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Profile Of A K-Pop Fan: New York's Jazmin Ruotolo Uses Creative Outlets To Express Her Love Of Taeyang And B.A.P

By Tamar Herman | November 27, 2015 11:53 AM EST

NAME: Jazmin 'Jaz Kitty' Ruotolo

AGE: "Let's just say 40-ish"

HOME: New York City, New York

CURRENTLY: Fashion design & consulting along with an illustration business

INTRO TO K-POP: "After seeing Rain in 'Speed Racer,' I had to look him up. At the time American hip-hop, which I love so much, had started its current downward spiral. Rain was a very pleasant surprise. I followed him but I didn't fully dive in to K-pop until TaeYang's 'Ringa Linga'...Whew! That song! I'm a rock/hip-hop girl at heart, so when some of the bands/artists started giving their songs a rock edge, that got my attention.

Not to sound dramatic, but Hallyu [The Korean Wave] may have saved me. I lost my mom to a seven year battle with cancer a couple years ago. All life just drained out of me. Artists can survive on very little, but if we lose our muse, our reason for creating, we can't breathe. The passion, sick beats, and style of these bands keeps my head above water. I'm forever grateful and I think my mom probably is too..."

THE DIFFERENCE: "I always say K-pop picked up where American hip-hop left off in the late 90s, early 2000s. And they are killing it!! They are taking it to a whole new level that mainstream music in this country is too afraid to do right now."

CULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS: "People think I'm only into it for the abs... They don't see the hardcore bad-assery that goes into it. My brother wrote them off as pretty boys until he saw a B.A.P video. The most common thing I hear once someone gives K-pop a chance is 'Wow! I didn't know Koreans could dance like that!' Another friend saw BTS's "Intro" performance trailer and said, 'Okay. Now I see what all the fuss is about.' People totally underestimate these bands."

FAVORITE GROUP: B.A.P

WHY B.A.P: "So many reasons. They blend my t10 favorite types of music, hip-hop & rock beautifully. Being a designer, I always notice style, maybe more than I should. I love theirs. Each look works perfectly with the song. And the Matoki! Brilliant! People who know nothing about K-pop even love them. I've done Matoki fan art and if given the opportunity, I hope to convince the powers that be to spin off the Matoki into a clothing line. Most of all I love B.A.P's message. It's not only positive, it's empowering. Living in this world is not easy. We need idols like them. When you find something that makes you work harder, be better...That is my favorite thing about art. They have given me a lot and I'll do whatever I can to support them in return. When they were in court I did an illustration of BABYz cosplaying the Matoki, just to show support. I'm sure they never saw it, but hopefully my little contribution to the energy of all their fans' support reached them."

FAVORITE SONG: "One Shot"

FAVORITE SOLO ARTIST: Taeyang

WHY TAEYANG: "Taeyang...His music, his look, if I could 'Weird Science' a guy into being it would be TaeYang for sure. I love the emotion he puts into every song. He's just one of those artists that is on my wavelength so pretty much everything he does I'm like 'YES! That's so on point! Go boy! Go!' "

FAVORITE SONG: "I love his new stuff the best." ["Eyes, Nose, Lips"]

UNDERRATED ACT: "I think History is one of the most underrated bands out today. I don't know why... Maybe they're still a little ahead of their time? Maybe people aren't ready for new jack swing beats mixed with R&B harmonies, sexy rap, and 80s new wave yet. It's a mystery to me but I really hope they come to NYC someday. We'll show them the love they deserve."

BRINGING TOGETHER BUSINESS AND K-POP: "My personal hope is to introduce some of the bands to the US through fashion. My consulting team, K.A.Kitties(the K.A. stands for Kick Ass) and I have worked on every hip-hop clothing brand since The Notorious B.I.G. It would be an incredible marriage. In the meantime I will continue with fan art, and finding other creative ways to show the love and appreciation so many of us feel."

FAN ART: "BTS is one of my favorite bands. When I love something, I have to make stuff so I made a red bullet pendant mostly because I wanted one, and for some reason that was not on the merchandise list [for their concert]. As it turned out, a lot of other fans wanted one too. I kept the cost as low as I could, just to cover costs. I think my lungs are red after painting so many..lol. I spent the day of the show running up and down the line giving people the pendants they ordered. It was so much fun and it allowed me to meet so many fans."

If you'd like to be featured in the "Profile Of A K-pop Fan" column, send an email with a recent photo of yourself to fan@kpopstarz.com. Please include the subject header "Fan.'"

Tagged :  Profile of a K-Pop Fan, B.A.P, Taeyang, BTS

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