K-POP

Jennie Opens Up About Blackpink’s Success Harming Her Health

Jennie of Blackpink wearing a black outfit
Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

The past few years have been a complete whirlwind for Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé, and Lisa, the South Korean pop stars who make up the hugely successful K-pop group Blackpink. Their popularity came so swiftly after they formed in 2016 that to the public, their success almost seemed effortless. But in a rare candid interview with Rolling Stone, Jennie revealed that for her, the process of becoming a global phenomenon was an almost harrowing experience. It’s only now that the 26-year-old has finally been able to step back and prioritize what’s been the no. 1 thing on her mind these days: her health.

“I became sick, both mentally and physically, after the last world tour ended [in 2020],” Jennie said, noting she didn’t want to go too far into detail out of concern for her worrying fans. “For three years after debuting, we worked nonstop without resting. You know, we were young, in our early twenties. Our sleep systems were breaking down; we weren’t eating properly; I wasn’t hydrating myself.” It was like that for three or four years before a year-and-a-half-long tour in which Jennie felt like she didn’t have a home. At a certain point, the toll on her health wasn’t just mental, but also physical. “If I touched something I’d have an allergic reaction,” she continued. “I had no immune system at all, but we needed to keep touring. When the tour was done, we got some time off to be at home. Back then, I didn’t have time to learn how to take care of myself. I’m a very delicate person.”

It took a while for Jennie to reach out for help. “Before that, I didn’t even understand the concept of friends,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of people in this industry and talked about mental health. For me, so far, when I’m good in my body, I feel happier and healthier. I meditate, do yoga, Pilates, etc. And have good people around you that you can trust. And pets.” She’s determined not to backslide on Blackpink’s next world tour: “I think every day, ‘OK, how do I prepare myself for my next busy two years?’”

Blackpink performs at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in Indio, California.

Photo by Timothy Norris via Getty Images

Part of what’s helped Jennie move forward to a more sustainable lifestyle has been taking some time to explore who she is outside of Blackpink. Fans of the band, she said, think of her as forceful and aggressive (in a good way). “My actual personality isn’t like that; so Blackpink Jennie has become a character to me,” she said. In 2018, she gave the public its first glimpse of the real Jennie by becoming the group’s first member to release a solo single. And while she’ll spend the next two years on tour with Blackpink, she plans to continue striking out on her own. “I’m looking forward to bringing my actual personality into music for my solo stuff later on,” she continued. “I love vocals, rap, dance—I can contain all of that in a single song. I have that diversity. Jennie in Blackpink has a limited image, but I have so many other things I like. There’s a lot of things I can do. The Jennie you’ve seen so far has been practice.” We can only imagine what a force she’ll be when she’s perfected it.