HyunA has always defied convention. Rather than taking the easy route, she opts for the road less traveled. From performing shirtless on stage to taking topless photos in L.A., HyunA is unapologetically 100% true to herself!
Her history is so extensive that it’s difficult to know where to begin, however, YouTube channel Midnight Theories started a new series called “The History Of”, which will take a deeper look into the background of top K-Pop idols.
Starting from a young age, HyunA auditioned to get her foot into the door of the entertainment world. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to her plan.
At the age of seven, HyunA knew she always wanted to be in the limelight and went on to audition to become an actor. She went on 50 auditions and failed them all.
HyunA didn’t give up, however, and once she was in high school she honed her dance skills and auditioned for JYP Entertainment.
She passed JYP Entertainment’s audition and eventually debuted with the Wonder Girls in 2007 as the group’s main rapper.
Only a year after debuting with the Wonder Girls, HyunA ended up leaving the group over concerns for her health.
Her absence from the entertainment industry wasn’t long, as in 2009 she auditioned for Cube Entertainment and became a member of the agency’s first girl group, 4MINUTE. Eventually, HyunA began pursuing solo activities outside of her group, collaborating and doing promotions with labelmates. In 2010, HyunA released her first single “CHANGE” which was truly the beginning of the formation of her current image. The MV for her single was rated 19+ and deemed inappropriate for viewing by minors. Despite setbacks, “CHANGE” was well-received by fans and did very well on the charts.
HyunA’s global hit “Bubble Pop” was released in 2011, and it accomplished something almost unheard of at the time—it reached 1,000,000 views in just two days! It was also the first K-Pop MV to surpass 100,000,000 views.
Shortly thereafter, it was announced that she would be in a group called Trouble Maker with labelmate Hyunseung, formerly of BEAST. The song, the eponymously named “Trouble Maker”, peaked at number 1 on the Gaon charts and the group was nominated for and won multiple awards during their run.
Their time together was not without controversy, however, and the duo was constantly criticized by Korean media and netizens for their suggestive choreography. During their performance at the 2011 MAMA, it looked like the duo shared a kiss which led to backlash from netizens. Cube Entertainment released a statement denying that was the case, saying it was actually a more wholesome lip-to-cheek kiss.
In 2012, PSY personally chose HyunA to take part in his global hit “Gangnam Style”. “Gangnam Style” was so huge, it outranked HyunA’s “Bubble Pop”. That same year, she released her EP Melting and the lead track “Ice Cream” featured Psy in the MV. It reached 10,000,000 views on YouTube in just four days.
The following year, HyunA participated in the release of 4MINUTE’s fourth EP, Name is 4Minute. While promoting with the group, HyunA fainted due to a high fever and dehydration, which led to hospitalization. She rejoined promotions after recovering.
Around this time, Trouble Maker also announced a comeback. The MV was rated 19+ for references to sex, alcohol, and cigarettes. Additionally, the MV was accused of plagiarizing visuals from Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” MV. This was the group’s final comeback.
HyunA’s solo comeback for “Red” was another success for the singer as it charted number 1 in multiple countries, as well as reaching number 5 in the US.
In August 2015, she released her fourth EP A+, which had the title song “Because I’m the Best”. Two versions of the MV were recorded, the “original” 19+ rated version and a clean version for the general public.
2016 saw the disbandment of 4MINUTE, with HyunA being the only member to renew her contract with Cube Entertainment. She continued on with her solo career before joining Cube Entertainment’s new group Triple H in 2017. Triple H was composed of HyunA and Pentagon members Hui and E’Dawn. As with many of HyunA’s previous videos, the MV released for Triple H’s debut song “365 FRESH” was criticized for its content and was given a 15+ rating. The same year, HyunA released her sixth mini-album Following with the track “Babe” and at the end of the year, premiered the single “Lip & Hip”.
In 2018, after a successful comeback with Triple H, the group and HyunA were hit with controversy when it was revealed that she was in a relationship with fellow member E’Dawn. Instead of denying the rumor, HyunA and E’Dawn confirmed their relationship which led to the cancelation of Triple H events. In September 2018, Cube Entertainment announced it would be terminating HyunA and E’Dawn’s contracts due to “loss of trust”, however, after their announcement the agency’s stock fell sharply and they experienced backlash from fans to such a degree that they retracted the statement.
After leaving Cube Entertainment, HyunA (and E’Dawn, now known as Dawn) moved on to bigger and better things, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite pushing boundaries, HyunA has always prioritized being true to herself, as well as being honest with her fans. We can’t imagine two things more important that that.
Be sure to watch the entire video below for a complete timeline, as well as engaging commentary on HyunA’s career: