When HBO's controversial new drama The Idol finally made its debut on the network on June 4, it became clear that the buzziest part of the series would be scene-stealer Jennie Ruby Jane. Better known as Jennie, member of K-pop group Blackpink (real name Jennie Kim), the multi-hyphenate is making her acting debut playing Dyanne, backup dancer and friend to the series' main character and pop superstar Jocelyn.
Jennie didn't have much screen time on the show, as her character only appeared in rehearsal scenes with Jocelyn and later in a party sequence (which also included a cameo from Euphoria star Alexa Demie). In her most notable scene, Dyanne stands in for Jocelyn to demonstrate the pop star's routine, and comforts Jocelyn when she's worried that she wouldn't put on a good performance. After the show aired, the two-minute dance scene made its way to YouTube. While Variety reported that The Idol pulled in 913,000 viewers on its first night, the YouTube clip has over two million views and counting.
While countless Blackpink fans signed up for Max and tuned in specifically to watch their real-life idol, those unfamiliar with K-pop may need an introduction to Jennie. Read on to learn more about the global star.
She's a member of Blackpink.
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Born in January 1996 in South Korea, Jennie spent five years studying in New Zealand before moving back to Seoul for middle school. In 2010, when she was 14, she passed her audition for YG Entertainment singing Rihanna’s Take A Bow, and became a trainee of the company. After several years of training in vocals, rap, and dance, Jennie, alongside her other bandmates Lisa, Rosé and Jisoo, debuted as Blackpink in August 2016.
Blackpink is the biggest girl group in the world right now, holding multiple records including the first k-pop girl group to reach no.1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Their music video "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" is the most-viewed of any Korean group, with over 2 billion views to date on YouTube, and they're the most-followed and most-streamed girl group on Spotify. They also became the first-ever Korean group to headline Coachella last April.
In addition to her work under Blackpink, Jennie made her debut as a soloist in November 2018 with the aptly-titled single "Solo." She's since performed a second unreleased solo song, titled "You & Me," at Coachella and as part of Blackpink's Born Pink World Tour, which began last October and is still ongoing.
She's an ambassador for several fashion brands.
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Jennie became a global ambassador for Chanel in 2021, after working closely with the brand since 2018. Last month, she attended her first Met Gala and was dressed by the French fashion house. She's also modeled for Calvin Klein for several years. Last spring, she collaborated with the brand on her own limited-edition capsule collection, which even reimagined the iconic Calvin Klein logo in her own handwriting.
In addition to her off-stage ambassador duties, Jennie also has her own personal YouTube channel where she shares vlogs of her travels and behind-the-scenes looks at Blackpink schedules. Some of her most-popular videos involve her sharing her everyday essentials, as well as making mandu (Korean dumplings) with fellow member Jisoo.
She says joining 'The Idol' was "an opportunity to just be myself and be brave."
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In an interview during The Idol's in-person premiere at Cannes, Jennie said that she had admired co-creator Sam Levinson's work for a long time, and that the show's music industry setting "fascinated" her.
"I thought I could bring something to the role," she added. "It was an opportunity to just be myself and be brave. I didn’t really train for it, or prep anything. Sam wanted me to just be myself... It definitely was a challenge, because I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It was like, breaking a wall for me."
She also said that she felt at ease with lead Lily-Rose Depp on set; the pair knew each other from attending Chanel shows. "She really helped me a lot. Telling me about scenes, and it was very comforting to have her there." Jennie added of Depp's advice, "She just taught me to express myself and be comfortable with myself, to not be scared."
As for that viral dance scene, Jennie said in a HBO featurette that she learned the routine in a short amount of time. "I didn’t have a lot of time to learn the choreo for the dance scenes. But thankfully I do this all the time, so it came naturally to me."
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