The women of K-pop are a formidable force: the biggest selling acts in the genre, after all, are female, and they appeal to guys and girls alike. From bubbly girls, to sex pots, to empowered ladies and divas, it's truly a mixed bag of incredibly sexy women. Here are our favorites.
BoA is the undeniable Queen of K-pop. Now 26, she became a major sensation as a teenager, when her image resembled that of Britney Spears. Now, with over 10 million records sold, she's captivated audiences not only in Korea, but also in Japan, where she continues to be one of the biggest idols. Her U.S. efforts include the English hit “Eat You Up,” as well as a lead role in the upcoming 2013 film Make Your Move 3D.
9. Yoobin (Wonder Girls)
If you've ever heard any K-pop, you've seen the Wonder Girls' “Nobody” video. This girl group is one of the biggest selling and most exposed K-pop acts around the world, and it's bolstered by prolific rapper Yoobin. She's the resident “down ass girl” whose husky voice, reminiscent of a young Queen Latifah, keeps the group from falling into the saccharine deep end.
If K-pop has a bad girl, it's this tatted up hellcat who loves to twerk it. Hyuna was a brief member of the Wonder Girls and later signed onto 4Minute, the Pussycat Dolls of K-pop. It was fate: this group was a perfect match for Hyuna's nasty gal sex appeal. Though her solo work tends to feature her bubbly Marilyn Monroe coos, she steals the show as a rapper. Her 2010 music video for “Change” was deemed too sexy and was initially slapped with a 19+ age rating.
7. Amber Liu (f(x))
South Korea is one of the most conservative East Asian nations, but it's starting to come around. Perhaps that's why it's currently obsessed with gender bending — and girls dressing like boys. Liu, an Angelino native of Taiwanese descent, is a true tomboy, and everyone's crushing on her. Her early inspiration? Mike Shinoda, of Linkin Park. Liu cooly defies standards of K-pop because she refuses to be anything but herself. She's the girl everyone wants to impress and be friends with, even Anna Kendrick.
6. Gain (Brown Eyed Girls)
If anyone's gunning for Kylie Minogue status, it's Gain, the gamine leader of Brown Eyed Girls. She tests the boundaries of modesty in K-Pop with her lusty expressions and kinky dance moves, and recently appeared in Psy's “Gentlemen” video as a vixen who whips him into submission with hilariously raunchy antics. Gain is genuinely at ease with her body and sexuality, and she doesn't blush at the idea of owning it. Hot.
5. Girls Generation
Girls Generation is a fantasy come true for many, including Bill Murray, and their record sales prove it. If there were ever an official act that represented K-pop worldwide, it's this 9-member group of leggy girls. From Tiffany's infamous “eye smile” to Taeyeon's surprisingly powerful voice, Girls Generation is a full-service pop outfit that delivers everything from naval costumes to infectious, brain-boring pop anthems like “Gee.”
4. CL (2NE1)
Though sometimes cheesy, CL loves to boast she's the “baddest female.” With a ballistic rap style and unbridled swagger, many are inclined to agree. She's also the muse of fashion designer Jeremy Scott. Early in her group's career, a lot of media ragged on her appearance, which many considered unattractive. CL once revealed that her record company wanted her to undergo plastic surgery, but she refused. We love a confident girl who owns it. Haters, take note, that's truly sexy.
3. Park Gyuri (Kara)
When an entire country considers you an ethereal goddess, you probably wouldn't consider a drag role to be your next career move, but Park Gyuri has proven to be not only a hot girl, but also a convincing boy as well. Park is member of Kara, a tart girl group with a kitty schtick. This “it girl” has captivated her home country with her acting skills and recently made her musical debut in 200 Pounds Beauty, which is based on the titular South Korean film.
K-pop delivers an assembly line of impossibly “perfect” girls, and there's seriously something wrong with that. Since their debut in 2009, 2NE1 has changed the industry with their empowering and fearless messages. They are immensely popular around the world, especially among girls and gay people, and have a discography of bombastic tunes. The girls of 2NE1 are pretty, but that's not the point: each member shines with distinct talents, and together, they're an amazing spectacle. Stick together, girls!
1. Lee Hyori
Armed with a cheeky personality, as well as a bodacious voice and body, Lee is the original hottie of K-pop, to which she brings a bawdy All-American flavor. After a stint as a popular TV show host, Lee returned to K-pop and reminded everyone that she's rightfully the “elder sister” whom wide-eyed pop stars bow down to. In an industry where being hot is largely defined by looking girly and acting coquette, Lee doesn't defy her age — 34 — but rather embraces it. She's indelibly womanly — and fierce