Tiffany Young is the new face and voice of H&M’s Divided Music campaign. Born and raised in California, Young spent more than a decade in South Korea as a member of the band Girls’ Generation, before moving back to Los Angeles to study acting. “I just finished shooting this video for (my new solo single) ‘Teach You,’” says Young. “And I get to tell you first: My bandmates (Hyo-yeon Kim and Soo-young Choi) make cameos in it! When I was brainstorming for this video, I thought it was so inspiring right now to watch all these Asian-American actors making their mark in films. I thought, ‘You know what? Until I can act in a film or series, I will act in my own music videos.’ And that’s how this video turned into a-movie-inside-a-movie concept.” Fans may stay in touch with the Girls’ Generation star on Twitter (https://twitter.com/tiffanyyoung) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tiffanyyoungofficial/).
Q. What was it like shooting your H&M campaign in Scotland?
A. It was wonderful. We shot in the Highlands in early June and it is such a beautiful part of the world. When I told my Girls’ Generation bandmates that my song was going to be featured and that I’m basically the first Asian American to be part of an H&M Divided Music Campaign that will be featured worldwide, they were so happy for me! I’m blown away. The whole campaign is about letting go of what you’re used to and discovering and journeying through new roads. It was refreshing to go to the beautiful countryside, especially when you’re a city girl like me. I went camping and got to be around livestock. It was unreal and beautiful.
Q. What country has the best food culture?
A. Oh dang, that’s really hard. If I have to pick one, I would say Korea, because it has amazing food. They have everything from traditional Korean food, to fusion and international cuisine from around the world. I love that you can try so many different things in a Korean way. It’s also really easy to eat at any time in Korea. There are food carts everywhere and the delivery service is amazing, even at two in the morning.
Q. If you had all the time in the world, where are three places you’d like to go right after this interview was done?
A. I would love to go to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I love Italy, but every time I went there it was for work. I never just got to go on vacation. I would also love to go to South America. Rio and Sao Paolo look amazing. OK, I know that’s all Brazil, but really anywhere in South America is on my to-go list. (Laughs) The third one would be Morocco. I had a friend who went there and all her videos and photos were so beautiful. I was like, “Why am I not there?”
Q. What is your favorite vacation memory?
A. It was more of a work vacation -- a workation. It was our video shoot for “Party” and we went to Thailand and it was one of the best, fun, tiring and mosquito bite-filled shoots ever. There’s a shot of us where we’re all in the ocean looking at the sunset and they were only shooting our backs. I said, “This is something to remember. We’ll never be 26 or 27 again all together like this in this beautiful place.” I remember that as one of the best trips we’ve had.
Q. Have you ever just taken off?
A. Yes! (Bandmate) Tae-yeon (Kim) and I went on this spontaneous treat-yourself vacation to Florida back in 2013. We got to the airport and there were some issues with checking Tae-yeon in and we were freaking out at the front desk thinking we weren’t going to make it. We were stressing out, because we had just given this whole speech to our bandmates and families about how we’re independent women doing this on our own. (Laughs) We had told management, “We’re leaving for 10 days. Don’t look for us.” It all worked out in the end and we had the best time in Florida.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Kindness always goes the extra mile. You might be at an airport or in a country where you don’t speak the language or understand anything, but it really is about being patient. Traveling can be really nerve-wrecking. Even on my recent trip to Scotland, there was a lot of driving involved to get to where we needed to be. You can be irritated by it or just relax and look at the green pastures and that’s part of the excitement. I’ve had days where I wanted to be angry and snap, but being nice and patient will get you through those travel days.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I carry three different kinds of earphones and headphones, because I had one trip where I forgot to bring them. Now, I get super nervous so I overcompensate. Having music to listen to is such an important part of travel. You create playlists to listen to and when you come back home, those songs will remind you of where you’ve been. Earlier this year I was in New York walking around the city listening to Madonna, and I know hearing those songs again will remind me of that moment.
Q. How have your travels affected your fashion sense?
A. It has broadened my outlook on what you can do with personal style. I’m super blessed that I grew up in California and then got to travel all over the world with Girls’ Generation and got to see things with a different eye. I went to everything from Seoul Fashion Week to Paris Fashion Week and saw what designers were showing. But I also saw what our fans were wearing. All of that made me more fashion savvy and want to go with the flow.
Q. Your fans are recognized as being fashionistas. Which countries have particularly impressed you in how your fans come decked out?
A. You’re right. I have some of the most fashionable fans in the world. They not only know how to style themselves, but they also know how to recreate our stage outfits and what I wore to the airport. They know all about details. I remember being in Thailand and Japan and there would be groups of eight girls wearing exactly the same outfits as us from “Party” or “Lion Heart.” They had their own roles and it was so cool.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow “Go Away With...” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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