While most K-Pop trainees learn how to sing, dance, and rap before debuting, TWICE‘s Jihyo also had another class on her roster at JYP Entertainment: basketball training. In a new interview for Yes, I am Jihyo, the star vocalist revealed the surprising reason why the company made her take lessons in basketball as a trainee.
Following in the footsteps of her fellow members, Jihyo is about to become the latest member of TWICE to release her own Yes, I am… solo photobook. Alongside a chill, fun, and cozy photo shoot, the book will also feature Jihyo in a set of sports-themed photos. In a recent preview for Yes, I am Jihyo, the TWICE star was seen in a skatepark, on a tennis court, and playing basketball.
But this wasn’t Jihyo’s first time on a basketball court. In fact, as she revealed in a recent interview, she actually learned to play basketball while she was a trainee. Jihyo was just eight years old when she joined JYP Entertainment, and she went on to train for a staggering ten years before debuting in TWICE. As such, it seems she had time to train in more than just vocals and dance.
“When I was a trainee, our company once sent me to a basketball class,” Jihyo revealed while talking about her photobook shoots. But why would JYP Entertainment ask their future main vocalist to spend time on athletics? The surprising answer is all down to her physique.
At around 160cm (5 feet, 3 inches) in height, Jihyo is shorter than the average Korean woman, and she was likely even smaller when she was a young trainee. As such, she says the company made her take basketball classes “to help with my growth“—in other words, to help her grow taller!
While basketball players are known for their height, there currently isn’t any scientific evidence to suggest that playing the sport actually makes you grow taller. That said, many people still believe playing the sport could help stimulate your growth hormones. And, in any case, it’s also a great way for performers to build their stamina and strength.
Given that Jihyo is still below average height, it seems the basketball classes didn’t quite work as well as JYP Entertainment had hoped. Even now, when asked to choose between getting to grow five centimeters taller or receiving ₩500 million KRW (about $434,000 USD), Jihyo revealed she’d choose to grow taller. “You can’t get taller with money, she explained in the interview, adding, “I can make money through whatever means.”
Of course, fans can all agree that there’s nothing wrong with Jihyo’s current height at all. In fact, she’s known to ONCEs and non-fans alike as one of the idols breaking down beauty standards with her incredible toned and fit body.
Feeling the basketball for the first time in a while [during the Yes, I am Jihyo photoshoot], it made me feel so good. It took me back to my past.— Jihyo