February/March 2023 Cover Story: Exclusive Interview with Jimin from BTS in Collaboration With Dior

In this special collaboration with Dior, Jimin from BTS shares with us about his feelings and how to be mindful in the midst of being debuted as Dior Global Ambassador

White workwear jacket with details at cuffs and chest pocket and zigzag stitch and ribbon; White workwear pants with details at hem and pocket, zigzag stitched and ribbon; Gold-finish brass necklace with green gradient resin shells and CD Icon details

It’s a pleasure to meet you as this  month’s cover artist for  DAMAN  Magazine, and congratulations on becoming Dior’s new ambassador!

DAMAN: We understand you will also be attending the upcoming fashion week this year. Can you tell us how you feel about experiencing the fashion week for the first time?
Jimin: First, I would like to thank you and tell you how happy I am to be meeting with DAMAN. I feel very grateful and blessed to have become an ambassador for a prestigious global brand like Dior. I hope I can take this opportunity to learn more about fashion and contribute something to Dior. I’m a little worried about fashion week as this is my first time and I think I’ll be very nervous.

DA: Do you remember your parents’ first  reaction when you told them you became an ambassador for Dior? Or when you were invited to the White House?
JP: My parents always look very happy and tell me they’re proud of me. Those were also opportunities for me to realize how proud I am to be a part of BTS.

DA: How are you feeling these days with everything that’s been going on? Are you mostly doing okay? Do you have any worries, or do you feel lighthearted despite being busy?
JP: There hasn’t been a drastic change in how I feel, and I don’t feel heavyhearted. But since I’m in a period when I’m preparing many new things that are soon to be revealed, I do think a lot about my direction and plans for the future. It’s a time that’s filled with more thinking than doing. [Laughs]

Khaki peak lapel double-breasted jacket with removable front scarf and Christian Dior Couture label; Khaki flare pants; Beige Dior garden boot

DA: What are some topics that really get you going ones that make you talk louder, in a different tone of voice?
JP: I become very absorbed in the conversation when I’m talking about the BTS members or people that I love and care about. (doesn’t everyone?) They are the ones I know the most about and therefore enjoy talking about the most.

DA: In the first half of 2022, you sang a soundtrack song with your friend Sungwoon Ha, BTS came out with a major album that marked the end of an era, and you guys were also invited to the White House.
We’re curious how you spent your time relaxing after all of that. What did you do for  yourself? Were there some things that you  came to better understand and accept about  who you are as a person?
Did you take some time to look back on your thoughts, or did you try something new? It must have been your first time experiencing this kind of rest since you debuted as BTS.
JP: I tried to be mindful of what I was feeling in the moment. I tried to record those feelings in as much detail as possible because I was afraid they might disappear if I didn’t. For some reason, I felt like those feelings had to be documented.
To be honest, both BTS and I have experienced a lot of changes in recent years. And since I was able to stay strong throughout those changes, I felt that if I wrote down the thoughts and feelings I had during that time, I would be better equipped to handle similar situations in the future. So, I took some time to look back on them, especially on the kinds of thoughts that made me feel happy or overwhelmed in the past.

DA: In your interview with Weverse Magazine  released in June, you said that you wanted to spend some time working closely with your producers and just keep trying things. Do you  feel as if the more you create music, the more something inside you is being released? Or does it just fill you with more thoughts? What did you end up finding out?
JP: I can confidently say that I’ve experienced a lot of joy. While I was creating music, I asked a lot of questions like “How about this?”, “How about that?”. The more I worked, the more I felt so much joy that I began to understand why the other members recommended it to me.
However, I found that translating my past emotions into music wasn’t purely easy and fun. [Laughs]

Green sleeveless mesh blouson with flower embroideries; Khaki flare pants Gold-finish brass necklace with green gradient resin shells and CD Icon details; Khaki Dior garden boot

DA: We heard you are collaborating with  Taeyang on his new album. Both of you are  artists who are highly skilled at both singing and dancing.
From what we personally feel, we think both of your vocals carry a delicate kind  of sensitivity. What are some things you thought or felt while discussing with and working alongside Taeyang? (Did he tell you why he wanted to collaborate with you on his new album?)
JP: Taeyang has always been like an idol to me. You could almost say I came this far dreaming of one day collaborating with him. I learned a lot from watching his performances when I was young, so when he asked me to collaborate with him on his new song, I couldn’t believe it was real. While working with him, I realized he was even greater than I thought and was touched by how thoughtfully he looked after me the entire time. He caused me to renew my resolve to become a good singer and performer.

DA: We think that when you take charge of  things and do something really important,  the problem is knowing what it is you really want to do.
Once you figure that out, all you have to do is carry it out. That process just involves its own difficulties.
But unless you figure out what you should do or want to do, it feels like you haven’t even started the real game. One day, we will get to listen to your solo album. Did you figure out  “what you want most,” which would serve as  a starting point for your album?
If you have already figured it out and are in the process of making it happen, what did the figuring-out process look like?
JP: I haven’t reached a clear, grand conclusion. I don’t think I can come up with anything that sounds impressive except that I just want to become better at what I do and be able to do it for a long time. I think that must be why I’m taking time to look back on my past thoughts and feelings.

DA: We were very inspired by what you said  in your interview with Weverse Magazine  about doing your “absolute best”, it’s similar to perfectionism but slightly different. To show people your absolute best, I think you first need to have a clear concept and topic in mind.
Since performing on stage is also a form of  acting, we think if you were to compare it to that, it reminds us more of an intense kind of appeal that comes from a passionate actor rather than the more relaxed and subtle kind. I’m curious about your thoughts on doing your absolute best. Please feel free to use examples.
Is it something you can achieve through an enormous amount of hard work?

JP: This may sound harsh, but I think what’s ultimately important is the result. I think you get a different result by giving your absolute best, and that result leaves a different impression on your audience. To get that “different result,” you have to focus solely on one thing and work really hard for it.

DA: Working as the executive producer for your solo songs, “Lie” and “Serendipity,” your first self-written song “Promise,” and the special album BE must have served as meaningful experiences before embarking on your first solo album.
Were there some things you learned or realized later on in relation to those experiences?
(For J-Hope, it seems like listening to the mixtapes he made in the past helped him collect his thoughts before working on his solo album.)
JP: To be honest, creating music has become more intimidating for me. [Laughs] I knew how fun and interesting it was, but I found it’s not easy to write lyrics that everyone can relate to and feel touched by. That’s why I felt even more amazed by the other members. I was filled with both a desire to do it myself and a fear that I may not be able to.

Cashmere V-neck knit with embroideries; Gold-finish brass necklace with green gradient resin shells and CD Icon details; Light blue twill pants with turned-down waistband

DA: What type of activity fills you with the most happiness? What do you think really makes you happy? They can be small, everyday things. (Since ARMY is a given, let’s leave that out. [Laughs])
JP: I know talking about my fans sounds very typical, but I really can’t leave them out [Laughs] For many years, I’ve shared all kinds of happy moments and sad moments with my fans. And when it comes to smaller things, spending time with my friends is my only hobby and pastime.

DA: Can you tell me something about your temperament that you enjoy?
JP: I guess my sense of curiosity? I think I’ve always been very curious since I was young. I always had to look up things that I didn’t understand or wanted to know more about. But then I wasn’t very faithful about following things up. [Laughs] And I was always curious about a lot of useless things.

DA: When would you say little Jimin discovered dancing for the first time? Was there a moment when you felt exhilarated by the responses you received after dancing at a family gathering or a noraebang (Korean karaoke)? Or maybe you were deeply moved by the way Zoro from One Piece swirls his swords around? When did you feel sparks flying?
JP: I clearly remember the first time I discovered dancing. I was in middle school, and I was talking to my friends in front of the classroom. There was some kind of announcement letter on a desk about extracurricular activities, and it contained the word “breakdancing.” My friends and I said, “If we learn this, we can become popular. Let’s do it!” And that’s how we all started dancing [Laughs].

DA: What kind of teenager was Jimin Park back then? Can you tell me about some scenes that come to mind when you think of your old neighborhood? I think I could picture you inside those scenes.
JP: I remember everything about my old neighborhood and the places near my school. The most memorable scene would have to be… playing at my friends’ houses after school. Tomorrow, we’d go to this friend’s house, the next day another friend’s, and so on. We would cook ourselves ramyeon and play around. I kind of wish I could go back to those times. [Laughs]

Khaki fisherman ribs mockneck zipped jacket; Dior black classic pants; Black Dior garden boot

DA: Were you ever so moved by an artist that you almost felt shocked? It doesn’t have to be a musician.
(One musician said that, after only being familiar with hymns and children’s songs, they bought a Michael Jackson cassette tape in elementary school and realized that music can ‘completely wreck you’.
According to them, their life never got any better since Michael Jackson, and they felt they were happily cursed.)
JP: I was really sad that I didn’t get to see Michael Jackson while he was alive. I was shocked several times listening to his music, and I was also shocked by the performances of numerous artists like Chris Brown and Usher, as well as those of K-pop idols such as BIGBANG.

DA: When you’re performing at a concert,  you’re surrounded by the roars of everyone in  the audience like stars in the galaxy.
There are also the bright lights, the performance, the teamwork, the catharsis…
After being on stage, when you’re back  in the quiet of your home, what kind of thoughts do you have before you fall asleep? What kind of state are you in? I would like to hear your description of that combination of euphoria and feeling of emptiness.
JP: From the moment the curtains fall at the end of a concert to the moment I return to the hotel and fall asleep, that roar keeps pulsing in my ears. There are moments when that thrill returns after a concert has ended, but it’s not always euphoria or a feeling of emptiness; it’s a mixture of all kinds of emotions. I’ll be visited by this enormous euphoria that I can’t even describe, but then I’ll feel this emptiness when I’m lying alone in bed. To be honest, right now I’m only left with touching memories, and I miss being on stage. I really want to perform again, and I especially can’t wait to do a concert with the other members.

DA: Did you ever cry because of how difficult things felt, either when you were a trainee or after you debuted? Is there anything you’d like to say to the past Jimin in those years?
JP: There were so many times when I screamed and cried because I was so tired and exhausted and felt like I didn’t know what to do. I don’t really have anything to say to the past Jimin, because I’m here after having gone through all those years. [Laughs]

Beige peak lapel double breasted bar coat; Pink zipped gilet with mesh at back; Beige cotton and silk double veil bermudas; Orange socks knit with Christian Dior Couture embroidery; Gold-finish brass necklace with green gradient resin shells and CD Icon details; Silver-finish brass engraved cannage and black-finish resin on brass earrings; Engraved Dior Micro fishing case; Gold and silver-finish brass Christian Dior Couture links ring; Beige Dior garden boot

DA: Are there any memorable kind words that someone said to you? Sometimes, people can say something that wasn’t even intended to make you feel better but somehow touches you.
JP: There are lots of things that are memorable to me. I’ve heard so many beautiful words from my fans, probably more than most people get to hear in their entire lifetimes, and I’ll never be able to repay their kindness. And I’m still hearing them now. There’s also my manager, who gave me a hug and told me he was sorry he didn’t understand everything I was going through; the staff who cried with me; friendswho just came to be there for me at my house for several days; and my family. Another thing that gives me the most strength and at the same time makes me feel very apologetic is when the other members tell me that everything’s okay without saying anything else.

DA: Among the things you did in 2022,  what is one thing you’d like to compliment yourself on?
JP: I went to the other members and told them how I’ve been feeling lost for a long time. They gave me so much consolation and helped me prepare my solo album. I want to compliment myself for turning to them when I was having a hard time. [Laughs]

DA: Once you strip off all the fancy modifiers that are used to describe you, all the marketing stuff that is required in the entertainment industry, and all the layers of packaging as a celebrity, what is the core that is left of Jimin Park?
JP: A silly guy who likes to drink soju with his friends at a pojang macha (street stall) in a sweatsuit.

Black sleeveless crewneck knit with cross stitch embroidery; Dior black classic pants; Silver-finish brass necklace with brass hooks and magnetic cannage closing system

DA: What do you think you need the most right now?
JP: Time. I need time to look back on my twenties, accept the fact that I’ll soon be in my thirties and think about the direction I want my life to take. I also wish I had more time to prepare my album, have fun with my friends, etc.

DA: We’d like to hear about the future you’re anticipating and drawing for yourself—in all kinds of aspects including music, as a person, etc. You can choose how far in the future you want to think.
JP: I want to be someone who’s relaxed. When it comes to work (like creating music or performing on stage), that means I’ll have to be good at it. When it comes to my state of mind, I’ll have to become stronger and create stronger surroundings. I want to become someone who can protect those things.