Emotions flash across HONG EUNCHAE’s face throughout the interview: She lights up as she talks about the thrill of new beginnings and gets dewy-eyed thinking about the other members of LE SSERAFIM. Her words overflow with pure affection for her team, revealing a heartfelt connection that runs deep within her.
Congratulations on the first anniversary of your team’s debut!
HONG EUNCHAE: Oh, thank you! (chuckles) It’s still sinking in, to be honest. I’ve had so many experiences and been incredibly busy, so there’s a sense of pride and accomplishment, and at the same time, it’s a bit bittersweet that a whole year has already passed by. 

On FIM-LOG you said, “If I were to live until I was 100 years old, this year would be the most unforgettable.”
HONG EUNCHAE: There’s just so many things I want to do! I have no idea what the future holds (laughs), but still, I’m sure I’ll always remember this year as the year my dreams came true. All those years of hard work finally paid off and turned into achievements. It truly was an unforgettable year. 

Everybody was talking about your New Year’s countdown moment  after that.
HONG EUNCHAE: Welcoming a new year is always exciting, even if there isn’t a specific reason. (laughs) The other members said it wasn’t really anything special to them, but for me, just the fact that I’ll be a little older was reason enough to be thrilled. I believe that having anticipation and excitement for anything helps us to do better. Whether it’s preparing an album or a stage performance, that mindset is helpful. I’ve been through a lot of new and challenging situations, but I always tried to enjoy myself and thought, “Everyone goes through their first time, and now it’s my turn.”

How does it feel to have new experiences?
HONG EUNCHAE: It’s a real-life EUNCHAE’s Star Diary! (laughs) I get to meet and have conversations with senior artists who have been famous stars since I was little. One day, NAYEON from TWICE even mentioned, “I really wanted to be on EUNCHAE’s Star Diary!” Whoa … It was unreal. At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the fact that KBS created a show specifically for me, and wondered, “Am I capable of taking on this role?” So, I was quite nervous. At the same time, since it was such a wonderful opportunity for me, I was determined to do a good job. 

If you were to start a diary entry about your thoughts on this comeback like on EUNCHAE’s Star Diary, what would the first sentence be?
HONG EUNCHAE: “At last … The day I get to interview the other members has finally arrived!” Ever since I heard the news that I was going to be a new host of Music Bank, I’ve been waiting for LE SSERAFIM’s comeback. Watching other groups perform on stage every week, I often thought, “I can’t wait for the day I get to be on that stage with my teammates!” Only two more days left! I wish Friday would come already!  [Note: This interview took place on May 3.]
​What do you want to show people during this comeback?
HONG EUNCHAE: “ANTIFRAGILE” contained our individual stories. In “UNFORGIVEN”, we wanted to convey the feeling of “let’s all hold hands and set off for a better world.” Especially in the chorus of the title track, where we all join hands, we wanted viewers to want to join us and go together. We practiced saying, “Let’s just laugh and have fun without trying to look pretty or cool!” I thought I was doing it with the biggest smile on my face, but when I saw it on camera, it didn’t capture the expression well. So all five of us practiced smiling as widely as possible for that part. We practiced smiling a lot.  

What was it like to handle the pre-chorus part of “UNFORGIVEN (feat. Nile Rodgers)”, with the mood transition for the vocals as well as the performance? 
HONG EUNCHAE: As it was my first time taking on a long vocal part in a title track, I practiced really hard with a sense of responsibility. I've never been 100% satisfied with my own recordings before, so this time, I wanted to surprise everyone. On the recording day, I received many compliments from the producer. It’s really a special part for me. And it’s a choreography that can’t be done unless every one of us is there. Two members pull me first, and when I run, two others catch and hold me. The choreography is about how, even in situations that feel as if we’re on the edge of a cliff, we can rise together because we have each other’s support. When the performance director explained the message to us, I really wanted to do well. I had to completely trust the other members and rely on them physically. It was challenging to find the right balance and not become tense, but at some point, I started to trust them to hold me and fall forward. 

So it was an experience that made you grow as a performer. How did you handle challenging performances like in “Eve, Psyche & The Bluebeard’s wife”?
HONG EUNCHAE: I thought of it more as acting than dancing. Especially in the part where CHAEWON controls me like a doll, I received directions to do an eerie smile like Annabelle. I did my best, but the other members would say, “Oh, you’re so cute!” So, (laughs) I had to think a lot about how to make it work. Even when doing the apple-biting motion, it wasn’t easy to immerse myself in the character of Eve and express emotions. Expressing specific concepts still feels challenging to me, so when we did the concept photo shoot for “BLOODY ROSE” version, I was worried because it was a new atmosphere for me. But the results turned out well despite my concerns. (laughs) Since we take so many shots in a split second, not every picture can turn out perfectly. Instead of worrying about the ones that didn’t come out well, I try my best to follow the directions without feeling shy or hesitating, and perform to the best of my ability.    

It sounds like it’s important to know when the right moment is to express yourself.
HONG EUNCHAE: In the single, when I sing the line, “Oh you’ll see what I’m made of,” I don’t necessarily make any cool expressions or gestures. I just quickly pass by the camera. At first, it felt awkward not to do anything, but the performance director told me, “Just passing by without doing anything is enough to be you..” And my truly genuine moments seem to be captured well in the  “No-Return (Into the unknown)” fancam, which has become one of my favorite videos.Every single expression on my face represents my true emotions. I’ve found that performing on stage becomes easier when I’m enjoying just being myself.

What moments make you feel most true to yourself?
HONG EUNCHAE: When I laugh out loud? I think I am being the most true to myself when I am laughing with my mouth wide open and a big “bwahaha!” (laughs)

So, just like the quote on your DEWY SAGE concept photo! “Happiness is becoming entirely yourself.”
HONG EUNCHAE: To be honest, sometimes I want to show only the cool, beautiful and talented sides of me. But when fans and the other members often tell me say they feel energized when they see me laugh, there’s nothing better than that. Thanks to them, I can embrace my true self without hiding and enjoy it with confidence. That’s why I think the photos where I’m bursting out laughing represent me best. If I pretend for some of it, then it’s not really all me, is it? If I can’t be completely authentic, I don’t think I can be truly happy, which inspired the phrase. While I aim to be a talented, charismatic performer on stage, I try to share my relaxed and natural moments on social media. 

​Whenever I see behind-the-scenes footage of you offstage, you’re always taking candid photos of the other members.

HONG EUNCHAE: I love taking candid photos of them because they look so pretty in my eyes. They don’t have to ask for it. When I show them the photos I took from the side and they turn out well, they also appreciate it. 


You have a lot of interest in the other members. You even recalled exactly when you first met KAZUHA when you were doing a Weverse Live with her.

HONG EUNCHAE: It was January 20 when I first met all of them. I remember it because it was the day I joined LE SSERAFIM, but I often unintentionally memorize things without conscious effort even for things that aren’t as important.


I think your good sense and your attention to detail shine through in variety shows.

HONG EUNCHAE: I do really enjoy variety shows and try to keep up with a lot of them. Even when filming EUNCHAE’s Star Diary, I already knew all about my guests’ contents on their own channels before they came on EUNCHAE’s Star Diary, so I could talk all about their videos, and the writers even complimented me. If I hear they were on Knowing Bros or MMTG, I would search for their content and study how they did. For Knowing Bros, I approached it with the thought, “The only thing I can do well in this situation is treating everyone as informally and casually as possible!” (laughs) since that’s the whole idea behind the show.


I heard you are very perceptive. I’m sure you put in a lot of effort to be that way, too, even if it comes naturally to you. 

HONG EUNCHAE: With so much caring support of the staff and the constant adoration from the other members, I want to reciprocate the love. That’s why I try to be attentive and have gradually developed a sense of perception. I receive so much more from them, so it feels natural to me. Our team is known for how much the youngest member is beloved by the others.It’s like others can see that I receive a lot of love and care. I feel like I am always receiving, whether it’s the love from fans or the love from the members.


In your letter to SAKURA on her birthday, you wrote that you want to become someone “who will share her happiness with others.” What did you mean by that?

HONG EUNCHAE: During my trainee days, I was the eldest among the trainees for a while. Though I was much younger, I remember feeling the responsibility to be like a good elder sister. I think the other members of LE SSERAFIM might feel that way to some extent. Now that I’m the youngest of the group, I want to be a proud and unashamed maknae that brings laughter to the team. There’s a sense of responsibility in that. (laughs) I have always been surrounded by love, both at home and within the team. That’s why I want to share the happiness that comes from being loved.  I want us to have the kind of relationship where I can be happy with the other members when they’re happy and sad with them when they’re sad. I want to always be there for my teammates, in sadness and in joy. 


What do you think happens when you share sorrow?

HONG EUNCHAE: When it comes to sharing my own sadness, I feel hesitant because I worry it might make the other person become sad, too. But I appreciate it when someone shares their sadness with me because I believe it could alleviate their sorrow to some extent. The other members are always listening to me and empathizing with me. I hope that, when they feel sad or angry, they would also talk to me about it and not brush it off saying, “I’m not the only one going through a hard time.” In shows, as a playful joke, I often say, “The fact that you’re a T makes me sad.” (laughs) But actually, I can be quite a ‘T’, too, when it comes to myself. That’s why I can relate to CHAEWON and SAKURA. In reality, we understand each other better than anyone else.

You’ve become really close in a very short time.

HONG EUNCHAE: I’m amazed, too. I never imagined we’d become this before our debut. When we were promoting in Japan in January, there was a moment when just the five of us were having a meal at a restaurant. That moment was so precious to us. We’re usually busy talking about work, and when we’re home, we’re busy resting. So, that day, we decided to put our phones down completely and have a fun conversation among ourselves. (laughs)

​There’s a line in “Burn the Bridge” that reflects the way you are becoming more and more LE SSERAFIM: “I’m putting everything on the line, all for an option I wasn’t offered.”
HONG EUNCHAE: I sang that part as I recalled the time when I joined the soon-to-debut team. It’s often said that being chosen to debut is even harder than being admitted as a trainee. I was so lucky to debut with such amazing teammates, as I was often reminded, so I knew I had to do a really good job. I was under a lot of pressure and wasn’t even sure if I could do it well. But there was no turning back. And I didn’t want to just give up and go home, either. So I said to myself, “My hands are tied then. Practice Studio 2-4—this is where I’m meant to be.” (laughs)

I remember you practicing  “ANTIFRAGILE” in those thick-soled shoes, determined to overcome any challenges. You shed tears after the SBS Gayo Daejeon stage. You filmed the “on the street (with J. Cole)” challenge multiple times to get it right.
HONG EUNCHAE: I could’ve changed my shoes, but it was my determination that kicked in. I knew I’d have to wear all kinds of different shoes as part of the group, and giving up every time was not acceptable to me.. As for SBS Gayo Daejeon, I was devastated by my mistake on a meaningful stage where we incorporated our individual stories into the performance. I practiced a lot for the “on the street” challenge, but I wasn’t used to performing on a treadmill, so I couldn’t really do it right. To be honest, I’m still not perfectly satisfied with how it turned out. But thanks to j-hope who said, “Should we do it one more time? I don’t mind, really,” I was able to do it several more times. I’m really grateful.(laughs)

You’re quite ambitious. (laughs) Were there ever moments when such determination wavered?  Like the lyrics from “FEARNOT (Between you, me and the lamppost)”: “To be honest, I’m not that strong”?
HONG EUNCHAE: Well, because I’m human, there are times I get tired, feel exhausted, or want to cry. Even though I sing I’m “ANTIFRAGILE,” I’m honestly not that strong a person, so the lyrics really felt like my own story.  I just sang it like I was speaking or shouting, expressing it as it is. It was also my first time writing lyrics, so I was a bit uncertain, but YUNJIN showed me the lyrics she had written and helped me. I wrote the song thinking of it as a letter to FEARNOT and the members. 

So it’s an expression of love toward the other members and FEARNOT, like the subtitle of the song suggests.
HONG EUNCHAE: Since they are people who love me unconditionally, I had this strong desire to directly express how FEARNOT helps me overcome and gather strength. When I was on stage for the fan meeting, seeing so many people laughing and crying with every word I say, I could clearly see and feel it. Why do they share these emotions with me? Do I deserve all this? I want to become someone who can reciprocate the love I receive, someone deserving of that love.
Article. Song Hooryeong
Interview. Song Hooryeong
Visual Director. Jeon Yurim
Coordinator. Oh Minji
Photography. LESS / Assist. Lee Sujeong, Park Sunseok
Artist Protocal Team. Kim Hyeongeun, Kim Ari, Son Nayeon, Shin Gwangjae, Kim Hyeonho, Park Hanul