A seasoned K-Pop artist has added their voice to represent the LGBTQ+ community in South Korea’s entertainment industry.
, who rose to fame as part of the boy group 2AM, revealed in a recent interview that they are, in fact, genderless.
The 30-year-old’s revelation came in time for their performance as Jamie New in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” — a musical that follows a teenager’s struggles to become a drag queen.
“Being genderless is strength and my weapon,”
Jo told Newsis
late last month. “Before I was afraid of having an androgynous image. When people said I looked like a woman, I used to say I don’t. Now I don’t do that. I’m honored if they say I look like actress Choi Ji Woo or Taeyeon now.”
In the past, Jo worked under Big Hit Entertainment — home of BTS — when the label signed a joint management contract with JYP Entertainment over 2AM. While preparing for their single, they recalled founder and Chief Executive Officer Bang Si-hyuk asking, “Do you want to go the complete commercialized direction or do you want to do what you want to do?”
Jo replied that they wanted their way. It was at that point when Bang warned them of what to expect.
“Kwon, listen. There is going to be a large ripple if a stone falls into a calm river. It’s going to take some time,”
Bang told them, according to Allkpop
To Jo’s surprise, the supportive CEO soon bought them their first pair of high heels.
Jo eventually made headlines for wearing high heels in a stage performance of their solo song “Animal.” They measured 19.5 centimeters (7.68 inches) high.
The idol also opened up about living according to other people’s expectations in the past. Now, they are ready to do what they feel is right for them.
“It was the same when I was promoting as 2AM and when I was a trainee. I think I lived trying to satisfy other people so there was no ‘me,'” they said.
“What I want to do during my 30s is to tell the story of the person named Jo Kwon. So I’m thankful because I feel I am able to.”
Jo, who was officially discharged from military service in March, expressed hopes that society will be more accepting of real-life Jamies.
“There are drag queens and there are drag kings. There are girlish men and there are boyish women,”
they said, according to Soompi
. “Men can have a lot of interest in beauty products. As the times change, I think that more people will open their minds to people like Jamie.”
They added, “I think I came to accept who I am. Genderless will be the weapon to last a long time in this era.”