Unlike previous photo shoots where Jessica would arrive in a hubbub with her manager and staff, the singer arrived at the studio alone. As the shoot fell on the day before her birthday, Jessica’s closest fans gifted the staff on set and Jessica with cupcakes, drinks, and scented candles.
Jessica starts the interview cautiously, “To be honest, I tend to be afraid of doing interviews. There have been times when an article distorts what I said, leading often to misunderstandings. But it’s not like I can explain myself every time that happens. Looking at the big picture, I think saying less is better than saying more. There are times when I feel like I’m hearing everything bad there is to hear under the sun. It would be a lie to say that I don’t struggle when word like that comes and goes. But these day I think I’ve grown thicker skin. And I put in a lot of effort to. I mean, I do look a little mean. I guess it’s worse because of the way I look (Laughs).”
Since her controversial departure from Girls’ Generation last year, Jessica has for the most part taken a break from her usual activities as an entertainer and chosen to perform on a different stage altogether. She has since been working hard on her clothing brand BLANC & ECLARE and doesn’t plan to hit the brakes any time soon. “I plan on attending a school to formally study fashion design, although I haven’t decided on the timeline yet. For now, I’m just studying hard on my own.”
She also reveals that she has experienced a new level of autonomy and freedom, “A lot has changed from when I was in Girls’ Generation. First and foremost, I became freer. It was good when I was with the other members too, but now that I’m working alone, I’m able to spend my time more freely.” Furthermore,“If I was still a member of Girls’ Generation, I wouldn’t be able to do things like today’s photo shoot. Idol groups always have to be happy, nice, and bright. But I’m already 27 [years old] now. I can’t forever be a happy girl […] I’m not a girl anymore. I thought that capturing the woman Jessica in the photos would be good.”
Jessica continues later in the interview, “Debuting at 19 and working until I was 25 years old, there were times when the limitations that were placed on me were suffocating. Now, I’m able to make all of the decisions. It’s not bad coming to the set alone for a photo shoot like this.”
Flying solo has also forced Jessica to take an honest stock of her shortcomings, now that her members aren’t there to cover them up. “These days, I think a whole lot about myself. When I think about how I’ll be 30 in a few years, I feel weird and anxious. I don’t even really know what it is exactly that I’m anxious about. But now, more than anything else I keep thinking that I must live for myself, not for anyone else. Now that I’m alone, I have to personally take care of the deficiencies that the other members used to supplement for me. I am striving to be good at initiating conversation with people I meet for the first time and in general making people feel more comfortable around me.”
“I guess when people see me they feel there is a wall [between me and them]. But I’m just not good at approaching people I’m not close to. As a result, I really have a hard time when I go to an event or awards ceremony alone. It’s like people won’t approach me unless I greet them first. I am working on slowly breaking down the walls in my personality,” she says.
Jessica reveals that during her difficult season her family has been her biggest source of support and comfort and that she recently went on vacation with her entire family, the first time she’s done so since her debut. “Whatever it is, I think after enduring a difficult time, a time of peace follows, especially when I look at how after going through hardships and a lot of time has passed, happy moments are gradually increasing [for me],” she says.