As K-pop becomes more and more of a cultural force in the US, one of the new groups that has become a huge force within K-pop itself is NewJeans. A quintet that only just debuted in 2022, their 2-step-inspired, chilled-out take on pop-R&B has already helped establish them as one of the most popular girl groups stateside.
The five members of the group are: Danielle, Haerin, Hanni, Hyein, and Minji. Many of them had previously been established in entertainment for the decade preceding their breakout.
Danielle was a regular cast member on a Korean variety show until 2011, and also appeared on a pair of kids’ TV shows. Fans have enjoyed resurfacing these clips, including one that has the group’s fans, called Bunnies, joking that Danielle is out to get them after she said she can “cut a rabbit” in one out-of-context clip.
Hanni, the group’s only Vietnamese member, was a member of a dance troupe in Melbourne that covered K-pop dance routines and won the KPOP World Festival competition four years. Hanni is also the eldest member, and had a cameo in BTS’ “Permission To Dance” video.
Haerin is mystery among the group’s fans. She appears to have had the least prior showbiz experience — at least, not any that often obsessive K-pop fans can find online.
Hyein is the group’s maknae or youngest member. She sang in a children’s music group, USSO.GIRL, under the stage name U.jeong.
Like Hanni, Minji also appeared in the “Permission To Dance” video. She allegedly trained the longest out of all the group’s members — although there’s no readily sourced info about just how long that was.
They were assembled as NewJeans by Min Hee-jin, the former chief brand officer of Big Hit. After auditioning and recruiting the members, Min moved the project to her new independent label ADOR. While NewJeans’ debut was planned for 2021, it was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interestingly, the group’s success literally came as a surprise for fans; they released their first single, “Attention,” with almost no promotion in July last year, followed by “Hype Boy.” Both reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s South Korean chart. Their latest single, “Super Shy,” has been even more successful, with 85 million views on YouTube and over 222 million streams on Spotify, while their new EP Get Up became their first No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart.