Interviews with K-pop group ITZY kind of feel like a big slumber party. The cozy, late night-yet-giddy vibes may be due to the fact that it’s 7:30 p.m. on a Monday night in New York City, but also all six of us are as comfy as ever without makeup on and dressed in sweats. Or these may just be the affable energy Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna bring to the literal table as they sit in a conference room in Seoul, South Korea — there, it’s Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. — ready to chat all things beauty and ITZY.
Since debuting in February 2019 under the same entertainment company that brought us TWICE, GOT7, DAY6, and Stray Kids, ITZY has won over fans in Korea and beyond with their incredibly catchy music, which is 1,000 percent the kind I would have blasted when I was younger during dance party sleepovers in my basement. (I fondly remember creating choreography to Aaron Carter’s “That’s How I Beat Shaq” once upon a time.)
But as an adult, I still thoroughly appreciate the adages of self-confidence that ring throughout ITZY’s discography, like “I don’t wanna be somebody. Just wanna be me” in “WANNABE” and “They keep talkin’, I keep walkin'” in “ICY”. Their popularity has spread globally so quickly that ITZY just dropped English versions of all their singles with their new album, Not Shy (English Ver.).
With each of their music videos, ITZY brings brighter and more experimental hair and makeup looks. Their unique style reflects exactly who ITZY is, the group’s youngest member, Yuna, says. “A big part of performance is, of course, the dancing and facial expressions, but the styling is also a very big part because it gives the vibe of the song,” Lia adds in English. The 20-year-old main vocalist grew up in Toronto, Canada, and acts as a secondary translator for the group.
I ask the girls to break down their favorite looks from each music video, as well as how they keep their skin glowing. But before that, ITZY’s leader, Yeji, also 20, points out a specific detail of their makeup that I never noticed: “Our eyeliner is usually [drawn] above our [lash line],” she shares. “That point shows a little bit of charisma and the overall power of ITZY.”
In Korean, 달라(dalla) means different, and the hair and makeup in the group’s debut music video are just that, Yuna, 17, explains. With creative, arrow-like bobby pin placements, chunky glitter eye shadow, braided space buns, and washes of bright shadow, the girls proved nothing is subtle about their style. It’s edgy, effervescent, and unapologetically prismatic.