Slim figure and abs? Check! Beautiful visuals? Check! Outgoing and bright personality? Check! Captivating smile? Check! And lastly, overflowing talent? Check! Homing almost all of the attributes to become the Avatar of the entertainment scene, one girl managed to capture the hearts of the general public with her extraordinary personality. Emerged as the second place of the well received survival show Produce 101, currently a member of the rising girl group Gugudan, and arguably the most successful member of the legendary girl group IOI, we’re talking about none other than Kim Sejeong!
During and after Produce 101, Sejeong rose to extreme popularity opening up doors to endless opportunities for her to show the world her talents. She is known by her nickname God Sejeong because, of course, we all don’t want to be blasphemous, and we know she deserves it. Anyways, Sejeong is your average idol, let’s give the Artist Spotlight to Kim Sejeong as we talk about her strengths and expertise in several fields.
On 2015, Mnet changed the K-Pop industry with the sensational program, Produce 101, and only few managed to stand out right off the bat. Among the several hopeful ladies on the show, Sejeong managed to rise up the “bias lists” and without any notable previous exposure, she became the show’s second placer on the first voting announcement. Only next to JYP’s Jeon Somi, who had a head start through the show that formed Twice, Sixteen. Eventually, she kept her spot and debuted as a member of IOI. As a member of IOI, she was appointed to be the group’s main vocalist alongside Yoo Yeonjung, mainly due to her amazing vocal prowess.
The group released three albums, and through their almost one year duration, they managed to break records and easily rose to the top. Some of IOI’s most notable songs are “Dream Girls“, “When The Cherry Blossom Fades“, “Whatta Man“, “Very Very Very“, “Hold Up“, and “Downpour“.
In the midst of IOI promotions, Sejeong and co-Jellyfish Ent. trainee, Kang Mina, stepped back and ceased join the group’s sub-unit promotions. Instead, they held hands with seven other girls and debuted in their actual group, Gugudan. Just like in IOI, Sejeong became the group’s main vocalist with two other members Haebin and Soyee. In addition, although not the group’s visual member, she is always put on center and is recognized as the face of the group.
Gugudan already had three comebacks with the latest one being Act 4: Cait Sith including the title track “The Boots“. They are currently one of the fastest rising girl groups, and are specifically acclaimed for their spectacular singing talent.
While promoting in both IOI and Gugudan, Sejeong also ventured out as a solo artist. Through Jellyfish Entertainment’s music platform “Jelly Box“, she was featured in the song “Flower Road” produced by Block B member, Zico. The title is derived from Sejeong’s popular catchphrase on Produce 101, “Let’s only walk the flower road“, which easily became a popular and used phrase by many Koreans.
Through “Flower Road”, Sejeong was able to bag her first win in a music show by herself in a broadcast of MBC Music Show Champion. She also broke the record of Lee Hi to become the fastest female soloist to get a music show win. “Flower Road” shot up the charts and is currently approaching the million downloads mark. Aside from “Flower Road”, Sejeong also released OSTs and collaborated with other artists.
Sejeong is also widely known in television as a variety icon. With her outgoing & bright personality and ability to easily blend & uplift the mood, she is a perfect match with variety shows. She already guested on several popular Korean variety shows such Running Man, Laws of The Jungle, Knowing Brothers, King of Masked Singer, and more! She was also a main stay cast member at Talents for Sale, Get It Beauty, and soon in Netflix produced variety show, Busted!
Sejeong decided to challenge herself not only in music but also in acting! On 2017, she made her acting debut on KBS2’s 2017 edition of the School series, School 2017. She starred as Ra Eunho, the show’s heroine that is an aspiring artist who is not doing quite well with her studies. Actually, prior to being the show’s main character, she was just supposed to play a supporting role. But due to her star factor and talents, well mostly due to Kim Yoojung declining the offer, she became a main character right on her acting debut. School 2017 was a drama who is targeted towards the younger audience and not surprisingly, it did not do well on the ratings game. However, the series found popularity with the international audience.
For her performance in School 2017, Sejeong was overwhelmed by several acting accolades just on her debut piece. She won Best New Actress at the KBS Drama Awards & Popularity Award at the 1st Seoul Drama Awards. She was nominated Best New Actress at the 10th Korean Awards and 1st Seoul Drama Awards respectively. Currently, Sejeong is nominated as Best New Actress for Television at the prestigious Baeksang Awards, in which a nomination is already a great honor for the actor.
Lastly, and most importantly…
Only a few knows what kinds of hardships Sejeong has encountered before living as the huge star that she is now. Even some of her fans, especially the newer ones, doesn’t know what drove her to strive harder to become the “Kim Sejeong” that we know. As she narrated, when she was still a child, her family got broken as her mom and dad separated. Then, her mother single-handedly raised her and her brother as both foundation and light of the family. On JTBC’s Thank You For The Food, Sejeong revealed the poverty that her family went through before appearing on Produce 101. According to her, they were so poor that they almost had no money to even buy food. To get a day through with full stomachs, her family received subsidies and support from the government, and Sejeong would even use a food card to be able to eat a meal.
“Since I couldn’t go to the school to get free meals (when it’s holidays), I used a card that the government issued to the youth from poor families. Normally it is 3,500 won per day, and since it’s on a daily basis, there aren’t that many of food choices to choose from.”
To help her mom in supporting the family, Sejeong also worked part-time as a fitting model. Considering the circumstances, Sejeong kept a smile on her face despite having a tough story behind. This eventually drove Sejeong to work harder and walk the flower road.
Now, Sejeong is undeniably one of the most popular and successful female artists of her generation. With her endless skills, she is truly a jack of all trades. From beauty to talent, it’s impossible not to love and be captivated by such a perfect lady as Sejeong.