Believe it or not, K-Pop dates all the way back to the early 90s and some idols that debuted all the way back in the First Generation of K-Pop are still active in the industry. However, newer fans who might not be aware of when these idols first debuted would never be able to guess just how long they’ve been in the K-Pop world. With many of these idols making their much-awaited comebacks recently, it is perfectly understandable if some fans actually think that they just debuted. All this is thanks to the fact that they aged like fine wine.
BoA debuted in the year 2000, as unreal as that sounds, and almost instantly established herself as Asia’s superstar. She was also the first Korean artist who successfully opened foreign markets for K-Pop and also was the first one to debut in Japan, marking the normalization of tensions between Japan and South Korea since the Second World War. K-Pop, as we know it today, would neither exist nor be as popular all over the world without BoA. No wonder idols today still crush hard on BoA because she is simply that youthful. This year marks the 20th anniversary of BoA’s debut, and she’s ready to drop her comeback album on December 1, 2020.
Hyoyeon debuted in 2007 with the nation’s girl group to be, SNSD (Girls’ Generation). However, a lesser-known fact is that she used to work with Janet Jackson before her debut and was also BoA’s silhouette dancer! Hyoyeon was also picked as Korea’s No. 1 Idol Dancer by Star News, and for good reason too. Hyoyeon’s dance skills still shine brighter than ever. That is evident from her latest comeback with ‘DESSERT.’ The music video marking her comeback to the industry received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans, many of whom weren’t even aware of her SNSD past. This really shows her timeless appeal, and needless to say, she didn’t age at all.
Debuting in 2003 as the youngest member of TVXQ, one of the forerunners of the Hallyu wave responsible for bringing K-Pop to the world, Changmin still remains one of the most handsome men in K-Pop history. Even after almost two decades in the industry, not only are his vocals unwavering, so are his visuals and charm. Earlier this year, Changmin released his mini-album ‘Chocolate’ that made a wave in the charts but, more importantly, ended up making Changmin go viral in the community for his ageless aesthetic and energy. His performance is still just as powerful, if not more and it is a wonder to behold.
Sunmi debuted with Wonder Girls under JYP Entertainment at the same time that SM Entertainment launched Girls’ Generation. If reverse aging was possible, that is probably the case with Sunmi because she seems to look better and better as time goes by. After taking a break from music in 2010, she returned to her career again in 2013, making her solo debut. Her popularity has never once dipped regardless of whether she was on hiatus or not and she could easily compete with any 4th Generation idol today without breaking a sweat.
IU made her solo debut in 2008 and instantly captured the hearts of the South Korean population. She was always known for her baby face and an overall innocent appearance. Unsurprisingly, she has still retained her baby face, with the only exception being that she has grown to be even more beautiful with an elegance that’s unlike any other. Even Sunmi, one of the best female soloists, admits to IU being number 1 when it comes to that regard. IU has worked relentlessly ever since her debut, but all that hard work has not translated to one single wrinkle on her face.
Super Junior Siwon
Choi Siwon debuted with Super Junior in 2005 and branched out to multiple endeavors while maintaining his career as an idol. He’s not only one of the best musicians in the industry but also one of the most cherished actors. While all of Super Junior has aged gracefully or not at all, Siwon, in particular, has aged just like fine wine. Fans quite literally saw him transform his boyish charm into a masculine allure, and it was a delight to watch every step of the way.
G-Dragon started training at YG Entertainment at the age of 12 and debuted in 2006 as the leader of the hip-hop boy group BIGBANG. During the time of their debut, hip-hop was still struggling to find a proper place in K-Pop. With BIGBANG, that position was filled up immediately. Even though the members struggled initially, even almost disbanding before finding their success, once they hit it big, they were unstoppable. In particular, G-Dragon established a successful solo career all the while maintaining his position as the leader of one of the best selling groups in the world. The legacy that he created for himself extends way beyond music and stretches across art, fashion, and business. Being one of the most successful individuals globally, G-Dragon still looks the same as he did when he first debuted.
Taecyeon debuted in 2008 as the main rapper and visual of the 2nd Generation's representative boy group 2PM. Right from the start, Taecyeon was appreciated and glorified for his perfect proportions coupled with an angelic face, and it is no shock that he still remains one of the hottest male idols ever. With that face, fans were more than glad that he ventured into acting, working in numerous highly successful projects alongside some of the industry's best actors. However, almost a decade later, he still plays the male lead with ease, as can be seen from his latest drama, 'The Game: Towards Zero, ' which aired from January to March of this year. He's also set to appear alongside Song Joong Ki and Jeon Yeo Bin in the highly anticipated drama 'Vincenzo' next year.
Dara had a brief celebrity stint in the Philippines before returning to Korea and eventually debuting in 2NE1 in 2009. Either Dara has found the fountain of youth or she is an immortal goddess on earth. She has a complete babyface even at the age of 36.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning the OG diva of South Korea, Lee Hyori. Hyori is proof that a happy life will effectively lock your age at your twenties. One of the pioneers of girl groups in South Korea, Lee Hyori, debuted as a member of Fin.K.L in 1998 before turning to a solo career in 2003. She was very quickly dubbed as the “Nation’s Fairy,” and her solo comebacks established her position as the diva of the music industry in all the best ways possible. Her latest comeback with the dream project girl group Refund Sisters is proof enough that Hyori has aged like fine wine. She continues to serve as one of the sassiest, strongest, and sharpest female idols who is not hesitant to speak her mind and maybe, just maybe, has unlocked the secret to eternal youth.