Esquire’s Winter issue cover stars, BTS, go on the record about everything. In the cover story “7 Men,” Esquire Writer-at-Large Dave Holmes talks to the most-successful band on the planet about how they have transformed pop music, redefined fame and challenge traditional masculinity. Who are the twenty-somethings behind this movement, and what do they want now? The Winter issue will be available digitally and at retail outlets by December 1.
On how they all feel like members of one family, with all the kindness and arguing that comes with it: J-HOPE: “Jimin has a particular passion for the stage and really thinks about performance, and in that sense, there are many things to learn from him. Despite all the things he has accomplished, he still tries his best and brings something new to the table, and I really want to applaud him for that.” JIMIN: “Thank you for saying all these things about me.” Jimin turns his attention to V, explaining that he is “loved by so many” and describing him as one of his best friends. SUGA jumps in, sharing that Jimin and V fight the most among the group. V: “We haven’t fought in three years!” This distinction now belongs to Jin and Jung Kook, the oldest and youngest members. JIMIN: “It all starts as a joke, but then it gets serious.” Jin agrees and recounts what their arguments sound like. JIN: “Why did you hit me so hard?” He then mimics Jung Kook’s response: “I didn’t hit you that hard.” And then they start hitting each other. But not that hard.
On masculinity: SUGA: “There is this culture where masculinity is defined by certain emotions, characteristics. I’m not fond of these expressions. What does being masculine mean? People’s conditions vary day by day. Sometimes you’re in a good condition; sometimes you aren’t. Based on that, you get an idea of your physical health. And that same thing applies mentally. Some days you’re in a good state; sometimes you’re not. Many pretend to be okay, saying that they’re not ‘weak,’ as if that would make you a weak person. I don’t think that’s right. People won’t say you’re a weak person if your physical condition is not that good. It should be the same for the mental condition as well. Society should be more understanding.”
On the success of the first single from Be, “Dynamite”: RM: “’Dynamite’ wouldn’t be here if there was no COVID-19. For this song, we wanted to go easy and simple and positive. Not some, like, deep vibes or shadows. We just wanted to go easy.” JIN: “We were trying to convey the message of healing and comfort to our fans. World domination wasn’t actually our plan when we were releasing ‘Dynamite.’”
On how they feel about present-day America: V: “We’re outsiders—we can’t really express what we feel about the United States.”
On dating: JUNG KOOK: “The most important thing for us now is to sleep.” RM: “Our love life—twenty-four hours, seven days a week—is with all the ARMYs all over the world.”
On getting respect in America: JIN: “How can we win everyone’s respect? I think it’s enough to get respect from people who support us. It’s similar everywhere else in the world. You can’t like everyone, and I think it’s enough to be respected by people who really love you.” SUGA: “You can’t always be comfortable, and I think it’s all part of life. Honestly, we are not used to getting a ton of respect from when we first started out. But I think that gradually changes, whether it be in the States or other parts of the world, as we do more and more.”
[Photo Credit: Hong Jang Hyun for Esquire Magazine]
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