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TWICE Opens Up About Downsides of Fame in New Cosmopolitan Interview

Teen Vogue logo Teen Vogue 7/6/2022 Sara Delgado

If there’s one thing TWICE is going to do — aside from delivering bops every single comeback — is keep it real. In a new cover story with Cosmopolitan ahead of their seventh anniversary in October, the nine members of the South Korean girl group looked back on their journey and opened up about the downsides of fame and the effects it has on their mental health.

After pondering about their global success and the expansion of K-pop as a whole, the girls were asked about what they most fear about being famous and their reservations are as varied as their personalities. 

For Sana, her number one concern is protecting her data. “I'm really worried about my personal information leaking, especially at the airports. When I'm showing my passport, sometimes people are taking pictures from above,” she told Cosmo.

Along the same vein, Jeongyeon is fearful of getting unwanted calls. “I get random calls these days on my cell phone. Sometimes I worry about that and how that happened,” she explained. (This is a common practice among sasaengs — i.e. stalker fans — in South Korea, which some idols have publicly called out. It’s unclear if Jeongyeon is openly referring to this type of calls, but we get a feeling it’s not just about telemarketing.)

For Jihyo and Tzuyu, the downsides are more personal and less pragmatic — though equally valid and important. “I don't want to call it a downside of fame, but I have to say that we are just super busy right now and I don't have enough individual me-time. I would like to have a little bit more,” Jihyo admitted, with Tzuyu adding: “For me, it's very similar. I'm just so thankful for the love that we've received. And it would be great if we can have a little bit more time to care for ourselves so that we can recuperate.”

Of course, the girls have already found different methods to prioritize their mental health as much as they can. While on tour, Dahyun shared that her preferred relaxation method is eating. “Our staff always prepares really healthy and delicious foods, so that’s the most important part after the concerts. And personally, I take a bath and I nap. And sometimes I look up funny clips on YouTube,” she added.

Momo, on the other hand, highlighted how crucial it’s become to bounce energy off each other. “When we're working, there are certain members who are more energetic than others. When I'm tired and not at my best, they really make me laugh and just by talking to them I get more energy. And when they're tired, I make them laugh,” she explained. (Cue the tears.)

Nayeon feels similarly, sharing that seeing the other members work hard and overcome challenges alone gives her the strength to tackle her own hardships, which are often similar since they work together.

Mina also relies on the other members to boost her mood, though not by simply having a chit-chat or watching them from afar. “I'm a person who spends a lot of time alone and it really helps me [cope with difficulties] when other members ask me to do things I would not do on my own,” she told Cosmo. “For example, because of other members, I got to experience water-skiing, and they invited me to eat great food.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time TWICE has gotten candid about mental health and the pressures of fame. Several members have gone on hiatus or pulled out of shows to prioritize their mental and physical health over the years; and they also discussed the journey of up and downs in their 2020 YouTube documentary series TWICE: Seize the Light

Speaking to Teen Vogue in 2020, the girls shared the exact moment they realized mens sana in corpore sano is more than just a phrase — which came as a result of not having as much energy as they did when they first debuted as teens. 

"I'm realizing that health isn't just about bodily health. Our mental states are intimately tied to our physical health,” leader Jihyo shared back then. “We’re getting older… it’s not that we want to abandon the familiar, cute and energetic image we already have — we want to take all that, and upgrade ourselves.”

Part of the upgrade is putting yourself first, and it definitely seems to be working for TWICE.

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