The older Park sibling, Sandara, arrived 10 minutes late, but she immediately waved “Hi~” to her younger brother Thunder upon entering the room. Thunder, who was fixing his hanbok in front of a mirror, greets her with, “Oh, you came.”
And then a brief moment of awkward silence hit.
Since it’s their first-ever ’sibling interview’, the two immediately began repeating, “How awkward,” while quickly explaining, “We grew up in the Philippines so we never had the opportunity to give New Year’s bows. This year, we’ll be bowing to our parents and CEOs.”
Sandara and Thunder are members of Korea’s two top idols, 2NE1 and MBLAQ. They’re also the most well-known sibling idols in the industry as well. What’s interesting to note is that despite the fame surrounding their relationship, this is the first time the two are taking part in an interview as just siblings.
“I’m seeing his face for the first time in a month,” Sandara calmly states. Thunder adds, “It’s kind of awkward seeing her at work, since I’m used to seeing her at home.” His older sister agreed: “At home, I’m used to us wearing pajamas and not being so dolled up, so meeting like this is quite awkward.”
Because they both have busy schedules and are living away in dorms, they’re lucky to be able to meet once a month. Their promotion cycles have also never overlapped, so they rarely get to meet outside at work. The first time they met on stage was at the SBS “Gayo Daejun” last year.
Despite the distance, they claim to be closer than anyone else. Sandara revealed that she constantly monitors for him, and sends him advice and support through text messages. She also listens to MBLAQ’s CDs during car rides, and would always visit MBLAQ’s waiting room with flowers on special days, like for their comeback.
Speaking of thoughtful, Sandara handed a new bag to her brother during the interview. “I bought it for you while I went shopping a few days ago,” she explained.
In comparison to her outgoing and four-dimensional personality, Thunder is a lot quieter and calmer. Sandara revealed, “Whenever I send him text messages after I monitor his broadcast performances, he always replies back with one letter: ‘k.’”
Thunder retorted, “But still, I reply a bit longer to Jihoon-hyung (Rain).”
Sandara continued, “He’s not the type to joke around, but since he’s the maknae, he has a tendency to behave like a baby. Still, he’s become a lot more mature lately. Our other sibling, Park Durami (24), often says that ‘our maknae has matured.’”
When asked to rate 2NE1 as singers, Thunder lived up to Sandara’s criticisms of him being too quiet by answering, “For a singer, music is the most basic foundation. I love 2NE1’s music.”
In comparison, Sandara rattled off a bunch of compliments for her baby brother’s group. “MBLAQ has a really ‘zzang’ visual. I think they’re the most handsome out of all of the teams promoting right now. The members are all so good at dancing, piano, and even singing.”
The photoshoot had the two wearing hanboks, and Sandara revealed that it was the first time for the two to wear hanboks in a long, long while. “We lived in the Philippines when we were younger so we never had the chance to wear one. I do remember wearing it in the first or second year of elementary school.“ Thunder added, “We probably wore it when we were babies.”
His sister continued, “In the Philippines, Christmas is a big holiday and fireworks are used for the New Year. For the Lunar New Year, our family would just eat rice cake soup, and we don’t have relatives in the Philippines, so we don’t have memories of performing the New Year’s bow. Even when we came to Korea, all we did was eat rice cake soup and watch the Lunar New Year programs on TV. We came to Korea in 2007, but this year, I’m planning to bow to not only my family, but to my CEO as well.”
Fortunately, the two will be meeting more often this year, as both of their respective groups are preparing for their Japanese advancements.
2NE1 is currently re-recording their Korean hits into Japanese, and will soon be working on their album jacket and music video recordings. Once the holiday ends, they’ll be focusing on their Japanese activities until March.
Sandara shed some light on 2NE1’s plans by stating, “We were determined to ‘fight as rookies.’ Since we’re not pretty or cute, we have to cater to a specific fanbase. We’re hoping to win with a style of music like ‘Fire‘.”
Meanwhile, MBLAQ will be knocking on the doors of the Japanese market this April, and although detailed schedules haven’t been revealed, they’re planning to lend their support to the new Hallyu wave that is gathering force overseas.
The siblings concluded their interview with a heartwarming message for one another.
Thunder stated, “Like you’ve always done, I trust nuna to do her best. I believe that you’ll meet great results in your Japanese advancement if you work as hard as you are doing now. Nuna, you’re always asking for me to introduce you to a man, but I don’t know any man worthy of you. I hope that our family can live healthily and happily.”
“I know that I’m not at the point in my career where I can act with freedom, but I’ll be working harder than ever, so don’t worry about me. When I succeed and become a big singer, I’ll take care of you then.”
Sandara said, “Thunder, I know that you’re quiet and don’t express yourself, but I’m touched all the same whenever I feel that you’re thinking about a lot of things and taking care of our mother. I’m so proud of you for having grown into an innocent and upright man, without going down the wrong path and without causing trouble.”
“You must be really tired now that you’ve started your promotions, so make sure you take the vitamins mother asked you to take and eat all of your meals. One advice I want to give you as your senior is a repeat of what I told you when you first debuted: ‘Bow/greet everyone well.’