The stories of the grueling nature of K-pop training regimes are legion. Countless hours of choreo and vocal rehearsals for the slim chance of making it to the stage, and, if things work out, catapulting to international stardom. And though she makes it look effortless on the group’s songs and videos, BLACKPINK‘s Rosé opened up to Vogue Australia about the nearly soul-crushing lengths she had to go through to join Jisoo, Jennie and Lisa on the quartet’s rocket ride to global domination.
“I ended up fighting for my life, training for my life. Because I couldn’t accept the fact that I’d just be cut and sent back,” said the 25-year-old singer (real name Roseanne Park), who was born in Auckland, New Zealand to Korean parents before moving to Melbourne at age 7. She auditioned for her South Korean label YG Entertainment at 15 at the suggestion of her father and, not for nothing, she said she placed first after her try-out.
“So I had no time to slack off. I remember I took every minute and every second to work on my craft so that I [could] make it,” she said of the audition that within two months resulted in her officially being a trainee in the YG system. The group officially debuted in August 2016, though Rosé told the magazine the four years between the start of her training and their emergence on the world stage was a time of serious stress for her.
“When I got [to Korea], I was like, ‘This is quite intense,’” she said of the early period of training. “I notice[d] that there [were] 12 other girls who had been training day and night for about five years. And I had just gotten there.” She feared that if she didn’t catch up to the other she would be cut and sent back to Australia, where she’d already told her school friends that she was dropping out to work on her music. It was a classic “fight or flight” moment and Rosé said she definitely chose to stay in the fight because the idea of running back home made her even more anxious.
“I [had] left and I didn’t want to fly back [to Australia] without having achieved anything,” she said of her worry at the time. “And I think it was a good drive. Just the fact that I had flown all the way from Australia gave me more strength [and] determination to strive.”
Spoiler alert: it was worth it since BLACKPINK’s 2020 debut release, The Album, is the best-selling album by any female Korean act in history and she’s since scored solo hits including “On the Ground” and “Gone.” In a recent interview, the group’s members told Rolling Stone that they’re hoping to release a new album by year’s end.