With passionate blood red lipstick, short miniskirts with leopard skin print and when they do their “foxy tail” dance, male fans of all ages rush to their TVs. They have matured so much that they now give off a sexy vibe and their appearance wasn’t the only thing that changed since their debut.
Following their success with “Tell Me”, the Wonder Girls felt that being able to support their parents financially now ranks as their greatest happiness. Sun Ye said that she recently bought a car so that she could visit her grandmother and her father whenever she wants, and that going out on a drive with her grandmother was her greatest joy.
Yoo Bin said that she bought her mother who lives in the US, dinner at a Korean restaurant, and that her mother broke into tears saying that, “Yoo Bin has come a long way”, and tears formed in her eyes during the interview.
Not only has the Wonder Girls received love and support for the past year from all Koreans, having financial stability, it has also seen them grow up. Wonder Girls, the five girls who shook Korea, what have they been doing during the past six months? Ilgan Sports met the Wonder Girls.
IS: You’ve all changed slightly in terms of appearance. Do you often get told that you look prettier?
Yoo Bin: All except for Sun Mi lost around 5 kgs. During the “Tell Me” activities, because we didn’t have a regular eating pattern and lived on junk food while we travelled from schedule to schedule were at the peak (laughs). Eating chicken breast salads and reducing our carbohydrate consumption, we focused mainly on keeping our shape.
Sun Mi: I was a bit thin below so I fattened up a bit. I was 41kg but now I’m 43.5 kg. Unnies say that I look better.
So Hee: Yoo Bin’s legs look fantastic. In truth, I had confidence in my legs that others didn’t know, but since Yoo Bin started to take up sports, it became as it is today…killer legs. Nowadays in the photo shoots, no one tries to stand next to Yoo Bin unnie… and I also try not to be next to her as it might force a comparison.
IS: I’m interested in “So Hot” creation. When did you first hear it?
Wonder Girls: It was around January. JYP PD called us to a shabby restaurant and told us about the new song and the rhythm. We thought it was funny and he also showed the basic dance steps.
Initially, it only had “I’m so pretty”, and the basic lyrics, but even from the first time hearing it, the feel came to us. When the song was completed in early April, JYP PD called us to the recording room and made us listen to the completed song. In his training suit, he showed us the dance for “So Hot” on the spot. Looking at us seriously, he asked us, “Isn’t this move really sexy?”, and we still cannot erase that moment from our memory.
IS: The concept has changed a lot especially Sun Ye has short hair?
Sun Ye: On our Music Core and Inkigayo comebacks, I wore a wig. But because of the actions involved in the dance, and the ensuing sweat, I went to Abgujungdong hair dressers on the 2nd and cut my hair.
At first, I thought that it would feel weird without the long hair, but it’s all OK now because I can now wash my hair more quickly.
Yoo Bin: Members get questioned about plastic surgery from time to time. Because we lost so much weight, the neckline slimmed considerably. Although some people do ask if we really didn’t do anything to our faces but frankly there wasn’t the time.
IS: Do you feel the pressure due to the success of “Tell me”?
Sun Ye: Well if we say that there’s been no pressure, that’d be lying. During “Tell Me”, we worked hard, but luck also followed us. We often get asked if we can exceed the popularity achieved by “Tell Me”, but all we can do is to try our best. We want to do the best we can with “So Hot”, and we don’t want to regret about the results afterwards.
Ye Eun: JYP PD always tells us this. If you want to be good to your parents, be a good person, play when you want, and if you do whatever you want and still want to succeed (as a star), it’s selfishness. Whenever we work out or practice, we comfort each other like this. Because we were successful in taking care of ourselves last time, we have the confidence to do so again.
IS: In the case of So Hee, when she met to see her sister in Japan, a photo was captured and came up on the internet. Do you remember that?
So Hee: I was really surprised. I just went to the bank to change currency, a photo was taken and it came up on the internet. Now whenever we hear the shutter, we become paranoid, with the pressure that we need to pose for it automatically. While intimidating because of the global age of mobilephone cameras, we are also thankful for the attention that we get.
IS: Because of the tag of “Nation’s little sisters”, I think that you will also be popular among other entertainers. Has anyone approached you before?
Ye Eun: I’ve got a lot to say about that. There’s been no one that held their hands to their heart and said “Let’s go out, I like you.” We’ve often heard in the waiting rooms, “I like Wonder Girls too”, from others, but there’s been no one who have come forward with purpose. Even Yoo Bin’s birthday, she spent the day with the members, despite it being the day where she became an adult.
IS: What did you do on that day?
So Hee: We prepared a surprise for her. Sun Ye and Ye Eun gave her as a joke, lacy lingerie in mint colour, I gave her a lipstick and Sun Mi bought her heels. With cake and candles we prepared a party, but Yoo Bin unnie then said, “On the day when one turns 20, they need to receive a first kiss and perfume”, so she kissed Sun Mi who was lying on the couch.
Sun Mi: Yeah, she has one over me. I can’t forget that day. Why me.. I thought for a time. Yoo Bin unnie said that my lips were the most attractive… and thus..
IS: A year has passed and there’s been many changes. Sun Mi and So Hee became (in Korea) seniors in high school, Ye Eun a university student.. and SunYe pushed her university plans till next year..
Sun Ye: I alwas wanted to do musicals when I go to university. Having failed this year, I had to push it back till next year. One of my jinks is that I usually cannot do well in school-related stuff. In high school, when I participate in singing competitions, the day before, I used to fall ills, and fail in the preliminaries much to my bewilderment.
University preparations, because of “Tell Me”, I really couldn’t prepare. I believe that university life is one that is worth experiencing, and I want to try again next year and step into the campus.
IS: You earn a lot through “Tell Me”?
Sun Ye: If you think it’s a lot, it’s a lot. If you think it’s little, it’s little. I wanted to buy my grandmother a massage chair, but her room was too small to fit it in. Also, I recently got my driver’s license and bought a car, but I got a bit hurt because some fans said, “she even bought a car with the money she’s earnt.”
Whenever I want to see my father and grandmother, I liked that I no longer have to ask my manager to drive me. My greatest joy now is going on a drive with my father and grandmother. My father has a disability and apart from the little support he gets from the government, he says he’s receiving money for the first time, and often says he’s sorry.
Yoo Bin: My mum who lives in the US came to Korea two weeks ago. I bought her lunch, but she burst into tears saying that I’ve come so far and I cried too.
Sun Mi: My mum takes care of my bank account. I told her to buy whatever she wants. I am really proud about that.
So Hee: Whenever I go overseas, I always buy presents for my mother and father. I like being able to spend my own money.
Sun Mi: Recently it was my parent’s birthday. I bought my mum a necklace and my dad a belt. For a high schooler, it’s quite an expensive present, but I felt proud having been able to buy them such things.
IS: I think Sun Ye went through a lot because of Park Tae Hwan.
Ye Eun: I want to clarify this. When we meet Tae Hwan, nearly always Sun Mi and I was there too, as we all go to the same church. However, even when we were present at the places of scandal, people weren’t interested in us and only took interest in him being with Sun Ye. They’re really not going out together.
Sun Ye: Tae Hwan is just a friend. The couple ring was from my father. The mistake people make about our minihompies is also because of our liking for Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters.
Even when “So Hot” came out, Tae Hwan put it as a bg music, but due to the misunderstanding from fans, he deleted it immediately. Although I appreciate the gesture, I was worried our friendship would change because of it.
IS: Do you still not call JYP oppa?
Wonder Girls: We first called him teacher but now we got used to calling him as a PD, and call him as JYP PD. He said that when all of us are over 20, he said he’ll make us call him oppa. He said that before it doesn’t look too good and he wasn’t used to it and that he feels sorry because we’re so young..(laughs)
IS: Have you not fought amongst yourselves.. isn’t there tension between the female members?
Wonder Girls: Well, if we didn’t say no, we’d be lying. To tell the truth, there is that thing in girl groups. In the beginning, we used to get quite emotional, but after completing the JYP US tour, and having been away from home so long, our bonds got closer.
In the past year, it feels as we’ve sung Tell Me around 3000 – 4000 times, and through shows, stages, performances and schedules, I think it’s reinforced that we’re all in the same boat and strengthened our friendship.
IS: I heard that Yoo Bin is suffering because of the throat and she’s lip-synching all her schedules
Yoo Bin: Apart from interviews where I have to talk, I rarely use my throat. There’s a lot of rapping in the new album so I put a lot of effort into it, suffering extra vocal lesions so I feel a bit down.
IS: Give yourselves a score out of 100 for your work as Wonder Girls so far
Wonder Girls: If 100 is as far as we can go, about 5? If the possibilities are endless, we really doubt that we can score ourselves at all. We’ve a long way to go. It may seem as if we’ve already had success in the last year, but many people worked behind the scenes for us. We were all very lucky. We want to try achieve that again.
Translated by gunners74 @ WG Soompi.