Follow The Light For Better TOMORROW
This seemingly endless year is drawing to a close. Wading through the thick mist, hoping for the dark shroud to be lifted, it's a time to fly towards a brighter tomorrow. A small joy, to be able to face each other intimately and laugh, wherever, together. As we wish that one day we won't even remember the haze of today, we followed a single ray of light together with Loona's Heejin.
I recall that you debuted sensationally as Loona's first member. Is there a role or character that you've held down in the team since then?
I was the very first, so they call me "Dangun Heejin". Haha! And the fans, because my representative animal is the rabbit, affectionately call me "Heekki" which I'm grateful for. It's a name that I absolutely love. Haha! And within the team, my role is the one who creates a serious atmosphere, true to my personality.
Curious to know how you came to debut first out of 12 girls.
I'm passionate about everything I do, so even as a trainee I had a lot of desire to be diligent at whatever it might be. I think they saw sincerity in that, and thought of that as good.
How would you evaluate your own personality?
I'm someone who's always on the serious side, but once I get excited I really hit the peak that way too! To be honest, in some ways this seriousness is good because it helps me to always think deeply, but I also think it's a negative because people don't approach me or become playful with me very easily.
Which part of your looks are you most confident in?
My nose! I like that vibe in photos or videos of my side profile, when the ridge of my nose shows up subtly.
In promotions there seems to be no concept you cannot handle, from innocent to sexy to girl crush.
I do have this desire to try and handle any concept well, and because I live by the mantra that "People live the way they think", before I start something I don't trap myself in a negative thought like "This probably wouldn't fit me..."
Among your albums and songs to date, what would be your 'one pick', the one that fits your style and taste the best?
Among the title tracks, "Butterfly" released in 2019! I think the mysterious and dreamy mood cradled in the music drew out Loona's charms the best.
Would also love to know the music genres you listen to and enjoy on your own time.
Rather than limiting to one genre, I like to mix different kinds of music and listen diversely. Genres like K-pop, pop, dance, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and so on all have distinct characteristics so I think I discover something new to enjoy every time I listen.
What do you listen to when you want to dance, or become sentimental?
I like to put a K-pop chart or Idol Hot 100 playlist on shuffle and dance to it. When I want to be sentimental, I enjoy Ariana Grande's "POV".
We'd be remiss to not discuss [12:00], the third mini album released in October. Could you explain how it came to be and the concept?
[12:00] consists of four different concepts under one big concept of the "Midnight Festival", as we tell the story of a midnight festival unique to Loona in a fantastical way. We wanted it to contain diverse colors different than before, so we painstakingly worked on it for quite a long time, studying the right atmosphere that fit each concept.
What's the track that you were most attached to before and after release?
"Universe"! I was attached to it even before the release, maybe because that song contains the words we want to express to the fans with sincerity. The title calls to mind the universe and it relates to "Orbit", our fandom name, so after release I've gained even more affection for it.
I've heard that [12:00] has garnered the most popularity out of all your albums so far, and accomplished astonishing sales figures.
If I could dare to guess, it might be that in this difficult time with COVID-19, people were stuck at home while socially distancing and suppressing their innate joy, and [this album] struck their tastes. In particular, there's an addictive chorus that makes everyone lift their shoulders and dance, and I think that had its own fatal appeal for many people who love K-pop.
Through [12:00] promotions, Loona entered the Billboard 200 for the first time, and also achieved the Artist 100 and eight Billboard charts. Really curious how you feel.
I debuted first among the Loona members and I've been here from the days when we were just establishing the basics of the team's direction and overall image. So watching us grow continually like this, I not only feel my heart swelling, I also feel proud. Going forward, I want us to be a team that maintains our beginner's mindset and humility, but also look towards somewhere higher and move step by step into a better tomorrow.
The music video of "Star", the English version of side track "Voice", was recently released and is again gathering attention.
"Voice" and "Star" have the same melody but the lyrical content is different. I think that distinct charm makes it enjoyable for fans to track down. In particular as we took care in including the English version in this album, we tried to take a step closer to the global fans who love Loona and to ease any disappointment they may have felt so far, as much as we could.
Lots of questions about "Star". First, how did this song come to be in English?
The key to "Star" is that it's connected to Orbits, who always inspire Loona. The stars in the concept photos and the music video all represent Orbits, and I think as it contains our love towards global fans, people across the world have been reacting warmly to it.
I heard that on November 20, a well-known U.S. radio station (102.7 KIIS FM) officially played "Star", putting up advance notice on Twitter. In these ways you're garnering great popularity abroad. How much of it are you realizing?
I have family in Brazil, and once they told me that Loona appeared on the local news there. Seeing stuff like that is fascinating, and I'm truly grateful that we can be connected as one through music even in different countries.
Do you plan to start global promotions in earnest?
Once things get better, I want to go meet global Orbits as soon as possible. And extending this festival concept of the [12:00] album, I want to perform on world-renowned festivals and show off unique Loona performances with passion and dazzle. Above all, starting with the "Star" music video, we're going to find whatever way we can to increase channels through which we can communicate with global Orbits.
Album promotions must have kept you incredibly busy. How do you maintain your health and figure usually?
No matter how busy I am, I never forget to take my supplements! With my meals too, I plan around a healthy diet and always stick to low carb, high protein. But I love bread too much to deny myself, so I look for the healthiest bread I can find like vegan or protein bread, and that's how I'm maintaining my diet.
Based on today, it seems like you also exercise a lot.
When I'm off promotions I never let my body rest, like a workout addict. Even during promotions, whenever I get a little break I try to move my body as much as I can. Even today between the shoots I was busy doing core workouts.
Did you ever learn pilates as well?
I attended a pilates studio regularly during a hiatus, and I felt really attached because it's an exercise that allows me lots of time to focus on myself. And pilates also helped me realize that routine habits shape my body, so I plan to make more time to learn it more passionately.
The concept of the December issue's cover story is "a better tomorrow made by Heejin who chases after the light". Do you think the pictorial turned out as well as you hoped?
I think they took everything I wanted to express and filmed it in a really pretty way. This pictorial had diverse concepts so I thought of it as challenging myself, and I felt myself growing more through the shoot so I was very satisfied about that.
Which concept or outfit from today did you like the best?
The red outfit I wore for the cover photo! As much as I love the outfit, I'm a little disappointed in the final result too. I kept monitoring during the shoot and I was thinking that I still have such a long way to go.
At the end of the year, what do you want to do and receive the most?
An exciting Christmas party together with all the members!
Lastly, a year-end message for Pilates S readers!
Pilates S readers hello, this is Loona's Heejin! It was an infinite honor to be able to film as the cover model of December, the meaningful final month that closes out the year. Even as we all may be going through tough times due to the coronavirus, I will be wishing that at least this year-end will be filled with warm peace. I hope that the situation will improve next year and that we'll be able to meet you in person on diverse stages and new music. Until then, please show lots of attention and love to Loona and me, Heejin, as well as to Pilates S. Thank you!