Meet LE SSERAFIM: The K-Pop Rookies on Their Way to Becoming Beauty Icons


Le Sserafim—The Kpop Rookies on Their Way to Beauty Icons


Being a K-Pop idol means slipping on changing aesthetics the way some of us change socks. “Every time we prepare for a new album or do a photo shoot, we take on new and different styles, which feel amazing every time,” HONG EUNCHAE, the youngest member of the new “it” girl group LE SSERAFIM, explains. 

LE SSERAFIM may technically be a rookie girl group, but they hit the music landscape with the velocity of a meteorite. The five multi-talented artists—KIM CHAEWON, SAKURA, HUH YUNJIN, KAZUHA, and HONG EUNCHAE—are the first girl group to come out of HYBE (the same company that BTS calls home). Their second mini album, ‘ANTIFRAGILE,’ debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200 chart — making LE SSERAFIM the fastest female K-Pop group to reach that milestone — and entered Spotify Daily’s Top Songs chart in 24 different countries during the first week of its release. Their music videos for FEARLESS and ANTIFRAGILE racked up a combined 277 million (and counting) views on YouTube. 

Their debut aesthetic was clearly, domination.  And the cherry on the ice cream sundae of their career: a million-selling album. It's an achievement that some artists only dream of, and LE SSERAFIM hit it in March with their album ‘ANTIFRAGILE.’

As if that weren’t enough, the group made a heaven-sent announcement Monday: LE SSERAFIM will be releasing their first studio album, ‘UNFORGIVEN,’ on May 1st (the eve of their debut anniversary). "It's 'wandering' when you're in it alone," the album's trailer explains. "It becomes an adventure, when you're in it together.”

LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


LE SSERAFIM’s world is a colorful one, thanks to the boundary-pushing stylists and makeup artists who populate their concept photos and music videos with all things bright, sparkling, and magical. 3D gummy bear manicures, neon eyeliner zig-zagging across brow bones, eyes dotted with tiny jewels: It’s easy to get lost in the go-for-broke visuals that make up the fantastical world of LE SSERAFIM. 

“I personally like the bright, edgy makeup we've done for ‘ANTIFRAGILE,’” KIM CHAEWON, the leader of the group, told InStyle. “I don’t feel that I need to look ‘perfect’ to feel antifragile or confident. I have my insecurities too, but being able to enjoy different styles and looks regardless is, I think, what makes me feel fearless.” 

“I personally loved the lip piercing I did at the Melon Music Awards!” HUH YUNJIN offered. Indeed the singer/songwriter managed to make a badass lip piercing look so sexy and ethereal during her performance that we’re ready to officially crown her the risk-taker of the group. 

Japanese-born SAKURA cites a cutie pie aesthetic as her favorite beauty moment so far. “I loved the hat with the rabbit ear that we wore for the ANTIFRAGILE photo shoot! Those hats with animal ears are, I think, trending now, and they are so adorable.” 

 LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


Each new promo event means a new moment in the makeup chair. It also means a new opportunity for HONG EUNCHAE to level up her MUA skills. “It’s fun to get makeup and styling done, especially because I’m not the most knowledgeable or skilled in it,” admitted the youngest member of the group. She also relies on a fellow, more experienced member to further her beauty education. “YUNJIN’s very good at doing her own makeup, so I learn a lot from her. She often does my makeup too.”

If there’s one thing we’re learning about LE SSERAFIM, it is that they are stronger together. They all walked very different paths before meeting at the HYBE’s practice studios. Still, it’s clear they've bonded together, their friendships sealed with camaraderie and a deep affection for each other. 

When it comes to personal beauty icons, fans of LE SSERAFIM have something in common with the singers. They, too, look to K-pop idols for inspo. KIM CHAEWON and KAZUHA both cite Blackpink as their personal beauty icons. KAZHUA also admires Korean actress and singer Bae Suzy, while SAKURA looks to American artist Olivia Rodrigo for inspiration. “Her sense of style is so cute,” the idol gushes. “And her stage outfits are the style of fashion that I absolutely love.”

Life as an Idol: Stress-Tested Beauty

Life as an idol isn’t all gorgeous photos and flawless performances. The massive amount of behind-the-scenes work, hours of practice, tight deadlines, and time-zone-hopping schedules means that stress is part of the job. “I think stress can really take a toll on your skin,” KIM CHAEWON told InStyle. The secret to combating that stress? “I use masks and drink lots of water throughout the day to keep my skin fresh and healthy.” 

HUH YUNJIN echos that technique. “Drink lots of water and clay face masks at night,” she advises. Another non-negotiable beauty rule if you’re an idol: Make sure your hair care routine is as replenishing as your skincare routine is. “I have done a lot to my hair in the past year,” she explained, “so I am always generous with hair essence before drying and oil after drying my hair.” 

LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


“I think a healthy diet is the most important in maintaining a healthy body and skin,” explains KAZUHA, who trained as a ballet dancer for years in Amsterdam, Moscow, and London, before pivoting her career and technique to debut as a K-pop idol. “When I was overseas, I came across a lot of foods like quinoa, beets, and dates that are both good for your health and beauty, so I try to incorporate these into my diet.”

“My skincare routine doesn’t necessarily change when I’m stressed,” confesses HONG EUNCHAE, “but knowing that my skin can get more irritated when I’m under stress, I do try to be more diligent with my skincare routine.” She, too, has a firm hair routine to combat the styling stress. “I apply foam essence that I got from my hairdresser throughout my wet hair and dry thoroughly.” HONG EUNCHAE has one sweetly sentimental secret weapon for her final haircare step, “I follow that up with the essence that I got as a gift from SAKURA’s mom.”

 LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


A New (Fearless) Girl Group 

While other K-pop groups strive for perfection, LE SSERAFIM’s emphasis on normalizing flaws is refreshing. One of the main themes of ANTIFRAGILE concerns becoming stronger while exposing your imperfections. It’s a theme that LE SSERAFIM relates to on an almost molecular level. Even their celestial name telegraphs their willingness to embrace the scary or unknown: LE SSERAFIM is an anagram of I’M FEARLESS. 

When asked to name their flaws, the new-gen angels all nakedly volunteer their vulnerabilities. “I don’t think perfection is something that one can achieve, so I try to be consistent with monitoring my performances,” SAKURA told InStyle. “I always think about how I can be better.”

LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


“I feel like I am often seen as this very energetic and confident person, and while I am very upbeat, there are times I feel very insecure about who I am. I always feel the need to be doing more,” HUH YUNJIN confessed, revealing imposter syndrome insecurities plague all of us, even those who happen to be beautiful and famous K-pop idols. “I think for me, acknowledging myself when I feel anxious or insecure is the first step toward owning yourself and being ANTIFRAGILE.” 

HUH YUNJIN recently released ‘I ≠ DOLL,’ a boldly honest anthem about the constant pressure she faces as an idol to be superficially perfect. “Yesterday, you said I looked like a doll; Today, you called me a bitch. When all they see is vanity; They pick apart my body, And throw the rest away," HUH YUNJIN sings, in both Korean and English.

“It felt cathartic, in a way,” the songwriter told InStyle. “I think I was able to just get my thoughts out honestly on paper, and that, in itself, was a good emotional experience. I hope people will be able to hear the message that you cannot fully comprehend anyone — whether they are a public figure or not — through a 2D screen. We are all multidimensional people, and it is not right to see anyone as the next exciting headline. No matter who you are, you are more than just a pretty face!”

LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


“I can’t change the background I come from, and it’s only natural that everyone is different,” KAZUHA said, explaining how she quickly learned that comparing yourself to anyone else is a losing battle. “At first, I had to embrace the areas where I might fall short as a K-pop artist. I had been on a different path being a ballet dancer, so I felt the need to work on my vocals and dance as a K-pop artist within the short training period I had… So I try to find strength and make the best of what I learned from my background.” 

HONG EUNCHAE reports a similar experience, “I didn’t have much confidence in my vocals,” the idol explained. “But once I accepted the fact that I’m not completely confident, I became more motivated and gained strength in the process.”

KIM CHAEWON, too learned that embracing your shortcomings is the first step to growth. The artist brings an impressive amount of experience to LE SSERAFIM, having previously debuted with Iz*One (along with member SAKURA). “I’ve gone through the process of debuting before I joined LE SSERAFIM, but then, I had a short period of training, so I felt that my dance and vocals needed much improvement. I went into training again with a fresh mindset. I think this allowed me to really grow as an artist by the time I debuted as LE SSERAFIM.”

LE SSERAFIM k pop girl group


It’s clear from these confessions that LE SSERAFIM is bringing a new level of honesty to their fans (the growing legion named FEARNOT). Of course, their hard work and beyond-their-years talents are enough to turn casual viewers into admirers, but it is their vulnerability and willing openness that will stir their fans into becoming their lifelong devotees. It is that special partnership of artist and fan that the members do not take for granted.  

“We are so grateful that we’ve received so much love and support from FEARNOT,” SAKURA told InStyle. “We want to give that back and continue to make music that can be a source of joy and strength to FEARNOT. We’re working hard on our next album right now, so, please look forward to it!” 

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