What to Know About Lisa, Cast in ‘The White Lotus’

Lalisa Manobal, known mononymously as Lisa, of the globally renowned K-pop girl group Blackpink, is set to make her acting debut in her home country of Thailand for the third season of The White Lotus, Variety reported.

As part of a partnership between HBO and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, filming for the Emmy-winning drama series will begin this month across the Southeast Asian country, including in and around Koh Samui, Phuket, and Bangkok. 

The plot of the third season—which will be released in 2025 after production delays due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes—remains under wraps, but the first two seasons of the anthology follow guests at the fictional “White Lotus” brand of high-end resorts in Hawaii and Sicily, respectively. 

The upcoming season will feature an ensemble cast including the 26-year-old Lisa as well as Natasha Rothwell, Leslie Bibb, Dom Hetrakul, Jason Isaacs, Michelle Monaghan, Parker Posey, Tayme Thapthimthong, Carrie Coon, Christian Friedel, Morgana O’Reilly, Lek Patravadi, Shalini Peiris, Walton Goggins, Sarah Catherine Hook, Sam Nivola, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Aimee Lou Wood, Scott Glenn, Francesca Corney, Nicholas Duvernay, Arnas Fedaravičius, and Julian Kostov.

By joining the show, which has brought new fame and acclaim to former star Jennifer Coolidge as well as actresses Sydney Sweeney and Aubrey Plaza, the already massively popular Lisa, who speaks fluent English in addition to Thai and Korean, could further boost her celebrity in North America as well as potentially increase the show’s viewership in Asia, a region where WarnerMedia is actively trying to make inroads. 

Here’s what to know about Lisa:

She’s a soft-power icon for Thailand

The K-pop rapper-singer, who is the only non-ethnically-Korean member of Blackpink, is known to command a fervent fanbase, especially in Thailand, where authorities have lauded her as a soft-power icon.

Read More: K-Pop Looks Beyond Korea for Its Next Generation of Idols

Lisa received a cultural ambassador leader award from Thailand’s culture ministry in October for helping to promote Thailand to the world. Culture Minister Sermsak Pongpanich said at the time that Lisa had created trends among both Thai and foreign fans that boosted the economy. And former Thai Prime Minister Prayut similarly commended Lisa last year for promoting Thailand through wearing traditional clothes and expressing pride in her country in interviews. In 2021, when Lisa sported a traditional headdress from her home province Buriram in her solo debut music video “Lalisa,” it triggered a surge in sales from customers in Thailand and beyond.

She recently launched her own record label

Lisa announced the creation of a new record label, LLOUD, in an Instagram post last week, calling it “a platform to showcase my vision in music and entertainment.”

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A post shared by LISA (@lalalalisa_m)

It’s unclear if the label will feature other artists too, but a statement on the LLOUD website says, “our passion as an artist management company is to create experiences that transcend genres and connect generations. Our core lies in relentless innovation and a commitment to authenticity. We’re not just pushing boundaries; we’re redefining them, crafting chart-topping and genre-defying music.” 

The label formation comes after the four members of Blackpink decided to extend their group contract with YG Entertainment but not to renew their individual contracts with the major South Korean agency, giving each the freedom to pursue new deals and arrangements for their solo work.

She’s not the first Blackpink member to venture into acting

The announcement of Lisa’s addition to The White Lotus comes after fellow Blackpink member Jennie Kim, known mononymously as Jennie, made her Hollywood debut last year in HBO series The Idol, which starred Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. 

“Acting was definitely one of the things that I’ve wanted to explore,” Jennie told pop star Dua Lipa on a podcast. “And first of all, I wanted the new acting part of my life to be authentic, rather than just me trying to grab any opportunities that came to me – I really was being patient with my first ever acting job.”

While The Idol was panned by critics and canceled after just one season due to poor ratings, Jennie was widely praised by viewers for her portrayal of a backup dancer, with many fans saying she was the only reason to tune in to the show. 

Jisoo, another member of Blackpink, made her acting debut in 2015 with a cameo in the Korean drama The Producers, before going on to star in the 2021 Korean romance series Snowdrop.

Read More: The Netflix Korean Dramas to Look Out for in 2024

She drew controversy over a cabaret performance

Last September, Lisa performed at Crazy Horse Paris, a renowned cabaret in France featuring nude dancers and magic shows. Lisa’s performance, the first K-pop idol to be featured in the show, attracted attendance by her celebrity friends including Rosalía, Tyga, and her fellow Blackpink members, and made headlines—though not all positive. It also caused a stir in China, where authorities have warned against such risque art, and Lisa and attendees were censored on social media.

Read More: 88rising Brings Its ‘Asian Coachella’ to China’s Notoriously Tricky Entertainment Scene

She holds a bunch of Guinness World Records

Lisa holds seven Guinness World Records—more than any K-pop solo artist.

She kicked off her solo career in 2021 with the music video for her single “Lalisa” racking up 73.6 million views in one day, making it the most-viewed in 24 hours YouTube music video by either a solo K-pop artist or a solo artist.

In 2022, Lisa became the first solo K-pop artist to receive an MTV Video Music Award, taking home the Best K-Pop Award, which was initiated in 2019, with her track “Lalisa.” She also achieved the same feat that year at the MTV European Music Awards.

What to Know About Lisa, Cast in ‘The White Lotus’

Last March, Lisa earned another Guinness World Record for being the most followed K-pop artist on Instagram—at the time, her 90.7 million followers was also the most of any artist outside the Americas. Her Instagram following has since grown to over 100 million followers.

And in April, Lisa was confirmed by Guinness World Records as the first solo K-pop artist to create an album that gets one billion streams on Spotify, with her debut album (also called Lalisa), and later in September she broke another record when her single “Money” also hit the 10-digit mark for streams.

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