South Korean idol group Highlight (minus leader Yoon Doojoon, who enlisted for military service in August) were in Singapore yesterday to celebrate The Shilla Duty Free’s fourth year anniversary in Changi Airport with a fan meeting and media conference, where they proved they are clearly taking their new roles as the travel retailer’s brand ambassadors very seriously.
Yong Junhyung got the ball rolling when he was asked where he gets inspiration for songwriting. After sharing that he usually finds it in his day-to-day life, he broke into uncontrollable fits of laughter before finally managing to utter (in a rather embarrassed-sounding way), “But today, I think I will get my inspiration from The Shilla Duty Free. (laughs)”
Baby-faced Yang Yoseob continued with the blatant display of love for Shilla when he was asked what’s his secret to staying “young and cute”. “I guess it’s because of The Shilla Duty Free?” he chuckled. “Actually, I don’t really put in much effort to stay young, but I regard it as a gift from my parents. However, if I were to put in effort, it would be done at The Shilla Duty Free store.”
Next, Lee Gikwang shared that for his next role after drama Lovely Horribly, he wishes to shoot a commercial film (CF) for The Shilla Duty Free, with him and his bandmates all dressed up in suits (just like they were yesterday, and hey, we certainly aren’t complaining about that).
And last but not least, maknae (youngest member) Son Dongwoon likened his feelings about being a brand ambassador for The Shilla Duty Free to that of releasing his debut Korean solo single album: because he was doing both things for the first time, he was excited and nervous.
Yup, The Shilla Duty Free certainly picked the right boys for the job.
Don’t we all love people who smell nice? Dongwoon and Gikwang both shared that they are big fans of cologne. “I could actually smell [the fragrances] once I entered [The Shilla Duty Free] store, so I really liked it,” said Dongwoon.
“[I like to wear] sexy scents,” laughed Gikwang. “I like scents with a very manly smell because as time goes by, it gets dispersed.”
A face mist for Yoseob (“It’s pretty dry at the airport and in planes”), lip balm for Junhyung (“Nowadays, the weather in Korea is pretty cold, so I bring it around with me to maintain my handsome lips! [laughs]”), and for Dongwoon, “Fans will welcome us when we arrive at the airport, so I always bring along foundation so I can touch up before meeting them, and secondly, because I have to greet fans with my hands, I bring my hand cream so I can maintain my pretty hands.”
It takes hard word, discipline and self-control to look good during busy activity seasons (of comebacks, concerts etc.), but once all that is over, Gikwang revealed that they would go out and eat all their favourite dishes that they couldn’t on a diet. “That’s a form of stress relief,” he said.
Well, we say they deserve it every time.
Sharing that the day before was his mother’s birthday, Dongwoon voiced his plans to buy a present for her - from where else? The Shilla Duty Free store - before getting on his flight back to Korea. Awww...
Gikwang saves his members’ names in his phone as…
“Just name,” he said in English with a grin. “At first I saved them under their nicknames, but it became difficult to find them in my contacts list, so I changed it to their real names.”
What were those nicknames, though?
They keep in touch with Doojoon (sort of)
When asked if they’ve been in contact with their leader Doojoon, who is currently serving his mandatory military service, Yoseob (who is the next member to enlist, on January 24 next year) revealed that they don’t have many opportunities to have a two-way conversation with him. “It’s more of a one-way communication, where we send him a lot of letters,” he said.
What’s the secret to staying together for almost a decade?
This year marks Highlight’s ninth anniversary since their debut (although they were known as Beast until February 2017), a remarkable feat for a group in the volatile world that is the K-pop industry. So, how do they survive?
“I think it was possible because of the coexistence between serious conversations and funny jokes,” explained Gikwang. “Because the funny jokes that we make as a group help to relieve our stress as well.”
So, the moral of the story is: work hard, joke harder.
Where do they see themselves in another decade?
Well, still doing what they’re doing right now. “We’ll be 10 years older by then and on top of that, more matured in our performances, but we will still keep dancing as Highlight, and we hope we will continue to enjoy our time together with our fans,” said Gikwang.
“I don’t think we will change much other than in our ages and perhaps our appearances,” added Yoseob. “We will continue to make better music and show better performances, and we will stay as we are now as a group.”