Top 10 Female Idols Who Grew Up Abroad

Top 10 Female Idols Who Grew Up Abroad

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Top 10 Female Idols Who Grew Up Abroad
Just like male k-pop stars, there are also many female k-pop stars who have also lived abroad.  Living abroad has really helped these singers with not only doing press, but have helped them reach a much wider global appeal.   To follow up of ranking of male idols that have lived abroad, here is a ranking of the top ten female idols that spent parts of their childhoods abroad.

  1. Park Bom
By toto -, CC BY 4.0,
By toto

Bom, of the disbanded group 2NE1, was born in Seoul, but when she reached the sixth grade, she left for the United States on her own to study. In high school she became interested in music, though her parents were opposed to this. With some encouragement from her aunt, she attended Berklee College of Music without her parents’ knowledge. She returned Korea, and after three years of auditioning, she was finally signed by YG Entertainment. She collaborated with Big Bang before debuting with the insanely popular group 2NE1. A misunderstanding caused a scandal that led to the disbandment of the group, and while Bom has announced that she is coming back, fans are still waiting to hear from her. Despite this, Bom has left her mark in the K-pop world.

9. Jessi

By DaftTaengk - 170818 보령 해양스포츠제전 - 제시 'Spirit Animal' 4K 직캠 by DaftTaengk, CC BY 3.0,
By DaftTaengk

Jessi Ho, originally from New York, is without a doubt one of the most entertainment personalities in Korean music. She debuted in 2005 and struggled to seucced before taking a 5-year hiatus in 2009. She returned to music in 2014 as a part of the hip hop trio Jucky J, which gained minor popularity. Jessi then collaborated with Ailee and Sistar’s Hyolin, performing Jessi J’s hit song “Bang Bang” on MBC Gayo Daejejeon. She has sinced realeased an EP that reached #4 in the United States. She has also appeared on many variety show, where she has entertained us with her blunt, straight-forward sense of humor.

  1. Ailee
By Lisa Espinosa (Hancinema) -, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Lisa Espinosa (Hancinema)

Ailee, a proven power vocalist, was born in Denver, Colorado but grew up in New Jersey. After high school, she studied communication at Pace University, but dropped out to pursue music

. She was signed under and independent label in New York, but moved to South Korea in 2010 after landing an audition with YMC Entertainment. She took part in MBC’s Chuseok Singer and Trainee special where she won first place after singing Beyonce’s “Halo.” She has gone on to release several chart topping singles. Ailee has definite staying proven by her career’s survival through an unfortunate scandal and her ability to bring us all, including other idols to tears with her vocals.

  1. Tzuyu – TWICE
By 오늘의 소녀 -, CC BY 4.0,
By 오늘의 소녀

TWICE is currently one of Korea’s most popular girl groups. The group’s maknae, Tzuyu, has earned herself quite a following. Tzuyu was born to entrepreneurs in Tainan, Taiwan. When she was 13 years old, she was scouted by MUSE performing arts workshop, and moved to South Korea that some year to begin training. She become a member of the group TWICE by being chosen on the survival competition show Sixteen.  The group has achieved massive popularity, and despite a scandal that caused controversy in China followed up by an apology that sparked outrage in Taiwan, Tzuyu has maintained her popularity in the K-pop scene.

  1. Jessica and Krystal Jung
By PTTf(x) - All for f(x) 에프엑스 - This file has been extracted from another file: Krystal Jung at Jeju K-Pop Festival, in October 2015 02.jpg, CC BY 4.0,
By PTTf(x) – All for f(x) 에프엑스
By 월아조운's - 160527 입실렌티 제시카, CC BY 4.0,
By 월아조운’s

Sisters Jessica and Krystal Jung have really taken K-pop and the entertainment industry in general by storm. The girls were scouted by SM Entertainment while on vacation in Seoul. Their parents felt that Krystal was too young at the time, but they allowed Jessica to join the agency, though Krystal eventually followed. Jessica was a member of Girls’ Generation, also know as the ‘Queens of K-pop,” while Krystal is a member of f(x), both of which have released #1 album and singles. Jessica left her group in 2014, but has continued to thrive in the industry. These girls are sure remain the top siblings in in K-pop.

  1. Sandara Park “Dara”
By Azrael Coladilla - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Azrael Coladilla

Sandara Park, also know as Dara, was born in Busan, South Korea, but moved to Philippines as child when her father was struggling to make ends meet. In the Philippines, Dara appeared on the survival competition show Star Circle Quest, ultimately taking second place. She achieved success in movies and released a platinum album before returnining to Korea with her family.  She quickly signed to YG Entertainment, and debuted with the successful, but ill-fated group 2NE1.  Since the groups disbandment, Dara has continued her media presence in film and music.


  1. Yoon Mi-rae

Yoon Mi-rae was born in Ft. Hood, Texas to an African-American father and Korean mother. Her father had been a radio DJ in the while serving in the military. His collection of records served as an inspiration to pursue music. After moving to Korea, Yoon experienced discrimination due to being biracial. Yoon was scouted after being heard singing outside of an audition to which she had accompanied a friend, even though she didn’t audition herself. Since being scouted she has achieved great success alongside her husband Tiger JK. Yoon Mi-rae is considered one of the best if not the best female rapper in Korea.

  1. Lisa – Black Pink
By RAS 99 -, CC BY 3.0,
By RAS 99

Black Pink was the first girl group to debut under the YG label since 2NE1. The quickly gained momentum with there edge. The group’s makne, Lisa, and become a fan favorite in the world of K-Pop. She is one of the most well-rounded performers in the genre. Born in Bangkok, she had the only successful audition in the YG auditions in Thailand in 2010. She moved to Korea in middle to begin her training. Since Black Pink’s debut, Lisa has climbed the ladder of popularity. She is the group’s main dancer, serves as a lead rapper, as well as sub-vocalist. This girl’s swag is truly unbeatable.

  1. Amber – f(x)
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By Pabian

Amber, who is very unique in the K-pop scene, was born in Los Angeles to Taiwanese parents.  She auditioned for SM Entertainment at the Los Angeles auditions in 2008, where she and one male were selected. She trained for a year and a half before debuting with f(x) in 2009. She is well known for her tomboyishness. Amber has made a lot of friends in the industry and consistently collaborates with other idols. She has also maintained a huge American following with her YouTube presence, appearing on her own channel as well as other channels including BuzzFeed and Just Kidding Film’s JustKiddingParty.

  1. CL
By 신사임당 -, CC BY 4.0,
By 신사임당

CL was born in Seoul, but lived most of her childhood in Japan. When she was 13 years old, she moved to Paris on her own where she studied for two years. At the age of 15, she successfully auditioned for YG Entertainment. CL made a few appearances with label mates before officially debuting with 2NE1 in 2009. The quickly achieved success, and became one the only Korean groups to ever receive airplay on radio stations in the United States. CL has also been successful in her solo career, as well as songwriting for other artists. The singer has recently discussed and upcoming American release as well as an appearance in the Peter Berg film “Mile 22” starring Mark Wahlberg. CL seems to continue to pick up speed.


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