Pretty Different & Proud Of It

Editor-in-Chief Barbara Koh flies to Seoul for an exclusive interview with K-pop superstar and Urban Decay Global Citizen CL.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

CL in a 2NE1  concert in 2014.

She’s a huge K-pop star, one of the OGs - an original. If you’re still in the dark, Lee Chae-Rin, better known as CL, was the leader of K-pop girl group 2NE1, considered one of the biggest girl groups of their time. But even as she started off as an 18-year-old with the YG-managed 2NE1, CL possessed way more swagger, more attitude than her peers – embodying a selfreliant, independent, badass attitude that was way ahead of her time.

It’s no wonder then that when beauty brand Urban Decay decided to shake things up, it turned to a group of celebrities, including the 28-yearold CL, to become its #PrettyDifferent Global Citizens. Urban Decay Founding Partner Wende Zomnir says the launch of this new “Pretty Different” manifesto “is our anthem for fellow makeup junkies who don’t want to subscribe to beauty standards”.

So, when you get to meet a megastar, you want to ask her as many questions as you can. Here's what we got out of her in 10 minutes.

Q: Why do you think you’re #PrettyDifferent?

CL: I mean… can’t you see?! I AM pretty different and I have always been, even as a kid. My personality, the things I liked. Actually I didn’t think I was different, but the other kids thought I was weird. But I didn’t let that bother me. I love making friends and I’ve learnt that when you show interest and start connecting, it doesn’t really matter if you are different.

Q: Which country would you love to visit?

CL: I really want to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. My favourite time of year is winter – sipping a cup of hot chocolate and just taking in the snowy scenery.

Q: What inspires you?

CL: When I see people fighting for something I believe in, for something like #PrettyDifferent, I am inspired. Being a woman, being an Asian woman, being a musician and artist, all these things inspire me.

Q: Name the Urban Decay products you did-die must have.

CL: My die-die – is that how you say it? – is the All-Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray which I have been using since I went on tour. Another must-have is the Urban Decay Naked Cherry Eyeshadow Palette. I love the colours, but my nickname is Cherry, so I think I am being 99 per cent biased! I now have a new favourite, the Naked Honey Eyeshadow Palette. There’s gold and yellow, but very Christmassy, which I love. And definitely, the eyeliner!

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Editor-in-Chief Barbara Koh meets K-pop star CL in Seoul.
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CL is queen of the eyeliner.
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The Northern Lights from Iceland.
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CL at the Urban Decay Pretty Different party in Seoul. The star loves the Urban Decay Naked Cherry (left) and Honey palettes.
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Urban Decay Global Citizens CL and actor Ezra Miller thrilled the audience at the #PrettyDifferent launch in Seoul.
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Q: Do you have any quirky makeup tips?

CL: I actually start with eye makeup first, then I do the rest of the face. I do my makeup in a super-cold room because I like my pores really tight – I feel this helps my foundation stay on through the day. And, of course, I finish off with Urban Decay's All-Nighter.

Q: When did you start experimenting with makeup?

CL: I started really late – only after the debut of “To Anyone” in 2010. As I said, I was a tomboy growing up, so I wasn’t interested in makeup at all. But when the album first came out, a lot of people judged me on the way I looked as I didn’t exactly match the typical standard of beauty. That’s when I decided I didn’t want people to judge my music and performance by the way I looked. I began to study my face structure and my outfits, and started playing with makeup. My makeup, outfit and hair are all an expression of my music.

Q: What’s your favourite Korean dish?

CL: Anything my grandma cooks, obviously! And recently, I really like the Korean pumpkin soup or porridge (hobakjuk).

Q: What’s your secret obsession?

CL: I love Disney. My mother told me I used to love watching Dumbo and Bambi when I was little. She said I watched those 5,000 times! I love all types of cartoons. And on my playlist these days is Disney music.

Q: Who do you turn to for strength?

CL: I go to myself. I actually go through my old journals. A lot of people look to the outside for solutions, but in hard times, I think it’s best when you look within yourself and that’s where you’ll find the answers.

Q: How does it feel to be an Urban Decay Global Citizen?
CL: For me to be a fan of the brand, and for me to not be an ideal, standard figure to represent a makeup brand, it feels good and it feels natural. And I get to use the new products before anyone else does!
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With the launch of #PrettyDifferent, Urban Decay aims to reject the sameness that runs through the beauty industry. The brand’s Founding Partner Wende Zomnir says, “It’s our tribute to individuality because everyone is pretty different.” Along with CL, (clockwise from top left) Ezra Miller, Joey King, Karol G and Lizzo were handpicked as Urban Decay Global Citizens. Wende adds, “Our UD Citizens are dynamic, global voices that stand up for what they believe in. Being different doesn’t only mean being ‘weird’.”