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4 Major K-Pop Artists Make ‘Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia’

Can you guess who?

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Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Every year, the release lists that range from the wealthiest people in the world to the top-earning [deceased] celebrities. This years list of 30 Under 30 Asia, the sixth edition, features some familiar K-Pop superstars. Making this years list is…

 

IU (Lee Ji-Eun)

 

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IU, lovingly known as South Korea’s “Little Sister” after having debuted at the age of 15, is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Forbes has described her as “one of the most successful solo singers of her generation.” Following the commercial success of her song ‘Good Day’ from her 2010 album Real, IU remains one of the top artists in the South Korean music industry. Not only does she write her own music, but IU  also boasts stellar control over her voice, swapping between sweet tones to powerful, belted high notes with ease. In 2015, IU was honoured at the Pop Culture & Arts Awards, held by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and recognized for her influence and success on the music industry. She continues to deviate from the mainstream K-pop style with her music, which seems to work, with every new album charting higher than the last. IU is one of the highest-earning celebrities in South Korea, with endorsements (from video games and clothing to major tech brands) attributing to a proportion of her income and her acting career (‘Dream High’, ‘Persona’, ‘Hotel Del Luna’) adding onto it.

 

Bae Su-Ji (Suzy)

From being eliminated from the audition programme ‘Superstar K’ in 2009 to her debut in one of the hottest girl groups amongst the second generation of K-Pop idols, Suzy from Miss A (a K-Pop girl group debuted by JYP Entertainment) has made an uber-successful transition into acting. Her debut in ‘Architecture 101’ in 2012 gained her recognition as the ‘Nation’s First Love’. Now, at 26, she has a huge portfolio of successful dramas including: ‘Dream High’, ‘Gu Family Book’ (2013), ‘Uncontrollably Fond’ (2016), ‘While You Were Sleeping’ (2017), ‘Vagabond’ (2019) and ‘Start Up’ (2020). Suzy’s beauty has also earned her multiple endorsements deals with beauty brands.

 

Hwasa (Ahn Hye-Jin)

 

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Ahn Hye-jin, better known as Hwasa, is the sultry, bada**, dorky member of MAMAMOO. Both her activities with the group and her solo EP – ‘Maria’, which charted globally (it debuted at number 7 on the Billboard World Albums) – have cemented her place as one of the most powerful singers in the K-Pop industry. Amongst the 4 members of MAMAMOO, Hwasa is known for her wide vocal range and husky voice. On top of her singing talent, Hwasa is an accomplished songwriter, having written and composed her commercially successful debut single “Twit.” She also teamed up with English singer Dua Lipa for a remix of Lipa’s “Physical,” which includes added Korean lyrics. While Hwasa is now regarded as one of the most sought after K-pop stars for endorsement deals, she was initially dismissed as having “lacked the looks”. At the time, she said:

 

“If I don’t fit into this generation’s standard of beauty, then I will have to become a different standard.”

 

Doing just that, Hwasa has graced the cover of major fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar while appearing in campaigns for luxury brands like Dior, La Perla, Miu Miu, Fendi, Balmain, John Hardy, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander Wang, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy, and Burberry. In January 2021, Hwasa was featured in TimeOut Hong Kong’s article as one of the “Sexiest Asian Stars to Follow on Instagram Right Now”. In February 2021, Hwasa was ranked 3rd best fashion face in Asia by I-Magazine Fashion Face Awards 2020.

 

Jackson Wang

This is the second time GOT7 member Jackson Wang has appeared in a list by Forbes. The multitalented Hong Kong rapper, singer and dancer was previously featured in Forbes China Celebrity 100 list at number 41 in 2020. He has built his own label and become the fastest Chinese artist to reach 10 million views on Vevo. Before becoming a singer, Wang also ranked eleventh in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics and snagged the first prize at the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in 2011, even passing up a spot at Stanford University after making it into JYP Entertainment.

*Cover image credits: @dlwlrma / @jacksonwang / @_mariahwasa

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