Feature: Inquirer~ “Sandara Park is Penshoppe’s Newest Ambassador: The K-Pop Superstar and Forever ‘Pambansang Krung-Krung’ on her Fashion Obsessions, her Filipino Fans, and her Undying Love for Jollibee”
Sandara Park is Penshoppe’s newest ambassador
THE K-POP SUPERSTAR AND FOREVER ‘PAMBANSANG KRUNG-KRUNG’ ON HER FASHION OBSESSIONS, HER FILIPINO FANS AND HER UNDYING LOVE FOR JOLLIBEE
It’s a Thursday afternoon in July at the headquarters of Golden ABC in Quezon City and, for most of its employees, it was business as usual.
But on the fifth floor, at Studio 1155 and the Gallery, a big secret: K-Pop superstar Sandara Park was shooting her first campaign for Penshoppe.
She posed effortlessly in front of the camera, rocking a hat and vest from an upcoming collection as 2NE1 songs blasted from speakers.
“She’s a very good mover, she has a beautiful face, she’s very charming. I think that she takes direction beautifully. She’s very energetic,” said photographer Cliff Watts, who also shot Cara Delevingne and Sean O’Pry for Penshoppe. Cliff flew in from New York for Sandara’s shoot.
After booking three supermodels in a row—Cara, Sean, Kendall Jenner—Penshoppe may surprise fans with its choice of new endorser. But it makes sense, given Penshoppe’s expansion to other Asian countries. The brand already has stores in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Cambodia, and it will be opening two stores in Vietnam in October.
“We wanted to get someone who would complete our Asian Superstars pool. To join Mario Maurer, we picked Dara. She’s well loved by Filipinos but at the same time is very global. Her sense of style and fashion pretty much sealed the deal for us. As we go more regional, tapping the Asean countries, we feel that Dara is the ideal brand ambassador to help us reinforce our international vision,” said Jeff Bascon, Penshoppe’s brand director.
Asked why she said yes to becoming the new face of the brand, Dara said, “Because I love Penshoppe. Talagang sinusuot ko yung Penshoppe since high school days pa lang.” (I love Penshoppe. I really wear Penshoppe clothes ever since my high school days.)
She recalls a red Penshoppe shirt that she couldn’t stop wearing. “I wore it so much. When I see my pictures from high school, ’Huh? Ito na naman suot ko?’ (Huh? I’m wearing this again?) It’s funny.”
Long before Dara conquered the K-Pop world, she was the Philippines’ “Pambansang Krung-Krung,” the quirky, funny, pretty Korean girl who melted hearts with her tearful Star Circle Quest audition and charmed her way into show business. She bagged commercials, starred in TV shows, made movies and released songs like the then-inescapable “In or Out.”
As she sat in front of us after the shoot, wearing a cat beanie and a blue Penshoppe polo with another adorable cat peeking from its pocket, it’s easy to forget that this is Dara from the massively popular K-Pop group 2NE1, the ubiquitous presence in Korean fashion magazines, the actress who just finished two Korean web dramas (“Dr. Mo Clinic” and “We Broke Up”) and who is about to star in her first Korean film.
It’s easy to forget that this is a girl whose every move is chronicled by K-Pop websites and blogs devoted to her, whose adoring fans create YouTube videos as a tribute to her and her cuteness. It’s easy to forget all that when she begins waxing poetic about Jollibee, which she requested to have for lunch that day. “Always the same, spaghetti with chicken pero spicy chicken and dapat may Jolly Hotdog. That’s my favorite,” she said.
It’s easy to forget, too, when she insisted on speaking Tagalog during the interview, something she doesn’t get to do in Korea. According to her, “Nagte-text ako ng Tagalog but in Korea nobody can speak Tagalog so medyo nabubulol ako.” (I text in Tagalog, but in Korea, nobody can speak Tagalog, so I’m stuttering a bit now)
She may have moved back to her birth country, but the Philippines will always be her second home. “Ang dami kong memories. I miss this place,” she said. (I have so many memories. I miss this place.)
And Filipinos miss her too, welcoming her excitedly at each visit. “Hindi pa rin nila ako nakakalimutan,” (They still haven’t forgotten me) she said. Sandara hasn’t forgotten either; her Twitter handle is @krungy21 and her bio includes “Pambansang Krung-Krung ng Pilipinas.”
Dara may be a Korean superstar, but she will always be a Filipino darling.
What do you like about Penshoppe?
It really fits my personality, and gusto ko yung mga style nila, iba’t iba. Like yung mga sinuot ko ngayon, may hip-hop, may cute, girly clothes, meron ding sexy. I can show many sides of Sandara Park. (It really fits my personality, and I like their styles, so diverse. Like the outfits I wore today, there’s hip-hop, cute, girly, and sexy clothes. I can show many sides of Sandara Park)
How was the shoot?
It was super fun. Medyo mainit sa rooftop pero sobrang ganda ng mga pictures so hindi ako nahirapan. (It was super fun. It was a bit hot at the roofto[, but the pictures came out very prettily, so it wasn’t hard)
What did you think of the clothes?
I love them. Kinuha ko nga, eh. Sabi ko, “Can I have it?” (laughs) (I love them. In fact, I bought them. I said, ‘Can I have it?’)
So you’re bringing some back to Korea with you?
Did you have favorite pieces from the shoot?
Yes, meron akong favorite pants na sinuot ko kanina. Talagang hinahanap ko yung ganung style pero wala akong nahanap. Then, nakita ko ngayon and size ko pa. Extra small. So sabi ko, this is mine. They’re black pants na parang skinny pero may chuva-chuva dito. (Yes, I have a pair of favorite pants that I wore earlier. I really looked for one with that style, but I couldn’t find any. Then, I saw it earlier and it was in my size too. Extra small. So I said to myself, this is mine. They’re black pants that are skinny-like but with some details)
How does it feel to be back in the Philippines again?
So good. Parang feel at home. Naho-homesick na naman ako eh, so yeah. (So good. Like, I feel at home. I felt homesick anyways, so yeah)
When you’re in Korea, what do you miss the most about the Philippines?
Marami, pero siguro yung food. So sometimes I go to Filipino restaurants in Seoul. Masarap naman, pero syempre mas masarap dito. (A lot, but maybe the food. So sometimes I go to Filipino restaurants in Seoul. They’re delicious, but of course, the taste is here is different, yummier.)
What do you normally eat there?
Sinigang. And sisig. Lechon. Yeah, I order a lot.
You ate Jollibee today. Is Jollibee something you miss also?
Yes. Ang sarap. Walang Jollibee sa Korea. And there’s something special about their spaghetti. (Yes. So yummy. There’s no Jollibee in Korea. And there’s something special about their spaghetti)
Do you ever watch your old videos from your time in the Philippines?
Of course. I love watching my old movies. Minsan nahihiya ako kasi eh… parang… ginawa ko yan? Sinabi ko yan? Pero it’s still a memory so I love watching my old movies. (Of course. I love watching my old movies. But sometimes, I get embarrassed…. like…. I did that? I said that? But it’s still good memories, so I love watching my old movies)
When was the last time you watched your Star Circle Quest audition?
Medyo matagal na siguro, mga one year. Pero meron pa ako sa iPad ko. Pero hindi maganda yung quality. (It’s been a while, maybe one year. But I have a video in my iPad. But the quality isn’t good)
Are you still in touch with your Filipino friends?
Yes. Of course, yeah. Super hi-tech na ngayon, so text.
Are you going to see them while you’re here?
Yes, actually na-meet ko na si Joross nung first day pa lang. And then I’m going to meet more friends.
What’s the best thing about being a K-Pop star?
Siguro being loved by all the fans all around the world and being able to travel to different places. Sobrang gandang experience.
2NE1 is on a break now…
Yeah, we’re all doing individual activities for now.
When will people get to see you guys as a group again?
Hindi ko masabi. We don’t plan things. Pero if we have a good song, sige, release na natin, next month na! Pero pag walang inspiration, pag walang good song, it can take one year, two years, katulad dati. I’m waiting for a good song and inspiration. (I can’t say. We don’t plan things. It’s like, if we have a good song, then next month, we’ll release it! But if there’s no inspiration, if there are no good songs, it can take one year, two years, like before. I’m waiting for a good song and inspiration)
Do you still get to hang out with them?
Yeah, of course. Pero si CL nasa LA ngayon so (feigns crying) nami-miss ko siya. (Yeah, of course. But CL is in LA right now so (feigns crying) I miss her)
What was it like working on those web dramas in Korea? Is it different from acting in the Philippines?
Pareho lang, kaya it helped a lot. Matagal nga akong hindi umarte pero naalala ko yung mga dati kong experiences dito so parang it was not hard. I had fun. Yung dalawang web drama na yun super different characters, yung isa sobrang umiiyak lagi pero yung isa super naughty kaya super fun. (It’s still the same, so it helped a lot. It’s been a long since I acted, but I remembered all the experience I had here, so it wasn’t too hard. I had fun. The two web dramas I made had super different characters, one cried a lot but the other one was super naughty, so it’s super fun)
Is it true you’re doing the Korean adaptation of “Begin Again”?
Yes, pero actually, it’s not the same story as “Begin Again.” We have our own story. Pero it’s related to music, that’s why siguro they say it’s the Korean version. But it’s not. (Yes, but actually, it’s not the same story as ‘Begin Again.’ We have our own story. But since it’s related to music, maybe that’s why they say it’s the Korean version. But it’s not)
Have you started working on it?
Not yet, but I’m going to start shooting very soon.
How do you juggle your love for music and acting?
Syempre I love doing both. Sa latest web drama ko, I sang the soundtrack of the drama. So I can do singing and acting at the same time. (Of course, I love doing both. In my latest web drama, I sang in the soundtrack. So I can do singing and acting at the same time.)
What else do you want to do?
Marami pa. Gusto ko rin maging DJ ng radyo and gusto ko rin ng hosting. I love playing instruments. Lately, I’ve been very much into drums, so they call me Darammer. Hindi drummer, Darammer. (A lot more. I also want to be a radio DJ and I also like hosting. I love playing instruments. Lately, I’ve been very much into drums, so they call me Darammer. Not drummer, but Darammer)
Would you be willing to do a movie in the Philippines again?
Of course, I would love to… Pumunta nga ako sa Star Cinema, nag-usap kami ni Tita Malou (Santos)… like this and like that… Kaya lang nahirapan kami sa schedule so… But I’m hoping someday makabalik ako and do a movie with many cute actors in the Philippines. (Of course, I would love to;.. I went to Star Cinema and I talked with Tita Malou… like this and like that… However, we had difficulty with the schedule… But I’m hoping someday makabalik ako and do a movie with many cute actors in the Philippines.)
If you were going to do a movie here, who would you want to work with?
Si Papa John Lloyd… Iba yung eyes niya pag-umarte siya. (Papa John Lloyd… His eyes are really different when he acts)
Everyone says you haven’t changed. How do you stay grounded despite the fame?
I don’t know, it’s just natural. I’m just the same Sandara and I don’t want to grow old and I don’t want to forget the memories… I don’t know, I don’t try to do anything, same lang, it’s normal.
Is fashion something you really enjoy? Describe your personal style.
Yes. Yan ang pinakagusto ko. I love something unique na hindi sinusuot ng iba. Gusto ko yung simple basic items na may cute details, parang ganito (looks at her cat shirt). (Yes. It’s something I like the most. I love something unique that others won’t even wear. But I also like simple, basic items with cute details. Like this (looks at her cat shirt))
What’s your current fashion obsession?
Skinny jeans na roll-up jeans and wearing sneakers or flats that are unique.
Is there anything you wouldn’t wear?
Sexy outfits like bikini. Hindi bagay sa akin… Hindi ako comfortable. (Sexy outfits, like bikinis. I’m not suited with it… I’m not comfortable)
Sa beach anong suot mo? (So what do you wear at the beach?)
Rash guards. Yun naman ang uso ngayon. Para wala ring sunburn. (Rash guards. It’s fashionable and trendy nowadays too. Also so there won’t be any sunburn)
What are five things you can’t live without?
Hmm. My family, friends, people around me, my lovely cats and siguro cellphone, kasi I can watch TV and do Internet with my cellphone. And food. And aircon! Kasi mainit. (Laughs) (Hmmm. My family, friends, people around me, my lovely cats, and maybe my cellphone, because I can watch TV and do internet with it. And food. And aircon! Because it’s so hot)
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
Actually, marami. Pero naalala ko, 10 years ago, nung bago pa ako dito, meron akong group of fans who followed me wherever I went. Parang nakikita ko yang van na yan…as in whole day, they were following me. And sa Tagaytay ako nagshu-shoot. Andyan din sila. Parang wow. It’s really unforgettable. (Actually, a lot. But I remember, ten years ago, when I was still new in the industry, I had a group of fans who followed me wherever I went. It was like, ‘I think I saw that van somewhere’… Like the whole day, they were following me. And I was shooting in Tagaytay. And they were there. It was like, wow. It’s really unforgettable.)
Did you get to meet them?
Yes. I know them. Close sila sa akin.
Friends mo na sila?
Do you have a message for your Filipino fans?
Yes. Maraming salamat sa inyo. Hanggang ngayon hindi niyo pa rin ako nakakalimutan kaya nandito ako ngayon with Penshoppe. Thank you. Salamat. And gusto ko bumalik ulit. Mahal ko kayo. Yun pa rin. Hindi ako nagbabago. (Yes. Thanks a lot to all of you. Until now, you still haven’t forgotten all about me, that’s why I’m here now with Penshoppe. Thank you. Thank you. And I want to come back again. I love you all. It’s the same. That will never change)
What else can fans expect from you?
The upcoming movie. And I don’t know yet pero (but) I really want to work hard.
Credits: Inquirer Lifestyle