New SG Entertainment Trainee Could Be K-Pop’s First Idol From Kazakhstan

Central Asia could finally be getting some recognition in K-Pop!

SG Entertainment has revealed a new trainee who could be part of the agency’s upcoming girl group—and if she debuts, she’ll be K-Pop’s first Kazakhstani idol!

SG Entertainment (short for Spark Gate Entertainment) is a newly created K-Pop company co-founded by two French entrepreneurs: 20-year music producer Joon-Hae Woo and international trade specialist Thomas Sommer. Blending the K-Pop system with French pedagogy, the company aims to help stars create their own artistic concepts and originality.

| SG Entertainment

We will create a new K-pop trend by introducing a European system that maximizes individuals’ potential based on human values and creativity.

— Joon-Hae Woo

SG Entertainment’s trainees are trained in singing, dancing, acting, modeling, and music production at their Seoul academy. Recently, the agency announced that they’ll be selecting four trainees to debut as a girl group later this year—and one of those trainees is Aiganym.

| SG Entertainment

As soon as you hear the name Aiganym Zhalinova, you can tell there’s something unique about this trainee. While the rest of the trainees introduced by SG Entertainment so far are all Korean, Aiganym is from Kazakhstan—a transcontinental country located primarily in Central Asia.

| @sgentertainment_agency/Instagram

Please welcome our FIRST foreign trainee at SG Entertainment, Aiganym! It’s been a long way for her to get here! Please support her with love

— SG Entertainment

Technically, Aiganym isn’t the first known K-Pop trainee from Kazakhstan. Azamat Ashmakyn joined SM Entertainment in 2011 and was expected to debut in NCT. However, he left the company in 2015 and returned to his home country, where he helped pioneer the first ever Q-Pop band, Ninety One. Q-Pop (or Qazaq pop) is a new Kazakhstani music genre heavily inspired by K-Pop.

Ninety One’s ACE (Azamat Ashmakyn) | JUZ Entertainment

Other idols have also lived in Central Asia, including ONF‘s Wyatt (who lived in Kazakhstan) and TRCNG‘s Siwoo (who lived in Kyrgyzstan). However, both are ethnically Korean If Aiganym makes it to debut, she will be the first K-Pop idol of Kazakh and Central Asian descent.

ONF’s Wyatt | WM Entertainment

Born on November 18, 2000, Aiganym (whose name means “lady of the moon” in Kazakh) is currently 19 years old. According to the company, her MBTI personality type is ENTP, which means she’s bold, creative, and vigorously determined to achieve her goals. Her skills include drawing and designing, and she also loves watching TV and learning languages.

| SG Entertainment

Shine bright like a diamond.

— Aiganym’s motto

Get a peak at Aiganym’s skills in this recent SG Entertainment trainee cover of CL‘s “Lifted”.

Source: Korea Tech Desk, SG Entertainment and SG Entertainment (Twitter)