*You can read about our look at other episodes of Hara On & Off here
The conversation at Goo Hara's monthly house party takes a more somber tone towards the end of the night. One of her guests, maybe it's the stylist, or the one who does her makeup, she asks her, "If you get reborn, will you become a celebrity again?"
Not if she would become a singer, or an artist again, but a celebrity. Which makes the question much more interesting. You can argue who we should consider artists - the Beatles, the Roots, Billy Idol, even. But a celebrity can encompass them but also many different people. John Lennon was a celebrity. But so is Kim Kardashian.
Goo Hara says yes, to be a celebrity is her fate. "Even if I get reborn," she continues, "even if I get cursed, I will still become a celebrity."
The women have just had a nice dinner and much to drink. Goo Hara has a party like this once a month, and most of her guests are staff and sometimes members of Kara (Gyuri is the only one who can make it this time). The question and the answer ultimately mean very little, like one of those speculations one has with close friends, when the night is late and the mood, still. You turn to your friend and ask, "Would you do the same thing over again?" or "What do you think would have happened if...?"
But to Goo Hara, even if she's not a singer in her next life, or a performer, she knows that she would be a celebrity. She has no doubt.
Maybe Goo Hara sees her life like this too. Destined to rise and fall, and come back yet again. When pressed further, Hara says she wouldn't want this life for her children. She would stop them. "I think it's better to lead a normal life." She's not smiling, she's contemplative. She eats her cake and lets Gyuri take over the conversation. The choreographer says that if she were reborn, she would dance again. A choreographer dances and that is their fate to dance. Goo Hara dances too, but Goo Hara sees herself, foremost, as a celebrity. The the night is waning. You can tell that Hara has given this a lot of thought, which makes one wonder, if this isn't the life she'd want for her children, why does she continue to want this life for herself? Or maybe want has nothing to do with it.
Episode five returns us to Hara's "off" side back home, and we're given a few glimpses to her life and friendships. There is that party that takes up a good portion of the episode's second half, but we also see Hara unwind a bit by doing something many would consider strenuous. Horseback riding. She seems to get a kick out of the experience and bonds very closely with her riding instructor. Hara has a knack for bonding with her mentors, essentially someone that works for her, seeing them as friends and confidants and maybe even family. Some of her warmest moments are with these people, and the first moment we're introduced to the instructor she's giving him a gift from Japan.
She even eats lunch with him and they share a quiet ride together, where he admits that he does this with no one else. There is a real affection there and when we see a solo interview with the instructor who talks about Hara's maturity and wisdom way beyond her years, we believe it. He says, "She has the thinking of someone with years of experiences," which, as an idol, she does have. When he says that he hopes she has an "awesome life," there's something bittersweet about his wish. Maybe it's because he's just said, "I don't see her as a celebrity," as if celebrity would be a negative, inhuman, the one thing that Hara sees continuing for herself in this and future existences.
But if there is a reason that Goo Hara keeps the celebrity lifestyle it may just be the lifestyle this celebrity affords. She gets to ride a horse, whenever she wants (well, when she's not performing). She gets to treat her loved ones, buy them gifts and throw them parties, these people that are her friends but also her employees many of the times. Around the world, people love her, and they've never even met her in person. They send her gifts, they cry when they see her on the street. Are these the things Hara sees when she considers her celebrity?
Or does she consider the secret dating trials that she only eludes to in this episode? The fact that it's nearly impossible to find someone to love with her lifestyle? Does she consider the hours and hours of training (which she may actually enjoy)? Or perhaps she considers the number of variety shows she's subjected to, with invasive hosts that pester her until she can't take it anymore and she breaks down in tears, more out of indignation than shame.
There have been a few instances, enough of them to realize that Hara does not like these programs. That the sacrifice of her privacy (and sometimes, her dignity) weighs heavily on her heart. So, I wonder what it really means for Hara to believe that being a celebrity is her destiny. We're obviously not going to get an answer, not in an episode of any show.
But, still. This week, Hara was featured in KIXS' solo debut, "Beautiful." It's worth a watch, and a solid song too.
Hara essentially stands around and looks absolutely stunning, while being serenaded by a man with glittery eyebrows. She's Goo Hara guest starring but she also represents every most beautiful girl in the whole world ever. See, she's an idol, but she's also an icon now too. A symbol. What does that say about Goo Hara's celebrity? Her fate? When your image becomes this iconic is it a blessing or a curse?
Maybe it's both?
Now, on to episode six!
Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.