Kim Hyuna first burst into the scene by being a member of the Wonder Girls as a teenager in 2006. Health problems forced her to leave the group. She departed right before the song “Nobody” became a huge hit internationally. It may have seemed like a missed opportunity, but as history would show, Hyuna had a more critical date with destiny.
In 2009, Hyuna reemerged as a member of another girl group 4Minute and found success again.
This time more of her personality shined forth. She gained a chance to do a solo project. Hyuna released a song called “Change,” where she surprised everyone with a shocking music video that at the time was too sexy for K-pop standards. It was here where her iconic status as a hot pop star.
It is similar to how another Singer gained iconic status in the past. This singer was Madonna, who similarly began with dance-pop songs and began to change her image with provocative songs and physical appearance. Just like Madonna, Hyuna introduced more seductive outfits and sexy dance moves that were still considered offensive at the time.
Hyuna continued to perform with 4minute but still found time to go solo with hit songs like “Bubble Pop.” But by the time it was released, Korean audiences had accepted her image and music. Hyuna skyrocketed to International success. The formula was pushed further by allowing Hyuna to collaborate with male singers in creating more sexy dance music.
In 2012, Hyuna played the female lead part in Korean rapper, Psy’s gigantic hit “Gangnam Style,” showing more skin and dancing more stimulating by seductively gyrating her ass during the famous dance routine. Anyone who doubted that she was the biggest K-pop female icon, seeing this music video changed all that.
Like Madonna, Hyuna broke barriers by mesmerizing audiences with her oozing sex appeal. Some conservative sectors still criticized her for being too sexy in live performances by lifting her skirt, showing her ass and touching her boobs. There was even a wardrobe malfunction that almost revealed her breasts from under her bikini top. All of which happened to Madonna during her time. But for both singers, young culture began to embrace the rebellious style and became the trend of their respective periods.
Hyuna continued to go solo after 4Minute disbanded in 2016. Her image and music had paved the way for K-pop to be discovered internationally as a serious music movement and not just a novelty genre. There are still those who disagree with Hyuna’s image and music, but the breakthrough of Asian culture into Western markets rival the impact that Madonna had on the world.