Minzy Opens Up About Mental Health, Leaving 2NE1, Her Faith, And More

In an interview with Billboard, Minzy talked about her struggles with her mental health during her 2NE1 years, leaving the group and YG Entertainment, using her faith to battle depression, and her desire to help others with similar issues.

On December 18, Billboard released an interview with Minzy by Jeff Benjamin, in which she talked about what it had been like during her 2NE1 days and as a solo artist.

Minzy first mentioned about how she had been recruited to YG Entertainment after videos of her dancing went viral. Though the agency originally intended to have her debut as a solo artist, she was added as the last member of 2NE1 as the group needed a dancer.

She talked about how debuting at the age of 15 had affected her social skills. She shared, “I didn’t know how to have relationships with people. Since I was so young in such a controlled environment, I never learned how to socialize. I really didn’t have a normal childhood—I never went out to play with other kids. I was just training and everyone was older than me.”

Minzy explained how despite their success after their debut, Korean netizens’ comments on the group’s appearance had affected her mental health. She remarked, “People, netizens were critiquing the fact that, you know, we were not the prettiest group. We were the ‘ugly group.’ I didn’t know how to process that, I held that in. It was tough. [As a group], we pretended it was not a big deal and tried to forget about it, but you can’t forget about it — it’s tough.”

She continued, “I was trying to keep up with the other girls in the group in terms of maturity, but when you’re up against these girl groups who look like models and you’re doing something different — cool, but different — you deal in a different way.”

Minzy described that her lowest points were when she was 16 and 17—the period when 2NE1 was promoting “Can’t Nobody,” “I Am the Best,” and “Ugly.” She opened up about how the lack of a support system and pressures of being a celebrity had brought on depression and suicidal thoughts. This led to her confusion about what she truly wanted to do.

She shared, “I would go on stage and everyone was so supportive, they’d love me. Then when the stage was done, I would be in the hotel feeling so empty. Life felt like just a stage. I didn’t know what my life was about; I wasn’t sure if life was better as a performer or if life would be better just alone. It was such a contrast, but I never had the time to figure out how to balance both being on stage and being alone.”

She added that though the group had been successful, she had been unable to release her music as a solo artist. Though she had prepared and recorded her solo album, it continuously was pushed back and was eventually canceled due to an issue with a different artist in the company. She shared, “There wasn’t enough focus to finish my stuff. They kept delaying it and then when it comes to basically everything else, you don’t know the details.”

Minzy then talked about her fellow 2NE1 members, calling them her “sisters.” She commented, “We are all homebodies so really just being at home watching TV were the best moments. Those memories were very cozy and warm, to me at least. Maybe because I was so young? But the world was quite a strange place to me, so those moments are close to my heart. The family feel was more important to me than the fame, but as it took longer and longer for our albums to come out, we would only really meet when it was time to plan for the album. As everyone started doing their own thing, I was having even less time with them.”

She mentioned that Korea’s lack of communication on mental illness had made her unable to find help, but that YG Entertainment producer Teddy had been a source of support.

She remarked, “Since I was the youngest, he would try to encourage me. He would say things like, ‘I know you’re feeling like you’re depressed and struggling with your depression, but you believe in God and you’re going to get through this.’ I have good memories of him. I’m really thankful for Teddy and see him as a good person in my life to remind me to keep going even when depression was at its worst.”

Minzy talked about how she had continued to struggle and that nobody had known about it, and how she had felt alone. She then shared how religion had helped her with her mental health. She continued, “When I was 17, 18, I basically met God, I found my faith. That was a major change in my life. The people with the same faith and that same encouragement came into my life and were able to speak very boldly into my life.”

She added, “It wasn’t like ‘Oh, you just have to get better.’ It was ‘We understand that it’s a struggle. It’s OK to struggle and it’s OK to feel bad, but let’s think about it, deal with it and have faith.’ I held onto that.”

Minzy then opened up about leaving 2NE1 and YG Entertainment. She explained, “I needed some time to deal with my depression, find my own way and decide if this was something I really wanted to do. It was something I was doing for so long, but it was so hard to maintain. I had to find my own direction, and the only way to do that was by leaving the group and fighting for my own will. I was wondering, ‘What was my life about?'”

She continued, “Leaving 2NE1, it’s not about leaving [or] breaking up the group. It’s that I fought for myself, my own future and what I wanted. I finally chose something for myself. I did feel pressure and [a] burden [when going solo], but it was a good burden.”

Minzy added that she wished to include mental health resources and support for people in her upcoming tours. She talked about how she wanted help people with issues as someone who had overcome them, and how she wanted to let people know that they are loved.

She also brought up her choosing to speak out about her mental illness a year after the passing of SHINee’s Jonghyun. She shared, “That reminded me of my old self and I could understand why he wanted to escape. I want to let the young and newer idols know that success in the idol world is just not as important as what you need to live up to as a person.”

Minzy reflected on how she’s changed and the person she is now. She said, “As I’ve come into my own, I am a different person. I’ve experienced pulling through.” As she looked back on her past self, she stated, “I want to help that woman.”

Minzy recently released her first English single titled “All of You Say.” Check out the music video here!

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