NewJeans debuted less than a month ago, but they are already taking the K-Pop world by storm.
After releasing their surprise pre-debut track “Attention” in July, the group made their official debut on August 1. The pre-release track was revealed with some mystery, as the group waited to share their names until the next day.
After their names were revealed, the members’ impressive past was slowly uncovered by fans. Members Minji and Hanni appeared in BTS‘s “Permission to Dance” music video last summer.
Danielle appeared on a Korean children’s program in 2011 and met Shinhwa‘s Shin Hye Sung.
Maknae Hyein was formerly a model, a member of the children’s group U.SSO Girl after being cast while modeling, and showcased her life as a K-Pop trainee on the YouTube channel Pocket TV.
Auditions began for the group in 2019 through Big Hit Music and continued auditions through HYBE‘s independent label ADOR in late 2021. The auditions called for applicants born between 2002-2010.
During this time, netizens began to speculate that child actress Ryu Han Bi would be joining the group.
Ryu Han Bi was born on February 13, 2004, and has held roles in three films and multiple television shows. She won the “Best Child Actress” award at the 2018 MBC Drama Awards for her role in the show Come and Hug Me.
Fans began to speculate Ryu Han Bi was making a move from being an actress to a K-Pop idol after an Instagram account, belonging to the actress and managed by her mom, followed ADOR and ADOR’s CEO Min Hee Jin.
Ryu Han Bi remained mostly inactive as an actress since her appearance in the 2019 film, Cheer Up, Mr. Lee, which further fueled the belief that she was preparing to make her idol debut.
Her Instagram account has since been deleted, and with the members of NewJeans revealed without her in the line-up, netizens began to speculate that Hyein was added to the group to fill Ryu Han Bi’s alleged spot.
On a Korean online community, a netizen brought up the past speculations that Ryu Han Bi would join the group before leaving for an unknown reason. In the recently created forum, the netizen posted,
I heard they started looking for someone to fill the spot after Ryu Han Bi left. And they came across Hyein, who was at the tryouts for My Teenage Girl… which explains why Hyein was the last member to be added. The whole story is f*cking fascinating, honestly. You never know where life is going to take you.
Users commented that while both idols have celebrity visuals, Hyein better fits the group’s vibe. Another user stated that an industry insider reported that Ryu Hanbi was also considered for LE SSERAFIM.
- Ryu Hanbi’s hella pretty and all but I think Hyein fits the overall vibe of the group better.
- She used to be a part of the trainee group set to debut as NewJeans. And then she switched to LE SSERAFIM briefly before she ultimately left the agency. An industry insider said so before LE SSERAFIM debuted.
Other users believed this explained the younger age of Hyein, who was born in 2008.
If Hyein had become a final contestant on the competition show My Teenage Girl, she would have debuted in CLASS:y. With how well-balanced NewJeans is in terms of skills and visuals, it’s difficult to imagine them without Hyein. Luckily, the stars aligned, and she made an extremely successful debut with the group.
Check out the article below for more on Han Ryu Bi!