Red Velvet’s maknae Yeri passed SM Entertainment’s notoriously difficult open auditions at the age of just 12 years old. At the time, the group’s future leader Irene was already 20. While most 20-year-olds would balk at the idea of taking care of a kid, Irene made it her mission to care for Yeri as if she was her own daughter. Here are 4 of the softest, sweetest moments that prove the pair truly are family.
1. When Irene got Yeri ready for school
When Yeri joined Red Velvet during “Ice Cream Cake” era, she was still in school, which meant she had to wake up early for classes. And just like a real mother, Irene took on the role of getting Yeri ready for each day of learning.
In a debut interview, Yeri revealed that Irene had been waking her up every morning at 6:00AM since 5th grade. Before sending Yeri off to school, Irene also ironed her uniform and grilled meat for her breakfast.
In a cute clip, Irene once showed off how she uses a steamer to get all the creases out of Yeri’s shirts. Yeri boasted that she’d show off the pristine ironing to her friends before departing with, “I love you, unnie!”
2. When Irene made Yeri special snacks
Irene didn’t just grill meat for Yeri’s breakfast. She also put extra effort into making special snacks that put a smile on Yeri’s face. Back in a 2015 interview, Irene mentioned how much Yeri loved tuna kimchi fried rice.
To make it even better for her, Irene used to fry an egg and hide it under a layer of the rice. That way, Yeri would find it as she was eating and get a happy, delicious surprise.
3. When Irene bought Yeri flowers
In South Korea, Coming of Age Day is a special holiday to celebrate young Koreans who turn 20 that year. Yeri had her Coming of Age Day in May 2018, and just like a real mom, Irene couldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the milestone.
She treated Yeri to a beautiful bouquet of white roses dotted with purple flowers—Yeri’s signature color in Red Velvet and Irene’s own favorite hue. On the card, Irene wrote “Flowers that are fresh like you”.
When Yeri uploaded photos of herself with the flowers to Instagram, she joked that she looks forward to celebrating Irene’s 30th ‘Coming of Age Day’ too.
4. When Irene fought Seulgi over who raised Yeri
Irene and Seulgi had been trainees together for several years before Yeri joined SM Entertainment. Naturally, when she arrived, her two seniors took on a mentor role in her life. But in one “Bad Boy” era interview, Irene was not willing to let Seulgi have the title of Yeri’s honorary parent so easily.
When Wendy remarked on how quickly Yeri is growing up, Irene and Seulgi both blurted the same thing at the same time—“I practically raised her.” But Irene instantly gave Seulgi a glare and set her straight before laughing.
What are you saying? I fed and raised her!