Cover Interview: LUHAN

Client: i-D

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To look at the thousands of photos of him online is to see that dramatic reinvention isn’t in Lu Han’s creative language. His face is still baby-fresh, and he appears almost unchanged since his K-pop days – no older than the teenage contestants he’s mentored on high-profile TV talent shows like Produce Camp 2020. But years of being in the spotlight has undoubtedly altered him. “I am who I am. I’m quite comfortable with that right now. Obviously, I’m very different from me from 10 or 20 years ago,” he says, “and I’m going to continue on this self-discovery journey.”

His polite reticence is hardly surprising. Like every celebrity, he’s been dogged by anti-fans, gossip and the paparazzi, with whom he had such a fraught relationship that he vented his anger on his 2017 song “Roleplay”. “Hiding and scheming in the shadows,” he sings, “Like a circus clown’s little trick / Piss off me and my crew / You don’t want that boy”. By 2018 he’d become less inclined to keep tabs on himself online, and in 2021 his attitude towards the darker side of fame has evolved yet again. “I saw something a few days ago, and thought it was excellent,” he says. “‘You have to thank those who have been following you and criticising you, they have always held you to higher standards, therefore, they lift you up’. But I also want to do well on my own terms and look back and think that was time well spent.”

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