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Itzy: ‘We really love that Filipino fans are so loud!’ (Itzy Interview)

Itzy interview

The voices of Itzy when they greeted me before the interview reminded me of the sound of chimes when a gentle breeze blows through them. It was pleasant and welcoming. They matched their voices with big smiles that reached their eyes.

It was our interview with Itzy right after the Bench press conference held at the Grand Hyatt on April 15. Seated, in order, were Yuna, Ryujin, Yeji, Chaeryeong and Lia. I sat directly across from their leader Yeji, close enough to notice Ryujin’s pretty necklace and its star-shaped charm. This accessory would glint whenever light hit it during the entire interview.


They were styled in preppy clothes—miniskirts, vests, jackets, monotone crop tops, neckties, knee-high socks, Oxfords and boots. They looked young, successful and rich. They earlier revealed that the clothes were all from Bench.

Itzy is the third K-pop act that the lifestyle brand signed up as brand ambassadors from JYP Entertainment (JYPE). Bench previously tapped their seniors, Twice and Stray Kids.


Yeji during Itzy in Manila
Itzy in Manila Yeji
Itzy leader Yeji, serving visual during the press conference | Photo by Bunny Javier

Itzy’s stage presence is no joke, but in an intimate setup they are very warm and friendly. The atmosphere for the entire session was very relaxed and easy, like talking to your barkada after not seeing them for years.


Yeji never lost her smile. Ryujin watched my reaction to answers. Yuna would nod her head when her groupmates answered. Lia smiled whenever it was her turn, and Chaeryeong was so much fun, readily answering follow-up questions.

They gave their answers in Korean, just like in their press conference earlier. I asked what made them interested in the industry that they are in.

“Ever since I was young, I really enjoyed singing,” said Lia. “When I learned that there’s a career where you can enjoy what you are doing, I really wanted to join the K-pop industry. I like how I receive happiness doing the thing that I love: singing.” She added that it is her happiness to share this with her fans.


Itzy in Manila Lia
Lia says that she wanted to become a performer since she was young. | Photo by Bunny Javier

Their maknae (youngest) Yuna said that she didn’t dream of becoming an idol when she was younger. Then, she was discovered by JYPE.


“As a trainee, I realized that I was happy when I was dancing. I thought, ‘Oh this is something I can really enjoy,’” said Yuna.

Television was a big factor in how Chaeryeong ended up becoming an idol. “I would watch television and I would see different artists and singers, and then I would dance and sing along with them,” she said. Chaeryeong said that this nourished her dream of becoming a K-pop idol.

I asked who were the singers that inspired her when she was young. She thought for a second before answering with a smile, “Girls’ Generation.” (She would say the same thing during their “Wannabe with Bench” fan meet the next day at the Mall of Asia Arena.) They saw that I was pleasantly surprised with her answer. I gave her a thumbs-up. The girls, in turn, gave an appreciative laugh.


Itzy in Manila Ryujin
Playful Ryujin makes any interview interesting.
| Photo by Bunny Javier


Becoming an artist

“I really don’t have a specific reason for why I wanted to join K-pop. But I enjoyed the process of becoming an artist. I think this made me fall in love with the industry,” said Yeji.
Ryujin, however, takes the cake for her answer: “When I was young, I saw a circus stage,” she said. My eyes grew wide at her answer, and she nodded her head, as if to tell me that this is a true story. “The circus was very grand. I admired the stage so much. I looked for a job where I could go on stage. I ended up in K-pop.”

Itzy is all about individuality and girl power. They push a powerful, positive image, which is also reflected in their local campaign. They shared with Inquirer Lifestyle how they want their fans to view them.

“Rather than pushing a specific way of looking at us when we’re on stage, we would really love to give energy whenever we’re on stage. I hope people watching our performances will be able to receive this strength from us,” said Yeji.

Her answer echoed that of Chaeryeong, who said that beyond their image, she wants their fans to get something from them when they watch them onstage.
“I would love it if they would first put down the different difficulties and different adversities they’re going through, to 100 percent enjoy the performance that we’re giving,” said Chaeryeong.

Itzy in Manila Chaeryeong
Chaeryeong gamely (and honestly) answers follow up questions posed for her. | Photo by Bunny Javier


No Midzy, no Itzy

Since their priority is to give strength to fans, we had to know the impact of Midzys (their fandom) in their lives. Yeji said that their lives have changed because of the fans. She gives credit to them for their strength to continue what they are doing right now.

“Thanks to Midzys, we don’t tire easily,” she said.


Read: Itzy in Manila is a happy memory

Lia added that their fans are the reason they go on with their activities as Itzy. Without Midzy, there’s no Itzy. Thus, it led us to ask what they think of their Filipino fans.

Itzy had their Manila leg of the “Checkmate World Tour” concert last January It was their first time to hear how loud Filipino fans were in a concert. I asked them what they thought of this; after all, screams are the Filipino fans’ love language.


This is on top of singing songs from start to finish. At this point in our conversation, there was already a flow. All our questions and answers were translated in English and Korean. It made me forget momentarily that they are fluent in English, as well. Thus, I described their fans as very noisy in Korean.


Itzy in Manila Yuna
Yuna looks like a doll in real life | Photo by Bunny Javier
Loud fans

Itzy laughed and clapped their hands. They liked that I spoke their native language. They repeated the word “noisy” and giggled again. It was their way of showing their appreciation for my effort. It was pretty much the same energy as in the fan meet, when Ryujin was surprised when the fans sang “Happy birthday” to her in Korean.
When Yeji spoke again, you could sense that she was happy and grateful for the love showered on them by their local fans.

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“We really love that they are noisy, that they’re very loud. I think that’s also the reason we also get their energy. I appreciate them for being that. And I hope they continue to be noisy,” said Yeji.

I only had a few seconds left in the conversation, but Itzy was kind enough to allow me to ask one last question. I asked them to give one TMI (which literally translates to “too much information,” but in K-pop speak, any information unknown before) about another member.

Yuna raised her hand to give an answer. She chose her Lia eonnie (older sister) for her TMI.

Late-night snacks

“Lia has been enjoying late-night snacks recently,” she said. She wanted to give more info about Chaeryeong, but given the lack of time, I told her that one person is okay.
Ryujin looked me in the eye and answered in English. It was the first time any of them answered in that language. I believe it’s her way of saying thanks that I spoke in Korean earlier.

“I recently had enough time to enjoy activities with Yuna,” she said.

Our reliable translator, Jeon-woo, automatically repeated her answer in English. I believe he got so used to translating everything for both parties that it became instinctive for him. I appreciated this, but at the same time, I looked at Ryujin, and we were both smiling. We knew he didn’t realize that she spoke in English. I told him that I got this, and that’s when it sunk in. He smiled.

Yeji looked gleefully at me and declared, “Ryujin really likes me so much.”

I laughed at this before stealing a glance at Ryujin. She gave Yeji a bombastic side-eye (K-pop lingo). Yeji nodded her head enthusiastically at me while elbowing her seatmate, who was still making faces.

“Yeji gets hungry easily these days,” said Chaeryeong. Yeji also nodded her head at this, while Lia said, “Chaeryoung lost some weight.” This made Chaeryeong smile.
Before I left, I showed them the sneakers I wore that day in honor of their song “Sneakers.” They laughed again before we said our thank yous. As I was going out, I realized what the biggest challenge about meeting Itzy was: finding a way to not fall in love with them.




This story came out in our paper.


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