The K-Pop stars on beauty, self-love, and their new makeup partnership.
For young women around the world, self-confidence and self-love are often easier said than done. Now factor in being a member of the buzziest new South Korean girl group of 2021 — and all of the media attention that goes along with it — and a positive, healthy mindset becomes even trickier. But for K Pop group ITZY, this ethos has been a part of the members’ DNA since their debut in February 2019, and each of their empowering musical anthems has been proof of that.
Just as for the rest of the world, ITZY members Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna know that practicing this philosophy involves tearing down the walls of self-doubt, a quintessential feature of the group that their fans — named MIDZY as a word game between the Korean word "믿음" or “mid-eum” and the group’s name — deeply admire about them. Still, even if you’re a music-industry superstar (they were the fastest girl group to reach #1 on a Korean music show with their debut single 달라달라 DALLA DALLA) it’s inevitable for anyone to struggle with insecurities.
“It’s such a natural feeling — we all feel it!” Yuna, the youngest member of the group, tells TZR via email. “I cope by talking to my parents and friends, sharing my thoughts, and with their help, I can take a step back and think about the bigger picture.”
Despite the glaring pressure of performing on the world stage at such a young age (the ITZY members range from 17 to 20), they’re already able to reflect on the peculiarities of superstardom and the pressure to look a certain way. “Focus on your strengths and do not be intimidated or nervous of the forces around you,” says Chaeryeong of how the group members cope with their rising fame. “As long as you try your best, you will succeed.”
It’s this spark of self-appreciation — and enviable style — that first caught Maybelline New York’s attention, so much so that the makeup giant recently named ITZY as their newest global spokesmodels and first-ever musical group to join the Maybelline family. “I have been watching ITZY’s inspiring rise and was drawn to how dynamic they are both as a group and individuals,” says Trisha Ayyagari, Global Brand President, Maybelline New York, in a press release from the brand. “ITZY champions self-love, individuality, and self-expression to their fans and global community. Their energy is powerful.”
With the news, the members join the likes of prestigious names like Christy Turlington, Gigi Hadid, and Emily Didonato as Maybelline ambassadors. “It’s an honor for all of us. [...] Together with Maybelline we are excited to use our global voices to empower people to unapologetically be themselves and encourage self-confidence and self-love,” Ryujin says, pointing out the brand has been part of her life since she was very young. “When I started middle school, I discovered the ins and outs of makeup, especially Maybelline’s various mascara options. I immediately fell in love with their mascaras, and now it’s so surreal to be one of their global spokesmodels.”
In the time since their 2019 song release, the group members have had the chance to experiment with more fashion and beauty choices, and further develop their own personal aesthetic. “I had so much fun experiencing various styles, which helped me widen my view towards styling myself,” says Lia.
Since makeup and hair is so central to K Pop, it goes without saying that the ITZY women know how to wield a product or two. For Yeji, it’s all about the lips. “Lipsticks, lip liners, glosses — you name it. It’s always a necessity and a true must-have item” she says.
Like most Korean beauty lovers, Chaeryeong admits that skin care is at the top of her beauty priorities, especially cleansing. “I have tons of [cleansers] in all the forms you can think of. Cleansing waters, foams, eye removers, etc.”
Although makeup and skin care are staples for all the women in ITZY’s household, according to Ryujin, Yuna has earned the group’s beauty queen title. “We should all learn from her because she uses skin care as a form of self-care, and that’s a great habit,” she says. Chaeryeong adds, “Alongside skin care, Yuna has a passion for makeup and is excellent at doing her own.”
As the groups resident beauty guru, Yuna occasionally acts as the makeup artist for others, noting, “I just love being able to channel that person and tap into their mood, vibe, and aesthetic to create a look they may not have tried on themselves.”
Experimenting with different makeup looks during performances and appearances has also allowed the group members to view themselves in a new light. For Yeji, this meant falling in love with one of the features she struggled with the most while growing up: her eyes. Her sharp facial features and feline-like eyes caught the attention of fans around the world even before she debuted, and their support helped Yeji value them more. “When I was younger, I didn't want to look cold and sharp, but now many people think my eyes are attractive and I think [they’re] my pride,” she admits. “I think of my eyes as my weapon and strength that others don't have. So now, I love my eyes more than anything and I owe it to the fans for making me realize that.”
Despite their busy schedules, the ITZY women make sure to prioritize adequate time for self-care. At a recent press conference, the members revealed that the only way to be at peace with who they are and what the future holds is by taking the time to take care of themselves both on and off stage — a challenge for anyone considering 2021’s already rapid pace, but especially so for K Pop stars. This message about creating space for yourself and your needs is yet another reason why the ambassadorship with Maybelline means so much to them, as they say it is a chance for them to spread their message of self-confidence to their fans around the world. Given their meteoric rise thus far, it seems likely that the ITZY women will be at the forefront of discussion around self-love and beauty for the foreseeable future.