Nicknamed "Fake Maknae" for her youthful looks, Sandara Park is up next in our End of Year (EOY): 2NE1 in 2012 retrospective series. Throughout last year, Dara showed us her sexy and sweet sides, while managing to remain her warm-hearted 4-D self. We also saw Dara become really comfortable in her own skin, both onstage and off. Despite the fact that 2NE1 only released one Japanese album in 2012, their "New Evolution" concert tour and Dara's extensive CF promotions were keys for her to become more aware of her unique strengths.
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No Dara 2012 recap would be complete without discussing the hairstyle that shocked not just fans but the entire nation.
Dara is known as 2NE1's adventurous hairstyle chameleon, so by now, Blackjacks are rarely shocked by her crazy hairstyles. However, when the pictures above were released, Blackjacks around the world nearly had a meltdown. Although there were hints that she was going to do something with her hair, especially after her appearance at Cannes (her hair was swept off to the side), we could never have imagined that Dara would shave her head! We were so shocked and surprised at how dramatic and fierce she looked.
Because of her shocking transformation, she was the number 1 trending topic on numerous news search engines. In fact, her haircut created so much buzz that even Nate's header included a photo of her new look! After the initial shock wore off, and fans really got the chance to absorb the dramatic change, they (for the most part) accepted her new look.
Dara later revealed during an interview that: "When I was getting my head shaved, the feeling of sorrow just crept up and I started tearing... It was my first time getting my head shaved and I thought to myself that maybe this is how men who shave their heads to go off to the military feel."
Despite her fear, isn't her dedication amazing? She went ahead and jumped right into the opportunity. Now, six months later, it's clear that Dara made a wonderful decision: Her half-shaved look has now become iconic.
The Kiss that Drove Blackjacks Crazy
At every stop of 2NE1's New Evolution Tour, one lucky fan boy was chosen to take center stage during Dara's solo performance. As you can imagine, before every concert, fans would excitedly talk about who would be lucky enough to receive a kiss from Dara. Moreover, many female Blackjacks prayed that they would be chosen, just so that they could be close to Dara. Hey, a girl can wish, right? But sadly, only cute guys were picked throughout the tour.
Check out a fan cam of the sizzling performance below:
Considering how shy Dara is around strangers, it is a testament to her professionalism and love for Blackjacks that she overcame her trepidation to involve fans in her performances this year. Although she performed her solo song "Kiss" at 2NE1's 2011 Nolza concerts, for the New Evolution concerts, she added a new twist that breathed life and anticipation into their concert. Midway through her "Kiss" stage, Dara chose one lucky male fan to bring onto the stage and perform a sexy dance for them, she even kissed them on the cheek. This special treat for fanboys quickly became one of the highlights of the tour.
Dara's CFs with Etude House
Since 2010, 2NE1, and later Dara in her solo efforts, have been endorsing Etude House cosmetics through various promotional shoots, activities, and concerts. The brand has seen massive sales growth during this time. Although Dara's contract with the brand ended in 2013, she created fun, cute, and spunky CFs.
While Dara's "daring" side was revealed through her new haircut and concert performances, her Etude CFs in 2012 showcased her sweet side. While the partnership is ending in 2013, Dara was clearly the face of the brand in 2012.
One of the first CFs to be released was called "Sweet Proposal." It promoted the Etude House Sweet Proposal Winter Collection. The CF featured Dara speaking in English and encouraging girls that the Etude House collection will make them look more beautiful! And of course, Dara looked gorgeous! The setting and atmosphere of the CF seemed romantic and cozy!
The second Etude CF was for Etude House's Skin Malgem. For the first time, Dara collaborated with new Etude endorsers SHINee, a popular boy band. The song they sang was extremely cute, especially with Dara dancing, making adorable expressions, and overall having a fun time.
She also filmed the Kiss Note CF series with SHINee. The CFs centered on Dara, who had a notebook called the Kiss Note, based on the movie Death Note. If she wrote a name in the notebook using Etude's lipsticks, that person will want to kiss her. Dara did a wonderful job acting alongside SHINee, and it didn't hurt that she received so many kisses. We can still hear hearts flutter!
In celebration of the Summer Olympics, Etude released a new series of CFs for their BB Cream. The CFs featured Dara and SHINee competing in various events. The boys were a great choice because they all have a cute image and personality. Dara looked adorable in her pink business suit. She looked like a real Olympian when she walked down the track field!
Lash Perm 3-step Volume-cara
The last Etude House CF for 2012 was the Lash Perm. Dara and SHINee dressed up as dolls, sort of like Ken and Barbie. Dara pulled off the wide-eyed "doll" look beautifully; she really did look like a Barbie doll. Everyone's expressions, which varied depending on the situation, were adorable.
Dara's success with Etude was not just because she is beautiful. She managed to capture a youthful spirit that appealed to fans of all ages.
From me2day Queen to Twitter Princess
Dara, who is well known for actively interacting with fans through her me2day account, opened an official Twitter account (@krungy21) last year. She has since been using Twitter to reach out to her international fans. Her very first tweet was to her brother, who had revealed her account to the public, which she originally had intended to keep secret. She called him "stupid".
As soon as Blackjacks realized Dara was on Twitter, she received a flurry of welcomes. Fans also realized that her cute username: @krungy21 came from "KrungKrung," which was her nickname in the Philippines. KrungKrung means "crazy" in a cute and adorable way, which Dara definitely is!
Dara seems to have a knack for bringing out the silliness in people, and we've constantly been entertained by her interactions with other YG Family members and her friends! One of her funniest exchanges was captured on Twitter on September 19:
-The following tweets were made on Dara's Twitter account: "Twitter", "Wow. I'm a dummy", "Ooh-Eh. Wowie-Oh-Ooh-Eh-Oh-Yoohoo", "I love you", and "I am Ssandora Park".
-Seeing the string of bizarre tweets, Bom asked: "What are you doing?"
-Actor Jung Il Woo also commented: "Are you drunk?"
-Dara later saw what was going on and explained, "Ack! While I was getting my makeup done, the leader took my phone and played around with it. Oh, my stomach. Oh, my stomach. What is this"?
It seemed like CL "hacked" her account. Hahaha.
Dara's Warm Heart
Dara doodles on fans' SBS INKIGAYO passes
In celebration of 2NE1's first broadcast performance of "I Love You," Dara drew pictures of her signature palm tree hair and new half-shaved hair on the passes of Blackjacks who came to see the girls. How adorable is she? Later, Dara just drew palm tree hairs on the passes.
Dara takes "part" in fan meet-up
When Dara got wind of a meet-up by members of her fan club "Oh!My Goddess" at a restaurant that specializes in steam chicken (her favorite food), she decided to show her gratitude to her fans. While she couldn't actually attend the event, she did the next best thing - she personally called the restaurant to pay for the get-together. How thoughtful can this girl get?
[OMG Party] had a gathering today with our OMG Daraling members! For the past couple of weeks, we've been telling Dara about our meeting so that she can spend time with us!! Or at least treat us to dinner, keke. We didn't expect anything from her, but just now, Dara called Yeolbong!!! She told the manager that she would pay for us!!! Dara treated us to dinner!!!! Today is a historic day!!!! HURRAY TO DARA!!!! WE LOVE DARA!!!!!
It's these small but touching gestures that add to her many lovable qualities. Especially considering how shy she is off-camera, it's amazing how she never seems to forget to show her love and gratitude to her fans.
We all know that Dara has a special relationship with her brother, and in 2012, we got to see more of their closeness and how adorable Dara is as a sister. She became a "babo" for her brother, and we loved it.
Dara's apology for not being a "pretty older sister."
Fan girl Dara attended MBLAQ's concert in 2012. From her gift, we see the unique inscription. Explaining the meaning of the message, Thunder later revealed that Dara actually apologized to him for her "I Love You" haircut.
Moreover, in an episode of MBC Every1's "Idol Manager," Dara sent a letter to her brother. In the letter, Dara wrote a heartfelt message of love and support and also gave him some pocket money. She wrote, "I also want to be a pretty older sister, so I am sorry for getting a scary haircut."
The letter just warms our hearts, especially the line, "The effort that you put in now will definitely shine brightly one day like gold." What an incredible message of support to give a younger sibling.
Thunder and Dara's collaboration for 'First Look' Magazine Shoot
In an interview, Dara was asked to talk about the people who were important to her in the entertainment industry. Of course, she mentioned Thunder. She talked about how important it was for them to find strength in each other. She also said that having a strong relationship with her brother was key to overcoming difficult times.
The most recent and probably cutest display of sisterly love was when Dara was caught acting like a fan girl while her brother performed with MBLAQ at the "SBS Gayo Daejun 2012." She even made headlines in Korea with her adorable reaction, which was caught on camera.
Dara in her interviews: cute, humorous and insightful.
Breaking out of her shell:
In the past, hearing Dara speak just a sentence or two in English was a rare treat for Blackjacks, but last year, Dara found the confidence to speak more frequently in English. Perhaps it was all the promotions for the "New Evolution" tour that led Dara to open up, but we finally got to hear her flaunt her cute Filipino-accented English.
From talking about her personal hobbies to expressing her love for her cat Dadoong, Dara showed a new side of herself to international fans, and we didn't need subtitles to understand her!
On a Stand-out moment:
"What has been a standout moment for you as a group so far?"
"Our standout moment would definitely be our concerts. It's always exciting and fun, and it makes us happy to be able to perform for our fans on stage. Our New Evolution tour is even more meaningful due to the fact that it's a global tour." (Fault Magazine)
On re-inventing herself:
"I think I keep going for different looks because, to be quite frank, I think I lack the charisma and individual charm that the other members have," confesses Dara, "I gain a lot more confidence as a performer when I go for more experimental styles." (Kyunghang via Naver)
On the BIGBANG member she is closest with:
"Seungri, he is like my talking teacher. He tells me how to talk in front of the camera and teaches me many things" (Ray Magazine)
On 2NE1's way of dealing with disagreements:
"We coordinate really well with one another. But there are also times when you become headstrong when others don't support your opinions. When this happens, we'll do self-reflection. At last, after mutual understanding and exchanging our opinions, we'll coordinate on a conclusion that all of us agree on" (Oricon Style)
On what she would buy if she won the Lottery:
"Umm, A nice big house! A house with a wide garden and pool would be ideal" (Ray Magazine)
On her Personality:
"I'd say I'm passive and introverted. I'm so shy that people call me an alien. I'm completely different on stage and on screen in comparison to my normal self" (Ray Magazine)
On her Role in 2NE1:
"I'm in charge of all the members' daily schedule. It's not only 2NE1's official schedules, but I manage the personal work schedules of all the members also. I tell them, "Today, you have to do this at this time!" I think that my existence is like that of a mother to the other members" (JJ. Magazine)
On what she'd be if she was not in 2NE1:
"It'd be neat if I was an actress, acting. But I'm lazy (laugh) so as someone's wife" (Rudo Magazine)
On 2NE1's unique bond:
"What is the most important thing to maintain a good relationship between the members?"
"It's love. All this time, 2NE1 has been bound with our love and affection for each other. The members have a huge age difference between us, but there's really no unnie and dongsaeng role and treatment for us. Because it's like that, we live with each other without trouble, and it's so much better for everyone...." (First Look)
When we look at Dara now, we see a quietly confident woman, characteristics that perhaps didn't exist a few years ago. But this maturity has definitely not changed the Dara we so adore. She still has a smile that can light up a room, and her ability to make the people around (whether it be fellow members, family or us fans) feel special continues to make her charming, humble and lovable.
Let's look forward to 2013 because Dara will continue to surprise us, and not just with her hair!
Guess who will be featured on our next yearly recap? Be on the lookout to find out!
Sources: Etude Blog, Pokkadak, YGladies Gallery
Article by email@example.com | Written for KpopStarz January 2013