MUSIC, DESIGN AND SUCCESS: A MEETING WITH PEGGY GOU, THE HOTTEST FEMALE DJ IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
The sun shines in Berlin-Mitte as a shimmering silver cloak with a huge hood flies through the entrance door. As though wrapped in a foil blanket, gliding in from another planet, sunglasses perched on her hidden nose, Peggy Gou arrives for the BORA interview. And introduces herself in the finest English: “Hi, I am Peggy.” Now, that’s what you call a great entrance – and she made it perfectly. The international press raves about the up-andcoming star, with German newspaper ‘Die Zeit’ calling her “One of the most successful DJs on the planet” and the Austrian ‘Standard’ writing about “The new star DJ from South Korea”. And the global online community is no different, with everyone cheering – and marvelling. Peggy Gou from Seoul is a shooting star.
Her song ‘It Makes You Forget’ was named song of the year 2018 by the Independent Music Awards and shot her to mega-star status among the international hipster crowd. This one signature song alone has over nine million clicks on Spotify and over six million on YouTube. In the global world of Instagram, the DJ has over a million followers. And the BBC has already added the song to the list of ‘30 tracks that shaped dance music over the last 30 years’. Whatever Peggy does, it creates great hype.
She is a musician, producer, brand ambassador – and now even has her own fashion label. After all, as an influencer, she is celebrated for her style like an icon. For our interview in Berlin, her entourage chilled lots of smoothies. These are not only her favourite drink, but also her way of fuelling her jet-set global lifestyle. The multi-talented DJ takes a quick shot of ginger and it’s time to get started. We naturally get the chance to photograph her with her new BORA Pure.
She finds it fun. She’s characterised by speed, precision, impatience and an alert intellect. “I’ve got a swift mind”, she summarises, adding: “incidentally, BORA is also a Korean forename.” Peggy Gou, with her surprisingly deep voice, moves around in front of the camera with divalike ease, whirling around the set during the BORA photo shoot as though the most natural thing in the world. Make-up? She does her own. Hair? Can someone perhaps lend her a bobble? During the interview, she radiates a vibrant blend of cosmopolitan elegance and Asian power speed. All enriched with well-mannered politeness. This makes her seem different to the others who play in the Berghain or at Coachella. Is that her special draw?
One thing is clear: she has mastered the art of staging. The music is her stage. When she mixes her vocals with the beats, she does so in Korean. “I tried it in various languages: English, French, Italian. Because I can’t hear what my language is like to other people’s ears. But it didn’t sound right. So I stick to my mother tongue. I’m Korean.” Being different seems to have given her career a boost. “If you ask what music means to me, it’s like you asking what love means to me. It’s not a rational thing.” Peggy moves through life, through the night, with passion.
What’s it like to be so successful at just 29 years of age? Peggy is quick; her answer comes promptly: “My parents sent me to England from Korea because I wasn’t doing well at school. I studied fashion in London and at some point played for the first time. Music is my passion. It’s a feeling.” And the way she says it, even swears it, there is no doubt. Her success had to come through music.
However, she clearly denies this: “I’ve far from achieved everything I want to. I’m ambitious and haven’t even done the half of what I’ve got planned. So I wouldn’t call it success. Rather, I’m on the right track.” Somewhat of an understatement. Her recipe: “Don’t do anything you don’t love and create things that surprise you!”
The cosmopolitan DJ has now chosen Berlin as her new home. She has furnished an apartment in the Mitte district with BORA Pure in her kitchen: “I’ve a passion for the extraordinary.” And an eye for design and individuality, as is clearly reflected here. Although she freely admits that she does not cook very often: “I like using delivery services. But I want to get into cooking. I love BORA: the design! And the high quality. In Korea, we have less wood in our kitchens. They are more colourful.” The first thing to be served up here is Korean: rice cakes – with a kick of course! But the kitchen is still a place for socialising too: “I can’t wait to get together with lots of people to cook here.” That doesn’t mean that diet isn’t important to her. Quite the contrary: “You are what you eat”. In Peggy’s case, this is now half European, half Asian.
"INCIDENTALLY, BORA IS ALSO A KOREAN FORENAME." - Peggy Gou
Someone once wrote that she was like a naughty little girl. But we’re sure that’s not true. She is – as she says herself – very open, but also very conservative. Two worlds in one person. There is one virtue that is important to her, which she sees as closely tied to Korea: respect! At seventeen, she had the word tattooed along the side of her hand in big letters (as her second tattoo). Asked about her drive, she once again surprises us: “I don’t just want to inspire people, I also want to set a good example. I constantly think about how I can be a better person.” It takes courage to be different: “It’s important not to just do what everyone else does.” And how do you relax and recharge during this kind of life? Does Peggy have a reset button? “I love Bali. I like spending New Year there and getting a bit Zen: creative people have to get bored sometimes. All I think about while I’m there is room service and Netflix.”
Within less than two hours, the photo shoot is quickly and professionally ticked off in her full diary. She is unstoppable. She heads back out in her shiny silver outfit and flies down the avenues of the capital. Her next stop today: the boxing studio. Then, she’ll be off to the night planets around the globe. Her real name is something else entirely, by the way. But that’s her secret for now.
Text: KLAUDIA MEINERT
Photos: ANNA ROSE