"Is there anything EVERGLOW can't do?" Sihyeon playfully shouts in Korean, as the newly-anointed leader of the global girl group looks at her bandmates expectantly. They answer her call with a loud, jubilant "No! There's nothing!" It's midday in Seoul, and the six members of EVERGLOW want me (and now also you) to know that they are limitless. Like the warrior space witches they embody in the music video for their thumping new single "First," they're not bound by mortal constructs of time and gravity. They can, and will, do it all.
In the two years since their debut, EVERGLOW have carved out a space in the crowded K-pop landscape that is uniquely their own, where sassy headbangers meet bold, breathless energy and lush aesthetics. They've also racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube in the process. For their latest mini-album, Last Melody, released on May 25, the confident sextet transforms into a group of badass "futuristic Avengers," as rapper E:U puts it. So, technically, not space witches, but Onda does rock space buns.
The girls of EVERGLOW are quick to proclaim that “this concept fits us well” – and that's easy to say when every concept fits them like a perfectly tailored suit. Militaristic desert ravers? They did it with 2019's “Adios.” Retro synth femme fatales? Already aced it in 2020 with “La Di Da.” Full-time ice princesses, part-time EDM-bumping anarchists? They've tried that too with "Dun Dun," and it was loud and bombastic. That's the thing about EVERGLOW: They aren't afraid to go big, to dial up the bass and attitude, and to always apply more glitter.
On stage, they wield this power with agile precision and impenetrable charisma. Here, via Zoom, they display a different kind of effervescent charm, softer yet equally as potent. They're distinctly down to earth. In fact, Sihyeon, E:U, Mia, Onda, Aisha, and Yiren relish a lot of the same things most twenty-something women do: crop tops, YouTube tutorials, trendy joggers with elastic waistbands, hair dye, and Gossip Girl — the original, not the revival.
With their online concert, The First, slated for July 25 and amid a hectic promotional schedule for "First," EVERGLOW spoke to Teen Vogue about their personal style, what they really think about those boy group comparisons, and what Forever – their official fandom name – can expect next.
Teen Vogue: When I listen to your music, I feel a lot of power and intensity. [Sihyeon gives a thumbs up.] How would you describe the signature EVERGLOW sound?
Sihyeon: We really wanted to come back strong and not give something that was in-between or bland. So, for this comeback, we wanted a strong performance and strong expressions. We gave all that we could give, and that's very much the EVERGLOW way.
Aisha: I would say our music has a lot of energy.
TV: The music video for "First" looks like a sci-fi film with lots of special effects and warrior-type 'fits. "La Di Da" was very femme fatale and inspired by the film Sin City. What's your favorite part of trying so many visual concepts?
E:U: Until now, we've done many concepts, but rather than picking a concept we like the best, honestly, we wanted to show all our Forever multiple sides of us. "La Di Da"'s concept had its own charm, and "First" has a powerful and cool charm. Looking forward, we would like to [continue to] show various sides of us to Forever.
TV: How would you then define the concept and style of "First"?
Sihyeon: Aesthetically, it's a mix of dark and light. Mia and Onda have dyed their hair very bright colors, but our facial expressions are very strong. We work on our expressions a lot. Our strength is our performance, and this comeback shows how strong we can be.
TV: Is this your most difficult performance?
E:U: Yes, this is the most difficult comeback... the choreography. This is the most difficult dance among all the performances. We're doing promotional activities and even on stage, all the members are having a difficult time [exhausted]. Despite the difficulties, it's brought results we can be proud of, so I'm happy.
TV: Sihyeon, you have a moment in the choreography where you have to stand on the backs of some of your dancers.
Sihyeon [in English]: It's tough, mentally. I'm so afraid when I go up on our dancers' backs. But every time, I think to myself, “Okay okay okay let's go, I can do this!!!” It's too scary.
TV: And you're dancing in some really chunky boots. Do they feel as heavy as they look? What's it like breaking those in?
Sihyeon: We wear them from the time that we're practicing until it's time for our comeback during rehearsals, so it's fine.
Aisha: We wear it until we're used to it as much as possible, so it's not heavy anymore.
TV: How long do you wear them to break them in?
Onda: About a week during our rehearsals.
TV: I see a lot of comments online about how this comeback, specifically, has a "boy group" sound. It's a really loud, powerful song and performance, and I think some K-pop fans associate that with boy groups. What do you think about that?
E:U: We don't feel upset or think that way at all. I don't think it's right to separate [songs] between male and female idol music. I would rather see comments that say "EVERGLOW is EVERGLOW" or "of course, this is EVERGLOW."
Aisha: Also, the first priority is showing a new side of EVERGLOW, and I personally really like our songs.
Onda: This kind of style [of music] is a first for us, so rather than be upset by comparisons to boy groups, I think it means that we match this concept well.
TV: Do you feel like you're portraying characters on stage?
Aisha: Normally, [in our daily lives], we play around a lot and make jokes. We're a little rowdy, but when we get on stage, we're like warriors. We get that warrior look in our eyes.
E:U: Rather than thinking of a certain character for ourselves when we get on stage, we each have a different style so we try to show that charm and think of that as we perform.
Onda: I feel like offstage I'm very giggly. I have a lot of youthful, girlish energy. But once I get on stage, the confidence level goes up to a thousand and I feel like the strong, independent woman that I am. It's great to be up there and feel the vibes.
TV: Your music is so confident, but what's something that gives you confidence outside of your music?
Yiren: I feel more confident when I dress up during our dance practices. It's a little bit trendy nowadays to dress more stylishly for practice.
TV: What's the go-to practice look?
Yiren: Lately, it's large baggy pants and crop tops.
Aisha: It's comfortable for activities and stylish, so we prefer the comfy and casual look.
Sihyeon: Instead of something that's tight, something with a little more room.
Onda: It looks powerful.
TV: Onda, you dye your hair a lot. You currently have blond hair. I recently went platinum blond as well, and there's this notion here in the U.S. that "blondes have more fun," or that changing your hair somehow changes you. Do you feel like a different person as a blonde?
Onda: When you change your hair color, it's different from your natural color so you gain some confidence. When it's pink or peachy, your attitude becomes girly. So when we film videos, I feel a little more lovely, but when it's a darker color or something different like blue, I unknowingly act a little more cool and chic.
TV: Mia, you dyed your hair blue for this comeback. Do you see a change in yourself?
Mia: I dye my hair a lot, so honestly, I don't really feel any difference in confidence. But if there's a color that I really like, then I feel stronger emotions of chic or girly.
TV: And E:U, you debuted bangs!
E:U: It's my first time cutting my bangs since elementary school. Getting used to it took a bit of time!
TV: As EVERGLOW, you're known for your fierce onstage looks. But let's talk about your personal style. I know it can be boring to talk about yourself, so what can you tell me about the member to your right and their style?
Mia [about Yiren]: Yiren has a very pretty and calm appearance, but she's really playful, hyper, and she likes to talk a lot. She also has a lot of aegyo [the Korean work for baby-like cuteness] and is very charming, but on stage, she's chic and has multiple charms.
TV: Yiren, a lot of your performance looks tend to be hyper-feminine. In the music video for "First," you're wearing a chiffon babydoll dress. Does that match your personal style?
Yiren: I don't really wear [dresses] that often in my daily life since I don't necessarily like them or dislike them. I don't have really lovely clothes or very cute clothes. My style varies.
TV: What can you tell me about E:U's style?
Yiren [about E:U]: Jiwon is the oldest member in the group, but she's an older sister that has the most aegyo. As you can see in her selfies, she's naturally very cute and plays around a lot. But when we're working or focusing, she becomes serious. As for her fashion, I'd describe it as... simple. She wears a lot of jeans and t-shirts.
E:U: I own too many jeans!
E:U [about Onda]: Onda is very careful and quiet in her daily style, but in recent promotions, we can see a different side of Onda — the normal Onda and the onstage Onda, where she is more powerful and cool with this album. I really like her style this time. She's not someone that cares too much about her clothes normally, so she's always wearing casual clothes. She really likes sweats [training clothes]. It's to the point where us members will point it out and say "Oh, you've paid attention to what you're wearing today." [Laughs.] She's not really the type to dress up. I like Onda's comfortable style.
Onda [about Sihyeon]: Sihyeon has a very optimistic way of thinking that's contagious. Being by her makes you an optimistic person too. I'm her roommate, as we recently changed roommates. Sihyeon's positive way of thinking has affected me as well and each day — even if there is something bad that happens — it's easy to forget them. It's that kind of thinking that makes her great.
Sihyeon [in English]: I'm absolutely a positive person!
Onda: Sihyeon is also a simple person [when it comes to clothes]. She likes something comfortable and simple.
Sihyeon [about Aisha, in English]: I love her! [Puts her arm around Aisha.] Her personality is really cool and adorable. Look at her eyes! I love her "sexy vibes" eyes. She has a lot of sexy vibes. I love her style. She is the most fashionable person in this group. And her colored contact lenses, you know? It goes with her vibe.
Aisha: I usually wear gray or blue contact lenses, but on stage, I often wear bright contacts. Colored lenses can really change a look. When I wear them, it sets a mood for the day, like, “which Aisha do I want to be today?”
Sihyeon [in English]: She loves mini skirts and sexy tops. She wears a lot of crop tops and choker necklaces. She owns lots of fashionable stuff… I'm jealous. [She's] so hot!
Aisha [about Mia]: Mia is normally very very quiet, but every now and then aegyo comes out, and she's cute. Lately, her playfulness has appeared, and even among the members, she's become the center of playfulness. As for her clothing style, she also likes comfortable looks. She's someone that loves [to] dance, so she wears clothes that are comfortable while she's dancing.
TV: So everyone seems to prefer dressing casually, and Aisha is the trendy one. Do you ever go to Aisha for fashion advice?
Sihyeon: We do ask. That's true. When we're thinking, "Is this better, or is this?" Because she's very confident in her opinions.
E:U: But even then, Sihyeon will just wear whatever she wants to!
Aisha: And that's why I tell her to not ask me... because wearing what you want is most important.
TV: Where do you draw style inspiration from?
Onda: I like watching YouTube videos. There are a lot of style channels where people coordinate tops and bottoms to show you what matches with what. I watch a lot of those videos.
Sihyeon [in English]: My mom is my guide. Every time I'm choosing clothes in the shop, my mom will point to things and tell me, "You should buy this." She's always picking clothes for me like this, and I like her style, so I just follow that. I like my mom's style. She likes a bright and simple, clean style. It's kind of pure. She picks those kinds of clothes for me.
TV: Do you send her photos when you're shopping?
Sihyeon: I always do! I send her a lot of photos.
Yiren: I do that too!
TV: Have fictional characters ever influenced your fashion choices?
Sihyeon [in English]: When I saw the drama Gossip Girl, I really liked Serena. So I started following her styling, and I tried [to look like her].
TV: I was more into Blair's style, personally.
Sihyeon [in English]: Blair is adorable, but Serena is her own mood! She's very chic.
TV: Lastly, when people think of EVERGLOW, what do you want to come to mind?
Aisha: I want people all over the world to think that EVERGLOW never stops, like, "Wow, where does this end?" Because we don't stop!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue