This interview was published in the December 2015 issue of Grazia Korea and was accompanied with a photo spread done in collaboration with 99%is for Operation Smile.
Yes, I am CL.
Q: It’s really cool how you have personally participated in this project! What were your thoughts when you first heard of the proposal (for the collaboration with Operation Smile)?
A: It’s a good thing right, so I’m really happy to have taken part in it. It was even more meaningful as I did it with my beloved friends.
Q: You personally recommended ‘99%is’ designer Mr. Ba Jo Woo to be your partner for this project. Was there a special reason for doing so?
A: The concept for this photoshoot was to showcase looks that are colourful, ‘free’ and ‘like me’ (representing CL’s personality). I thought of Ba Jo Woo oppa* just then. Oppa usually does drawings on his products by hand and also adds studs to them. I thought that this way of designing products would match this photoshoot well.
*Oppa – Korean way for a younger female to address an older male
Q: How did the designer respond?
A: Oppa was in Japan then but I called him immediately and he said ‘Let’s do it together’ of course (smiles). I was thankful that he agreed to do it happily. Actually oppa was already going to donate his rider jackets, so I thought that it would be great if he could also draw on them. (When designer Ba Jo Woo heard of this,) he personally came over (to Seoul) from Japan.
Q: Does that mean that he specially flew over from Japan for this photoshoot?
A: I don’t know about that but… hahaha. Oppa, let’s just say you did come to Korea just for this photoshoot (smiles).
Q: During the meeting we had while conceptualizing the photoshoot, you said that you wanted to “convey the message effectively without losing the ‘CL-like’ aspect”. What is something ‘CL-like’ to you personally?
A: Well… it’s difficult to explain it with words but wouldn’t it be something that looks natural (to me) and is comfortable when I put it on and move in it?
Q: I find that you have a lot of female fans. And they are unnie** fans too.
A: Ahaha. That’s right. I do have a lot of unnie fans.
**Unnie – Korean way for a younger female to address an older female
Q: I thought that you would have a lot of younger fans.
A: Strangely, I’ve had many unnies and oppas around me since I was young. I grew up listening to their experiences. I really like that.
Q: Although you have a strong personality, you’re able to give others a sense of stability that only people who were brought up well have.
A: Ah, really? Ahaha. Thank you!
Q: I’ve just come to know about Operation Smile through this project. How about CL?
A: Me too. I really like babies and children so I visit the Holt Children Welfare Society a lot. That’s why I feel a special sense of attachment to this project. I’m going to take some pictures with the 6 year old Jiyeon soon. I’m really looking forward to that.
Q: I talked to her for a bit and found out that she usually plays CL’s music out loud and dances to it.
A: Ah, really? I’m even more excited to see her now (smiles).
Q: Your occupation is one that requires you to be in the public eye. I’m curious how is it you balance your private and public selves.
A: I’m of the view that both of those selves will eventually become one. Actually, even though I have to worry about my public self because of my occupation, if I become relatively close with someone I tend to become my private self with them. And that’s what I want to do (smiles).
Q: Are you shy? You kept on smiling while saying that (smiles).
A: I’m still working hard on it (smiles). I think the confidence from my public self needs to be mixed with my private self.
Q: What are some standards/codes that you would like to live by?
A: I want to live as human-like as possible. I want to attempt all the challenges that I would like to attempt, make mistakes and learn from them, without worrying over my career too much. Like a human.
Q: What have you been focusing on lately?
A: I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been working since I was young but I always think that working is the most fun. Should I say that my passion seems to only be concentrated on working? Even when I’m playing with my friends, it would eventually lead to making music together, composing this and that. I gain and give good energy and influence at those times.
Q: Artists usually tend to debut with a certain concept, then slowly modify the concept as they go along to end with a tailor-made concept that matches them. However, CL’s colour seems to have remained consistent from your debut.
A: That’s because I was lucky. From the very start, friends gave me clothes that matched me and Teddy oppa always helped me to find music that suited me. And since I am also the type to try a lot of things, I think that has helped me to be able to sort through what would match me and what wouldn’t.
Q: Is that why the large variety of styles that you’ve tried never look awkward on you?
A: I think it’s because I liked them. Wearing the clothes and taking photos in them.
Q: Do you like taking photos or being photographed?
A: I like both.
Q: Do you take photos of other people too?
A: Lately, I’ve been taking so many photos of the people around me that they’ve said it seems like I have lost my soul. Hahaha. It’s been a while but I cleaned my room recently and found polaroids that I took in the past. There is also a lot of photos of the (2NE1) members. I looked at them and realised that ‘ah, and so it’s really only photos and memories that remain’. It was from then on that I took pictures like I was crazy. Even though other people thought that it’s really troublesome (smiles).
Q: What do you like about being photographed?
A: That I’m able to leave evidences of many different versions of me. It’s fun because it’s like signing off with a stamp.
Q: Nevertheless, a filtering (??) like CL seems to be powerful from the start. You have your parents to thank for that.
A: That’s right. (I do have to thank them) for having brought me up freely, for me to be myself. Hahaha.
(T/N: I have no idea what they’re talking about but it literally says ‘filtering’)
Q: You’re now in a career that you wanted to go into. What kind of world do you hope for children to live in?
A: Hmm… circumstances are not fairly distributed amongst people right? So, although it may sound corny, I think that it’s important to have confidence. It’s not possible to have the same start as someone else, and since it’s not possible to have the same things as others do, I think that it’s important to have a heart that is able to accept yourself as who you are. I hope that they don’t become afraid. Even if they themselves are a little different from others. Actually, I am like that too. I’m conscious of the fact that others are aware that I don’t have a pretty face even though I’m a celebrity. That’s why I put in as much effort as their awareness of that fact (smiles).
Q: I think of ‘strength’ when you mention being confident in who you are. You seem like someone born with that confidence.
A: Does it seem like so. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to think about this as I work in this career path. Since I’m so different from everyone else. When I debuted around 17 years old, I hear a lot about how I was ugly and that I come off too strong. I’ve had severe internal conflicts and moments of weakness as I had to reconcile the need to protect myself and the need to match the standards imposed by others. I’ve increasingly realised that the right thing to do is to like myself, to feel pretty and to remain faithful to my emotions and feelings. To be honest, this is difficult to do. When everyone else is saying ‘no’ and you’re saying ‘yes’ by yourself. However, since everyone is different, I think that if you invest your passion and time into the strong point that you have, that aspect will become your own charm.
Q: And that’s why people are now submitting to CL’s charms.
A: Ah, is that so? Hehe.
Q: So you debuted at a really young age in 2009. How do you think you survived that period of time if you were to think back about those times now?
A: My early 20s were actually more difficult for me. I think I went through my teenage years without knowing anything and rather aimlessly. I had many worries when I turned 20, such as what to live on in the future etc. My young friends also had the same worries and I used to tell them then that it’s healthy to have these worries and that they are something to be happy about. How could a person live happy every day? You’d have to feel inadequate sometimes for there to be development.
Q: I wonder if it’s because you’re born with a positive personality or is it because you’re surrounded by good people. Are there lots of people that you usually converse with?
A: I’m really close to my younger sister, and also to people at my workplace. I had a really depressing day a few days back, but I met President Yang (Yang Hyun Suk), Jiyong oppa (G-Dragon) and Youngbae oppa (Taeyang) at my workplace. They listened to my worries seriously and comforted me, which cheered me up. My friends are really important to me. That’s why I’m working hard at taking photos of them (smiles) and I’m also having fun with them. Doing these allows me to gain strength again.
Q: You’re in a career that allows you to have a big influence. What do you think about that?
A: It’s impossible for such a responsibility to not feel heavy. However, I am human so I do make mistakes, and I have a life as Chaerin on top of being CL. In any case, I am someone that does music and is loved because of that, so I think that it’s right that I remain faithful to music. I think that doing well in music and putting on good performances is my way of fulfilling my responsibilities.
Q: What are the basics of a good performance?
A: A performance without regrets. You’d have to put in that much hard work and time. So, I don’t think that a perfectly prepared performance is a good performance. Even if I go on stage with just a mic, as long as I do my best, I believe that my energy and emotions will be conveyed to the audience.
Q: I’ve also watch CL live a couple of times. Your force was overpowering.
A: Ahaha. I guess my voice is really loud. I’ve only been aware that my voice is that loud recently (Everyone bursts into laughter).
Q: That’s also a skill that you’re born with.
A: It matches my job, doesn’t it? (Smiles)
Q: What do you think is true beauty?
A: Although everyone has different standards, for me, I think it is honesty. By honesty I don’t mean ‘not telling lies’ but being faithful to who you are and being able to express that without fear of others.
Q: Looking at the bigger picture, I think that the theme of this photoshoot is ‘dream’. It gives people an opportunity to dream of a new life. As CL found her dream of doing music at a young age, what would you like to say to people who have yet to find their dreams?
A: Please spend a lot of time with yourself. My assistant friend is 20 years old and we’ve talked about this topic recently. She said that she didn’t know what she was doing or what it is she wanted to do. So I told her to not forget about the issue or avoid it by playing with her friends and that it’d be good if she could face it head-on. For example, having to separate and being hurt… when time passes, it all gets better. However, how everyone spends that time differently. For some, they might spend that time as if they are dead because they were hurt, but others might invest that time in themselves instead. Everyone is given the same amount of time. That’s why how you use the time given to you is really important.
Q: You have come to this conclusion over some time, haven’t you? It’s interesting how all successful people say similar things.
A: Ah, really? But I’ve not succeeded yet though? Hahaha.
Q: You have received a lot of love to reach this point though.
A: Yes I did. Although I’m lucky, I’ve also received help from a lot of people.
Q: Have you thought of a time when you would no longer be as loved?
A: It’d be fine because I will love myself! I think that love is something that you need to constantly be doing without relying on others. You need to love yourself generously and feel that you are beautiful. “I am going to love myself a lot.” You could love yourself a lot more if you hold a similar conviction in your heart. I could long for love from other people but it’s easier for me to love myself. This would allow you to receive as much love as you would want.
Much thanks to our friend, @whitewoodCL, for the interview text from the Grazia Korea magazine.
Translated by CLtheBaddestFemale.com.
Please credit if you’re taking this translation out of CLtheBaddestFemale.com.
Another great interview from CL ♥
Her wise words are so enriching. We hope that all the GZBs out there enjoyed this interview as much as we did and remember to love yourselves generously! And don’t forget that you’re all beautiful!
Orders from the Queen GZB! ^^