BTS first burst onto the Korean pop scene in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2016 that the seven-man boy band achieved international success. Their infectious songs, dance moves, and, of course, good looks have catapulted them to levels of fame and acclaim that rival even Beatlemania in the ’60s. The group’s meteoric rise may have seemed inevitable, but the individual members’ own chutzpah had a lot to do with their success. Here’s who all makes up the phenomenon that is BTS:
Real name: Kim Nam-jun, age 25
RM was the first member recruited for the boy band, making him essentially the leader. “BTS is a democracy,” he told Miss Vogue in 2018, admitting that many of the group decisions were made by playing rock-paper-scissors. RM got his start in the underground rap battle scene. He also taught himself to speak English by watching every season of Friends.
Real name: Kim Seok-jin, age 27
Self-nicknamed “Worldwide Handsome,” Jin can get away with such comments because he was recruited into the group based on his looks. At 27, he’s the oldest member of the group and is one of the group’s sub-vocalists. He’s described by RM as the “Ross” of the group.
Real name: Min Yun-ki, age 26
Suga is the group’s lead rapper. Like RM, he also got his start in the underground Korean rap scene. He hustled his way into the group through hard work from a young age. Suga started writing songs when he was only 13 years old and worked part-time in a recording studio later in his teens. This experience has led him to become a producer on not just some of BTS’ tracks, but other artists as well.
Real name: Jung Ho-seok, age 26
J-Hope was the third member tapped to join the boy band. Though he was originally part of an underground dance crew and known mostly for his skills on the dance floor, J-Hope eventually expanded his skill set to include rapping and songwriting. Don’t discount his dancing, though. He won several dancing competitions with his dance crew, Neuron.
Real name: Park Ji-min, age 24
Jimin was discovered while he was still in high school studying modern dance. He attended an arts school with bandmate V when he was younger. He’s best known for his innocent looks and killer moves. Jimin is also known to donate to causes close to his heart, like educational programs in his hometown of Busan.
Real name: Kim Tae-hyung, age 24
V has the RnB chops of the group. He’s not just interested in the music business, though. In addition to songwriting and producing, the young artist also lists acting and photography among his interests. Jimin has described his bandmate as “a brat” to GQ UK, but also admits V has some motherly instincts that make up for it.
Real name: Jean Jeong-guk, age 22
Jungkook, the youngest member of the group, joined when he was just 15 years old. He’s the main vocalist for the boy band and before he even joined the group, he was a rising star in the Korean pop world. He also appeared on the Korean reality show King of Masked Singer after joining BTS, much to the delight of his fans.