K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

Lisa from Blackpink – Thailand-raised K-pop singer who is the group’s main dancer and speaks four languages

The multitalented and multilingual Lisa is the youngest member of the group, was only 14 years old when she auditioned to become a trainee with South Korea’s YG Entertainment, and speaks Thai, Korean, English and Japanese

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 July, 2018, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2018, 8:25pm

While K-pop is largely a South Korean pop culture phenomenon, the industry is becoming more international, with many idols reaching out to their booming global fan bases through live performances and learning different languages.

Blackpink are one such girl group who have become popular internationally. With members Lisa from Thailand, Korea-born but New Zealand-raised Jennie, Rosé, who was also born and raised in New Zealand, and Jisoo from South Korea, the group’s greatest strength may be the stars’ diverse backgrounds.

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This week, the group continued their international outreach by releasing a Japanese-language version of their latest single Ddu-du Ddu-du. The original Korean and English version was released in June, and the music video for the song broke records for K-pop music videos by notching up more than 36 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of release.

In celebration of their latest Japanese single, we take a look at multitalented, multilingual Lisa Manoban from the popular K-pop band.

Her early life

Twenty-one year old Lisa, the maknae – or youngest member – of the group, was born in Bangkok, Thailand. Originally named Pranpriya Manoban, she first changed her name to Lalisa (“one who is praised”), before settling on her stage name of Lisa.

She was only 14 years old when she auditioned to become a trainee with South Korea’s YG Entertainment, and made her debut as a member of Blackpink when the group launched in 2016.

Her role in Blackpink

Hardworking and committed, Lisa trained for more than five years before she joined Blackpink as the group’s lead rapper and main dancer. She learned to speak Korean, English and Japanese on top of her native Thai.

Apart from her love of Korean food, Lisa is also seen as an unofficial ambassador for Thai culture by her fellow members. “We’ve visited many Thai restaurants together. It’s not just because of Lisa, I [also] really like Thai food. I think we’ve eaten at almost all the good Thai restaurants [in Korea],” Jennie said in an interview with YG Life.

Her image

In Thailand, Lisa is referred to as a “Thai princess” by Blackpink fans. Her fellow group members say Lisa makes the best aegyo – “cutesy” – facial expressions. And while she may be known for her signature blonde hairstyle, Lisa says she is proudest of her naturally full lips.

Her solo work

While Blackpink have already been on the scene for a few years, Lisa has yet to launch any solo musical projects. She has, however, featured on the cover of Nylon Japan magazine in June, and filmed a special preview video for the issue, in which she spoke in fluent Japanese.

In her words

“I’d like a man much older than me, who can take care of me,” she said about her ideal man in an interview with YG Life.

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“I love wearing baggy jackets and tops. I love those kinds of jerseys with lines on them as well. I love sneakers too, especially white sneakers, and I like knitted hats too,” she said of her fashion choices in an interview with Japan’s MINI magazine this year.