Qri shares her recent activities, future goals and deep thoughts in an interview with BNT
A girl group with many ups and downs. Debuted in 2009, they climbed to the top with hit songs like Lovey Dovey, Roly Poly, etc. Despite this, they have also overcome exceptionally severe adversity. It’s T-ara.
They’ve pulled through quite a few adversities and experienced numerous hardships which has earned them a the title of ‘Longevity Girl Group,’ while most of their peers who debuted around the same time as them are currently either appearing lesser or have disbanded. T-ara is still staying strong, promoting with full members. They are so active both domestically and overseas, to the point where they have clinched the 1st place title of K-Pop girl group in China.
We have Qri who spent her 20s as T-ara. Now stepping into her 30s, she still has many sides to her that she wants to show to the public. We listened to Qri’s story on both T-ara and also herself.
Q. Thoughts on your 2nd photoshoot with BNT?
Last time we focused on a more natural theme. This time I think I can pull a concept that suits me more, I’m very satisified. I’m very excited.
Q. Concepts you liked the most and why?
I liked the 3rd and 4th concept. It’s a style that suits my image and I like it. Although I’m usually bright and cheery, I like a feminine and girl-crush style too. I don’t like it to be too feminine, but something more towards unique and casual.
Q. How have you been recently?
T-ara made a comeback in autumn of 2016 afterwards we focused on promoting overseas. Now we have China schedules and Japan fan meeting. And also we’re expected to be making an appearance on SBS The Show 100-episode special on Valentine’s Day. Going on stage after such a long time, we’ll be able to show ourselves again.
Q. The time you debuted as a girl group.
I debuted a bit late compared to my peers. I got my dream after watching 90s seniors like Fin.K.L, SES etc. I felt like I also wanted to show my cool side like the seniors. I also danced a lot to the seniors choreographs in middles school (laughs.) Just like that, I dreamed of being an idol and I passed my trainee period and debuted with T-ara.
Q. How did you end up with the nickname ‘Cutie Pretty?’
We went to MBC Radio Star before our first music stage appearance before debut. As a rookie, I was asked what ‘Qri’ meant and so I answered ‘Cutie Pretty.’ After that fans also started using Cutie Pretty. Also, many people misunderstood, Qri is just a stage name. People thought I changed my name to Qri, but I have my own real name as well.
Q. Did you have other dreams when you were young?
I don’t know about others but surprisingly I only had one dream, and it was becoming an idol. That’s why I have preserved towards only that one goal.
Q. Most memorable post-debut incident?
My debut day, and also the day we received our newcomer awards, and every moment of every number 1 we’ve won.
Q. Thoughts on becoming the 5th leader?
The CEO suggested what do you think of rotating the leadership role and we followed that suggestion and rotated the leadership around. The system is still going on. One advantage of the system is that every member gets a sense of responsibility instilled upon them, they have to think twice before making a decision and take things more seriously.
Q. Intention to publicize relationship?
I still don’t want to date publicly. Even if I do get into a relationship, I don’t think I want to announce it (laughs.) It’s burdening to be observed by the public’s eye. Unless I’m caught, I have no intention of announcing it publicly. Haha.
Q. The agency placed no restriction on dating; are you single now?
The members are not young anymore. The members averaged on early 30s, so they know what to do themselves, haha. And I’m currently single (laughs.)
Q. How do you feel when reading bad comments?
I’m not the type to read comments. I think I only read 1 out of 10. However, it’s hard to stop reading the comments. If I plan to only read up till the 3rd page, I somehow go as far as 4 or 5 pages (laughs.) It’s pretty embarrassing reading the bad comments. I can’t exactly explain one by one that it’s wrong. Because I can’t cope with it any other way so I just calmly skip them. Instead of feeling burdened inside, I’m the style who just skips them coolly.
Q. Plans on releasing a solo album?
There’s no exact plan for now but for the fans, I’ve always hoped for a solo stage.
Q. How do you find the members acting skills?
I don’t I can judge the members’ acting skills, but interestingly, all of us are acting majors. That’s why all the members hope acting opportunities, and everyone is thinking positively of it. We also recently filmed a web drama where all 6 members get to have a main role. We take in our characters personally and have a fun time filming. It’s something memorable.
Q. Intention to try out acting?
As I’m an acting major, I certainly have an inclination towards it. If there’s a project I’d like to try in the future, it’s would possibly be romantic comedy.
Q. Areas you’d like to try out?
I’d like to try being a program MC. I have many interests in make-up, so I’d like to be a beauty MC or something related to it at least once. Other than that, I’d also like to a try a variety of things like acting, photoshoots, music programs, etc.
Q. We heard you’re the number 1 girl group in China. Do you feel that popularity in China?
Many people come to the airport when we go overseas, many people cheer for us and I think that’s when it feels real (laughs.) Every time there’s a foreign polling, we always get good results. I’m very thankful for such reaction and support.
Q. As a Hallyu star, is there any restriction while promoting in China?
Speaking for our group only, things like concert tours, etc. proceed without any difficulties. Also, not too long ago, our Korean comeback activities also proceeded without any problems.
Q. It’s going to be 9 years since you debuted, when you’re performing at music broadcasts, it may seem like you’re a middle-grade idol now.
I’ve been worried about this anyway, but thankfully many 90s seniors are coming back out promoting, we don’t really hear that a lot (laughs.) Although we’ve debuted for a while, we’re still promoting like a rookie instead of thinking ourselves as big seniors. But many of our peers who promoted alongside us last time have disappeared, so there’s a regretful feeling when attending music shows.
Q. What do you think of the recently debuted juniors? As an idol senior, what is the one thing you want to advise them on?
They’re so pretty, it’s so cute (laughs.) Just like their rookie status, their music style is also very lovable and pure, fitting of a rookie. Looking those sides, I feel quiet envious, haha. Personally, I like Blackpink and WJSN’s skills and stage, they all look good, and I have a good impression of them.
I’m not worthy of advising them but I hope they will think of their fans and keep pursuing their dream as idols without giving up, I think that way they will be idols for a very very long time.
Q. Until now, the characteristic that only T-ara is loved for is…
Firstly, it’s the strong addictive melody in T-ara’s songs. Another thing, we haven’t actually tried out feminine and pretty concepts even once. I think our most recent album is probably the most feminine we’ve been (laughs.) I think we’ve always change to a different style/concept without much hesitation every time.
Q. There’s a saying of a 7-year jinx for idols. How did you go past it?
In our case, our contracts with the agency isn’t 7 years, so I don’t think it rightly applies to us. We had a much shorter period to our contracts and have also re-signed several contracts in the past so our situation doesn’t apply to other idols. I don’t know when but the members became a family and we’re carrying on with that strong relationship.
Q. Genre you want to try out a solo artist?
Something T-ara has never tried, something dreamy and calm indie type of song. Otherwise, I also like hip-hop rap genre.
Q. Thoughts on going past 30s?
I really hated it when I was 29 going 30, but now only the age changes. I’m still living like I’m in my 20s and there’s really not much of a different (laughs.) However, if I can, I’d still like to reduce my age by even 1 year if possible (laughs.)
Q. Secret to youthful looks?
Actually, I’m not really big on management. As you age, you have to take care of your skin by putting on facial masks every day. I’m currently trying the 1-day-1-mask pack routine and I diligently apply eye-cream. Isn’t it a profession where you can’t afford to not look youthful? Haha. That’s why I pay attention to skincare. Also, I usually carry myself on a younger style compared to my actual age.
Q. Body-managing technique?
I eat more than an average woman. I’m not a picky-eater and I’ve been said to eat more than others. That’s why instead of restricting on the amount I eat, I exercise as much as I eat. Even if I don’t get to exercise, I still move around a lot to burn calories.
Q. Usual personality?
Like many people noticed, I’m very feminine. That’s why I think I should maintain looking coy and feminine in front of people I meet. But among my close friends, I’m very lively and active (laughs.) I’m not the type who tried to be funny, bu I heard I’m quite funny, haha.
Q. Usual hobbies or talents?
I like bowling, I’m currently a member of a bowling club and am quite actively participating. There are also other idols and a number of athletes. We used to gather every day after our schedules end, but since I was busy preparing for our comeback, I haven’t been able to attend. I average about 140 and am currently last place in the group (laughs.)
As for talent, I used to play instruments before. I played piano since I was young and I’ve also played instruments in a different agency’s idol band in my early 20s, before debuting with T-ara. I played bass then, so I can handle a bit of bass.
Q. Members with unique hobbies?
There are members who will start knitting once autumn comes. Scarves, cardigans, etc. will be made, and they’re really good at it. Excluding Boram and I, everyone else is really good at knitting. They’ll go shopping for threads and whip up something in a short time, it really looks feminine.
But I don’t think I have such feminine hobby. I like something more active and involves other people. I like to experience things so I recently enjoy travelling. I’m not really the type who likes places with many people, I also like to travel domestically (laughs.)
Q. Looking at your SNS, you seem very close to Han Boreum.
We’re very close, not too long ago, we had the same schedule and went to Hong Kong for a launch party. I got to know her from a junior at my university’s department. As we promote together in the entertainment industry, we got closer.
Q. When will you get married?
At the moment I have no marriage plans, but for my age, I get to hear many talks of marriage from people around me. I’m not planning to live a single life, I’ll definitely get married one day. But now I still like working, I like being with the members. Also, I have my fans, I don’t think a lot about marriage.
Q. There must be some things you disagree on with the members.
I can’t say for other groups but in our group, we have an extremely good relationship with one another. We hear people complimenting us like, “you guys have a very good relationship,” quite often. We have a really strong determination among us. There are many people who say they like us and support us, but there are also people who hate us and during these times, encouraging words like “stay strong” will make us even closer. There is a lot of negativity towards T-ara right now, but every time it gets difficult, if you’re to ask who are the people who give me strength, I would say it’s the members.
That’s why until now, there’s not really anything that the members disagree on or are uncomfortable with. We’ve always settled everything with rock-paper-scissors (laughs.) Even during overseas schedules, we settle the make-up order by rock-paper-scissors (laughs.)
Q. What is T-ara to Qri?
Because I gave all of my 20s to T-ara, I think of T-ara as all of my 20s. Because I spent a big part of my 20s with the members, everything is not that different.
Q. Variety shows you want to guest on?
I really eating, I want to go on an eating show like tvN Three Meals a Day. I also want to go on MBC We Got Married. At the moment I’m single. I think it would be interesting to experience a virtual relationship or get to experience various things in marriage. (laughs.)
Q. Your goal?
We have many overseas schedules in place. We’re currently promoting in Asia only, but in the future I’d like to expand the promotions to various other countries and meet fans in those countries. As for my personal goals, I hope I will be able to broaden my acitivities in a variety of fields. Until now, I have been working only as a T-ara member. I would like to challenge myself in various fields such as acting, variety and MCing.