Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors


by Lai Frances

Introducing the next global sensation.

When thinking of K-Pop, many visuals spring to mind: perhaps the high production concerts or vibrant music videos; maybe the endless Twitter trends and TikTok videos; or possibly the industry fandom itself. But as the global phenomenon continues to dominate the world, so does the pressure behind the scenes for idols to be picture perfect in front of the camera. Whether you’re a new group debuting or coming back to the scene with new music, celebrities continue to be put on a pedestal by the media, fans, and their whole industry. No matter the angle, being a cookie-cutout in the spotlight is a fantasy, for good and bad.

So when LE SSERAFIM released their b-side track ‘Impurities’ off of ANTIFRAGILE, the immediate interpretation is that of a message to break the thoughts of perfection and embrace the flaws, the hurt, and everything else needed to accept the raw reality in the now.

LE SSERAFIM is a name you should know: one of the groundbreaking pop groups to come out of the Korean music industry this year. Often called HYBE’s first girl group, the quintet consisting of members SAKURA, KIM CHAEWON, HUH YUNJIN, KAZUHA and HONG EUNCHAE began challenging the status quo through their music, concepts and unique personalities back in May. A sophisticatedly modern yet nostalgic sound, it’s pop with addictive beats, catchy hooks and alluring vocals. Their synchronised choreography is clean-cut, sharp, and tantalizing. They take the stage and all five members blow audiences away as they sing, dance, and serve looks: full of charisma and proud togetherness.

Off stage, too, the group’s appeal grows as the members’ individual personalities shine through: whether it be their own reality shows, television guestings, or live streams, it’s not hard to get to know the five distinct people. “We are actually showing ourselves as we are,” SAKURA, LE SSERAFIM’s eldest member said, one of two Japanese women in the group, “I think we have all the different characteristics and different colors expressed in our artistry. So I would say that would be the secret to being LE SSERAFIM.”

In fact, their self-produced content seen on their YouTube (and making rounds on TikTok) shows a glimpse into their world, the LENIVERSE. “We’ve participated in making content ourselves to show ourselves honestly,” KAZUHA, the second Japanese member explains, “Because on stage, we try to look cool and awesome, but we want to show ourselves more in a natural way – in the LENIVERSE.”

Seated in the waiting room after our six-hour cover shoot, SAKURA, HONG EUNCHAE, KIM CHAEWON and KAZUHA are dressed down in sweats and hoodies, huddled around a screen to chat. Whilst sadly fellow member HUH YUNJIN was not able to take part in the shoot after being diagnosed with COVID-19, she thankfully managed to join us over Zoom. It was time to dive deep into the LENIVERSE and get to know the pioneers behind it. It’s been an incredibly packed promotional run so far for the group, as the temporary quartet jumps from one schedule to another. However, they hustle on, making the best out of situations and, most importantly, have fun whenever the opportunity presents itself.

“Although we’re extremely busy these days, we’re very close to each other so it’s been really fun having these activities together everyday,” SAKURA says. The Japanese member’s third debut, she’s considered a legendary veteran in the industry, to say the least. First debuting in Japan in 2011 as a member of HKT48, then again in South Korea as part of temporary K-Pop group in IZ*ONE in 2018 with fellow member KIM CHAEWON, now she’s found her path with LE SSERAFIM.

Bringing up the group’s documentary The World Is My Oyster, SAKURA opens up about her past as she trained hard and fought her way to become a member of LE SSERAFIM. “I actually want to tell myself, ‘Well done,’” she confides, “Because I felt really proud of myself. While watching the documentary, I felt that I was working really, really hard. And I put all the effort that I could. So, I want to say I’m very proud of myself.”

Just like every other K-Pop star in the industry, the road to idoldom is not an easy one for the group. Rather, it’s a big risk. In line with the documentary, the concept of their first EP, FEARLESS and their debut single of the same name, is the product of each member’s story and how they embody the concept of overcoming their fears to debut.

“I think my biggest fear that I overcame was not only choosing to take this career path,” HUH YUNJIN, the Korean-American New York-native begins to explain. “But rechoosing it after having let it go. It was hard to return home, experience and enjoy the life I had missed while away, and then decide to give it back up because I now knew all too well how difficult it would be. But I decided to make it.”

Just like SAKURA and KIM CHAEWON, HUH YUNJIN also competed in the survival reality show to debut

in IZ*ONE but unfortunately didn’t make it. Now blossoming as an appreciative member of LE SSERAFIM, HUH YUNJIN is known to have an outgoing and free spirit. But her talent shines most whenever music is involved and she’s on stage. After all, she’s a theater kid who used to train her voice in classic and musical theater. (“I’d love to get back into them sometime!” she says.) But now, as a member of LE SSERAFIM, she’s lent her hand in co-writing some of the group’s songs, including ‘Blue Flame’, ‘No Celestial’, ‘Impurities’ and ‘Good Parts (when the quality is bad but I am)’ with SAKURA.

When asked about how she felt when the group’s second EP, ANTIFRAGILE, broke the Billboard 200 chart at No. 14, she was still in disbelief. “Honestly, I don’t know what to say,” she smiles, “It’s such an unimaginable achievement for us. Growing up in the states, I’d stream music from the Billboard 200.

So it’s really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that somewhere, someone like me could be enjoying our music. I’m so honored and filled with gratitude. Hopefully, we can share more music that is met with this kind of love.”

Reality really hasn’t settled in with LE SSERAFIM’s leader, KIM CHAEWON, either. “When we first heard that we entered the Billboard chart, we thought we were dreaming, it was not like reality,” KIM CHAEWON says, nodding as if she’s received the news for the first time again. “As far as we know, LE SSERAFIM has entered the Billboard chart in the fastest time for a K-Pop girl group. But just the fact that we were on the chart felt rewarding.”

‘ANTIFRAGILE’, their second single, has a totally different vibe to their last: grabbing inspiration from reggaeton and Latin beats, LE SSERAFIM’s bass- bumping, twerk-inducing hit proves how much music is a universal language loved by all. “When we first heard the song, it was unfamiliar and totally different,” LE SSERAFIM’s youngest HONG EUNCHAE swoops in with a laugh after hearing the word “twerk”. She expressed her first impression of the single. “It was also hard to express the song very well but as soon as we started to learn it, we felt the excitement.”

HONG EUNCHAE’s enthusiasm is enhanced by some more exciting news. “Tomorrow is my birthday!” she raises her hand and props up from the couch, while giggling, sharing her TMI. According to the second youngest member, KAZUHA, she’s been telling everyone it was going to be her birthday since the week before.

“Trying something challenging or something new makes me antifragile,” KIM CHAEWON impressively declares like a true boss. Ever since she was given the leader role, KIM CHAEWON’s image has geared away from the dream-like whimsical idol image she had before LE SSERAFIM. Sporting a jet black bob cut with blonde accents, KIM CHAEWON embraces the powerful girl crush baddie image she has now.

“In my previous experience, I learned how to behave on stage, and learned the attitude of being an artist,” she begins to explain, “While preparing to become a member of LE SSERAFIM, I wanted to break the image I had in my past activities and wanted to show a new side of myself I haven’t shown before.”

When asked if there’s something that makes her fearless, she chuckles. KAZUHA, who’s also the group’s second youngest, already knew what the smirk on her face was about and called her own leader out. “She would like to meet a ghost!” KAZUHA says, ensuing laughter in the group.

KIM CHAEWON alludes to the Korean myth amongst musicians in the industry, where spotting a ghost while working on a new album would lead to success. “I do believe in ghosts but I haven’t met one yet!” LE SSERAFIM’s spirited leader says. But with all the recent praise and success the five members have achieved, meeting a ghost really isn’t needed.

Smiling and sitting quietly on the side, KAZUHA exudes elegance amidst the baggy clothing. But that comes to no surprise with the knowledge that she is a professional ballet dancer who grew up in both Japan and the Netherlands.

Leaving everything behind, including the Dutch National Ballet Academy where she was pursuing a degree, the young artist wanted to do something different for once. Upon taking the leap into idoldom, she leaned on her members to assimilate. “Of course, the members’ verbal advice was valuable,” she tells us, “Because of them, I learned how they act, how they behave, how they pose for photoshoots.”

While the HYBE quintet celebrates the end of an era, they continue to learn from one another, in order to reach new heights in their careers: “I’m excited to see what stories we’ll continue to share, in addition to how we grow as individuals and as a team, and as our message changes as we do. Apart from the music, I am most excited about touring the world with my bandmates,” HUH YUNJIN closes off.

KIM CHAEWON agrees: “First, we will work very hard for a world tour,” LE SSERAFIM’s leader tells us, “That’s my dream. And second, I want to produce a LE SSERAFIM that talks about ourselves very well.”

“The world is your oyster,” we tell them, to which HUH YUNJIN perfectly gave us a piece of meaningful advice: “The universe has your path set up for you. You just need to believe in yourself, have purpose behind your choices, and try your best in whichever situation you’re in.”

Creative Director
Olivia Wright
Keundo Song
Pillsung Lee
Hair Stylist
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop