While it is becoming more common for non-Korean idols to join the K-Pop industry, they’re still definitely the minority, especially when it comes to idols from Thailand! Only 6 idols come from this country, though they have all made a pretty huge impact on the K-Pop industry and their names are likely familiar to most fans. Here are the idols that risked so much to come to Korea to pursue their dreams!
1. Lisa (BLACKPINK)
Most people know Lisa is from Thailand by now, since she’s pretty much the most famous Thai K-Pop star! Born on March 27, 1997, Lisa is 23 years old and the maknae, main dancer, lead rapper, and sub-vocalist of BLACKPINK. She was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and is an only child. She joined YG Entertainment in April of 2011 and trained for a total of 5 years and 3 months before debuting with BLACKPINK, and was the second member to be revealed. She was also the only person accepted to join YG Entertainment during their auditions in Thailand in 2010. She’s also childhood friends with GOT7‘s BamBam, since they were both part of the dance crew We Zaa Cool in Thailand. She speaks several languages, including Thai, Korean, English, Japanese, and some Chinese. Recently, she starred as one of the mentors on the 3rd season of the competition show Idol Producer!
2. BamBam (GOT7)
BamBam is another one of the more well-known Thai K-Pop artists! He was also born in Bangkok, on May 2, 1997, so he’s the same age as Lisa. He serves as the sub-rapper and sub-vocalist of GOT7, and became a trainee with JYP Entertainment in 2010. He has 2 older brothers and a younger sister, all of whom are popular dancers in Thailand. He won numerous dance competitions himself when he was in Thailand, including 1st place in a “Rain Cover Dance” competition and 2nd place in the “LG Entertainer” competition. His mother was actually the person who inspired his stage name, which she got from the character BamBam in the show The Flintstones because she wanted him to be strong like the character. Surprisingly, BamBam was actually supposed to debut with Stray Kids, but fate had other plans!
3. Ten (NCT/WAYV/SuperM)
Ten was also born in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 27, 1996. He’s in NCT, WAYV, and SuperM, where he acts as the main dancer, main vocalist, and sub-rapper of each group. He has one younger sister, and they’re actually both ethnically Chinese but were born in Thailand! He’s very multi-lingual and can speak Mandarin, Thai, Korean, and English. His grandmother actually helped inspire him to become a K-Pop idol by introducing him to artists such as Super Junior, SHINee, and BoA, and he joined SM Entertainment as a trainee in 2013 through their Global Audition. He’s friends with fellow Thai idols Lisa, BamBam, and CLC‘s Sorn, and the idols he most looks up to are Super Junior’s Donghae and SHINee’s Taemin. Some of his favorite hobbies are shopping, surfing, snowboarding, and basketball.
4. Minnie ((G)I-DLE)
Minnie was born on October 23, 1997, also in Bangkok, and is now the main vocalist of (G)I-DLE! She has two older twin brothers, Mic and Mac, and said that her parents intentionally all gave them “M” names. She came to Korea in 2015 when she passed Cube Entertainment‘s Thailand auditions, and already knew CLC’s Sorn, another Thai idol, through going to the same talent school together called G-Vocal Studio in Thailand. She adores singer Troye Sivan and would love to do a collaboration with him! She’s also a huge fan of Super Junior. Admirably, when asked what she wants to do with her life, Minnie stated, “I want to be known worldwide as a representative of Thailand”.
5. Sorn (CLC)
Sorn was born on November 18, 1996 in Thailand. She’s a vocalist for CLC, but can also play the flute and guitar! She was also the first member of CLC to be revealed. Like many others on this list, she’s very multi-lingual, able to speak Thai, Korean, English, and Chinese fluently. She credits PENTAGON‘s Hui for helping Cube Entertainment recognize her talent, and she’s also friends with NCT’s Yuta after they both starred on the variety program Idol Party. Her father is her biggest role model, and she has said that if she wasn’t a singer, she would want to be a fashion designer, interior designer, or graphic designer, as she loves art and design!
6. Nichkhun (2PM)
The oldest idol on this list, Nichkhun was actually born in Rancho Cucamonga, California on June 24, 1998, but was later raised by his Thai-Chinese parents in Thailand after he turned 5. He comes from a wealthy family, which gave him the name “Thai Prince” in Korea, and has an older brother and two younger sisters. When he was 12, he moved to New Zealand for a year and a half to study at a collegiate school there, and afterwards moved back to his hometown in California to finish his high school years. He was scouted by a JYP Entertainment agent when he was attending the Korean Music Festival in Los Angeles, and began his trainee period in 2006. He debuted with 2PM in September of 2008, and he serves as their vocalist, rapper, and visual. He speaks many languages, including Thai, English, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, and basic French! He’s also acted in several Korean films and dramas, as well as Chinese dramas. A very multi-talented man indeed!