Today is #SeoDay.
Birthdays are meaningful celebrations that many of us take for granted. They are a lot more than just a day where we receive gifts or hear praises. They mark a milestone in a person’s life, acknowledging the fact that we have lived another year, hopefully having achieved greater things.
Yet Birthdays also serve another important function. They separate one year from the next, allowing us to capture our lives into tiny slices that come together to create a greater whole – our life as individuals. When you think back on your last year, you remember who you met, what you did, the memories that defined that particular slice.
For the last five years, SONEs have watched Seohyun grow before our eyes. We have witnessed five slices of her life. Today on her 22nd Birthday, it seems appropriate to look back on these five years and to see how far our maknae has come.
The First Slice – Seohyun Age 17
When Girls’ Generation first debuted in 2007, there were certain roles that each members were given. For Seohyun, she was handed the title of maknae, and on the surface, no one in Girls’ Generation could have fit the role any better (Sorry Sunny).
Seohyun was the definition of cute, a young girl who was obsessed with Keroro, loved school, and was awkwardly shy around others. She was the girl who pirouetted and danced with the paper airplane in Into The New World. Innocent, charming, and unique were words that seemed like an appropriate description of our maknae at the time.
During their debut year, Seohyun sat down for an interview with MTV Television and revealed a wish that she would go on to fulfill as time passed.
My first dream would be to work hard and turn everything into a Girls’ Generation.
In a candid talk with her fellow members, the maknae shared a rather meaningful and personal thought that gave us our first glimpse into the deep complexities that were already lying dormant underneath our innocent maknae. Something that would be a re-occuring theme as years passed – the fact that Seohyun has a maturity that surpasses her age.
My classmates study really hard, so I feel like I should too, but they were saying ‘You don’t have too,’ ‘Aren’t you busy?’ ‘Just give up you have another way.’ But I don’t think that’s right. There is no reason for me to give up. I didn’t quit high school.
For SONEs, mid 2008 to mid 2009 was a roller coaster ride of emotions. It was a year where we learned to appreciate the girls more than ever. At the beginning, the girls excelled with individual promotions with Yuri & Sooyoung landing roles in a Korean sitcom, Unstoppable Marriage, and Yoona starring in her first leading role in You Are My Destiny, winning actress and popularity awards.
On the other hand, this was also a time where Girls’ Generation went on their infamous 8-month hiatus. This time wasn’t easy for the members. Many of them had to stay in the dorm while others worked late into the night and made a name for themselves in the industry. Girls’ Generation did not release any new songs as nine, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t a valuable year of growth. They learned through inactivity just how valuable it was to be able to promote together as a group. As the old saying goes, sometimes you have to be unemployed to appreciate work.
Which was exactly what happened when they reached star studded popularity through Gee, claiming first place on Music Bank for nine-consecutive weeks, selling hundreds of thousands of albums, capturing triple crowns and becoming true hallyu stars.
As a result they started appearing on shows like Horror Movie Factory, Star Golden Bell, and others – showcasing their variety skills and personalities for more interested audiences.
Naturally Seohyun got more comfortable with the cameras as time passed, and the girl who once needed encouragement to make impersonations on a radio show, started to get comfortable in her own skin. We witnessed as she became more open and candid about her thoughts and feelings, and saw her logical nature arise as she confronted her unnies on variety shows like Intimate Note. Her serious personality and disinterest in boys garnered attention, and she began to form a place in the mind of SONEs as The 4-dimensional one. Some fans even called her robotic, but this was just an awkward stage in her personal growth where she was still discovering what she wanted.
The Third Slice – Seohyun Age 19
This evolution continued to happen after her 19th birthday with the release of their mini-album Genie. Fans always joked about her seriousness as a maknae, her disinterest in boys, but this was a year where she also learned how to show off her humorous side. Let’s not forget her cameo on We Got Married as Taeyeon’s & Hyungdon’s father. Of course, this was also when she lectured Hyungdon about the vileness of hamburgers, and the dire long term consequences of ingesting them.
Yet there were also meaningful moments on Hello Baby when the girl’s fooled Seohyun on her own birthday with a hidden camera prank that brought her to tears. It was a way for them to teach her not to take things so seriously. Perhaps it was the cameras, but surely the members also played a role in helping her develop into a more fun loving person, no longer the only child, she found herself with 8 older sisters. This was also the year where she started her virtual marriage on We Got Married.
The Fourth Slice – Seohyun Age 20
For Seohyun, this was the year where she really started to stand out. It started with Seohyun being paired with fellow hallyu star Jung Yonghwa from CN Blue on We Got Married. This was where she really started capturing fans as they got an in-depth glimpse into her personality. She wasn’t robotic like everyone thought, she had a caring and innocent personality. She had a warm heart, and while she nagged and worried about things, it was clear how pure she really was. Her love for sweet potatoes became a hot issue over the course of the years and in the show, prompting Yonghwa to buy her an entire field. Fans gradually fell in love with the aptly named Goguma Couple, because of their contrasting personalities. Seohyun was the mature maknae with the love for childish things and health products and Yonghwa was the choding rocker that wanted piggyback rides. It was interesting to watch the two interact, and share personal tidbits about their thoughts on life and love.
But this year was also significant because Seohyun really became one of the more central members in Girls’ Generation when they debuted with the Hoot concept in late 2010. She was always one of the main vocals, but this time the spotlight really centered around her, in which she got her own solo with the James Bond spy concept. She oozed with sex appeal, and this was when SONEs around the world started to realize that SeoBB was starting to become Seolady.
The Fifth Slice – Seohyun Age 21
In many ways, this past year was perhaps the most significant one for her on a personal and professional level. It all started with The Boys, in late 2011 – an album that really helped Girls’ Generation reach a new level of success as they debuted internationally.
Seohyun showcased fierceness and charisma during their The Boys promotions – a stark contrast from the girl from Into the New World. She was no longer a modest rookie, or a shy maknae – instead she was a maknae that was worthy of admiration because of her capability to do almost anything and succeed.
At the 2011 MAMA awards, Seohyun stunned SONEs everywhere with her beauty – making us realize that she was now more confident with her body. Fans were pleasantly surprised by her transformation, from the baby of the group to another one of the girls. She started ruining bias lists, transforming more SONEs into Seomates.
Seohyun continued to shine on variety shows, appearing on Strong Heart where she shared her experience of meeting her personal hero Ban-Ki Moon – The UN Secretary General. Her admiration for him displayed a maturity beyond her years, and she talked about her personal dreams of wanting to make the world a better place. She was recently appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN 2012 expo in Yeosu and continues to get involved with philanthropic activities as a member of Girls’ Generation.
She identified her ideal type on The Beatles Code, picking a man with values and morals over one with looks. On Kangta’s Pasta E Basta, Taeyeon even revealed that Seohyun wanted to start meeting boys. She impressed with her intellect on Million Dollar Quiz Show, being the first idol to answer all the questions correctly winning the prestigious prize.
As an artist, Seohyun showcased her dynamic vocals more this year than any other year. With a sub-unit group in TaeTiSeo, she captured award show trophies and gained recognition for her individual talents. She sang an OST track for Yuri’s drama, Fashion King, and even did a collaboration with Korean ballad singer Yoon Gun, making it a busy year for her professionally. However, fans were delighted to see and hear more sides of her. All this was really just a culmination of her hard work and determination to make everything into a “Girls’ Generation.”
A New Slice…
As Seohyun turns 22 years old, it marks another year – another slice in the cake that will become her life. As SONEs we have the luxury of getting a brief glimpse into her accomplishments and can watch her as she matures into a lady. But if there’s one theme that we’ve seen from the past five years it’s that you should never doubt what the maknae is capable of. Because there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since Seohyun’s debut – the determination to achieve her dreams.
For everyone here at SNSD Korean:
Happy 22nd Birthday to Girls’ Generation Seohyun!
credits: seoooify@tumblr, smtown @ facebook, AllRiseSilver@Twitter, soshi subs team.