for Kim Gu-ra on MBC's Radio Star or shooting off winks with a smile filling her face, is a natural demeanor that cannot arise out of preparation or practice. "I grew up receiving so much love. And I was playful ever since I was little. I'm the oldest child, and I liked to play with my younger siblings too."
As soon as she graduated from middle school, this love-filled girl came to Seoul from Hongcheon with a dream of becoming an idol. "The reason I decided I wanted to debut is, I thought I was someone who could return the love and energy that I received." Positive emotions including smiling can be a source of energy, and being able to deliver them to others so harmlessly is a talent. Surely it is. "Recently, I was thinking about what I am truly good at, what my strength is. And then it came to mind, that maybe my talent is being able to deliver positive feelings to someone who sees me," Chuu said with a confidence-filled gaze, as if to speak her true feelings despite embarrassment.
As the Earth is not flat, neither is "girl with lots of aegyo" all there is to Chuu. "I'm thankful to receive so much attention for this tomboy-like appearance that I've shown on variety and YouTube, but in some ways I'm also left wanting. After being in front of the camera as Chuu, when I return to being Kim Jiwoo and get back to the dorm, I have all these thoughts. So I think the difference between Chuu and Kim Jiwoo is that they are people with different depths of thought."
Through their most recent release "PPT" [T/N: "PTT"], Loona presented a fierce impression and sophisticated performance. "There are more music and performance concepts that I'd like to try. I want to perform with a refreshing concept like a fizzy sparkling drink, I want to do a stage holding just a mic and filling it up with only my voice like Beyonce's "Halo" that I did briefly on Radio Star, and I want to release a cool solo song too."
Then what would Loona's strength be, as Chuu sees it? "We are girls with endless possibility who can definitely show more awesome music and performances going forward. We have a lot more to show you." Chuu, who had a smile on her face the entire time, suddenly spoke quietly with a confident expression. "We haven't even come halfway to the vision I'd imagined and desired. I'm going to work even harder. Really!" I smiled along with her.
The Thoughtful Leader, Yves
"I'm Yves, twenty-five years old. I'm the second oldest in Loona, and one of the three leaders. Each leader has a different style, and I have cool charisma too, but I think I'm the unnie that the dongsaengs can always come to with their problems."
Yves is the thoughtful pillar that supports the twelve members of Loona. She's a multi-talented member who creates cheerful atmospheres, to the point that she's called the "Dependable Gag Character" within the group.
"I'm a leader and all, so I want to show off a charismatic side on stage. So the things that symbolize me in Loona's concepts - the swan, burgundy, tuberose, apple, I love them all. Because I can show off a different charm than Ha Sooyoung's. Ha Sooyoung gets easily embarrassed, and finds it difficult to express herself frankly. On the other hand I think Yves is someone who's confident, bold, charismatic, and creates an alluring performance through that. Different right from the gaze."
Then how about the name Yves? "I heard that the company had a lot of trouble deciding on my stage name. Lots of candidates, including Shasha and Jelly. Then they decided on "Yves", and I thought that this is the one."
Yves' charms shine even in "New", her solo single released in 2017. From her uniquely mysterious attraction to sleek dance lines to elegant vocals, it summarized the charms of the rookie named Yves.
""New" is still a song I'm proud of, but I don't find myself listening to it much now. Because I could do it so much better now. We're already a fourth-year group. It's a long time if you see it that way, but we think we're still in the early stage. We want to go even further, even longer, and if it were a marathon we think this is the beginning course."
If, as Yves says, Loona is still in their early stage, they would be an immensely high-achieving rookie. Every release garners millions of views for the music video, and their achievements are clear not only as a group, but also as individual artists and in variety.
"When we heard that our song landed on six Billboard categories, we were in the practice room. My mind went blank, like is this real. We always prepared our performance the same way even before that, then, and even now, just going back and forth between the practice room and recording studio, and it was amazing to see our song on a global chart."
But apart from that, Yves emphasized that she has a conviction in the future of the group called Loona. "We can handle any concept in a splendid way. Not only the performances that emphasize synchronization, but I also want to try a concept where we're playing freely on stage. If Loona was a tree, I think the twelve members would be flowers each with their own charms. A tree on which colorful and pretty flowers have bloomed." Whenever she spoke about Loona, Yves seemed proud and happy. Could one wish for anything more? "My dream is for Loona to do even better. And I wish for every member to be happy."