I so love Dara a.k.a. Sandara Park of 2NE1. Not only is she so down-to-earth and true to her roots – she’s also a fantastic story of how you can never put a good person down. 2BU of the Philippine Daily Inquirer recently published this exclusive interview/Etude House PR piece which shows that yes, Dara still has the Philippines in her heart – and yes, she still knows how to speak Filipino. 와우! 다라 사랑해!!! ㅎㅎㅎ ❤
Meeting Miss Dara
by Stef Cabal
Sandara Park carves a name for herself in Korea as a K-Pop star and a top endorser, after years of being labeled the Philippines’ ‘Pambansang Krung-Krung’
THE FILIPINO reality survival talent show, “Star Circle Quest,” made her the most famous teenage celebrity in the Philippines seven years ago, long before Kim Chiu.
People twice her age would do the “Sandara Wave,” even mimic her Konglish and broken Tagalog.
Some were enamored by her cute charm, some deemed her comical, and still others labeled her “krung-krung” (meaning crazy). But no one really respected her as a full-fledged artist. She was, perhaps, just a novelty.
From anonymity, to stardom, back to anonymity—the lowest point in Sandara’s local career was probably posing for a local men’s magazine in 2006, in wicked bad girl fashion, leather lingerie and all.
The year after, Sandara would leave the Philippines and the local scene for good, going home to find greener pastures in Korea.
But unlike any other tale of fleeting show biz success, Sandara’s story is quite remarkable.
While other actors are still dreaming of that one shot at fame, Sandara has reinvented herself and triumphed.
She was catapulted to superstar status and is now known as “Dara” from the K-Pop female group 2NE1 (New Evolution of the 21st Century). When you are known by your first name (like Beyonce, Madonna, Taylor, Rain), it can only mean you’ve made it big.
K-Pop group was launched in May 2009, with catchy songs like “Fire,” “I Don’t Care,” and “Go Away,” topping music charts not just in Korea, but all over Asia.
Dara was seen as fierce, stylish, and with heaps of feisty girl-power attitude, and is now respected for her ability to sing, dance, and entertain audiences. She evolved from a nobody to a somebody, and is now among the young celebrities teenage Koreans look up to.
It’s no surprise that she is bagging endorsements left and right. Her biggest campaign by far is being the face of the well-loved Korean beauty brand, Etude House.
Weeks before Etude House announced its Miss Tangerine line, through a viral music video teaser, “Wanna Be Sweet?” thousands of fans from all over Asia were watching Dara.
“It has been well-received by the public,” said Boram Kim, Etude training manager. He noted Dara’s popularity, as well as 2NE1’s following among the college and teen market. “It’s been receiving a lot of attention,” he stressed.
In the music video, Dara takes on a cute and playful role, with an upbeat and catchy song playing in the background, a big hit during mid-’90s by Kang Su Ji.
Kim said Etude remade one of the lines of the song to reflect the tangerine color. “Rather than the original line ‘purple,’ we replaced it with ‘tangerine.’ We were fortunate to get Kang Su Ji for the ad campaign,” he said.
The music video starts from her very pink room, where Dara is bored, and where she suddenly sees an orange balloon with “Wanna Be Sweet?” written on it. This gets her excited, and her bubbly and quirky side breaks through.
“The story line relays the message that you are young, you should do what you want, what you feel good about. The balloon represents Dara’s dreams. It began with just one orange balloon, and ends with a dozen more orange balloons,” Kim narrated.
The campaign was so effective, come afternoon of the launch day, the stocks of the Miss Tangerine line were all gone.
Miss Tangerine line is a makeup line that contains tangerine extract, an antioxidant for the skin.
Who would have imagined I would be braving the cold streets of Seoul (-0.4 degrees Celsius) to meet Korea’s superstar?
We were in the city’s trendiest Makkeoli bar-restaurant, Moon Jar in Sinsa-dong district. We were on the set, where Dara was filming her next commercial for Etude, for the Precious Mineral BB cream.
I asked one of the advertising people what the concept of the shoot was, and she said it revolved around the theme, “whole day strong lighting, because the BB Cream brightens your complexion.”
When you meet Dara, it is her seemingly pore-less, velvety white skin that strikes you first. I wanted to touch her face to see if it was real.
The next thing that will strike you is her mastery of the Filipino language, with no trace of a Korean accent. “Mag-Tagalog na lang tayo,” she insisted before the interview, after warmly welcoming us to the set.
The commercial production was huge– grown men on the set to handle the equipment, assistants and crew at her beck and call, security tight. At her every move, people came running, either to fix her skirt or her hair. They fussed over her completely, making sure she was comfortable.
At 26, she has come a long way, from the Sandara we knew to Dara now. “Parang marami na nagbago,” she reflected.
“Kasi dati, naalala ko yung time ko na ‘krung-krung,’ wala pang alam, pa-cute lang … ngayon may iba, medyo. Face na ng 2NE1, wala nang pa-cute cute. Pero same Sandara pa rin, pero nag-mature na nga ako,” she said.
But stardom hasn’t gotten to her head. “Hindi pa rin. Hindi ko pa na-re-realize na big star ako,” she humbly stated.
And to this day, she still can’t believe she’s the face of Etude House. “Of course as a girl, dream ko rin maging endorser ng makeup brand, sa una hindi ako nakapaniwala, sabi ko, ‘Ay, talaga?!’ Proud na proud ako sa sarili ko,” she said, beaming.
As for her fashion sense, “Ganoon pa rin ang fashion ko, ‘krung-krung’ and colorful. Yung look namin sa 2NE1, mas stylish na. Ngayon medyo tomboyish. Tapos yung hair ko parang coconut tree, nakatali, favorite ko yun!”
Dara sees she can represent the Etude House well. Her character is not required to be so girly, but more playful and naughty. “Bagay naman ako dito,” she said.
Seeing herself on the screen and the commercial, like a little girl she can’t help but gush and feel a deep sense of pride. “Kakaiba yung feeling ko dito, parang pag pinapanood ko siya, parang ang ganda ko!”
During her spare time, she still keeps track of fan websites. “Pumupunta pa rin ako sa PEX,” she said of the online Pinoy forum she frequents, Pinoy Exchange.
Aside from having massages, she loves to shop and eat (although it doesn’t show on her small frame). “Hobby ko ngayon, kain!” she said. Among the food she misses in Manila are sinigang and Jollibee Spaghetti.
But what she misses most are her fans. “Sobrang miss ko sila! Sana hintayin nila ako,” she said, with a hint of sadness. “Nami-miss kaya nila ako?” she asks.
Dara still dreams of coming back to Manila, with her ultimate dream of staging a concert at the Araneta Coliseum.
When you see her transformation, how she has evolved into a huge pop star, your sense of pride increases, as well, in the knowledge that somehow, she is Filipino— even more Filipino than some of our local stars.
Miss Tangerine line available at Etude House in SM Malls nationwide.
1. Favorite products from Etude: Miss Tangerine line’s orange lipstick and blush-on, BB Cream, and pink blush-on.
2. Hair and makeup routine: “Gusto ko light makeup lang, yung hair ko yung ‘kapoy,’ yung nakataas lang. Sandali lang ako mag-prepare, mga 30 minutes.”
3. What’s inside your beauty bag? “BB Cream, powder, blush-on, lip gloss.”
4. What makes you happy? “Ang hirap! Friends ko, tini-text ko and e-mail yung SCQ friends and ABS-CBN friends ko.”
5. Who among your friends encourages you? “Si Boom! Same age kami, yes, best friend ko siya.”
Thanks to the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the article and photo.