Priyanka Mazumdar is no stranger to setting records. Not only was she the first Indian singer to get to the finale of the annual K-pop World Festival (in 2016), she is also the first Indian female to become a Korean pop star. The 22-year-old, who debuted as part of the all-girls group, Z-Girls, in February, is still getting used to life as a celebrity in South Korea.
Priyanka, who was in India to celebrate her birthday with her family, tells us that some fans recognised her instantly. Sharing one such incident, she says, “One of the airport staff in India recognised me and was so excited that she forgot to hand me my boarding pass.”
Priyanka (second from right) with Z-Girls
The performer, who hails from Assam, says her life has been turned on its head. But she had her family’s support throughout. “When I told them I had got selected in Z-Girls, they were really happy but they weren’t sure if moving so far away was a wise decision. I was still doing my graduation when all of a sudden, in November last year, I was told about my selection. I just had one week to prepare to leave for South Korea. I dropped my final year of college; in fact, I left India before the final exam. I’m really grateful to my family for supporting me. It’s because of them that I had the courage to leave everything behind and start a new chapter in my life,” says Priyanka.
A whole new world
An Asia tour and three songs later, Priyanka has bonded well with her group mates, who belong to Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. “There are a lot of similarities between us. We have the same dream, same passion, so we can understand each other well. Even though we are from different cultures, I find similarities in our behaviour, mannerisms, our sense of humour…,” she says about the members of Z-Girls, whose latest release is Streets of Gold.
Interestingly, while her life has been turned around completely, the singer says what still hasn’t changed much is her fashion sense. She still places comfort over style. “Comfortable and confident is my fashion mantra. My ideal outfit for the day would be anything that’s not tight. Like a baggy tee and trousers. And for a night out, I would choose hot pants, tank top, and a leather or denim jacket,” shares Priyanka. Beauty regimen is another story though. “In India, I wasn’t really into using too many skincare or haircare products. But after moving to Korea, daily face masks, serums, regular facials, monthly visit to the dermatologist have become an important part of life,” she says.
A still from Z-Girls’ latest song, Streets of Gold
However, she loves how physically intensive her lifestyle is. “You have to keep moving and dancing the whole day. But I love physical workouts, so no complaints,” shares Priyanka, who is a national-level swimmer.
Blood, sweat and tears
Moving on to the subject of inspirations, the young singer mentions she looks up to the popular K-pop group BTS, not just musically but on a personal level, too. “They have come a long way. At the beginning, people called them nobodys, said they wouldn’t make it. But now they are Billboard awardees, Grammy nominees… Their songs have been very helpful for me. Whenever I am sad, I listen to their music. There were times when I cried a lot because I found their situations, what they were singing about, very relatable,” says Priyanka, who feels particularly strongly about Jimin and Suga.
“Jimin went on extreme diet, kept on practising day and night until he passed out. Suga also sustained injuries, but kept on going. I, too, had a back injury and felt like everything was over. I couldn’t do anything, not sports, not music… but then I realised that if he didn’t give up, then who am I to quit? I haven’t even started yet,” she signs off, with determination in her voice.