►►2NE1’s Dara, “The members and I secretly eat chocolate and bread in the bathroom”
”I’m going to see if you have the potential to be a singer for the last time. Show me your results in a month.”
It was like a ray of light for Sandara who was having a hard time overcoming the sadness of her situation. For the first and last time, President Yang had given her a chance.
”I practised SO hard for a month. CL, Park Bom and Gong Minzy gave me a lot of help as they watched me practise. I made a planning chart and practised until dawn.”
Park Bom taught her things on breathing, pronunciation and where to accent in songs. CL helped with selecting outfits, and Minzy with making choreography.
”At the time, the members pretty much made me up from head to toe. I think it was in spring of 2008, I tried really hard with the thought that it was the last opportunity I’d get.”
President Yang said ”For the first time, I see potential. Practise with the rest” and allowed Sandara to become a singer trainee.
”To tell the truth, I thought that meant I’d become a singer soon after. But I was deluded. I lived as a trainee for a year. There were 6 trainees in YG at the time and I think President Yang was paying close attention to all of us to decide on the best combination.”
Sandara was in a delicate situation for a year. She couldn’t let her guard down after President Yang told them ‘No one knows whether there will be six members or five.’ As time went by, hip hop became a part of Sandara’s life too and she started becoming more and more like the other members.
Now, as an active member of 2NE1, Sandara’s trainee days have become a part of her most precious memories.
”I think I felt happy and touched by even the little things in my trainee days. Trainees take the day off on their birthdays or Christmas too. But most of them don’t have anything to do at home so they end up coming back to the practice rooms. When it is someone’s birthday, everyone celebrates together and eats ddeokbbokki. [spicy ricecakes]”
Though of course good memories weren’t the only ones. All the members including Sandara had to go through a hard time. The diet they were given to help manage their bodies also gave them greedy apetites.
”Because of our weight management, we were never allowed to eat anything fatty or oily. But you know how it is, if you’re not allowed to eat it just makes you want to eat more. The members and I used to secretly go out and eat a row of gimbap, or eat things like bread and chocolate in the bathrooms.”
Sandara chose Dakgalbi [spicy stir-fried chicken] as the most memorable dish from her trainee days. It was an expensive dish for Sandara who received pocket money from her parents.
”I didn’t exactly get that much pocket money. There wouldn’t be much left after paying for transport. I felt sorry to my younger siblings cos I could never buy them food or anything. I think Dakgalbi was the most expensive thing I bought with my own money. The members and I ate Dakgalbi on the 31st of December 2008, you see. (laughs)”
After practising for so long feeling nervous that the others had been a trainee for longer than her, Sandara was finally able to shed her label of a trainee.
”I think luck followed me. We recorded ‘Pretty Boy’ in January last year. I must have been all right at that recording. (laughs) One day President Yang called Minzy, Bom, CL and me aside and said ‘You guys are gonna be filming a CF soon so be prepared’. That CF was Lollipop. That was when I finally knew that I had become a member of 2NE1..”