Blackpink’s Jennie is having a great year. Not only did she, and her group mates, make history by becoming the first K-pop group to headline Coachella, but she also made her acting debut with the contentious Sam Levinson’s series The Idol along with Lily-Rose Depp and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye.
Breaking records and shattering stereotypes has become second nature for the singer and actress, but it wasn’t an easy journey to the top. The singer, who goes by the stage name Jennie Ruby Jane, recently appeared on Dua Lipa’s podcast At Your Service and candidly discussed her issues with identity, her culture, and the struggles she had to go through as an idol trainee.
The ‘Solo’ singer revealed that she used to feel that she was headed towards burnout when she started getting pigeonholed as a rapper because of her fluency in English. Jennie said that she began losing a sense of who she was as a singer and a performer because of this.
“Because the more I did singing and music, I came to realise that there’s a big side of me inside that I love to sing and just play with my vocals. But I actually never had the chance to really explore that as a trainee, because I got told that I should be a rapper, you know? So there was a phase where I would hate to rap. Like, I was like, ‘This isn’t me, like, this isn’t the journey that I envisioned in my head. Like, I don’t think I’m a rapper.’ So there was definitely a burnout season. There was a moment. Yeah, one moment where I was denying myself just because of the idea that I didn’t pick this path that somebody else has picked for me.”
Jennie also opened up about how the conservative culture in Korea and the perception of idols made it difficult for her to explore more sides of herself.
“Starting my career in Korea as a K-pop artist has restricted so many sides of me where it wasn’t just allowed to be shown because I’m a K-pop idol. And I was scared, I think also to express myself. And as things grew over time, I was able to express myself, and people would see it as breaking the boundaries rather than ‘she’s doing something that she’s not allowed to do’ and being able to open a new chapter for people that are starting in the business in Korea.”
She went on to add that saying the F-word in the middle of Blackpink’s song ‘Tally’ was difficult for her in the beginning.
“I was like, oh, like kind of like move away from the mic. Oh, like, what do people think this is like? Not right, you know? And then more fans were loving the song and I was connecting with Blinks [the collective name for Blackpink’s fans], like while I was on stage when I was singing that song. They were like, yeah, do your thing. And they were the ones who gave me my confidence and support to really enjoy the song.”
The K-pop idol also addressed her role in The Idol, saying that she wanted to start exploring acting but she didn’t want to grab just any opportunity that came to her. A meeting with Levinson in Los Angeles got her interested in the role of Dyanne, Depp’s character Jocelyn’s friend-turned-rival.
“It felt really authentic and real, it moved me and it gave me the courage to believe that this was the right thing to do,” she said.
What did you think of Jennie’s heartfelt revelations?