Even though we ended up exchanging words through email, I was immensely excited to talk to the ladies of (G)I-DLE, a K-pop group known for its fresh, always-unique concepts and beauty looks. Four years since their explosive debut in May 2018 with the hit single “Latata” (fun fact: it was my second most-played song of that year, according to Spotify), the five-member group continues to captivate audiences and fans with (G)I-DLE’s bold, unapologetic style. Most recently, (G)I-DLE released its first-ever studio album, I Never Die, to much fanfare.
“(G)I-DLE is still standing strong,” Yuqi confidently says. “We especially put in a lot of effort this time to break prejudice,” she says of their year-and-two-months-long hiatus. While the members dedicated some of their time toward pursuing solo activities — with Soyeon releasing her Windy EP and Yuqi releasing her A Page EP, and Miyeon making a solo debut later this month — there’s no doubt that the core of (G)I-DLE has only strengthened during this time spent semi-apart.
What better proof of this period of “immense growth,” as Yuqi calls it, than “Tomboy,” which may very well be (G)I-DLE’s most impactful single to-date. After all, this song earned the quintet its first-ever all-kill. (That’s K-pop speak for claiming the number-one spot on multiple South Korean music charts.) “I believe that ‘Tomboy’ clearly showcases (G)I-DLE’s unique colors,” Soyeon clearly states. Leave it to the group leader and established producer and rapper to put it so succinctly.
Co-written and produced by Soyeon herself, the pop-punk track actually features an uncensored version that proudly declares, “Yeah, I’m fucking tomboy.” If you’re at all familiar with the ins-and-outs of K-pop, you’ll know that swearing isn’t commonplace, whether it’s in Korean or English. While it’s only available on the CD version, I can’t help but smile. While artists don’t need to incorporate swear words into their lyrics in order to prove their strengths, to me, it feels like a little rebellion in the grand scheme of a sometimes “buttoned-up” industry.
The other members convey their post-hiatus excitement in various ways. “I wanted to hurry up and start preparing [for the comeback] after listening to the songs and hearing the concept, because I could relate a lot to it,” Miyeon relays, while Shuhua was excited to delve into a lineup of songs she thought were “so cool” upon first listen. Besides “Tomboy,” I recommend the hip-hop-inspired “My Bag” and the dreamy/ethereal track that is “Escape.” (In other words, I Never Die is a no-skip sort of situation.)
Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper Allure interview without asking the members to divulge some of their favorite beauty moments, and let me tell you, (G)I-DLE did not disappoint with their answers.
While Yuqi says that she’s liked all of her looks over the past couple of years, “Tomboy” hit different in many ways. “The Yuqi who had only ‘cute’ styles in our previous promotions grew to experiment with various styles this time around,” she says. If she had to choose one look that especially resonated with her, it’d have to be “the rock-star style” that she brought to life for a Show! Music Core performance. I’m still not over her perfectly-defined pink-blonde ringlets, so I’d have to agree. (Excuse me while I talk to my colorist about revisiting my beloved pink-hair era.)
It’s not just Yuqi who’s a fan of her own “Tomboy” styling. “The pink hair on Yuqi was gorgeous and suited her,” Shuhua chimes in. While Yuqi’s no stranger to trying out different hair colors, she does admit that she takes better care of her hair (and skin) during promotions. After all, she knows the importance of maintaining a healthy scalp in order to “try diverse colors.”
Apart from bleaching her hair, fashion is one area that Yuqi seems to indulging in as of lately. “I really didn’t have any interest in fashion before, but I’m trying to do my best at it these days,” she notes, calling herself a “fashion person” in a semi-joking manner. “I’m studying what the trendiest clothes are, what type of clothes suit me, and the styles that I like,” she adds.
Soyeon’s Instagram is basically a mood board of different makeup looks I want to try myself. As someone who can also pull off natural black, blonde, and pink hair, it’s almost as if I’m looking at a cooler, more musically-inclined version of myself. While Soyeon tells me that her outlook on beauty hasn’t changed much since her debut days, she says she tries to emphasize her “unique characteristics” in her own style.
That being said, I’m not surprised that she chose the “daring, all-red outfit with the red hat” she donned in a concept photo for “Latata” as her favorite look. It goes to show that Soyeon is just as confident in her style four years ago as she was now. We also have to appreciate a celebrity who has always been proactive in their makeup and hair choices. “I decide on the initial visual design and develop it with the professionals,” she tells us of her beauty brainstorming process.
Fast forward to present day and she says that “these days, I enjoy makeup that emphasizes my cheeks right under my eyes.” Back in 2019, she told Allure that her makeup artist taught her about the wonders of blush placement, so it’s almost comforting to hear that she has tried-and-true techniques that she has subtly remixed over the years.
Shuhua is quick to reference this particular photo that she took during the group’s “Tomboy” promotions. “I think clothes that reveal the shoulders accentuate my best features,” she notes. I’d like to point out that Shuhua considers “Uh-Oh” to be the most difficult concept she’s had to showcase, but she very much pulled it off and wore a confidence-boosting, off-the-shoulder top back then as well.
As a beauty editor, I can’t help but admire her ultra-defined lashes (which are more noticeable in this closer-up shot), peach-tinted flush, and expertly-blotted lip tint. As for skin care, she tells us she’s started to incorporate face oils into her daily regimen. “My face is extremely dry, and I’m loving it,” G-(I)DLE’s resident skin-care enthusiast reveals.
To top off our praises, Minnie’s got the performance factor covered. “Shuhua improved so much that even the look in her eyes when she’s on stage has changed,” she gushes. “I’m very proud of her as her unnie (a Korean term for older sister/friend).” Cue the “aww’s.”
Speaking of Minnie, budding fashionista that she is, she spotlights the hot-pink outfit she wore in the music video and subsequent live performances. Her long, pin-straight hair, which has been bleached blonde on the bottom half, is worthy of heart emojis as well. I personally think that Minnie’s look suits the “Tomboy” concept to a T, and I can only aspire to pull off blunt, below-the-brow bangs as effortlessly as she does.
“A lot of my opinions went into [my looks], and I had many discussions with the makeup and styling teams,” she reveals, highlighting the mutually constructive relationship between the members and their makeup and styling teams. Like Yuqi, Minnie is also particularly interested in fashion these days, but she goes ahead and details two trends she’s especially into: low-waist jeans and hard Croc sandles. (You won’t find this writer harkening back to her pre-college, low-waist days, but I respect it.)
As someone who typically sticks to darker hair colors, Miyeon is fully embracing the blonde streaks she took on for “Tomboy.” (Spoiler alert: She’s taking the blonde look a step further with her solo debut.) “The hairstyle and overall look suited ‘Tomboy,’ which is a song expressing freedom,” she explains. There’s certainly an air of maturity surrounding Miyeon, the oldest member of the group. “The concepts are another method used to express (G)I-DLE and the music (G)I-DLE wants to do,” she says. “So, I’m just always thinking about how to show and express them, but there weren’t any concepts that pushed me out of my comfort zone.” We love this confidence.
Skin care is an important component of each member’s beauty routines, and Miyeon — as evident by her milky smooth complexion — is no exception. She gives credit to her consistent use of face masks, both in the morning and nighttime, and vitamins intake. As for makeup, she leans towards products that emphasize her eyelashes. (Miyeon, whenever you’re ready, please let us know what mascara you use — because your lashes are impeccably fluttery.)
If I have gathered anything from this interview, it’s that (G)I-DLE has so much more in store for us. “We will always experiment with new music that fits the situation, environment, and time of our promotions,” Soyeon tells me. Even though many might consider a year and two months to be too long of a wait, I find it extremely refreshing in the very fast-paced industry that is Korean pop. (It’s not uncommon for groups to have two comebacks per year.) I love that (G)I-DLE is quite purposeful and intentional with its music.
While they are K-pop artists, (G)I-DLE’s philosophy stretches far beyond what the masses might associate with the genre. “I believe that K-pop is capable of continuing to develop and grow,” Yuqi shares. But, at the end of the day, she says that “I wish that we, (G)I-DLE, can continue to make and enjoy the music that we want to do and make music that will go down in history.” Mic drop.