S.E.S’s Shoo: I think It Is Easier To Be A K-pop Star Now, But Also Easier To Lose Your Popularity
Shoo is well-known for being a part of the girl group S.E.S in late 1990s. The three-member girl group, Sea (Bada), Eugene and Shoo, achieved high popularity back in those days, winning the title of ‘Best Female Group’ in Mnet Asian Music Awards for two years in 2001 and 2002. The group was active from 1997 to 2002. The members went on their solo paths after they announced the break-up in late 2002.
In conjunction with the airing of Oh! My Baby on every Saturday at 8.30PM local time via ONE HD (Astro B. yond Ch 393), Malaysia, ONE HD has released an in-depth interview of Shoo, which she talked about her upcoming plans, thoughts on the growing Hallyu Wave and her days in S.E.S.
In the interview, Shoo also revealed her thoughts of raising three children, which she feels apologetic, saying “I feel sorry for kids when I cannot do all the things my kids want.”
When asked if she is taking on any project now, she said she would like to focus on motherhood, but she is open to getting involved in TV series and movies. She also shared her thoughts on the current Hallyu wave, quoting, “it is easier to be a K-pop star now, but it is also easier to lose your popularity.”
Read on for the full interview.
Q: You started out as Shoo the idol, and now you are Shoo the mummy. How do you think you have changed since your S.E.S days?
A: Both being an idol and a mummy are very life-defining roles I play. When I was still an idol, my life revolved around the S.E.S family, I spent a lot of time with my band mates. They are just like my sisters. Now that I am a mom of three children, I spend a whole lot of time setting up the family, taking care of them all the time. These people are my family, forever. We are all connected by the memories we share. What is eternal is the relationship of my real family, the family that I built.
Q: Why did you decide to the parenting reality show Oh My Baby? What is the greatest challenge of being on the show?
A: Well at first, I was really concerned whether it is appropriate to take up the show. I was worried about how my children will react to it, we have to commit one day every week to shoot it. But when we did the first camera test, the kids did a great job and they were not afraid of strangers, so I was really pleasantly surprised. They are still afraid of male staff members, but they are really interacting well and friendly to the female staff. It is also a great opportunity to have the memories of our family recorded through the programme.
Q: How does the filming for the show Oh My Baby work out? (It takes place 3 days every week?) When did filming start, and is filming still ongoing?
A: The filming happens three or four times each month, whenever the kids are in good condition. We start in the morning and finishes in the early evening. Since they are young babies, we don’t want to film late at night. The show is as real as it can get, what you see on screen is what we really do.
Q: What are the challenges of raising twins? Is it tougher to be a parent of twins, as compared to taking care of one child at one goes?
A: I think all mummies will be able to relate to this. As a mummy, the first and most important thing is stamina and strength. I feel sorry for kids when I cannot do all the things my kids want. I have three kids while I only have one body, so I really need more hands. I wish to have some time to refresh and rejuvenate myself.
Q: How do you juggle between your showbiz career and your family life (taking care of your children)?
A: Sometimes I get so busy and carried away with my schedule, I do not even know what time it is. I will need to go the mart for groceries shopping, and take care of my children too. I have to stay robust and have a grip on myself during the busy days.
Q: What kind of mother are you? (e.g. are you a friend to your children, tiger mum)
A: I think for me, I am half a mummy and have a friend. Honestly, I am more like a friend to my children. They are still too young to solve their own problems, so I tend to encourage my children to think for a solution, by themselves. I help them to understand, how, why and what have they done wrong. If a mummy gets angry, and express it emotionally, the children would get the impression that mummy looks scary instead of what they have done wrong. So I think adults should spend more time and effort to properly educate their children.
Q: Your children are really photogenic and adorable. Any chance that audiences will get to see them on TV, magazines? Are you open to letting them be child actors, models etc?
A: Yes, we (husband and I) are open to such opportunities.
Q: What if your children would like to follow in your footsteps and join show business? Which of the three have the most potential to become an artiste – be it a singer, actor, model?
A: They are still very young, so I have no idea where their talents lie. But when we are filming, I can see that the kids really enjoy working with people, they can easily adapt to the environment – that is the filming site. All three of them are not afraid to express their opinion. In the past, I did not want my children to follow in my footsteps but now, I am more willing and will leave this decision to them. As we all know, life in the showbiz can come across as very glamourous but it is also a very lonely path to take. So if any of my children were to become a singer, actor or model, I feel that I have the experience to give them the right advice.
Q: Are you looking to have more children? If yes, why? If no, why?
A: We are open to having the fourth child. Since we believe that children are gifts from God. So if God grant us with a child, we are ready to welcome him or her.
Q: What music are your children listening to? Have they listened to S.E.S songs? What are their reactions to S.E.S songs?
A: I haven’t had the chance to let them hear SES’s songs. (laughs). I don’t think they really know that I used to be a singer. They might have heard the music or the term SES from someone else, but it seems like they have no impression of this at all.
Q: You signed on to Korean entertainment agency Run Entertainment last year (2014)? What are some of the projects that you are taking on? Will you be focusing on an acting career?
A: For now, I will just be concentrating on motherhood, but if I have the chance, I would love to get involved in both TV series and movies. And since my image now is a ‘responsible super-mom’, I would like to take on roles that are entirely different. A comedy, perhaps?
Q: The Hallyu wave is super-hot now. Did you ever think that K-pop, Korean entertainment would ever become so popular?
A: In all honesty, I did. I kind of expected Kpop to take the world by storm. Since S.E.S had also knocked on Japanese and Chinese market, I could feel the start of the Hallyu wave before others did. I personally think that my generation of singers paved a way for the new ones right now, making it so much easier to venture into other markets.
Q: Has the Hallyu wave helped to boost your exposure, popularity? Do you get messages from new fans (international fans, young fans) that got to know you from your recent activities (like your appearance on Roommate and Oh My Baby)? Who are these fans, from which country, and young fans from high school?
A: When I did an interview with a Taiwanese media, I went to the location with my son. There were many ‘auntie’ fans who came for photos, they wanted to take photos with my son, instead of me. (Laughs) Also, many fans have created Instagram accounts on behalf of Ra Yool, Ra Hee and Yoo. I see comments in different languages; Chinese, English and even in Arabian. Some fans draw the portraits of the children. So I tell my kids that ‘these are presents from the people who likes you!’ It is really thankful that we received so much love and support from people, especially those living outside Korea. This feeling is different from any other experiences. To see my children being loved by so many people, it makes me feel even more grateful.
Q: Do you feel that it’s a pity that SES’ debut and peak happened before the Hallyu wave? SES could have gone international like girl group SNSD, boy band Big Bang.
A: It is indeed a pity, but on another hand, we were very exhausted. There was just too much going on at the time, our schedule was so packed. We had plans to enter the Chinese market but we didn’t have the time to execute. We had a lot going for us in Japan too. And since I grew up in Japan, it was okay for me, but my other members had difficulties dealing with a foreign language in a foreign environment. SES was always busy, always travelling and we were always home sick. We have no regrets though, we have given our best back then.
Q: What do you think of the current crop of K-pop stars, groups? Which are some of the groups that have caught your eye, and why?
A: I am not really in tune with the idol-singers these days. The most recent one I know is Big Bang.
Q: Now that it’s the Hallyu wave. How do you think the Korean entertainment scene/ K-pop has evolved since the 1990s? Do you think it’s easier or more challenging to be a K-pop star now?
A: I think it is easier to be a K-Pop star now, but it is also easier to lose your popularity. It seems like it is more difficult to sustain popularity in compared to the past. Back then, a singer could sing songs from the same album for a whole year. It seems more difficult for a star to have a consistent and fixed fan base. Fans do not stay to support a single star anymore, they tend to move from one star to another, according to how active the star is and the projects they are involved. (T/N: She does not mean that fans are not loyal to their stars, but she meant that people are consuming content at a faster pace and the popularity of a K-pop star always changes.)
Q: How was it like starring in the comeback music video of popular 90’s hip hop group Jinusean’s Tell Me One More Time? Did you guys reminisce about your singing days in the 90s? Did it bring back memories from your S.E.S days?
A: We do have a chat group on Kakaotalk amongst the 90’s singers, Jinusean was looking for someone to star in their new MV. I really wanted to be part of it, but the filming takes place at dawn, so I turned it down – I could not leave my children at home. But after some arrangements, I managed to appear in the MV with a cameo role. On the day of shoot, I ran out of time. I prepared everything in only 2 hours and arrived late. I shot for 30mins and had to leave. So I feel sorry for not being able to stay for a longer time. After all, I really have not had the chance to wear make-up, styling for MV like that for a long time. And I was really happy and envious of Jinu and Sean – they have made their comeback.
Q: Do you still keep in touch with your S.E.S members – Eugene and Sea?
A: Yes, but we do not meet up as regularly as before. We meet up whenever one calls another, just like close friends.
Q: Any chance there will be an S.E.S comeback?
A: I cannot say for sure, but I guess now we have more opportunities and more courage in comparison to our past. My other SES member Eugene has just become a mother. We talked about this – after sometime, when the children grow up and when the right project comes along, we would definitely come together for.
Interview credits: ONE HD