BAZAAR Cover: Mark Tuan Takes Us On His Solo Adventure

The epitome of modern masculinity, BAZAAR cover star, K-pop sensation Mark Tuan takes us through his personal evolution, his solo career and finding confidence with the perfect scent.

Photography by Chee Wei. Styling by Ai Lim. Text by Abdul Aziz Draim.


BAZAAR cover Mark Tuan solo

Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia April ’24 issue, featuring Mark Tuan


Mark Tuan is in pain. The K-pop superstar had inadvertently bit his tongue a few days prior to our shoot. Yet ever the trooper, he is all smiles on set, even laughing off his little mishap to push through the pain as he works his way through the Saint Laurent looks we picked out for him. 

And he carries the clothes beautifully. Mark was a guest at the showcase of this Saint Laurent Spring/Summer ’24 menswear collection in June of last year, where it was held within the glass walls of the Neue Nationalgalerie, an architectural marvel by Mies van der Rohe. Now, dressed in a sheer top with a trailing neck bow, finished off with a broad-shoulder jacket, slim trousers and glossy boots, Mark Tuan is the epitome of modern masculinity. One who is unafraid to assert his own self and expand his creative boundaries (check out his nails!). 

BAZAAR cover Mark Tuan solo

Oversized tuxedo jacket; dark brown lavalliere tied top; chalk black highwaist trousers; flflat buckle python belt; and rainer zipped boots in patent leather, Saint Laurent.

The Chinese-American artist finds himself in Kuala Lumpur for the second time in one month, this time to attend the opening of the YSL Beauty store in The Exchange TRX, following the KL stop of his the other side concert tour just three weeks prior. The singer, dancer, songwriter, musician extraordinaire has been on a whirlwind adventure since taking time off from his group GOT7, to release his solo debut, the full-length English album, the other side, in August of 2022. The 15-stop North American leg of his tour would follow suit through October and November that year, taking him to Dallas, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles among other major cities in the US. 

Having concluded the Asian stops of the other side world tour in Seoul last February, Mark will now take to the stage in Europe and Latin America beginning this May. BAZAAR sits down with the artist to talk about his personal evolution, his album and why the MYSLF fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent is reflective of who he truly is.

Striped wool and silk suit; black crepe mousseline top; black highwaist double stripe pants; silk muslin scarf; flflat buckle python belt; and rainer zipped boots in patent leather, all Saint Laurent.

Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia turns 21 in April. Traditionally, 21 is when we come of age, when we officially enter adulthood. Do you remember what it was like when you were 21? 

A lot of practicing! Let me see, I was 21 in 2014, so there was a lot of work then because that was the year GOT7 debuted. So, you know, I didn’t get to go out as much as normal people did. A very busy time. 

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Would you consider yourself naive back then? 

I think so. I think still. Because I was also with six other boys, so we were still very young at heart then, and goofy. But I think definitely moving away from LA and being away from my family at a young age, I feel like I had to mature faster. I kind of got into that mindset because I was living alone, even though I was with the other boys. I mean, there was still a lot to learn then, so that was when you should be more mature, right?

Now that you’ve entered your thirties, how have you seen yourself evolve from then to now?

Hmm… as a person I feel that I’ve definitely learned a lot more. Now that I’m in my thirties, I feel very in charge of myself. Compared to when I was in my twenties—I wasn’t as outgoing. I was very quiet and reserved, but I feel now I am more comfortable. 

What are some key life lessons that you’ve learned from the past ten years?

Not to stress out about the little things. Just because I feel when you look back on it, it’s funny that you were stressed out about such small matters. You get caught up in the moment. So I’ve learned just to live each day as it comes, pretty much. 

Large volume black shirt; black highwaist trousers; and square buckle belt in shiny leather, Saint Laurent., with YSL Beauty MYSLF eau de parfum.

What would you say is your earliest memory regarding scent? 

My earliest memory was with GOT7 because the boys actually started using cologne before I did. It made me see that perfume made them a little bit more confident because they wouldn’t go anywhere without spraying it once. I feel that finding your scent, something that suits you, is very important. Because you can’t just put on some random scent that doesn’t match you.

On that note, what would you say is your favourite type of scent? 

I like something very natural. It really depends though. I actually have a lot of scents at home. I have a collection! (laughs) Even when I travel I’ll bring three scents with me—maybe something more casual, then something else more dressy. I usually like something a little bit musky. I’m trying to think of what I don’t like… I’ll even use women’s perfume sometimes, you know? So it really depends. But I think I have a good collection. 

Oversized tuxedo jacket; dark brown lavalliere tied top; chalk black highwaist trousers; flflat buckle python belt; and rainer zipped boots in patent leather, Saint Laurent. With YSL Beauty MYSLF eau de parfum.

How is the MYSLF fragrance reflective of who you are? 

The MYSLF fragrance, I feel it’s very sophisticated and bold. It’s pretty much like when I am on stage, I try to be out there. Even when I meet my fans before the show, I’ll have that on. And I think it gives me a little bit more confidence, just because it smells so good too (laughs). 

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Regarding your career, is it true that when you were younger, you never considered a career in music? 


What did you want to be then? 

Well, when I was in second or third grade, I thought, firefighter. But after that, I don’t have any memory of what else I wanted to be. That was the only career that I have ever thought about. But that was when I was a kid, so I don’t know if that counts (laughs). 

So what eventually moved you to go into music? 

I got casted. It was an opportunity for me. And I was lucky and blessed enough to have that opportunity. From there, it kind of just grew on me and it just became a dream and a goal. 

Oversized tuxedo jacket; pleated shir t in cotton poplin; highwaist tuxedo pants; and rainer zipped boots in patent leather, Saint Laurent.

You’ve posted about GOT7’s 10th anniversary (in January). Though the members are now signed to different recording companies and all, what keeps the group strong together? 

I think it’s just the bond that we have, and the fans. We are able to accomplish so much as a group, with all the support that the fans showed us. So I think it’s something that we can never give up.

As long as the boys are there, GOT7 is still there, the fans will always support us. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons. And also, we’ve grown to be so close to each other. We’re very open with each other.

How did it feel like working on your debut solo album? Was it scary or exciting?

It was a lot of work. It was a year of studio time. But it was confusing at times because I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to take my music to because it was my first solo project. I think I did want to show fans that I’m able to do multiple genres and different types of music too. I had fun with it but at the same time it was challenging for me. 

BAZAAR cover April '24 Mark Tuan solo featuring MYSLF eau de parfum

Large volume black shirt. Saint Laurent. YSL Beauty MYSLF eau de parfum.

Out of all the songs you’ve written, which one are you particularly proud of? 

I’d say “Everyone Else Fades”, my most recent EP. Just because I feel like it was written really well. And especially when I perform that song, there’s a little call-and-response time with the fans. I feel I can receive their energy too. 

How did the inspiration for the song come to you? Were you in the studio? 

Yeah, we were just in a studio, having fun. And I think this song was actually written really fast, really quick. Everything just kind of fell together, it just felt right. So there wasn’t a lot of struggles with writing the song. We were in the studio, then we heard the instrumental, we started playing the guitar and we just started mumbling the lyrics and we kind of just came together like that. 

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If we want to get to know you better as a person which of your songs would you say best represent who you are? 

(Laughs) To get to know me as a person? I’m trying to think… I would say something off of the other side. Because the songs after that were just more to have fun with. the other side is more personal and it’s more about me. I want to say, let me see, towards the end of the album. Maybe “More”? I think that’s track 18 or 19.

It’s an upbeat song. It’s fun. And I think that’s something that, you know, I always want to try to become more. I want to work harder and try to give the fans a little bit more of myself. 

BAZAAR cover Mark Tuan solo

Large volume black shirt; black highwaist trousers; and square buckle belt in shiny leather, Saint Laurent.

What is your relationship with fame? Are you comfortable with it? 

Awkward (laughs). I’m the type who just likes to be at home with my friends. I feel normal, and I try to stay low-key, I don’t think too much. And I think it’s when people start recognising me on the streets, that’s when I’m like, “Oh, shoot.” It’s still very surreal to me. 

Imagine say, last night at the event (the launch of MYSLF in Kuala Lumpur), do you psyche yourself up to prepare yourself before going out into the throng of fans? 

I think once I see my fans, a switch just turns on. When I was in the elevator going up, I was in my own thoughts. Then when the door opened and I see all the fans… I think when I’m at events or when I have to do a show, that’s when I turn it on. But aside from that, I’m just a regular kid (laughs). 

You performed in Kuala Lumpur recently. Is the experience and energy you feel on stage different from city to city? 

Yeah. It has to do with their cultures. Some countries are more polite and you know [mimics polite clapping].Then there are other countries where they’re very out there, and outgoing. 

So what was the energy like for KL? 

KL, they were very supportive. and very loud. I had a good time. I feel almost all of my Asian shows have been very, very loud and into it. 

Did you get to explore much of Kuala Lumpur? 

A little bit. I went to Batu Caves. That’s a nice place. 

You actually climbed the whole steps at Batu Caves? 

Yeah, I actually went up to the top! It was pretty easy. Everybody was saying it’s very high but I think it wasn’t that bad. Especially because you have the monkeys on the side and you get to play with them as you go up. That was fun.

BAZAAR cover April '24 Mark Tuan solo

Large volume black shirt, Saint Laurent.

Now onwards to 2024. What do you have in store for us? 

I’m about to wrap up my Asia tour right now. So I am actually gonna hit a few more cities in Europe and Latin America. So for 2024, I’m gonna wrap up the other side tour and just start working on more music. Hopefully, will work on another album. 

On a personal level, outside of your professional life, what do you want to achieve this year?

Personally…wow [laughs]. Aside from work? That’s a hard question…

More sleep, perhaps?

Oh, I’ve been getting a lot of sleep [laughs].

Less sleep then?

Oh, maybe trying to work out a little bit more. Trying to bulk up a little bit. Just because I feel like I’ve been doing some campaigns with Calvin Klein. So I gotta keep my body in shape [laughs].

BAZAAR cover April '24 Mark Tuan solo

Oversized tuxedo jacket; dark brown lavalliere tied top; chalk black highwaist trousers; flflat buckle python belt; and rainer zipped boots in patent leather, Saint Laurent. With YSL Beauty MYSLF eau de parfum.

Creative director: Abdul Aziz Draim
Senior fashion director & stylist: Ai Lim
Beauty director: Alisha Azuddin
Art director: Khairani Ramli
Make-up: Phitchakorn Keria Balla using YSL Beauty
Hair: Tanon Tanabhataravatron
Assistants: Syarel Boharin & Dennis Kho
Shot on location at Pavilion Hotel.