[MANIA NUMBER ONE] WHAT DOES PHOTOGRAPH MEAN TO DARA THE ‘SELFIE-MANIAC’?
Photos are about memories. Leaving a trace of the loved ones, beautiful scenery, and precious memories. Photos and artists have a lot in common. Recorded music is about memories, and albums are a preservation of the artists’ memories. Sharing and giving their work to the loved ones.
To DARA, photos and being an artist is the same thing. 2NE1’s DARA. Fans call her 2NE1’s promotion agent, and she calls herself that too. DARA is dubbed the “selfie-maniac” because she constantly posts her photos on social media like Twitter.
Waiting for her meal at YG’s cafeteria, preparing for the concert, being playful with the other members of 2NE1, sitting in a chair at a hair salon, and so on.
Why does DARA take photos? What does photograph mean to DARA?
I was at YG’s headquarters to meet DARA. The building is well-known through MBC’s “Infinite Challenge.” It was around dinnertime when I visited. As I walked in wondering if the food there tastes as good as people say, the guard stopped me, telling me to write the reasons for visit. So the visit to the cafeteria was postponed.
We waited for DARA in the 3rd floor recording room. There sat a giant teddy bear, placed there by YG’s founder YANG HYUN SUK, who is known for being a teddy bear maniac. Another was a plastic model of Mazinger Z, and a giant Gundam. Outside where the pool table sat, YG’s trainees were chitchatting. This is where DARA and her loved ones are.
DARA, who came in the room with a “hello,” handed me a drink with wings attached to it. It indeed suited her. DARA herself seems like she is hovering 30cm above the ground with two wings attached to her.
When asked why she takes photos, she answers, “I wanted to share a lot with the fans since I made a debut as 2NE1. So I post them on social media.”
Sounds like the perfect answer, but doesn’t answer “why” she takes them. “It comes to me naturally, and I want to share them with the fans because they want to know what we are up to,” she added.
I asked when she started doing this. Did she have the urge to share with the fans before or after her debut?
She tells me it’s since her cell phone came with the functions. This is before she rose to stardom in a blink of an eye when she appeared on ABS-CBN’s Star Circle Quest after moving to the Philippines.
She uses Polaroid and cell phone to take more and more photos. With her friends in the street, with her family at a nice restaurant, and those photos piled up in her album. Her photos are stored in albums and CDs. Her room is filled with these items. She often takes them out and recalls her past, wondering what others would be doing now. To DARA, taking photos is an ongoing memory-building process.
DARA was a singer and actor in the Philippines, and she became popular when she was introduced on SBS’s Global Homestay program in 2004 and Human Cinema. In 2007 she joined YG Entertainment, and she had to wait not knowing her own future until 2009 May when she made a debut. Everything was uncertain, and she even started to have doubts about her own talents.
She recorded those moments in photos. Left alone in the training room, Han river seen outside the window… and she still takes out those photos not to forget how she felt back then.
DARA said she wanted to share with the fans. But why is it DARA’s job? She says, “I wouldn’t have been able to do it if someone forced me to do it. I feel like I’m doing something I can. The agency gave me the title ‘promotion agent’, and I wanted to deliver news on our new albums and upcoming concerts.”
I asked again, why it’s her job. Since their debut, BOM was the vocalist, MINZY dancer, and CL rapper. Some said DARA is the “pretty” one in the group.
She explained, “That’s the part that concerns me most since our debut. I was especially concerned when we marked our 3rd anniversary.”
“I was upset. Others have a lot to show on stage, but I didn’t know what I could do. I thought I needed change.”
She added, “I’m not so young anymore, so I even thought of being the ‘mysterious’ one. But the answer I found was being myself, doing what suits me most. Showing myself.”
DARA showcased some dynamic performances on stage. She acted and sang. She did something that made her happy. She brought her happy memories to the present. For DARA, memories are a form of record, and they are kept in albums. And her job was to share those albums with the people she loves.
“And perhaps that’s why I cried so much recording ‘MISSING YOU.’”
DARA told me she wants to “do things persistently.” Some fans comment the photos are not fresh enough, and some ask why she doesn’t post more. She said, “I didn’t think about communicating with the fans when I started posting photos on social media. But I found joy and hope out of it.” She is energized when others are looking at her photos.”
“Should I continue doing this? Until when? I think sometimes. But the messages from the fans make me forget all the bad things, and it gives me energy.”
I asked if people who take a lot of selfies love themselves a lot. She answered, “I want to love myself more.”
DARA is a pro. She checks over and over again before she posts anything. She reads over her comment 100 times before publishing it. She wants to be a positive influence to the people she loves. She wants to share happiness and enjoy it.
DARA, during the interview, often said, “Because I’m old,” “As I grew older.” Her physical age may be a little older than other girl groups, but DARA is in charge of 2NE1’s positive and young energy. She is the pillar of 2NE1, with two wings attached to her. But she didn’t think the same about herself.
That’s why she takes photographs.
“I want to dance in fancy jeans even when I’m old. I don’t know how much longer, but I want to keep being the promotion agent. I want to take photos and share with people. Because I love what I do.”
She does not forget to take a camera with her when going overseas for concerts. She takes photos again and again. She takes photos of herself and her colleagues enjoying life. A while ago she even made a video of her cat with all its photos in celebration of its birthday.
DARA keeps building memories. She says, “I like my photos being taken than myself taking them.” There are more opportunities for her photo to be taken.
She is enjoying being a star, as she loves her photos being taken by many people rather herself taking them.
As the interview reached an end, DARA did not forget to do her job as the promotion agent.
“It’s a secret, but 2NE1’s album is being released soon, and we are set to kick off our World Tour starting March 1st. Please keep checking my social media page.”
She added that fans should be excited about her special performance at the concert this time. She wants to act again. She told me it’s going to be a very big challenge as she is introverted.
DARA’s memory building. Recording and creating albums will be continued, along with photo-taking.
Credits: YG LIFE