Jennie Kim is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, but she’s a newbie to the acting world. And there’s no better place to make a debut than the red carpet in Cannes, which she did Monday night for the gala premiere of “The Idol.”
Standing on the balcony of the iconic Carlton Hotel at dusk, just minutes before she was due on the red carpet, the global pop star was feeling a few jitters. Understandable, as she was just about to unveil her first on-screen role at the world’s biggest film festival.
On tour as a member of Blackpink, she takes to the stage with bold power; on the Carlton balcony, she seemed a bit shy.
“It’s overwhelming, but I’m grateful and thankful. All of those things at the same time,” said the star, who is better known by her first name. “Especially as it’s the first step in my acting career, I was honored to be able to come.”
Coming to Cannes meant flying in between dates of the Blackpink world tour, to Paris for last-minute fittings, before hitting the Croisette.
The series costars Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, and Lily-Rose Depp — like Kim, a Chanel ambassador.
“The Idol” follows Depp’s pop star as she gets involved with Tesfaye’s self-styled guru-slash-cult leader. The trailers promised “the sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood.” It’s edgy fare for the first-time actress Kim, who could have played it safe with a K-drama or a romance.
“I’ve been admiring Sam’s work for a very long time,” she said of “Euphoria” writer Sam Levinson.
“I trusted Sam to be collaborative with all the scenes that we would be working on together, because it was about the industry. The fact that it was about the music industry fascinated me, and I thought I could bring something to the role,” she said.
To an extent that was her pop star nature, since this is a show that examines the nature of fame and devotion. It’s not lost on the audience that in Korea, pop stars are known as “idols.”
“It was an opportunity to just be myself and be brave. I didn’t really train for it, or prep anything,” she said of the acting process. “Sam wanted me to just be myself.”
But being on camera — and working against a seasoned actress like Depp — took her in a new direction. “It definitely was a challenge, because I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It was like, breaking a wall for me.”
The two had met at Chanel shows in the past, and Depp’s presence on set made her feel more at ease. “She really helped me a lot. Telling me about scenes, and it was very comforting to have her there.”
Depp’s advice was simple, she said. “She just taught me to express myself and be comfortable with myself, to not be scared.”
For the Cannes red carpet, Kim selected a look from creative director Virginie Viard’s spring 2020 haute couture collection. She wanted a look that was feminine and pored over look books to give direction to the Chanel team. She had some specifics — she really wanted to bare her shoulders for the look, and it’s a similar color scheme to the dress Kim wore to the Met Gala.
The Blackpink member will jet off again to her next tour dates, hitting Bangkok, Thailand, in just five days.
She takes the balancing act in stride, and speaks of it with studied nonchalance. “Honestly, I just wake up and I do what I have to do.”