While YUNJIN calmly discussed her thoughts throughout the interview, at one point she began to speak rapidly. She explained everything, from her first impressions to the most memorable moments, one after the other, then spoke with great confidence: “We’re all so different, but when we’re together, everything just works.”
So you’re finally debuting.
HUH YUNJIN: It hasn’t really hit me yet. It all feels like a dream. I was a trainee a bit longer than the other members and a lot’s happened for me to get to where I am today. A lot of effort went into being able to debut, so it feels like a big deal, and I feel a lot of pressure, so it doesn’t feel real yet. I think I especially feel that way because I waited so long and it’s finally here.
You were first revealed as a LE SSERAFIM member with your voice through the official logo motion video.
HUH YUNJIN: It was extremely awkward when I first went to record it, but I got into it by thinking of the elegant way the logo goes at the end of those luxury cosmetics commercials and then I could do it naturally. I did around five takes and they said that worked, so it was over quickly.
The debut trailer was the next video to be released, and you look laid back in that one, tossing paint around and playing guitar.
HUH YUNJIN: I turned on some music I like really loudly to film that. I have always liked bands and listened to a lot of rock music from other countries since I was young and the concept that day happened to be rock so I put on that kind of music and had fun while filming. I think the energy of the music found its way into the video.
I could feel the rock vibe in the guitar shots. I was also impressed by the way you smile so radiantly during those parts, then change to that serious face as soon as the lights drop.
HUH YUNJIN: We have a radiant vibe overall, but at the same time, we’re “FEARLESS.” You could say there’s something appealing about the contrast. That’s what I wanted to express: I wanted to show this two-sided aspect, where we’re bright and energetic but also something that says “I’m rebellious” and “FEARLESS” at the same time.
In the video, you said you’re 20 and you “want to change the idol industry.”
HUH YUNJIN: They asked me if there was anything I wanted to say and those were the things that naturally came out. I love music and dancing on stage and it makes me so happy, and I dreamed of becoming an idol because I wanted to work in Korea, but I started having certain feelings after being a trainee and having a chance to experience K-pop indirectly.
What is it that you want to change?
HUH YUNJIN: Rather than following the strict standards for idols, I want to break them down one by one. Of course you have to behave in front of a camera, but I want to create the kind of environment where I can express myself a little more openly rather than have to conceal the real me when I’m on camera. Because I know myself better than anyone else.
That philosophy is also expressed in “The World Is My Oyster.”
HUH YUNJIN: I was so absorbed while recording that I became rebellious for real and it really was like I was blaming the world for everything. (laughs)
It seems like the confidence you show in the debut trailer and in “The World Is My Oyster” carries over to “FEARLESS” as well.
HUH YUNJIN: I think we’re getting better at expressing ourselves since the concept and message of the song are about us. Because the world really does have its eyes on us, so we have to express that “what you lookin’ at” feeling.
Coincidentally, you sing, “Telling me to hide my desire, that’s weird / Acting like I’m humble, that’s done,” during your part.
HUH YUNJIN: The feedback I usually get on my singing is, “Don’t focus so much on the notes—focus more on the lyrics and sing almost like you’re talking.” When I first heard the demo, I thought it sounded like singing rap so I paid less attention to the notes and really focused on expressing the mood and attitude. So I imagined characters like Harley Quinn and tried to sound satisfying.
In the song “The Great Mermaid,” you say you will get everything you want even though people always say you have to give up one thing to gain another.
HUH YUNJIN: I kept hearing, “Try it just like you’re talking,” “Think about the lyrics and sing it just like you’re talking,” but, when it comes to recording as LE SSERAFIM, since our lyrics are really about us and they reflect all our thoughts, concerns and worries, the lyrics are all things I really wanted to say anyway. So it was easy for me to relate to all of the lyrics while recording like I was talking, too.
You also wrote some lyrics for “Blue Flame.” What do you typically write about?
HUH YUNJIN: I think I tend to write about myself a lot when I write lyrics: the kind of person I am, the kind of person I want to be, the kind of difficulties I face—that kind of thing. I guess I mainly write things I want to say to someone, including things I want to say to myself—comforting things I sort of want to say to people. I was always interested in writing songs, and anyway, the song is about us, so I thought it would be good if I were involved in the songwriting, too. They asked me to write narrative-driven lyrics for “Blue Flame” that would convey the narrative behind the Original Story, and I like telling stories, so I had fun writing them. I ended up getting the first line of the song, the line I wrote! (laughs) Some of the lyrics I wrote became the intro for our pairing track, and amazingly enough, I’m the one who sings that, too.
You have to dance to “Blue Flame” at the same time, but a lot of the moves look like they can’t be easy to do together.
HUH YUNJIN: The lead single choreo is physically challenging, but “Blue Flame” is really hard in its own, different way. If “FEARLESS” is like resistance training, “Blue Flame” is a complete aerobic exercise from start to finish. Think of it as singing while running. It seriously feels like singing while doing a burpee test. (laughs) At first, when I tried to sing, I couldn’t dance in time, and if I tried to dance, I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t make the right facial expressions, and I couldn’t get into the group formations. So I kept practicing really hard—and I’m still practicing—and I’m doing aerobic exercises at the gym on my own to try and increase my lung capacity, which has been a big help, I think. Like I’m a lot more stable now? (laughs)
You’re singing while doing aerobics, but your facial expression makes you look so relaxed. (laughs)
HUH YUNJIN: It’s those bright smiles and super sweet expressions that are exactly what makes “Blue Flame” so great, so we said, “We have to look like we’re really happy and having a ton of fun, no matter how hard it is,” and, “Let’s be happy on stage,” and practiced.
Do you tend to talk with each other and make adjustments that way while you’re practicing choreography?
HUH YUNJIN: It’s a very easygoing atmosphere, where anyone can say, “I think this would work better,” “Wouldn’t this look better?” or “I think it would be better if you moved a little faster.” And I’m the sole “J” for MBTIs among our group, so sometimes I lightly lead the group during dance practice.
You said on V LIVE before that the reason your nickname is Giraffe is “because I looked like a newborn giraffe when I was dancing.” Now I’m having a hard time imagining how you lead dance practice. (laughs)
HUH YUNJIN: It took a lot of effort. A lot of effort. (laughs) Anyway, getting better by practicing is really a battle against yourself. The hardest part was when I kept getting in my own way because I wanted to work hard but my body couldn’t keep up. There are times when I’m conflicted between wanting to rest and wanting to keep going on the other hand.
What was it like being a trainee where you constantly have to battle yourself? You came all the way to Korea on your own to become an idol.
HUH YUNJIN: Actually, I don’t remember much about when I first got to Korea. It was so hectic and there were so many things I had to do, and I was feverishly passionate. But after the show (Mnet’s PRODUCE 48) ended, and I went back to the tranquil trainee life, I felt sort of lonely. I sometimes felt like I couldn’t convey my feelings properly no matter what I said because my family is all in the US now and I grew up speaking English. I wanted to express myself properly, but my Korean’s not that good. Plus there was no one around me who could speak English, so my English kept getting weirder.
How did you survive the loneliness?
HUH YUNJIN: I think I always subconsciously knew I could never live without music and performing. I think I couldn’t give up because I wanted to do music no matter what and be on stage no matter what.
You lived in the US before you became a trainee. What was it like living there?
HUH YUNJIN: It was so fun. It let me experience so many different things. I think everything I experienced when I was younger had a big influence on the thoughts, and personality, and goals I have now, so I’m glad the younger me was living life to the fullest. I did plays in drama club, I was in musical and French clubs and I was on the hockey team, too. I took French in school for around five years, but I haven’t used it in forever, so now I’m studying it again.
I heard you were the captain when you were on the hockey team.
HUH YUNJIN: The school system was set up such that you could do team sports starting from the beginning of middle school. My friend already played field hockey and asked me to join and that’s where I got my start. I was terrible at first. But after playing it for several years I got better and it became more fun. People who want to join the hockey team have to go through something like a three-day tryout to get on the team, like an audition. People who pass make the team and once the team is formed they all vote on who will be captain. It means a lot to me that I got to see myself improve to the point that I could eventually become captain and be in charge of the team.
And now you’re on another team, making a fresh start together. What is LE SSERAFIM doing to become one unified team?
HUH YUNJIN: We made some ground rules. First, just accepting things. Just accepting and understanding things, whatever the situation, the state of things, however we’re feeling, whatever another member does. The second is expressing ourselves. Since we’re all sort of introverts, we’re not good at bringing things up when we’re having a hard time, even if there’s a dispute or hurt feelings, and we each tend to try to solve things on our own, so we couldn’t get to know about each other very well. So we decided to express ourselves more, and it’s already been this way for quite a long time now, so we just say whatever we want because we feel like it’s okay to say anything at all. Now, with everything we do, we always say things like, “This must be destiny,” or, “How lucky is it we managed to be all together?” or, “Maybe we were meant to be.”
What makes you feel like it’s destiny?
HUH YUNJIN: We’re all so different, but when we’re together, everything just works. GARAM seemed standoffish at first, but after I got to know her, she’s so funny and silly. And she’s so lovely when she laughs or eats. GARAM loves food, so it’s cute how happy she looks whenever we all eat together. And I was seeing CHAEWON and Kkura again for the first time in nearly three years, since the last time we were on TV together was in 2018, so I thought things would be different after all that time, but it was the same as ever, which was both amazing and made me happy to see them again. We talk and think the same way and we just click. I can really count on them. And EUNCHAE is so cute. She’s the youngest and the last addition to the team. When she joined, she had to memorize the choreography and all the formations to a song she just heard for the first time, all in a single day. I think the anxiety and burden from that situation was why she was so quiet at first, but now she’s really upbeat and funny. And I thought Zuha seemed really diligent when I first met her, and it turns out she really is that diligent and hardworking. And it’s clear she’s been doing ballet for 15 years just from being around her. Her life is ballet. (laughs)
Do you have any goals for yourself as a member of LE SSERAFIM or just for yourself personally after LE SSERAFIM debuts?
HUH YUNJIN: I want to be able to fully express myself through music and to use my music to have a positive effect on the world. That’s the kind of artist I want to become. If I can even partially achieve that dream as a member of LE SSERAFIM, I’ll be so happy. Maybe that’s why I like writing songs: because I can express the things I want to express and say what I want to say through them because music and performing are what I’m capable of doing right now. And, as a member of LE SSERAFIM, I want to do a world tour. And a stadium tour! (laughs)
That’s a very “FEARLESS” goal. (laughs)
HUH YUNJIN: I don’t need to prove myself, but if I have the opportunity, I think I should work even harder to show what I’ve got. “FEARLESS” isn’t really a concept so much as it’s just about us. (laughs)
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