From time to time, as HUH YUNJIN mulls a question over in her head, she unwittingly poses herself further questions, feeling out answers in a language all her own. Her self-fueled inquiries, and those the world have made of her, have all come together to make her “Good Bones.”

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You visited the United States last fall to promote “Perfect Night.”
HUH YUNJIN: It was my first time back since leaving, so it felt like I had been reborn there as a different person. (laughs) I used to live outside downtown New York before becoming a trainee, and since the auditions were downtown, I always stayed at a hotel. Staying at a hotel in the same area downtown with my family brought back old memories. They were in awe: “We used to eat samgyeopsal on 32nd Street after your auditions, and now you’ve debuted and you’re on the billboards in Times Square.”

You also filmed JEN TOUR while in New York with the other members, and made them swear, “I will not say, ‘You didn’t live in New York, did you?’” (laughs)
HUH YUNJIN: The thing is, the US is so big that, when you say where you live, it’s hard to imagine whether it’s 30 minutes away or two hours. New York State is absolutely huge, too, but most people just think of New York City. I honestly don’t even know the best places to eat in the city, so when I say, “I’d have to ask,” people often say, “You’re from the States, aren’t you?” (laughs)

You said you lived a bit outside New York City. What kind of image does the city conjure up for you?
HUH YUNJIN: New York City is often called the City of Dreams, and that image was already lodged in my mind when I was a kid. Whenever my schools would go on a field trip, we’d go into the city, sometimes to see a musical or attend a workshop. It’s also where all my auditions were held. It’s where I began the journey to make my dreams come true, and going there again with all the other members was a uniquely meaningful experience.

It seems like you enjoy going to exhibitions. Does that have anything to do with the experiences you had when you were a student?
HUH YUNJIN: I was lucky to go to a lot of museums and art galleries when I was young since my parents placed a lot of importance on cultural experiences. I kept going with friends to art museums once I was in high school because I have diverse tastes. I’ve always been an innately curious person, and being an idol can narrow your perspective, so I need time to keep mine wide open. Plus, I just like it. It’s therapeutic. (laughs)

You seem to have a particular fondness for impressionism.

HUH YUNJIN: I’m no expert, but I guess paintings were meant to be photorealistic before impressionism, whereas impressionism tried to break free from those constraints, aiming to express fleeting moments and emotions instead, which aligns nicely with my personal values and philosophy. And there’s just a lot about it that resonates with me visually. Impressionists rarely use black or gray, and they emphasize light, which really stirs something in me.


Is that something you typically think about when looking at art?

HUH YUNJIN: The first thing I’m looking for is that feeling of being transported somewhere that transcends time and space. If I find a painting I like, I listen to the explanation, but that’s not always possible, so I’ll also try looking it up. Knowing the story behind a work of art can make it more impactful. For example, once I found out Van Gogh did some of his final paintings while in a hospital, I looked at them differently. There’s a saying I like: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” [a phrase attributed to Mexican poet César Cruz and popularized by Banksy]. I find even challenging pieces intrigue me sometimes, as they make me wonder, What message did they want to convey? It brings up a lot of thoughts about the past and future, which in turn gives people a chance to reflect on the present from a different perspective.


It seems like you’re really interested in seeing things from a variety of different viewpoints.

HUH YUNJIN: We could limit ourselves to seeing and feeling only what’s directly in front of us, but personally, I want to see the world through different lenses. I want to broaden the spectrum of things I can feel and empathize with, and at the same time, I want to be able to let the things I can’t understand be. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has unique experiences, but I think there’s something beautiful and special in that, and I aim to embrace those differences.


I imagine your love for reading stems from the same line of reasoning.

HUH YUNJIN: I’ve never been one to read something and say, “No, that’s wrong.” (laughs) I have thoughts of my own, but I can be easily swayed (laughs) so no matter what I read, I’m like, “I guess that makes sense?” I just read because I want to know more and learn things. And while I want to be a good artist, I think being a good person as a part of modern society comes first. I very much want to be responsible and broaden my worldview.

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It seems like you find having experience to be important, like when you chose to travel alone while shooting LENIVERSE overseas. Do you often intentionally place yourself in challenging situations?

HUH YUNJIN: I thought it would be interesting to face some challenges and see a bit more before going back while I had the opportunity. I think experience plays a big part when it comes to expressing yourself and empathizing with others. I’ve always been a curious person and enjoyed studying, and it feels like that ultimately leads to creativity. I mean, you have to learn and know and experience a lot for the sake of your output. The more I learn, the more meaning my life has, and the more authentic I can be in the things I enjoy.


You say learning leads to creation. It’s amazing how you keep your output up.

HUH YUNJIN: Things can get harder the more you learn, but lately I’m trying not to get too wrapped up in things and just follow my feelings and express the moment of now. But I always have a lot on my mind, so no matter how much I have going on, there’s more going on in my mind. (laughs) In my songs, I mostly focus on the things I want to sing about, but lately, I also think, What do other people want to hear? What do they need to hear?


Was there something that triggered you into asking yourself about what people want to hear?

HUH YUNJIN: I’ve witnessed FEARNOT connecting with things I never would have expected and feeling uplifted in completely unexpected ways. So it’s like, What kind of person can I be for these people? How can I give them strength? And to take things further, What kind of influence can I be in this world? What sort of impact can I have? Where before I used to just take everything I wanted to say in private and spill, now I think more about whether it could be a source of comfort, harm, or positive influence for those who hear it.


You said in W magazine that “art is personal.” But when you tell your own story, people still find ways to relate, don’t they?

HUH YUNJIN: I wrote a post on Weverse at the end of the year. It was the first time there’d been snow at that time of year in a long time and it looked like a scene from a movie, but I was just thinking, Why do I feel so distant? I had a lot on my mind that day. I wrote that post without worrying what people would think—not that it was overly personal or anything (laughs) but it was personal. And yet, plenty of people said they found comfort in it, and even people I know said they were touched by what I wrote and could relate. It made me realize that my own experiences can resonate with others when I write about them.

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The new album from LE SSERAFIM seems to be about the personal lives of its members as well. “Swan Song,” for instance, takes an honest look at the hardships you’ve gone through.

HUH YUNJIN: “Swan Song” sounds relaxed but the lyrics are honest and powerful. For the lyrics, I was suggested to write honestly about any taboos I faced or other things I couldn’t fully agree with as a woman or as a girl-group idol, so I took a look at my own experiences. The new album’s the result of a whole lot of careful consideration on both our part and the part of the label, and although the title says it’s EASY, there’s nothing easy about it for me. (laughs) Nothing’s ever simple, but that’s typical LE SSERAFIM. We weren’t born exceptional, but we work tirelessly to come across that way, and that’s how we’ve always done it. We were able to reflect that a little more, so now we can be a little more transparent.


The “Good Bones” trailer for EASY is more raw in that regard, too.

HUH YUNJIN: It’s raw and fresh, and there’s something euphoric about it, both listening to and singing it. I guess you could say it’s got a dark message, but ultimately it’s a realistic, human one. It’s really down-to-earth and gritty, and it’s that rawness that makes it so appealing. The trailer may take people back since it’s so different from what we’ve done before, but I love that whole new rawness and intensity.


And the single “EASY” shows off yet another facet of LE SSERAFIM.

HUH YUNJIN: I really wanted to try doing this kind of music, and I loved it as soon as I heard it. I was given directions I’d never heard before when we were recording, like, “Sing like it’s cold outside and you can see your breath.” (laughs) For the choreography, the angle we were going for before was for people to see us and see how well-coordinated and hardworking we are. This time, our goal while practicing wasn’t just to be good but to make it look easy, too. But it’s actually really hard and taxing. (laughs) We just have to flow with it like it’s nothing.


Making it look easy must involve a kind of effort that can’t be fully expressed in words.

HUH YUNJIN: It’s hard on us when we’re getting ready and I imagine it’s the same for FEARNOT. After all, we’re separated during that time. When you think about it, there aren’t as many opportunities in a year to watch us sing and dance live as you might expect. Living our own separate lives in preparation for that moment and then finally being together—that’s when the significance really hits. The harder and more intensive those months of preparation are, the more intensely meaningful those few short minutes on stage become. There’s a line in “We got so much” that goes, “We won’t take it for granted,” and I feel so grateful for the meaningfulness they add. I realized the immense love we receive while on tour. It’s physically demanding for people to cheer you on and sing along to your songs for hours on end, you know? I’m so grateful for them, and it makes me glad and gives me strength just to know I’m that kind of presence for someone out there.


I remember you saying on Weverse Live that FEARNOT “gave my voice meaning.”

HUH YUNJIN: I think I had a lot I wanted to say when I was younger. I always sought outlets for my creativity, but it felt like my voice was muted so I couldn’t show it through that. It was a tough period of my life when I realized that. I felt defeated; it was like the message I wanted to convey had disappeared. I actually used to hate using my voice in a way that only ever showed off my technique. But after I came to know FEARNOT and felt their love, it’s like they helped me rediscover a space where I could vocalize the messages I wanted to convey. I still falter a lot, but now I believe there’s someone out there who likes my voice. I’m grateful to have that kind of sanctuary and safety net in my life.

And what kind of sanctuary does being in LE SSERAFIM provide you?

HUH YUNJIN: I think I’ve been incredibly lucky. We all come from different backgrounds and can all speak different languages, so I feel reassured wherever we go. I’ve learned something from every one of the group members’ unique personal experiences. I get that feeling especially from the other members’ ideas and the things they say, and especially from Kkura. Having her in the group definitely keeps us secure and stable.


It’s clear how much you care about the other members, like when you told HONG EUNCHAE on Weverse Live that she’s mature for her age.

HUH YUNJIN: I love giving praise. It comes naturally to me. It’s not something I have to go out of my way to do—it just makes me feel whole, and I feel really happy when I can make others feel good about themselves. EUNCHAE is a surprisingly deep person. (laughs) Even cheery people have their own problems to worry about, you know? Since EUNCHAE’s a really bright and cheerful person, I felt like she might be hiding her true feelings because she feels like she has to be cheery all the time, so I try to take care of that side of her emotions without even realizing it.


The special bond you share with the others must mean a lot to you.

HUH YUNJIN: Being a part of this group has taught me so much about friendship. I read a memoir recently called Everything I Know About Love where the author pursues romantic love her whole life, only to realize something profound in the end: She had always been surrounded by amazing friends, and always been loved, and always gave love—that she’d been experiencing it all along, and that love had always been there by her side. When I read that, I kept thinking about the other members of the group. When I think about the future together with them, I feel like I could end up thinking something similar to the author. Being with them has made me learn to appreciate friendship even more.


What does it mean to you to be with people who’ve helped you to find love in friendship?

HUH YUNJIN: They show me what it means to be a warm person. Even when things get chaotic, or make me feel tired or cynical, or when I just want to be alone, just seeing the members makes me a warmer person, and then I can smile, even when things are tough. Sometimes it’s so wonderful that I feel like I don’t deserve it. Filling in each other’s blanks in the most beautiful way possible—I think that’s what it ultimately means to be a warm person. And maybe that’s essentially what love is—learning to be kind through friendship, then practicing and showing it, like the book says. I think, in the end, I’m learning what love is, thanks to the other members.

Article. Yoon Haein
Interview. Yoon Haein
Visual Director. Jeon Yurim
Coordinator. Yee Siyeon
Visual Creative Team. Nu Kim, Yoon Cho, Soo Lee (SOURCE MUSIC)
Photography. Nikolai Ahn / Assist. Cho Seunghan, Keisuke Yamada
Hair. Oh Yumi, Hamin (BIT&BOOT)
Makeup. Kim Ina, Kim Iseul (WOOSUN)
Stylist. Shun Watanabe / Assist. Seina Tanimoto, Roh Yujin
Nail. Tomoya Nakagawa / Assist. Seoul Kim
Set Design. Leeroy Kim(@leeroykim), Kim Sungtae(@kim_so_young91)
Artist Protocol Team. Kim Hyungeun, Kim Ahri, Kim Hyunho, Park Sihyun, Park Hanwool, Shin Kwangjae, An Eunbi, Hwang Jihoon