Former Lovelyz member Mijoo made headlines two years after the group’s indefinite hiatus when she departed from Woolim Entertainment to sign with Antenna Music, becoming the label’s first idol. While Mijoo is best known for her over-the-top poses on the way to music shows, and recently as a funny and rising TV star who caught the attention of variety show veteran Yoo Jae-suk, it’s easy to forget that she, too, is an absolute standout performer (for starters, check out Mijoo’s cover of Sunmi’s “Heroine”).

While Antenna Music is home to musicians such as Sam Kim and Jukjae, many fans were concerned about how Antenna would manage their first idol. Fortunately, as an agency recognised for producing high-quality music, Antenna has given Mijoo’s debut the same level of care. 

Her first solo single, Movie Star, as The Korean Herald shares: “embodies Mijoo’s story and the emotions she felt on her journey to achieving her dream. Fronting the single is the titular “Movie Star,” a dance score showing Mijoo’s vibrant energy in a disco-infused house genre melody while limning out the heartfelt emotions through the lyrics”. 

By leaning into introspection, “Movie Star”, though simple, is a reflective piece about Mijoo’s dream of stardom. In particular, Mijoo shuffles between her daydreams of becoming a star and reality, blurring the line between the two as the story goes. While initially always in the shadows, as an almost invisible production assistant or struggling to catch a glimpse of her favorite star on the red carpet from behind a group of paparazzi, Mijoo’s daydreaming inner self ultimately generates a sense of quiet confidence that is successfully channeled towards pursuing her desire.

For a debut that seeks to tell a heartfelt story about Mijoo’s rebirth as an idol, “Movie Star” opts for a subdued and unassuming plot that oddly yet perfectly peaks at the end, rather than a chronological one as shown in her teaser. In fact, one can even say that “Movie Star” culminates at its ending. And, whether deliberate or not, this is rather plainly stated in the song’s lyrics: “It’s headed for its end”.

Mijoo appears in the opening scene of “Movie Star” wholly immersed in the drama set she is working on, even breaking down in tears as she imagines herself to be the lead female character with whom Lee Yi-kyung is about to break up. Her daydreams are abruptly interrupted by a “cut” from the director, and she enters to clap the slate, concurrently signalling the start of “Movie Star”. 

Tired of her mundane life, Mijoo knows that her daydreams are far from reality. As the lyrics suggest, she is not a movie star but is merely acting like one in her head.

Acting like a movie star

Look at the person in the mirror

Gosh, I seem so real

This, however, does not matter. The street lamps light up as Mijoo travels down the street in simple clothes, and arrows guide her towards a red carpet event featuring Lee Hyo-ri as a group of paparazzi shuffle past her. As Mijoo struggles to watch Hyo-ri behind the pack of paparazzi, she promises to “perform a new scenario”. Slipping into yet another daydream, the paparazzi turn to photograph a very wide-eyed Mijoo instead. The next scene quickly imagines Mijoo as a celebrity, walking down the same red carpet as Hyo-ri and even earning herself an award. She also fantasizes about shooting commercials as a celebrity model. 

While her internal self is far more calculated and intricate than the confused exterior she portrays, this fails to stop Mijoo from daydreaming. Though she avoids outwardly pretending to be a star in public, she dances while in her pajamas and holds a toothbrush as if it was a microphone in her bedroom. In this way, Mijoo’s conscious internal reflection helps her make sense of the world by reassuring herself that, despite how “unrealistic” it may seem, she should “stay just the way you are.” 

One minor gripe is that “Movie Star” fails to detail Mijoo’s path to stardom, leaving a gap in the plot when she eventually wakes up in the same bedroom she daydreams in. This time, as the star on a drama set, two makeup artists walk in to retouch Mijoo’s makeup as the camera pulls away to reveal the bigger picture.

As Mijoo so brilliantly puts it, “All eyes are on me, and it feels like I’m reborn”. She is “reborn” as a star, much to the surprise of the viewers. Being a star is no longer a work of her imagination, but a reality. Mijoo has made it, and even shrugs at the last second as if dismissing anybody who doubted her aspirations, displaying a strong sense of self-assurance. 

Despite the narrative gap, “Movie Star” is a simple yet reflective piece about Mijoo’s rebirth as an idol. As Antenna’s first idol, it is a solid (re)debut that fits Mijoo’s image like a glove, while inviting viewers into the inner workings of her dream of becoming a star. 

(Youtube[1][2][3]. The Korea Herald. Images via Antenna.)