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TWICE’s Jihyo Talks Visiting As Many Fans As Possible, Why Prioritizing Mental Health Is ‘Part of My Job’

Being a member of a nine-person K-pop group is hard work. In addition to the endless hours of vocal and dancing prep, touring, 12-hour press days and the rigors of staying healthy on the road, there is also the mental toll of being in the global spotlight 24/7.

“It was our recognition that at the end of the day, this is our job,” TWICE‘s Jihyo told the Today Show during an interview on Friday (Feb. 23) that also included two in-studio performances. “It’s what we do for a living. But I know that I cannot live the rest of my life only as Jihyo from TWICE, so I had to learn how to take care of myself mentally and physically … and when to stop when I need to. I think my health and my good energy is shown very frankly to our fans. Our fans see that. So taking care of myself is part of my job, too.”

That is why member Mina took a mental health break in 2019, with Jeongyeon doing the same in 2020 and 2021, unafraid that the pause might create the kind of negative reaction from fans that an earlier generation of idols worried about. “We talked a lot amongst ourselves and we also talked with our management. All of that helped us individually and as a group to cope with whatever is going on,” Chaeyoung said.

“It meant the world to me when the girls addressed why they were taking a break,” Tara, a devoted Korean American fan who was in high school at the time told the morning show. “My parents didn’t take my depression seriously and told me to eat something delicious and get more sleep. I felt very isolated and alone. But seeing idols like Mina telling us that they need rest, too, made me feel like I was seen.” 

The band also featuring members Nayeon, Momo, Sana, Dahyun and Tzuyu, released their 13th mini-album, YOU-th, on Friday, fronted by their third English-language single, “I Got You.”

TWICE will play a one-off show at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium on March 16, which housed Super Bowl LVIII earlier this month. “It might seem like we started off really big, but we did a lot of small stage performances when we started out,” Momo said. “It was only last year that we did our first stadium concert. So all of this has been nerve-wracking for us.” Last year they became the first female K-pop group to headline NFL and MLB stadiums in the U.S. when they performed at SoFi Stadium in L.A. and MetLife Stadium in New York to sold-out crowds of 50,000 fans.

And because they know that not all their devoted fans, who are called Once, can get tickets to every show, the group tries to keep visiting new places. “With every tour, we really try to visit as many places as possible,” said Sana. “That’s why we went to Europe for the first time last year, and that’s why we are doing another concert in Las Vegas this year.” Mina noted that they will also be the first K-pop girl group to play Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan on July 27-28.

“We always try to visit more countries with each tour,” Sana added. “If there are places that we haven’t visited yet but you want us to come there, please let us know. We will talk to the management and we’ll (try to) make it happen!”

In their ninth year in the group, the members who range in age from 24-28 also talked with pride about representing diverse backgrounds, with three South Korean members (Chaeyoung, Dahyun, Jeongyeon, Jihyo, Nayeon), three Japanese performers (Mina, Momo, Sana) and one Taiwanese representative (Tzuyu). 

“I’m so grateful for the diversity in our group,” Nayeon told Today. “If it wasn’t for TWICE, I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to observe other cultures so closely or have developed as much of an interest in them. Because of the exposure that we got to other cultures so early on, I think that enabled us to communicate with ONCE better when we meet global fans. The communication is deeper because of our understanding of other cultures.”

TWICE for TODAY.com
TWICE

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