The members of aespa got real about the difficulties of making it to debut—and why they didn’t know if they would be able to do it.
Since their debut, aespa have made many impressive achievements in a surprisingly short time. Not only were they incredibly successful with their very first release, “Black Mamba,” but they also became ambassadors for luxury fashion brand Givenchy within their first rookie year. And earlier this year, they became only the third K-Pop artist to perform at Coachella.
They then followed up their Coachella appearance with a speech at the 2022 United Nations High-Level Political Forum.
Seeing how far they’ve come in such a short time, it’s hard to believe aespa might not have ever debuted. Yet, given the harsh reality that most K-Pop trainees face, perhaps it’s also not that surprising.
Speaking with W Magazine, the members of aespa got real about the difficulties of being a trainee, as well as how Giselle‘s arrival changed things for the team. While main vocalist NingNing is the youngest, she was actually the first in the group to become a trainee at SM Entertainment, joining in 2016.
She was followed by Winter and Karina, who both became trainees in 2017.
Karina explained that, while most trainees are typically friends, it’s impossible for them to not feel like they’re competing with one another.
You’re all close together and you’re all trying to reach for the same goal, but there naturally is a competition among the group as well.
This sense of competition was brought about by the stress of not knowing who was going to debut or not. Many groups were often set to make their debut, and even filmed videos, but then were pulled out at the last minute. Therefore, when Karina, Winter, and NingNing were training together, there was never any certainty that they would actually get to debut, even up until the final moment.
When the three of us were training for the debut, there were a lot of uncertainties surrounding the group formation, so it was very emotionally unstable… There’s a constant worry and fear that things might change.
Yet, everything changed when Giselle joined the team. While Giselle was not particularly interested in K-Pop at first, she was inspired to become an idol when she realized what it means to many people.
I realized it really does have a lot of impact around the world and it gives a lot of good energy… It also helped me through the tough times. I wanted to be that for someone else.
She then went on to become one of only seven artists to pass SM Entertainment’s famous Saturday public audition and make their debut. When she revealed that she had done so, it left even Super Junior‘s Shindong impressed.
Giselle joined the other three members as a trainee in 2019, and according to W Magazine journalist Katherine Cusumano, that is when everything fell into place. During the interview, the members explained that they all felt as if they were able to strike a good balance together. Giselle claimed that they are able to create harmony between the four of them.
This person is like, oh, [in a low note]. This person’s like, ah [in a higher note], and this person’s like, ahh [the highest note].
Each member makes their own unique contributions to the team dynamic, and now that they have come so far, it’s clear that they were meant to be from the start!