K-Pop Star Jessica Jung on Using Her Lifetime in ‘Shine’ Guide

Tina W. Doyle

Jessica Jung has a prosperity of expertise when it arrives to shining onstage as a K-pop star. Rachel Kim? Not so much—yet. Kim, a 17-12 months-aged Korean American vying for the prospect to debut in a woman group, is the protagonist of Jung’s approaching novel Shine, out Sept. 29. It’s no coincidence that Rachel’s daily life mirrors Jung’s—both emigrated from the U.S. to South Korea, both equally started teaching to develop into an idol at the of 11—as the youthful adult reserve is motivated by the 31-calendar year-outdated artist’s lifestyle. But Jung suggests it’s up to the reader to choose the line between point and fiction. “It’s likely to be like an Easter egg hunt,” she tells TIME. “Looking for clues and who’s who, what’s what, what’s accurate, what’s not.”

Jung and her young sister Krystal Jung ended up scouted in 2000 by SM Entertainment, a big label which is residence to some of the biggest K-pop teams. The elder sibling put in seven many years as a trainee, the expression made use of to describe aspiring artists in the Korean songs scene, prior to debuting in 2007 in the nine-member group Girls’ Era. Extensively heralded as one particular of the most influential K-pop functions that helped launched Korean audio to the globe, Girls’ Generation became the first K-pop group to achieve 100 million views on YouTube in 2013—with the strike tune “Gee.” Jung departed from the group in 2014, and has due to the fact introduced tunes as a soloist, starred in videos and continued making her style manufacturer, Blanc & Eclare. With Shine, she will make her literary debut.

The vivid novel focuses on Rachel Kim’s time at the fictional enterprise DB Enjoyment, the place rigorous guidelines like no courting and a zero-tolerance social media coverage are enforced. Above Zoom, Jung spoke to TIME about what inspired her to generate Glow, how she incorporated individual experiences into the book and who she hopes will be cast as Rachel in the on-monitor adaptation—currently currently being designed by the workforce at the rear of To All the Boys I have Liked In advance of.

TIME: Why did you determine to publish Glow?

Jessica Jung: I was in this business for 10-furthermore many years it was my 13th anniversary this yr. I started out at a extremely youthful age, and I experienced a whole lot of probabilities to travel about the planet and often considered that I had a tale to convey to. I experienced a good deal of drama, a ton of competitors, boys—everything that I wished to inform the planet about.

Is there a purpose you chose to set the reserve during the pre-debut period of time, when Rachel is a trainee?

There’s a ton of information and facts out there about what it is like to be a K-pop star, but not a ton of men and women know about the at the rear of-the-scenes of what it normally takes to turn out to be a K-pop star, and what you go by to get your likelihood to debut. I genuinely preferred to share that.

The story is explained to by way of Rachel’s standpoint. In what ways do you imagine your voice is identical to Rachel’s, and in what techniques is it distinctive?

Rachel is a reflection of me, of class, because this novel is influenced by my very own existence. But I did check out to fictionalize almost everything. She was born in New York, I was born in San Francisco, for occasion. I never wanted to produce an autobiography or a tell-all story. I desired to make fantastic entertainment.

In the guide, DB Entertainment has a ton of rigorous regulations for its trainees, like no relationship and no social media. “Trainees do not put up and are not posted about, ever,” Rachel says. How substantially of this was centered on your experience?

All of them were based on expertise. Sure, there is a great deal of rules and there’s a great deal of matters that folks may not recognize, but that is what we experienced to go via. No telephones, no SNS [social networking service, the primary term used to refer to social media in South Korea], no texting—just apply. But which is why we ended up capable to focus and get to in which we are.

Have the procedures changed more than time?

The rules of no courting, no telephones, often have to be on a diet plan, no texting—those all nevertheless exist. Talking to my friends in the industry appropriate now, nothing has altered.

You ended up incredibly younger during your yrs as a trainee. How do you search back again at that time of your lifetime and how it formed you?

Seeking again at my trainee several years, I am really really happy of myself. As a young kid, you may perhaps want to go out and enjoy with your buddies, go out to the films, do snooze-overs. But I was not ready to do that, and it took a lot of self-self-discipline and patience.

You devote the ebook in portion to your sister Krystal, who you create is “the brightest light” in your everyday living. Could you chat about the job she performed in your trainee years?

Not just in my trainee decades but throughout the several years, even up until eventually now, my sister Krystal has been my major supporter, and we support just about every other no subject what. It can be difficult to obtain genuine friends in the marketplace. It is truly a blessing to have a minimal sister to normally discuss to and have my back again.

Heading back to what you said about incorporating your possess encounters, could you share if some characters ended up much more based mostly on true folks than others?

Leah is surely a reflection of my very little sister, and my sister picked her possess identify, by the way. She was like, “I want to be Leah.” And I actually preferred to portray our relationship in the ebook precisely, so I hope the viewers love that.

I’m positive visitors will also be curious if Jason Lee—the DB heartthrob who’s a member of the most popular new group—is primarily based on a true man or woman?

Jason may or might not be dependent on a authentic particular person. But which is up to the reader’s imagination.


Courtesy of Simon & Schuster


Throughout the guide, Rachel talks about how K-pop has made her really feel proud to be Korean. What was your partnership with K-pop like escalating up?

It was all of my childhood, it was—it’s however my life.

Was it a big component of your lifetime just before you grew to become a trainee?

Actually, no. Ahead of I was a trainee, I was just a typical kid. I did like K-pop, but I was just a usual child who went to college, did her research, had piano courses, went to ballet lessons, and I in no way seriously imagined myself as K-pop star.

Do you feel the typical community, regardless of whether in Korea or globally, has misconceptions about K-pop idols?

The common community thinks that K-pop idols are perfect—or their choreography is best, their vocals are best, everything’s great. But you know, it all will come from so significantly hard work. I just want that men and women would genuinely recognize their initiatives and their tough work.

What do you assume of how much K-pop has occur in the the latest years?

BTS, Blackpink—they’re on Billboard, executing a large amount of collaborations and getting on Western Television, it’s pretty interesting to see and view. When I travel the planet, individuals seriously acknowledge K-pop and they figure out me, as perfectly. When I debuted in Korea, I considered Korea was my only territory, and [Korean would be] the only language that I’m ever going to discuss when I do the job. But now, you journey all above the earth, you fulfill a large amount of different men and women from different international locations.

Throughout the book, you use Korean phrases from words referencing family members to names of foods. Why did you make a decision to incorporate Korean language into the textual content?

I thought it would be entertaining if individuals do not know the term but search it up and discover Korean. Mainly because when I examine or see motion pictures with unique languages, that is what I have a tendency to do, and that’s how I get fascinated and motivated to master the language. So I hope my viewers will learn a very little little bit of Korean.

Glow is section of a two-ebook offer. Could you share updates on the sequel or the course of action of creating it?

We’re establishing the 2nd reserve suitable now. There’s so much much more to Rachel’s journey. I experience Glow ended at just the ideal time, and then the 2nd guide is extra into when she’s incredibly effective in everyday living and the matters powering-the-scenes of when she’s actually a K-pop star.

There are ideas for Shine to be adapted for the display screen. What are your hopes for the casting?

It is just my would like, but I assume it would be enjoyable if my minor sister, Krystal, essentially starred as Rachel since she is aware of so substantially about Rachel. I feel she would be amazing.

This job interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

—with reporting by Aria Chen

Generate to Kat Moon at [email protected]

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