The K-pop wave hit the Singapore shores arguably around 2003 and reached its peak from 2008 onwards. Till today the Korean craze is still going strong. However, due to the hallyu lag, we may have missed some spectacular highlights to this incredible artiste’s career. You have have seen her around as a regular at popular Korean variety programmes such as Running Man, but 38-year-old Lee Hyori (yep, you read right, 38) is a veteran in the Korean entertainment industry, long before the K-wave hit our little red dot. Dubbed as the Queen of Pop, Lee Hyori is the star of our spotlight episode today. This stunning lady has been pretty low-key in the past few years as she took a hiatus from the entertainment business in 2015, even deleting all her social media accounts as she needed “time for herself”. Now, the queen is back with a brand new album called ‘BLACK’. You can watch her stunningly conceptual music video here. Her Instagram is back up too — the star is starting from scratch with 482,000 followers (@hyoleehyolee) and climbing.
From her effortlessly sexy style to her enviable physique, BAZAAR is giving you 5 things you need to know about this trailblazer:
1. Hyori debuted as the leader of 90s K-pop girl band, Fin.K.L
We weren’t joking around when we said that Hyori was a veteran. She started her music career in 1998 as part of the girl band movement that was taking South Korea by storm. Imagine TLC meets Spice Girls and you got yourself Fin.K.L. They were one of the biggest girl bands at that time and Hyori was naturally appointed the leader, being the “Beyonce” of the group. The band stopped making new music in 2002. Shortly after, Hyori planned her first solo album which later became one of the biggest successes in her career. In her heyday, Hyori was the highest paid female singer in Korea earning approximately US$2.2 million per year. The album, ‘Stylish…E’ won her 7 music awards and infected the nation with what they called, ‘Hyolee Syndrome’. Needless to say, we too were victims.
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2. She is a huge animal lover.
Hyori doesn’t just love animals, she is an animal activist and fights for their rights. She is a member of civic group Korean Animal Rights Advocates and has been involved in a series of self-started campaigns. After volunteering at a pet protection center, she was deeply disturbed by the horrible things she saw and the sad fates of strays. In 2011, she decided to adopt an ailing dog with one blind eye, naming her “Soonshim” and launched several campaigns to encourage adoption. She has now added cats to her family and she isn’t planning to stop adopting anytime soon.
3. Hyori is happily married to fellow singer, Lee Sang Soon.
Hyori broke many men’s hearts on September 2013, when she tied the knot with Lee Sang Soon, much to the surprise of netizens. The marriage announcement came out of nowhere but couple were said to be dating secretly, away from the public eye. Now they have been married for over 4 years. Lee Sang Soon is a successful singer song-writer who actually helped write Hyori’s single ‘Remember’ that was made for her campaign for abandoned animals. That was how they met and they hit it off since day one. It was truly a case of opposites attract as soft-spoken and low-profile Sang Soon is polar opposite to Hyori’s flashy image. Though many judged their marriage, calling it a case of “Beauty & The Beast”, love triumphs over bitter rumours and they are still standing strong.
4. Hyori is a true blue yogi.
Needless to say, Hyori is the epitome of #fitspo. Besides long hours of choreography and rehearsals, Hyori sticks to a work-out routine too. Her favourite form of exercise is yoga, which she practises on a daily basis. She says that it isn’t just a great form of exercise but also helps calm and soothe her mind. Just look at the video above and see what a yogi this k-pop star is. On top of regular exercise, Hyori also sticks to a vegetarian diet. Perhaps this is the secret to her eternal youth because this woman does not look a day over 25, let alone 38!! From her porcelain skin to her kickass physique, most 20-year-olds wished they looked half as good as Hyori.
5. Hyori’s style is all about effortlessness and individuality.
Looking as good as her has its perks. Hyori can basically wear a trash bag and look 100%, while the rest of us mere mortals would look homeless. Perhaps because of that, Hyori is constantly switching up her style. She rocked the 90s low-rise denim and then moved on to a casual hip hop style. You can see her rocking a beanie, sweater and jeans frequently. On top of that style, Hyori also regularly rocks boho-style pieces with cowboy hats, denim shorts and boots. The key is that the outfits never look over-styled or pre-planned. They look as if she simply threw some clothes on and she looks great. So, don’t be too bothered about matching pieces, but instead go for comfort and practicality.
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Her signature makeup style is all or nothing, much like Hyori herself. She is either dressed to the nines or dressed ultra casual. She’s not afraid to go bare-faced in public and she rocks what God gave her all the time. However, for more special occasions, Hyori always opts of striking black rimmed eyes paired with dark burgundy lips. She has always strayed from the usual bubblegum pop style and opted for an edgier feel. To get that Hyori look, simply go for 0 or 100! Barefaced and natural or gothic and vampy! It’s all about being confident in your skin you’re in. Which is easier said than done, unless you are Lee Hyori.