Singer Jihae on Her Acting Debut in National Geographic’s ‘Mars’

South Korea-born Jihae is a singer and multimedia artist who has collaborated with accomplished musicians such as Michel Gondry, Lenny Kravitz, and Dave Stewart. She makes her TV acting debut Nov. 14 in “Mars,” a National Geographic Channel miniseries executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

What attracted you to “Mars”?

It’s no ordinary piece of work. The story is set in 2033 and is based on the first group of astronauts who travel to Mars to colonize it. The timeline is nonlinear and goes back and forth between scripted drama and documentary footage [with] all the scientists and people who are working toward the technology of sustaining life on Mars. Getting there is one thing, but living there is quite another. It’s science meets entertainment.

This is your first professional acting role. Will you continue with it?

I’ve had opportunities to pursue acting in the past, but I wasn’t interested. I felt like when you’re an actor, you don’t get to fully creatively express yourself — most of the time, it’s not your own writing or direction. Music is my first love, and it’s not something I’ll ever stop. But after reading the script for “Mars,” as well as some other auditions I’ve done recently, I realized that when the writing is amazing — and when the director and production have high value — then I’m happy to surrender to any project.

Describe your introduction to music.

I grew up in a very musical family — both my mother and grandmother were trained opera singers, but circumstances didn’t allow them to really fulfill their profession and dreams. I’m the youngest of three girls, and my mom learned that I had “the voice” out of my sisters; she hoped I could fulfill their dreams for them.

What was your first major success in music?

I would say the release of my second EP [2008’s “Afterthought”]. But I feel like a bigger breakthrough for me was being awarded a co-writing credit with Leonard Cohen and Dave Stewart on the song “It Just Feels.”

What is one thing you are interested in but haven’t done yet?

Eventually, I would love to direct, but not anytime soon. I just love the storytelling aspect. When you make an album, you have a team of musicians you work with; when you’re a director and you’re creating a motion picture, it’s a much bigger animal. But there’s a lot of freedom and a lot of different ways you can storytell.

What you didn’t know about Jihae

AGE: 27 BORN: Seoul INSPIRATIONS: Leonard Cohen, Marina Abramović, Gloria Steinem FAVORITE BOOK: “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Carl Jung

More TV

  • MAKING IT -- Season: 1 --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces 'Making It' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, NBC announced the “Making It” Season 2 premiere date and HBO Max greenlit a new docuseries from Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti. DATES Hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman will return with the second season of “Making It” on NBC Dec. 2. After the show’s holiday season premiere, the show [...]

  • Luis Fonsi Erika Ender Latin Grammys

    The Second Latin Explosion: How 'Despacito' Ushered in a New Generation of Stars

    Music is an ever-evolving art, and for the Latin Recording Academy, that’s meant riding multiple waves of attention. The most recent arrived with the stratospheric success of “Despacito,” which kicked off a second Latin Explosion with full force in 2017. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, later featuring verses by Justin Bieber, made Latin [...]

  • TV Review: 'Catherine the Great' Starring

    TV Review: 'Catherine the Great' Starring Helen Mirren

    For some, “Dame Helen Mirren playing the Catherine the Great” is all the convincing they’ll need to watch this new biographical limited series, which is perfectly understandable. The casting of Mirren in the role, which follows the Russian empress in the embattled latter years of her life, is a smart choice that proves its worth [...]

  • Ricky Martin Celia Cruz Gloria Estefan

    From Idea to Legacy: Latin Grammy Awards Mark 20 Years of Global Recognition

    The idea of creating a separate organization to honor the diversity of Latin music was a discussion that took place for years before it actually happened, but an event driven by one of pop music’s most important crossover artists solidified it. During the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony, a young Ricky Martin was scheduled to perform [...]

  • Science Fair

    Disney Plus Fleshes Out Nonfiction Slate, Including 'Howard,' 'Science Fair,' Mickey Mouse Docu

    Disney Plus further fleshed out its nonfiction content slate at an International Documentary Association showcase event Friday, as the streamer, preparing for its Nov. 12 launch, continues to flesh out its programming strategy. Among the announcements: The streamer has acquired the global distribution rights to “Howard,” the Don Hahn-directed documentary about “Aladdin” and “Beauty and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content