Gong Min-ji, or Minzy, has been known and loved by millions of K-pop fans around the world. The former member of 2NE1, one of the best-selling girl groups worldwide, has been pursuing her solo career since leaving the group in 2016.
Aside from releasing new music and managing her dance academy, the singer of Uno is also active in films, music videos, and television shows. In 2021, she won the Artist Award of Korea Grand Prize Awards in the 10 People Who Shined Korea category. This year, she is a judge in Korea’s The Origin – A, B, Or What? survival program, and soon 9low On Top, a Thai audition program.
In this interview, Minzy opens up to Harper’s Bazaar about her time with 2NE1, her passion for music, and her post-2NE1 career.
Harper’s Bazaar (HBVN): Dear Minzy, we’re so excited to speak with you! This year has taken you around the world, from Coachella in the United States to Japan, and more. How are you doing?
GONG MIN-JI (MINZY): I’m now visiting Thailand, shooting for a TV show as a judge. I’m expecting to meet my fans on the stage in Asia, especially in South East Asia, whom I couldn’t meet due to Covid-19. I’m so excited and happy to meet them again after a long time!
HBVN: Dancing is your passion. You were scouted early in elementary school for your talents, plus your singing and rapping. Going back to those times, what inspired you to dance and perform?
MINZY: I grew up listening to Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, and Michael Jackson on cassette tape. I believe pop artists had a lot of influence on my musical identity. I studied the history and footprints of pop music during my trainee time. Definitely, pop music is familiar to me.
HBVN: You were part of 2NE1, one of the most successful and iconic K-pop groups. Many people still look up to the group to this day. Was it challenging being the maknae/the youngest?
MINZY: The position of maknae/the youngest in a family is hard in its way. It is the same for all – the leader, members, and the youngest. They all have their own challenges. I have a strong mind during hardships, and I always do my best in the part I am given. I don’t have any regrets.
HBVN: What was one of the most unforgettable moments with the 2NE1 group?
MINZY: It was when we shared meals together! We spent most of the time together – in cars, waiting rooms, or at home. Our timetable was so full that it was hard for us to sit around, have delicious dinners, or talk – like anybody else. So for me, these unforgettable moments were when we could order food, sit around for talks, or eat out and take pictures together.
HBVN: Your passion and success continue to grow: You opened a dance academy, released amazing music, and joined television shows. How do you keep up? What gives you strength so you don’t burn out?
MINZY: I give myself a break when I need it. As humans need water to survive, I believe a short break is what we truly need to live a life. During relaxation, you can read a book, watch your favorite drama, meet with friends, find a hot place, and so on. Take a good rest. As a result, it will give you the motivation to move forward.
HBVN: Minzy, you’re always wonderful with your fans during shows, fan meetings, and social media. How do they inspire you?
MINZY: It has been 13 years, so my fans are almost my half-family and half-friends. I give my fans happiness and strength through my music and performance, and the energy they give me is tremendously precious. Without support or love from them, I couldn’t start anything.
HBVN: Thank you for chatting with us. Before we go, can you share some of your new plans with us?
MINZY: I’m preparing for a new performance, and coming up with a new single and mini album. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Talent: Gong Min-ji (Minzy) @_minzy_mz
Photography: Reinhardt Kenneth @reinhardtkenneth
Creative Direction: Yuki Bomb @yukibomb for CM Agency with Reinhardt Kenneth and Kenneth Barlis @kennethbarlis_official
Stylist: Michelle Wu @michellewustyle
Makeup: Janice Daoud @janicedaoud for A-Frame Agency
Hair: Yuichi Ishida @hairbyyuichi for ICA
Esthetician and Skincare: Ashmarie Skincare @ashmarieskincare_sd
Videography 1: Mathew Freiheit @bymatthewfreiheit
Videography2: Brannon Gee @brannon_gee
Lighting Director: Rielle Oase @really_rielle
Gaffer: Gerald King @kingerald_photo
Grip: Mitch Santos
Photographer’s Assistant: Vilma Canas @vilma_star_designs_
Location: Circa LA Apartments Penthouse @circalosangeles
Catering: California Donuts @californiadonuts, Boba Guys @bobaguys, and me.n.u cafe @menucafe_
Production: CM Agency @agency__cm
Retoucher: Angel Jiro @angel_jiro
Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam