Yuqi looks across the table at Minnie. “Minnie is the first one I met when I came to Korea. She was my first roommate. And I know her path of growing up. She performs like an artist on the stage but, behind the stage, she’s really like my little sister,” Yuqi confesses. “Little sister!?” Minnie and Miyeon repeat in shock, probably because Minnie is two years older than Yuqi. “It’s just my opinion!” Yuqi says in defense, then continues, “She is really cute.” “I’m cute?” jokes Minnie. “Everyone knows that!” Yuqi ignores her, “She is responsible and a good sister for all of us. She is really good at looking after others. Also, I didn’t want to say this but… she’s sweet.” As Minnie cackles at the compliment, Yuqi admits, “I’m regretting it now.”
“I will talk about Soyeon,” Minnie says, pausing to make a silly face at her before continuing. “Many people know Soyeon as our leader and that she is charismatic and everything. But actually, we all know it’s tough to lead all of us and be responsible for everything for (G)I-DLE. It’s heavy, an overwhelming job. But she never shows it in front of us. She never says ‘I’m tired’ or anything.” On cue, Soyeon leans over, touches her arm, and says sarcastically, “No, I’m okay.” Yuqi points across the table at them and yells, “Ha! They’re so dramatic!” Minnie continues, “We don’t really say this but we always think it: we are so happy to have her as our leader.” “She looks like she’s so strong,” Yuqi adds, clenching her fists in the air, “but we know she’s actually soft on the inside. And we’re the only ones that see it because we are so close. She doesn’t really show that part.”
Soyeon claps in shy thanks and then looks at Miyeon, who is the last to be evaluated. “Miyeon is a very friendly person and she’s also the one who compliments us the most. When she’s around others or in an interview, she praises us so we can feel confident, and calls us beautiful. She takes care of us a lot.”
As the interview wraps up, Soyeon’s final thought hangs in the air like a warm, shimmering mist: “She sees the best in us and shares that with other people.”
Three days later, at the group’s press showcase on Monday, they sat side-by-side in crisp whites and silky reds to field questions about I burn. Amid inquiries about their production styles and Covid-19, Soyeon described their work on the EP as an exercise in empathy. “All our members are artists,” she said, and when it came to conveying the emotions of the EP, “we had spent enough time living together that whatever emotion it may be, we pretty much shared [it] at all instances.” To create I burn, “We enjoyed working as we empathized,” Soyeon said. As always, they played with fire and vulnerability. Their goal, Soyeon concluded, is to blaze brightly enough that listeners say, “(G)I-DLE is like a spark in the middle of this winter.”
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