Lee Hyori (이효리) is hands down the best celebrity in Korea. Yes, I’m extremely biased because I already love her. But this interview shows just how leaps and bounds she is in front of the pack in terms of her mentality. I love how down-to-Earth she is, how bohemian she is, how humanitarian she is, and in how she continues to discover the world. Her yoga game is on point as well. Seriously, just check out her Instagram.
We are currently recapping Lee Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast and it just solidifies how much I respect and admire her. We need to get back on that by the way. Whenever we get a few days in a row of nothing to do I always think, ‘Yes! Now we will knock out all the episodes AT ONE TIME.” Of course it never works out despite my best efforts. Her interview actually reminds me of her TV show with her husband. She is the same person here as she is on that TV show, which is really refreshing. I also love the advice she gave at the end to stay off social media, they aren’t as happy as they look.
The full interview is below. Check it out if you have some time.
Her smile, while looking back and beaming, is lovely.
*Above photo* Denim pants around 100,000 won SJYP. The bikini top is from the Editor’s collection.
Even boxy overalls become sexy when they are matched with a bra-top.
Overalls 218,000 won by SJYP. Sunglasses 368,000 won by VEDI VERO. Bangle 820 million won by Cartier. Earrings are from her own collection. Bra Top from Editor’s collection.
She is staring at the camera while lying lazily on the back seat of a classic car.
Blouse around 200,000 won, denim pants 149,000 won all from SJYP. The earrings and rings are from her own collection.
My glitter and metallic look at lunchtime.
Bomber jacket 300,000 won, top 169,000 won, denim pants 158,000 won all by SJYP. Earrings are from her own collection.
The cooler denim look is completed when you wear a jacket with a different fabric inside the denim jacket.
Denim jacket 269,000 won, business jacket 158,000 won, denim mini skirt 149,000 won Both SJYP
We met Lee Hyori in the middle of Australia with blue skies and warm sunshine. She was brilliantly shining as she moved freely without a destination.
It is already your 4th cover with Cosmo. Whenever, wherever, Lee Hyori always overlaps with the summit of the image Cosmo is aiming for. What is ‘Cosmo’ for Lee Hyori?
When I think of Cosmo, I have a cheerful and fit image. Just like a cat with shiny fur that is enjoying the sunshine while showing off her sexy figure at a sunny place.
Many fans are very much looking forward to Lee Hyori’s come back. I guess you are realizing it through Instagram replies. How do you feel when you see these many fans waiting for you?
I am always thankful for them. And honestly, I am startled again and again. I even forgot that I was a celebrity for the last few years, so it is thankful and amazing as well that a lot of people are still expecting me and curious about me.
Even so, there is not much information about your come back, only something like “I am aiming for the first half of the year”, “I wrote all the lyrics.” Can you give me some more hints about your upcoming album, like your concept or what you want to show to the public as a musician Lee Hyori?
I can’t say anything solid yet since I am still preparing for it. I can only tell you that I made most of the melodies and wrote all the lyrics. After recording melodies in my Jeju home with a guitar or piano I send it to my co-worker Do-hyun (songwriter Kim Do-hyun) and discuss the direction and feel of the song, then finally he adds rhythm and (musical) instruments. This way, the song becomes better (cooler). I work that way. Previously, I received songs and I wrote the lyrics and decide the concepts accordingly, but this time, when we compose the song, we already had the blueprint of the lyrics, stages, costumes, and facial expressions at the same time.
You said you want to do your music with ‘truth (or sincerity)’ not ‘imitation’. What did you focus on the most to do that?
Because I wrote the melodies and lyrics, this album would be less flashy or polished than my previous albums. However, it can convey what I want to say more precisely. I mostly focused on the reason why I have to release an album into this world that is already flooded with flashy and good music. What good is this album to the world? Something like that. Heehee, it sounds grandiose, but I tried to give the most weight to that point.
I could read your firm will from what you said before, “I don’t want to be a commodity”, which was spread from the interview of the Kiwi Media Group CEO Kim Hyung-suk. The popular star Lee Hyori put distance from life in the colorful spotlight and enjoyed a relaxing life on Jeju island, but you speak out on what you want to say, I think they are all in the same context. There is usually a ‘trigger’ for a decision. Personally, what was your trigger?
The trigger that everything started was…I guess adopting Sun-sim (one of her dogs)? After adopting Sun-sim, I started to have interest in animal rights, then I had a chance to think about the preciousness of lives. Once I was interested in it, I saw more cases where the precious life of both human or animals were abused by money or power. At the same time, I looked back at myself. I also had a lot of regretful behavior without noticing it when I believed money or fame was everything. I realized that I was the same person as the ones I hated. Therefore, I stopped everything and wanted to take some time for introspection.
You once said, “I find pieces of myself while being with my loved one,” right? I agree with that because I always say that 80% of my personal growth is due to a romantic relationship. What side of Lee Hyori did you find through your current love?
I realized that I just kept pushing without taking care of myself. I had a sense of duty that I had to do something all the time and be in the headlines? Even if I knew that it would eventually hurt my mind and body, I just did it. My husband reminded me that even if I don’t do that much, I am still a precious and important being.
It is natural to get influenced by your loved ones. Which part of Lee Hyori feels his influence the most?
I think we influence each other on many aspects of life, but if I choose one, it would be music. I used to listen to my favorite pop genre only, but now I listen to classical music or Brazilian music or some genre that I have never known before and I have accumulated various sensibilities.
You have already been married for 5 years. Including the dating period, you are a very old couple. With your long relationship, do you have some kind of enlightenment on how to protect each other from losing one’s self?
Respect each other’s tastes and ideas. Something like conveying what I want to do or something I only know to the other without forcing it. Not “Do it with me!” but “I am going to do it, does it look fun? Would you like to do it together?” like this. I think these subtle differences in nuance are actually very important.
Current Lee Hyori looks happy. What made the current Lee Hyori “The happiest at the moment?”
Ditching the compulsion of “ a successful life must be happy.” People can’t be happy all the time. I think unhappiness comes from the idea of, “I must be happy.” Just spend the given time, not saying harsh things to others, not pushing myself too hard, not paying too much attention to how others are living and comparing it to my life, being thankful for what I have, and having satisfaction with myself. One tip, don’t do too much SNS. Everyone looks happier and healthier than me. They are all bluffing.
Contributing Editor 강지혜 // Feature Editor 박지현 // Celebrity Model 이효리 // Hair 한지선
// Makeup 홍성희 // Assistant 정길원 // Producer 김미경 // Photographs by Kim Hee Jun