Sometimes, all it takes is one simple action, cute facial expression, a particularly beautiful moment, or sexy instance for a celebrity’s popularity to skyrocket. In these cases, it just took one GIF that became the talk of the town and catapulted these female idols’ popularity to legendary status. Check out the GIFs that made these women famous – or, at least, even more famous than they already were!
1. Suzy (formerly of missA)
Now known as the “nation’s sweetheart”, Suzy began her career as a missA member – but it was a moment on Running Man in 2011 that earned her her first nickname, “flower girl Suzy”. This cheesy smile, combined with her stunningly casual visuals, first put her into the minds and hearts of South Koreans.
2. Sohee (formerly of Wonder Girls)
This moment, filmed as part of MTV’s My Wonder Girls during Wondergirls‘ debut in 2008, gave the young Sohee the rather unforgettable nickname “dumpling” (mandu) because of her round face. Although she has lost her chubby cheeks and gone on to have a successful career as a singer and actress, Sohee will forever be known as “mandu Sohee”.
3. Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)
In 2010, DAUM released individual screensavers for the Girls’ Generation members and Taeyeon‘s cute aegyo went viral! Although Taeyeon was already popular for her talent, visuals and dedication to hard work, the adorable screen saver showed fans another side of her – and it’s adorable.
While HyunA was a popular member of group 4MINUTE, her solo career really took off during her Bubble Pop tour in 2011. She wore a memorable rose-print dress, but it was her sexy dance moves that pushed her far into the spotlight – earning her the nickname “rose knife”, after a popular Korean infomercial on TV at the time. This knife was supposedly the most badass knife in existence and could “cut down almost anything in one slice.”
5. Kyungri (formerly of 9MUSES)
Kyungri’s charisma and sexy charm were on full display in 9MUSES‘s “Wild” MV in 2013, and this gif became the talk of South Korea thanks to Kyungri’s seductive vibes. It is widely believed the “Wild” era was Kyungri’s most legendary for looks so far.
6. Hani (EXID)
Hani was made famous due to a moment caught on fancam during EXID’s performance of “Up Down” in 2014. In the chorus, the choreography involves some rocking hip action and Hani took it to a whole new level, skyrocketing her popularity in the process. The fancam has been viewed almost 30 million times on Youtube.
7. Hyeri (Girl’s Day)
In 2014, Hyeri took part in the army show Real Men. When it was time to say goodbye, she became teary-eyed and displayed an impressive aegyo while saying farewell to the male officer known as the Terminator. The move made her the most popular member of Girl’s Day at the time and associated her with the “iiiing!” sound she made while shaking the officer’s hand.
8. Seungyeon (formerly of KARA)
Seungyeon became the queen of pigtails when she wore the style during KARA‘s Jet Coaster Love concert in Japan in 2015, with many netizens saying they didn’t know she was so pretty and that although the style is really hard to pull off well, she nailed it! She became known as “fairy Seungyeon”.
9. Seolhyun (AOA)
Seolhyun was already known for her sexy body and beautiful face thanks to her run in several successful advertising campaigns, but it was the way she walked in tight leather pants during a 2016 Kloud CF that cemented her status as a goddess.
10. Yoona (Girls’ Generation)
The way Yoona handled a technical malfunction during a Girls’ Generation performance in 2016 became legendary as she gestured and mouthed “the mike [sound] isn’t coming out”. Netizens were blown away by her beauty even under pressure!
11. Sana (TWICE)
When Sana appeared on an episode of Knowing Bros in 2017, she participated in a version of Chinese whispers involving noise-canceling headphones. She captured hearts with her cute aegyo pronunciation of the intended words “cheese kimbap” and is now synonymous with cheese kimbap!
12. Chaeyeon (DIA)
Jung Chaeyeon finished up 7th on Produce 101‘s first season and became a member of DIA, but she was first known as the program’s “ending fairy”, thanks to her smooth and pretty visuals at the end of her performances on the show. It was so popular that she even parodied her ending expression on SNL Korea.
13. Irene (Red Velvet)
Irene performed a short sexy dance to Camilla Cabello‘s “Havana” at the SBS Super Concert in Taipei earlier this year, and although the Red Velvet member already had plenty of fans, this clip of her seductive dance earned her many more. The cute but mesmerizing way she danced had fans praising her beauty and talent.