Previously on Star Life Theater – SNSD Edition Part Two
The girls took to the stage in Madison Square Garden to entertain the fans that have come to see them for the first time in America. We also looked back at some of the girls’ past and got to hear their stories about what it was like during their trainee years. Back in Korea, the girls were as busy as ever with a live radio program schedule late at night. Despite how tired they were, the girls performed admirably and even had a bit of fun after the show ended. We then crossed over to a new day and got to see Seohyun having fun with friends and studying hard at college. We finished off our previous recap by illustrating the girls’ worldwide appeal and a little surprise party for their manager.
The Girls are playful.
We once again return to the KBS Studios and Hyoyeon is busily doing something in the SNSD dressing room. It looks like she is preparing to apply some makeup to one of her staff members.
Hyoyeon notes that “Out of all the people that I have done this to (Applied makeup); there was no-one that didn’t like it. Since I’ve applied makeup for four years now, I sometimes apply it to other people as well. Everyone likes it.”
But it looks a few of them aren’t so certain, with a small giggle being heard in the background that causes Hyoyeon to ask “Why are you laughing, you shouldn’t be laughing.” Her playful antics seem to help herself and the other girls calm their nerves before their stage performance.
However Hyoyeon isn’t finished yet, she takes the camera from the staff and begins to record the other members herself. She even provides running commentary as she records, mentioning that “Ah cold, YoonA has got the cold. Since it’s unsightly to see her sneeze, next we move to Seohyun.”
Hyoyeon’s little TV project continues with Seohyun playing the lead, “We are currently going to go record the scene within the live broadcast(Music Bank) dressing rooms. Follow us~.” Seohyun says as she leads camera lady Hyoyeon along.
Of course being a great camera lady, Hyoyeon makes sure she gets all the nice shots and asks her lead Seohyun “To look back,” so they she can get a nice shot of her.
Hyoyeon also makes sure to get some shots of YoonA, who has tagged along with them.
It’s amazing to see how close the girls are with each other, seeing them interact with each other with such playfulness. Considering the size of the group, you would think that some of them might not entirely be close to each other, but we no such awkwardness among the girls.
They all seem to enjoy each other’s company and support each other as much as possible.
So what do the other members’ think about Hyoyeon? Taeyeon says that “Hyoyeon is a member that is funny every day.” With Sunny interrupting to say that “She is always funny, whether she had a drink or not.” Taeyeon agrees and says that “Just her presence alone is enough to lift up the mood; she is one of the members that create a positive mood.”
YoonA mentions that “We all have fun together when we all gather together; out of all of us the members that lift up the mood are Hyoyeon and the other older members. When we actually set out to have fun then we all click with each other and it is extremely noisy. “
The girls definitely seem to have fun on occasions and Hyoyeon appears to always be at the centre of it.
The Girls are Invincible.
It’s early in the morning and the sun has yet to fully rise. However there is already a large grouping of staff members waiting just outside the door to an apartment.
Then Sunny, Hyoyeon and Boom walk out the door. It appears that despite it only being 4AM, the girls have already begun their schedules for the day. So what schedule are they doing so early in the morning? It is KBS2 “Invincible Youth Season Two” and it happens to be Hyoyeon first variety show as a permanent member.
They all get into the bus and make the long trip to their recording base at Daebu Island.
Here we get to see their lovely painted house.
The girls’ have already started recording, first of all Hyoyeon makes her appearance in her farm clothing, followed closely behind by Sunny. Maybe it’s because it’s her first permanent variety show but Hyoyeon does seem to be slightly awkward.
No such issues for Sunny thou, she seems to adjust extremely well to her farm clothing and shows why she was one of the stars of “Invincible Youth Season One.”
Sunny thou is not being complacent, “Even though I was in Season One (Of Invincible Youth), I think having to newly adjust to the new environment is the same for everyone. Since we learn how to work with one another and have a social life, it’s not just fun to do but also rewarding and there is a lot of stuff to learn.”
In “Invincible Youth Season One” Sunny cemented herself as the comedic idol character within the show. Her straightforward personality and wit helped her become one of the stars of Season One. With that kind of high expectations resting on her shoulders, you can reasonably presume that Sunny is feeling a lot of pressure in ensuring that lightning strike twice for her and the show.
They have now finished their morning recordings and have gathered around the tables for a quick lunch. Everyone seems to be using this time to fill their tummies and get to know each other.
However Hyoyeon seems to be missing from this picture. She appears out from the van, slightly worse for wear. It looks like the tension of being on her first permanent variety show has begun to take her toll on her and she appears to be in quite bad condition.
Hyoyeon does say that “It’s not an upset stomach,” and Boom warmly tells her “Please don’t be sick.”
So what does Boom think about Hyoyeon? He states that “There is something powerful within Hyoyeon’s heart. I respect that a lot. Hyoyeon has overcome many difficult situations as she worked with SNSD. Seeing her overcome those situations and seeing her improve in every album. As a fan I really respect that. I’m being sincere.”
And so the recording continues and this time they are out in the mudflats to catch octopus. Everyone is busily looking for octopus within the mudflats. The most passionate of them all is Hyoyeon, who despite her bad condition, seems to be thriving in front of the camera.
She tries her best to laugh at every opportunity and provide interesting sights for viewers to see. It’s not often you get to see an idol eat a freshly caught Octopus leg on television.
Sunny is also trying hard, ignoring any urges to try look pretty on camera. She rolls around in the mudflats and tries her best to win the game no matter how dirty she ends up getting. It’s the type of scene that gets the viewers glued to the television screens.
With their mudflat recording now finished, Hyoyeon makes her way out, looking significantly dirtier than before. You can tell she worked very hard out in the mud flats despite her sickness.
So what motivated her to work like this? “You can’t always work in a clean fashion. I’m going to think of this in a positive way.” She says as she rubs the bits of mud stuck on her face.
When the staff mentions that this is very different compared to when she was on Music Bank, Hyoyeon replies that “Because we have to show off an impressive performance up on stage, we have to show off a perfect, pretty and clean appearance but right now we have come to work. It’s not really working unless you get some dirt in your hands, right? I’m going to think of this in a positive way.”
The girls try hard to counter their glamorous appearances on stage by showing off a more personal side to themselves on variety shows but it isn’t always that easy. Sunny says that “If I’m honest, there is a lot of times when this is difficult but it’s more fun to do stuff that involve using our bodies this much. Also the viewers can watch some more entertaining.”
This kind of thinking can be seen in “Invincible Youth Season One” as well. Sunny was always one of the most active workers and never hesitated to do the more difficult jobs like catching chickens. Her image as a hard worker was perhaps cemented in the eyes of the viewers during her time on the show.
So how did Sunny approach the show? “If i a member on the show, then I believe acting in such a way that matches the concept of the show is the correct thing to do. I have done TV work for 4 years but it’s only now that I have begun to understand that. So lately I’m beginning to understand that understanding what the program is about is more important than understanding my own character. But it’s true that I’m not very good at it, I need to be funny when I appear on shows but there are a lot of times when I’m not really funny.”
The Girls are healthy eaters.
And we once again return to the “Music Bank” dressing rooms. Everyone has gathered after completing all their individual schedules.
However everyone is looking quite tired. You can clearly see the exhaustion on their faces as their hectic schedules begin to take their tolls. So what’s the best way of reinvigorating these girls?
Why of course, it’s food and plenty of it. So what kind of foods do these girls enjoy? Is it something healthy to maintain their bodies?
No, it’s just some good old Spicy rice cakes, Kimbab and a large bunch of other snacks. Just looking at this alone, it’s hard to imagine how these girls maintain their immaculate body shapes.
Tiffany mentions that “We are extremely busy (Eating). We always eat, that way we can survive.”
Seoyhun also puts to rest some of those rumours about SNSD’s diet, “We definitely eat more than 3 meals a day,” with Tiffany being a bit more specific and saying that “We eat 5 meals a day.”
Sooyoung also mentions that “The SNSD Dressing Room is like a buffet.”
When asked if they do any dieting, Tiffany shakes her head and says “We don’t.” But then the other members mention that “To be honest, we do diet a bit sometimes, just to point of maintaining our shapes.”
Seohyun does explain that there are certain limits to their feasting, “Since we can’t have our faces swelling up at night, we eat a bit less at that time. Our faces swell up when we are tired.”
Hyoyeon rounds out this conversation and explains that “We exercise when we think we have gained weight and then start eating again when we think we haven’t gained weight.”
With their little feast over, they head to the stage again to enthral their fans with their performance. All their appearances on variety shows, all their efforts to increase their exposure, all of it is driven by their love of music and their desires to perform on stage.
Taeyeon says that “It’s really fun and enjoyable to be up on stage. I try very hard on music shows because it is fun. It also makes my eyes open up automatically. Since it’s the job that I’m the best at and the most confident in, in some ways I have found a way to enjoy it and I’m still looking for new ways.”
Tiffany also shares a similar opinion, “I think I really passionately love music and being on stage. I think I am enduring everything (Even the difficult stuff) because of that mentality. My sister asks me as well, when I tell her ‘it’s really difficult and I want to stop doing this’ she asks me ‘is your desire to stop doing this bigger than the love you have for music’ and that’s not the case. That’s why I have to do this despite that fact (It is tiring and difficult).”
And so their long day is finally over and they head home. Everyone is looking very tired. Tiffany mentions that “I want to remove my makeup,” inciting a lot of “me too” from the other members in the van. Sooyoung describes it as “It’s like I’m wearing a mask; it feels like I’m wearing a mask on my face.”
So how long have they had their makeup on? Tiffany says “We’ve had it (Makeup) on for over 16 hours right now.” With Sooyoung noting that “There is only an hour or two for our skins to breath. It’s like a schedule of a fairly busy drama actor. But it’s only like this during the weekends, it’s not likes during other times.” With Tiffany saying that “That’s why we don’t practically don’t have makeup on usually.”
The busier their schedules get, the more important it becomes to maintain their health. Tiffany is seen drinking something. When asked what it is she replies that “It’s bellflower and pear juice. Recently after I started practicing for my musical, I started drinking a lot of bellflower and pear juice. It’s really good for your throat so I drink it often. I am currently sharing it since the members say that their throats aren’t feeling very well. This one has been prepared by a fan today. It is really delicious.”
She hasn’t always been drinking such healthy juices. Even Tiffany herself mentions that “I never knew that there would be day when I would be drinking stuff like this.”
With Seohyun mentioning that “Tiffany has changed, even just 2 years ago, when I told her to take care of her health, she would say ‘It’s alright I’m young’ but now she eats that sort of stuff constantly.”
A Girl takes to the musical stage.
Today we are at a new location. We enter to see Tiffany busily practicing for something. She is at the musical training session and is busily practicing for her first ever musical. Sometimes she practices for 12 hours a day.
Tiffany explains that “I am attempting a musical for the first time. Because Jessica and Taeyeon had done this (Musical) beforehand, truth be told there is a small sense of burden since the members did so well. It would be bad if this stopped with the third member, so I want to do well.”
She has no time to concern herself about her makeup and hair. She is just a beginner in the musical world and she has to put it in a lot of practice to ensure she does well. She is probably practicing with the same mindset she had when she first debuted 4 years back.
So let us roll back the clock a bit and think back to those times. We see here a younger looking Tiffany greeting the camera with her signature smile. She has all the signs of being a relative beginner in front of the camera, with her slightly awkward look and speech. Yet this awkwardness doesn’t seem to hide her enthusiasm.
She was spotted by chance by an agency representative during a festival in L.A in 2004. As the only member with family overseas, she had to make a bit commitment to come to Korea to pursue her dreams. At only 16 years old, she made the lonely trip to Korea. So what made her make such a difficult decision?
Tiffany recollects her memories and says “Actually that was the period of time when I was rebelling; it had been around two years since my mother had passed away. I think that was the peak (of her rebelling). I didn’t really know back then. I rebelled a lot. I tried a lot of things, this and that but I think the only thing that gave me enjoyment was music. “
After losing her mother at such a young age and then making the long lonely trip to Korea to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer must have been a difficult time for her. She also had to deal with her father, who was opposed to her wishes. We obviously don’t know the reasons why but he probably had the best intentions in mind.
Unfortunately physical separation tends to be a pretty difficult situation and Tiffany states with a teary eye that “Truth be told, I’ve drifted quite far apart from my father after I started working. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a conversation with him. Now that I think about it, I really haven’t spent a lot of time with my father, since it’s been 8 years since I’ve been here (In Korea). So it’s a bit saddening.”
Today is a nervous day for her, it’s her first musical showcase day. She has practiced a lot for this very day but it looks like she is still lacking a bit of confidence, tell the camera that “I’m not confident.”
Today she will be judged not as a member of a popular idol group but as a new musical star. But as we all know, as long as you pour blood, sweat and tears into your work, you will always be rewarded for it.
Tiffany’s first musical showcase is a success and she was reviewed favourably by the people attending. Tiffany once again continues the lineage of successful SNSD musical stars.
So what does Tiffany think musicals are? “If a music stage is used to express myself for 3 mins then a musical stage is a place where I can express myself for 3 hours. I think it’s got an enjoyable charm to it. Actually it’s a very long time, having to stay coordinated for 3 hours. But with the audience sitting there in front, there is this energy and harmony that goes to and fro between me and the audience and that is really enjoyable. I think that is really charming.”
After the showcase, she is seen hanging around with some of the other celebrities that are performing in the musical. We see Son Ho Young, Eun Hyuk and Jung Mo. They calm each other’s nerves by engaging in playful conversations. They then leave to do an interview.
As we’ve seen so far in the third of our four part re-cap, all of the members have their own stories to tell and their own struggles to endure.
They’ve gone through a lot during these past four years and we have seen them continue to grow with each passing year.
Starting off as a relatively unknown girl group, they’ve worked hard over the last four years and are now the group that leads the current girl group craze domestically and internationally.
The Girls are a Dream Team.
Later that night, the girls have all gathered in a single location. They are here to record a special SNSD edition of KBS2 “Go! Dream Team Season Two.”
They once again have to show off their charms and enthral the viewers.
The recording continues late into the night yet the girls show no signs of tiredness.
Since this is a sports based variety show, let’s ask them which member is the most athletic. They state that Yuri and Hyoyeon are athletic. They also say that Seohyeon is pretty good and is a hidden card. But Taeyeon showcases her brutal honesty by saying that “No, she falls over easily during decisive moments.” Seohyeon is quick to deny that but then admits that “It is a bit like that, I do fall over easily.”
Hyoyeon meanwhile rates Seohyun, Yuri and Sunny as her closest rivals, with Sunny walking by just at that point with a smirk.
Sunny mentions that while “SNSD may look extremely healthy, strong and seem to participate in everything with all our might but actually there is a lot of hopeless members. I’m one of those members.”
They start recording once again and this time they are doing some physical games. As the narrator notes, all of this may look like fun and games but to survive in the industry they have to always to be the best at everything. They’ve had to go through intense competition the moment they step foot into this industry and they continue to do so even now.
With spare time being a relative rarity, they don’t really have the time to meet friends or family. So in that kind of circumstances, the other members become their only friend and family for long periods of time. Thus they support each other and keep each other company in ever more playful ways.
Sooyoung, “Close your eyes and imagine that this is your own room, it seems like your own room. My mother is cooking bean-paste soup. The electronic blanket has been turned on.”
In times like this, the girls’ find their own way of amusing themselves.
MC Lee Chang Myung mentions that “It’s currently 9PM, but they say they have to go another schedule at 3AM. They say they went to a schedule at 4AM yesterday. I asked them “How do you maintain your stamina?” but even so their faces are bright. This is passion. That is something we have to learn.”
By the looks of it, they will be spending another sleepless night. Yet they are able to endure all of this because they support each other throughout their ordeals. It would have been impossible otherwise.
Jessica, “When there are too many schedules while we are working, we really don’t sleep, it’s tiring and difficult. It’s difficult mentally and stamina wise. But every time I would look at my friends next to me. They are suffering the same as me and are having as much difficult as me. In a way they are my partners and I regain my energy by looking at them, by them of course I mean our members. So just being together provides me with a lot of support.”
Taeyeon, “I think I’m really lucky to have our members there, If I was a solo singer then I probably couldn’t have gotten to this position but I also couldn’t have managed it (By myself). The members are really my vigour, vitamins and energy.”
Return tomorrow for our last look into the lives of SNSD.