Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Finding balance

Both having recently released a new EP, Taeyang and Jeon Somi are busier than ever.

The K-pop stars, however, try not to get caught up in “ppalli ppalli” culture, which refers to the fast-paced lifestyle that has become a defining trait of South Korean society.

Sharing how they manage their mental, physical and social well-being, The Black Label artists fronted Lululemon’s “Find Your Wellbeing” campaign recently launched at Cociety in Seongdong-gu, Seoul.

“To start off, it’s important to organise one’s schedule in the most efficient and productive way possible. This is crucial because it directly relates to my overall well-being. However, when dealing with extremely busy schedules, I try to find ways to make the most out of my available time and environment,” said Taeyang, whose real name is Dong Young-bae.

The Korean word for Sun, Taeyang rose to fame as lead singer of BigBang in 2006. Two years later, he began to shine as a solo artist with the release of the mini album Hot.

This year, a new chapter in his musical career under The Black Label (an affiliate of YG Entertainment) began with the single Vibe featuring Jimin of BTS in January, followed by his EP Down To Earth in April.

The comeback album also features the smash hit Shoong! featuring Lisa of Blackpink.

Jeon Somi.

“I transferred to The Black Label and was looking to collaborate on something brand new. The most exciting project for me right now is the one I’m having with Lululemon, which has me talking and sharing about well-being,” said the charismatic singer-songwriter.

The Find Your Wellbeing campaign was actuated by Lululemon’s third annual Global Wellbeing Report, which reveals findings from a 14-market study involving 14,000 respondents to an online survey conducted from May 1 to June 6 this year.

The top three, Thailand, mainland China and Hong Kong scored 79, 78 and 75; while South Korea’s score of 63 is lower than the global well-being score of 66.

The study identified lack of time as one of the barriers to achieving well-being, and this is particularly a problem among the South Korean respondents.

On time management, Taeyang said: “If I have a little bit of free time within a busy schedule, I try to utilise that time for a brief workout. If time doesn’t allow for that, I try to take a walk near my surroundings. And in cases where even this time is really limited, I try not to waste it unnecessarily and may even opt for a power nap to help regulate both my mind and body.”

Taeyang at Cociety, in Seoul.

Walking also allows him to clear his mind in promoting mental well-being. Walking and having conversations with like-minded people is even better, he added, which is one way to connect with others in attaining social well-being.

“My well-being is driven by my mindset, spirituality and physical condition. You can’t reach perfection alone — it’s the result of a harmonious blend of different parts,” Taeyang explained.

His labelmate Jeon Somi noted how it can be very hard to achieve such holistic well-being.

This is affirmed by Lululemon’s Global Wellbeing Report 2023, as 67% of respondents place well-being as a top priority but 44% feel that it is impossible to achieve. Moreover, only 12% say their well-being is where it should be.

Jeon Somi doesn’t want to get stuck in the well-being dilemma, and makes small wins to restore balance in her life.

“I try to do very small things in my daily life to achieve my well-being. Put simply, it’s about having healthy food, doing my workouts,” she said. “When I want to drink matcha or eat a cheeseburger — I give the body what it wants. Well-being is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s a process to firstly listen to your body and listen to yourself.”

Jeon Somi in Lululemon’s garden at Cociety.

Robust relationships with friends are also important to the Gen Z singer and songwriter, who puts a lot of priority in conversation for well-being.

“I carefully listen to my friends and I learn from them as well. Actually, you don’t need to have a big or a heavy conversation. Having productive conversations with my friends — this kind of connection can be a part of well-being,” she said.

Born to a Korean mother and a Dutch-Canadian father, Jeon Somi appeared on K-pop survival shows. Through the popular vote, the teenager became the winner of PRODUCE 101 and debuted as the central member of girl group I.O.I in 2016.

Besides music, she is also into ­taekwondo and became a 4th-degree black belt in 2018 — the same year that she joined The Black Label.

Her solo artist career then took off with Birthday, followed by two more singles before dropping her co-written first album XOXO in 2021.

Lululemon athletic wear.

“Taekwondo is good for well-being as it’s about physical and mental fitness. You can learn many things from postures and acquire the spirit of the martial art to empower yourself,” she said.

The strength, balance and flexibility required for taekwondo have been transferred to her performance with body movements expressing her moods and releasing emotions.

Martial arts movements have even been incorporated into the choreography of the music video for Fast Forward, the title track from her new EP Game Plan released in August.

Engaging in Lululemon’s campaign has slowed the ebullient K-pop star down to find her well-being.

“Acknowledging all of my emotions is an important part of my well-being. When I’m in a good place, I try to live in the moment and feel every emotion that pops up. I find that having supportive people around me is my golden ticket to safeguard my emotional well-being,” she said.

Founded in 1998 as a design studio by day and a yoga studio by night in Vancouver, Lululemon is naturally into holistic well-being.


Over 25 years, the Canadian company has expanded its products to include a wide range of athletic apparel for yoga, running, training and other activities.

The Find Your Wellbeing campaign is dedicated to advancing wellness for all. Following the launch in South Korea, community sweat sessions and interactive pop-ups will be staged in other countries including Japan, Singapore and Thailand to further promote physical, mental and social well-being.

Jeon Somi.

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