After thinking each question over a moment, KAZUHA always managed to weave an endless sense of hope to “climb higher” into her answers. 
How was your first birthday in Korea?
KAZUHA: I heard a knock and came out from my room, and all the other members were there to throw me a surprise party. We ate seaweed soup, watched some scary TV shows and talked together until we all fell asleep. It felt so good to see them wish me a happy birthday like they were my own family.

It hasn’t even been a year since you first met the others. How did you grow so close so quickly?
KAZUHA: I actually really had to work up my courage to talk to them at first, but ever since we debuted, the awkwardness and fear around speaking mostly disappeared. I think it’s easy to talk with them because they listen to me and understand my feelings no matter what I say. Even if I make a mistake when I’m talking during one of our video shoots, the other members just turn it into something funny. They don’t make fun of me or anything—they keep the mood light and lovely, and I’m really grateful to them for that.

Do you like filming new content? People say you were born with an extra funny bone. (laughs)
KAZUHA: It’s better not to think at all when we film those. (laughs) You have to stop thinking altogether. (laughs) LENIVERSE is my favorite one to do. There was a recent episode called “What Happened at the FIMternet Cafe” that was really funny. SAKURA was actually watching it again while waiting earlier. I had only ever seen Internet cafes on TV before, so this was my first time going myself. It was fascinating, but I was kind of frustrated since I’m not very good at gaming. (laughs)

It seems like you’re very adjusted to filming those now. Do you feel more comfortable with being yourself when you’re on camera these days?
KAZUHA: I feel like I discover a new part of me every time we shoot something. It’s always hard to shoot something with an idea I never tried before so now I think about how I can do a better job on them. I used to practice facial expressions by imitating others, but then I realized that means they’re not actually my own. I think it’s important that I express myself in a way that’s true to me no matter what the context is.
Were there any moments while making this album where you felt like, This is me?
KAZUHA: As soon as we heard the part in “ANTIFRAGILE” that goes, “Don’t forget my pointe shoes I left behind,” the other members all said, “This is Zuha’s part.” (laughs) I really liked the idea of there being a part to the choreography or an expression that was just for me. And it’s about us specifically. There’s lyrics about the other members, too, like, “Don’t underestimate the path I’ve walked.” So I feel more of a sense of responsibility while singing. I liked how the line, “I’ll climb higher, top of the world I itched for” seemed to take the line, “climbing up, next one,” from “FEARLESS,” and the message of getting back up and doing even better, one step further.

Which song from this album did you most closely identify with personally?
KAZUHA: “Good Parts (when the quality is bad but I am).” The song’s about how it’s okay to make a mistake, but I still find it hard to stop thinking about my mistakes and move on. It’s so hard to accept and love yourself for who you are, you know? But when I really think about it, nobody else really cares if I make a mistake. I realized I’m probably the only one worrying about it. I think it’s better not to spend too much time thinking about what’s already in the past and take a positive look at what you’re going to do next instead.

So you’re singing songs that say the things you want to say, and the things you want to hear.
KAZUHA: Even before I debuted, I thought it was an idol’s job to help people think positively. I think it’s amazing that I’m actually doing that. I may be an idol now, but I honestly felt the same way the fans do before I was and I’m actually still the same way now. So I think I’m not really speaking [in one direction]—I’m just singing songs that we can all share in together from the same perspective.
The ballet-influenced dance moves are truly a kind of choreography that only you could manage.
KAZUHA: It’s an absolute honor to perform these kinds of movements in a group performance. I’m still able to do ballet, so I figured I should show it off while I still can. The ballet moves ended up in the choreography after I told the performance director that.

Your body must be used to doing ballet still. Do you not find it hard doing K-pop choreography?
KAZUHA: When I did ballet, it was important that I move delicately, but when it comes to K-pop choreography, the moves are abrupt and intense, so it’s hard. You also have to show off your own unique vibe. But both are good in their own way, so it’s fun.

What was it like doing the choreography for “ANTIFRAGILE”? It must’ve been hard to keep up with the fast hip hop beat.
KAZUHA: When I first heard the song, it was so ridiculously fast (laughs) that I couldn’t even pay much attention to the details because I was too busy struggling to keep up with the beat. We had to stay perfectly in sync and turn more precisely than in “FEARLESS,” so we did a lot of practicing as a group.

What are you focusing on most when you practice these days?
KAZUHA: I’m not familiar with the style of dance, so if I don’t keep practicing I could lose it all and wind up back at square one, so I review videos of myself continuously after practice.If I look back on an old practice video now, I feel like I was really bad, but most likely I’ll feel the same way if I watch videos from now in a few months. Anyway, you have to look at yourself from an emotional distance to really see where you can improve. Sometimes I feel tired, of course, but I keep telling myself just to keep at it and do a little bit more.

What do you mean by looking at yourself from a distance?
KAZUHA: I have to find places where I can improve from a distance. Still, all the other members help me a lot when we’re practicing all together. I’d never be able to make it on my own, so I’m glad that I’m with the others so they can make up for the parts where I fall short. We all work really hard to get in sync and nail down every detail during dance practice so we can pull off a perfectly coordinated performance with the five of us someday. We still have a lot of room for improvement, but I think our ability to help each other out as we go along is one of our group’s greatest strengths.
There’s a scene in the documentary where you meet the other members for the first time on a video call. How did it feel to go back and rewatch that part?
KAZUHA: It was so awkward. (laughs) I couldn’t really speak Korean back then, so I wrote a little something about myself ahead of time and read that to them. But my main goal was to do a good job reading that and show them all how I was feeling (laughs) so I was completely distracted. They had been training so hard for so long and then I just appeared out of nowhere. I was being a bit cautious because I realized they might feel awkward about me being there and have other complicated feelings about me. The other members were so nice and sweet to me right away, but back then I wasn’t good at Korean and didn’t feel brave enough to speak up so it wasn’t really possible to become close at first. But once I eventually lowered my guard, I got to be really comfortable with them. They never stopped treating me well and I guess I really learned to lower my guard down for myself.

How did you do that?
KAZUHA: I was grateful to the others when we were shooting videos that they accepted my mistakes and made a funny situation out of them in a lighthearted way.  So there were always good vibes in the group and we discovered new things through the process of promoting together. I think we’ll become even closer until we have a connection that’s just like family. So I think our chemistry will improve, too. (laughs) Even if we face some conflicts, I think our group will become stronger thanks to those experiences. It was like that when we promoted FEARLESS, too, and I could tell they all felt that way again this time. Whenever we’re able to sense the way each other is feeling, I think about how we really are like a family.

Maybe that’s why you’re okay with making mistakes—just like it says in the lyrics to “Good Parts (when the quality is bad but I am).”
KAZUHA: Yes. I loved that that’s the atmosphere we cultivated. At first I was just keeping busy, following along and doing all the things that had to be done one by one, but as we got more experience, we wanted to put on a special final performance of “FEARLESS,” and I helped come up with ideas and work on them with them—wearing suits, switching up the choreography a bit and doing the whole thing with the heart inside the jacket. I had a lot of fun with it, but I was even happier and prouder to see the other members having just as much fun as I was.
Which performance during the FEARLESS promotion stands out the most in your mind?
KAZUHA: If we do the pre-recording for the music show, the first verse we do again later just before we go live isn’t recorded. There’s no pressure to look at a camera, so we just took out our in-ears and got to do a performance while looking right into the faces of FEARNOT and I could feel that they were really supporting us. I could experience the fun of the stage in a way I couldn’t feel when having to look into the camera like normally.

You performed at a university for the first time recently at Yonsei University’s AKARAKA festival. How was it?
KAZUHA: It was my first time performing so close to an audience. I felt like I was dreaming. And I really liked that atmosphere of everyone enjoying the show together. I thought it would be nice to communicate more actively with the audience next time, like the other members did. I didn’t know I give that much fan service because it was my first time performing at a university festival. (laughs) When we were singing “Sour Grapes,” the audience turned the flashes on on their phones and I thought, It’s finally happening to me! I couldn’t believe it. I was seriously overwhelmed that so many people were there to see our performance.

Would you say that the energy you get from your audience is the biggest reason for you to be an idol?
KAZUHA: Yes! It was the exact same when I did ballet. I like the whole atmosphere of the place when the audience likes the show and they’re having a good time. Being on stage is honestly just like a dream, and I’m so excited when I get to go out there and perform in front of a live audience. I think that’s the reason I’m able to focus more on stage than when I’m practicing.

Promoting must get difficult or tiring at points. Where do you find the strength to pull yourself back up again?
KAZUHA: It’s because I want to keep on improving. When I think of all the FEARNOT supporting me, I think, I can’t stop now. Before we debuted, I wondered if there was even anybody out there who liked me, but as soon as we started promoting and I got out on stage, I found out there’s lots of people who like LE SSERAFIM. The first thing I saw when we took to the stage as idols for the first time at our debut showcase was all the people looking at us with faces full of anticipation. Every time I feel that anticipation directed towards us, I want to go above and beyond.

It sounds like knowing the fans are there already means a lot to you.
KAZUHA: I like the culture around fans and idols having a continuous relationship as they grow together. When our fans got the name FEARNOT, it felt like we had somewhere to call home. It made me feel secure to think there will always be supportive people by our side. It makes me so happy to know we can give people strength when I hear FEARNOT felt stronger after listening to “FEARLESS” or they listen to it while working out.

So you’re a hero on stage giving strength to the people, just like the main dance move in “ANTIFRAGILE.”
KAZUHA: Yes. (laughs) When I see someone else performing, I can feel that energy rising up inside me, too. I hope people who see me on stage will feel just like I did when I was young and saw artists performing and wanted to become an amazing artist myself.
  • KAZUHA’s silver ring by SENSE OPTIC.
Credit
Article. Song Hooryeong
Interview. Song Hooryeong
Visual Director. Jeon Yurim
Project Management. Lee Yejin
Visual Creative Team. Nu Kim, Gabriel Cho, Yoon Cho, Kim Yujoo, Baek Yoovin, Moon Sungwoong (SOURCE MUSIC)
Photography. Mok Jung Wook / Assist. Bang Kyu Hyeong, Jang Jung Woo, Lee Joong Myoung
Hair. Hamin, Oh Yumi (BIT&BOOT)
Makeup. Choi Suji, Kim Minji (BIT&BOOT)
Stylist. Hong Hary / Assist. Jo Subeen, Park Joogyeong (Punksnotdead)
Set Design. Choi Seoyun, Son Yehee, Kim Ayeong (Da;rak)
Artist Protocal Team. Kim Ahri, Son Nayeon, Shin Kwangjae, Lee Eunjoo, Lee Hyoyeol
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