The Rise Of ZEROBASEONE’s Kim Ji Woong, The Idol-Actor Who Debuted 3 Times

His previous groups faced severe mistreatment and abuse.

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NEST MANAGEMENT‘s Kim Ji Woong has finally made his debut in the new boy group ZEROBASEONE (also known as ZB1), but this isn’t his first time debuting.

Kim Ji Woong

Kim Ji Woong has been through many struggles throughout the years, but he never gave up despite the hardships.

Ji Woong was born on December 14, 1998. Since an early age, he has always proved to be multi-talented.


jiwoong predebut #KIMJIWOONG #boysplanet #jiwoongpredebut

♬ Collide (sped up) – Justine Skye

While he is known to be an idol today, he was always particularly athletic. Ji Woong is a skilled cyclist and inline skater. He even ranked 3rd place at an inline skating championship!

Still, it was always a dream of his to be a singer. Unfortunately, his parents were opposed to this. Despite a lack of support, he continually auditioned, gaining their trust.

Finally, Ji Woong became a trainee at NA Entertainment. He trained for nearly seven years before debuting as the Lead Vocalist, Lead Dancer, and Rapper under the stage name Jinam in the boy group INX. The group debuted on August 2, 2016, with their single “Alright.”

INX announced their disbandment on November 30, 2017, though. In 2018, the members filed a lawsuit against their company, claiming severe mistreatment, including lack of support, poor working conditions, and starvation.

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Thankfully, the Seoul District Court favored INX in the final verdict. So, INX won, and their contracts became void.

Ji Woong debuted again under the stage name King instead of Jinam in DS&A Entertainment‘s 10-member pre-debut group ATEEN.

ATEEN debuted in Japan on September 1, 2018, with the single  “僕はちょっと違う.” Yet, they disbanded the next year before ever making their South Korea debut. The CEO’s wife allegedly made advances, verbally abused, and even inappropriately touched members.

Four ATEEN members, including Ji Woong and new member Jun, made up the five-member pre-debut group B.I.T. (Brilliant Icon Team) under Core Contents in 2019. Yet, they only ever promoted in Japan and ultimately disbanded in 2020. Interestingly, they became inactive on social media in September 2019 before deleting their Instagram account, but they had a fanmeeting in August 2020.

In 2019, Ji Woong also became a successful model internationally. He walked Fashion Week in China.

| Choi Hyun Min

Ji Woong went on to compete in JTBC and DSP Media‘s 2020 digital reality survival show Burn Up: Challenge to Billboard. He won first place in the male category, while Kim Min Jung won in the women’s category. The two released “Sick of Love” together.

This didn’t quite launch him to K-Pop idol stardom, though. For the past few years, Ji Woong has kept busy through acting.

Ji Woong made his acting debut with the lead role in Naver TV‘s web series The Sweet Blood in 2021. It’s an adaptation of the Webtoon The Sweet Girl. 

The next year, Ji Woong starred in his first BL (Boy Love) drama, Kissable Lips, alongside Yoon Seo Bin. While Ji Woong has also appeared in Convenience Store Junkies, Pro Teen, and Don’t Lie, Rahee, it’s his BL dramas that have garnered the most attention.

Kim Ji Woong (left) and Yoon Seo Bin (right) | Viki

Yoon Seo Bin and Kim Ji Woong reunited for BL web drama Roommates of Poongduck 304. It actually ranked No. 1 in the genre on Watcha. Ji Woong also provided his voice to two OSTs for the drama.

Finally, on December 29, 2022, Ji Woong was revealed to be a contestant on Mnet‘s reality-survival show Boys Planet. He instantly became a favorite among not only viewers but fellow contestants due to his charisma, natural talent, and visuals.

| Mnet

While still competing on Boys Planet, openly gay K-Pop idol HOLLAND revealed that Ji Woong appears alongside him in the music video for his new song “Number Boy” for his latest album, released on March 30, 2023. The two previously worked together in Roommates of Poongduck 304.

Ji Woong has also appeared in music videos for WA$$UP‘s “Shut Up U” in 2014, OnlyOneOf‘s The Sweet Blood OST “Into you” and Shin Yong Jae‘s “So what, if the flowers are pretty” in 2021, and Lim Han Byul‘s “Beautiful Memories” in 2022.

Now, the Boys Planet finale aired on April 20, 2023, unveiling Kim Ji Woong as 8th place with a total of 1,338,984 points. This officially makes him a member of the new K-Pop boy group ZEROBASEONE (also known as ZB1).

First off, thank you so much for coming today star creators. The reason I came all the way here is because of star creators’ love and attention. In a position like this, I always wanted to say this. My parents are here. To my parents, I wanted to say thank you for giving birth to me. Also, to the staff members who filmed Boys Planet together, the writers, directors, the masters, thank you! What was our group name? Sorry about that. I’m the first Kim Ji Woong of ZEROBASEONE.

— Kim Ji Woong

Kim Ji Woong has lived many lives and got through a lot to become a K-Pop idol. We are cheering for his success!

Source: Wikipedia, Kprofiles and KPop.Fandom

Idol Struggles & Victories