Hello, this week we are examining Sunmi, former Wonder Girls member, because she and Lizzo have similar charts, lol!
Libra on the 2nd house
Like Lizzo, Sunmi may find that her money is caught up in other people. Her ability to not only foster and maintain relationships but find harmony and balance within them through cooperation and compromise will often determine how much money she will have in the bank. This is interesting since Libra is overly typecasted as a romantic sign but for idols and other entertainers in Korea, dating is largely taboo and heavily discouraged from being made public even if the person in question is in or nearing their 30s. Often you may only see idols get married or openly date when they leave their group and/or the industry all together, or when they are much older (mid 30s+). This is because music companies market their talent as fans’ boyfriends and girlfriends. Therefore, if idols date, or even marry, their image tanks and fans typically turn hostile.
We saw this recently when Chen of EXO suddenly announced he was getting married to his pregnant girlfriend back in the middle of January. The fans’ reactions? Kick him out of the group after 8 years. It should be noted that this group had a messy public contract dispute and eventual termination with three out of its four Chinese members for discrimination and health concerns just two years into their career.
This intense, all-or-nothing attitude towards celebrities is not really seen here in the U.S., so to many American fans this type of persistent reaction is odd. However, this system of idols “dating” their fans is being challenged by idols themselves.
Within the past decade there has been many high profile confirmed dating “scandals.” But while most of these stories end in the couple quickly breaking up anywhere from a couple of days to up a year later (e.g., Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation and Baekhyun from EXO, Krystal from f(x) and Kai from EXO, Seolhyun from AOA and Zico from Block B, Jennie from Blackpink and Kai from EXO, etc.), a small group of idols have continued to date openly such as Hani of EXID and Junsu of JYJ from 2015-2017, Gain of the Brown Eyed Girls and actor Joo Jihoon from 2014-2017, and Suzy of the defunct Miss A and actor Lee Minho from 2015-2018. Today’s couples include Jihyo from Twice and Kang Daniel, Momo from Twice and Heechul from Super Junior, and of course, the most notorious couple, HyunA of the defunct 4Minute and E’Dawn (now Dawn) of Pentagon, who were kicked out of their company for going public. As evident from the existence of these couples, past and present, there is small shift happening within the entertainment world. But these couples are the exception and not the rule. Trainees and fully debuted artists typically have their contracts terminated and must leave the company or end the relationship all together in order to stay, especially if this happens early in their career. And this is all just for dating period, let alone publicly.
Confirmed and public couples in the K-pop world, past and present
So where does this leave Sunmi? In the current environment and stage of artistry she is in and being an older singer (27) within the industry, interviewers and hosts can and do directly ask about her dating life and she can respond honestly without receiving too much flack. But Sunmi’s answer to who she is booed up with is rather interesting…
Among other entertainers, Sunmi is known as an “Ice Princess” as she rarely reciprocates the advances and interest men in the industry give her. She explains that if they somehow get her number through someone else, she swiftly changes it, and sometimes even blocks the man’s number as well. Sunmi’s reasoning besides being uneasy by men being pushy and aggressive is that she is usually the one to approach others and that she likes long-term relationships over casual ones.
This all makes sense considering her Venus is in Taurus. As the earthy, fixed Venus-ruled sign, people with this placement are extremely slow in initiating (romantic) relationships. They are in relationships for the long haul, so casual dating, flings, and one-night stands may be turn offs or be behaviors they seldom indulge in. Especially with the ruler of the 11th house of friendship also in Taurus and conjunct tightly to Venus, Sunmi may be very popular and charming to many within the industry but she herself may be a little particular about who she lets close to her. She needs a strong emotional foundation (Moon) first before she fully commits. But once she does, she’s a ride-or-die. Her relationships may last a lifetime as a result.
And this is interesting because Mars, her most malefic planet since her chart is diurnal, is in the 7th house of marriage and intimate relationships. This placement suggests that her personal, one-to-one romantic partnerships brings her the most subjective hardship. Maybe, as Mars represents aggression and the taking away of good things, Sunmi has to reject romantic advancements because how men come on to her is uncomfortable. Perhaps they don’t take “no” as an answer or they try to subtly manipulate her by being passive aggressive. Consequently, in order to protect herself, she has to change her number and block theirs and their social media accounts.
This is whole situation is complicated further by Jupiter, the ruler of the 7th house, being in the 1st house. This placement indicates that the activities of the 7th house are coming directly to her. As previously mentioned, Sunmi is likely very charming in person. I know on variety shows she’s funny and people seem at ease with her. As Jupiter is also the planet of optimism and enthusiasm, people are likely attracted to her upbeat energy. So in this case we have two extremes going on: on the negative, maybe Sunmi attracts aggressive suitors that make her distressed but on the positive end, many people naturally like her and seem to want the best for her, especially when we take into consideration that Venus, the moderate benefic, is also tangled up in this relationship equation.
Sunmi’s Venus is domicile, dignified by triplicity and term, rejoicing by gender, and is free from the Sun’s beams. This all helps to increase Venus’s benefice, which Sunmi’s Venus needs as it is maltreated by Saturn. But overall, Sunmi’s Venus is very well-placed. As the 2nd house ruler in the 9th house, Sunmi’s income may come from overseas enterprises, academia, what she publishes, and her religious/spiritual beliefs. But since Libra is a more interpersonal sign, the relationships that she creates abroad is emphasized here. As was mentioned in her Big 3 article, JYP Entertainment (JYPE) tried to break the Wonder Girls into the American market with… “limited” success. However, Sunmi suddenly pulling out of the group to pursue her higher education (a 9th house activity), after dropping out of high school with member Sohee for this American incursion, did contribute to the company scrapping the group’s English album since she was MIA. So, it is a bit ironic that Sunmi’s money is still tied to foreign countries years later.
The Wonder Girls in America
But considering that she already has previously established connections to people and places abroad makes it easier for her to obtain opportunities for work now that she is independent under a different label. Speaking, reading, and writing fairly good English only boosts this. She was able to have a world tour with only two albums under her belt, after all. So, when it comes to her income or livelihood, Sunmi is very lucky. When it comes to the day-to-day grind of her work, however, this is a slightly different story.
Aquarius on the 6th house
What is funny about Virgo risings is that, although they tend to make money through partnerships on some level, their work and daily lives involves disrupting society. (At the same time, however, this shouldn’t be too surprising as Virgo is here to critique and improve its environment. Likewise, I have been selling Libra a bit short. As an air sign where Saturn is exalted in, Libra is very diplomatic, objective, and just. But I digress.)
Aquarius as unconventionality made manifest is a more modern take on the sign. In modern circles, Aquarius is The Rebel Sign™ because it’s new ruler is Uranus, the planet of eccentricism and unexpectedness. If Uranus has these qualities, then Aquarius must then too. Thus, Aquarius became the weird, radical sign. This sign marches to the beat of its own drum and refuses to adhere to and uphold the traditions, laws, and structures that Saturn/Capricorn has laid down.
However, the more traditional/Medieval take on Aquarius is not so different from Capricorn. With Saturn ruling over it, Aquarius is no longer The Rebel Sign™; it is more The Reformer Sign™. Aquarius will challenge authority and long-held conventions and enact change if it finds that Capricorn’s structures are too restrictive, yes. But Aquarius will not try to steamroll everything in sight like some modern astrologers seem to insinuate.
According to astrologer Kevin Burk:
Although Aquarius will fight to the death for personal freedom, that personal freedom must be supported and protected by rules and structures. …The energy of Uranus is an expression of anarchy, and exists simply to disrupt any and all structures, to break up Saturn manifestations and illusions. Aquarius only seeks to disrupt those structures that do not support personal freedom and equality; it will fight to support and preserve those structures that do (2001, pp. 75, emphasis mine).
I bring up this difference between ancient/Medieval versus modern interpretations of Aquarius because, on the whole, Korea is more socially conservative than the U.S. Therefore, what is radical and what is seen as non-conformance can look very different. An example of this is the issues women are tackling within Korea’s feminist movement. One thing that I have seen being discussed in Korean media is women going braless. I remember seeing Sulli (RIP), former member of disbanded f(x), and Hwasa of Mamamoo receiving intense misogynistic flack both online and in the media for posting photos/videos and walking through the airport without a bra respectively.
Now, I think for many American women, going braless in public, and visibly so, is such a non-issue that it may not even cross our minds unless we’re over a C cup and/or are being sexually harassed for it whether online or when out and about. However, I should amend this by saying that celebrities who have shown their nipples in public have been torn apart in the media too, but this tended to happen around racial lines where black and brown women were often sexualized, exoticized, and shamed while white women were defended and held up as heroines. But let me get back to the point. With Aquarius on Sunmi’s 6th house, her work may garner some controversy from time to time because she is shining a light on societal issues. This has already happened with her song “Noir.”
At it’s core, the message “Noir” is trying to convey is that people go to extreme lengths to obtain likes, followers, and clout on social media, sometimes to the point of physically hurting themselves, grossly sensualizing mental health problems they may not have, and depicting graphic staged self-harm. The video also highlights the performative nature of these posts while acknowledging as a celebrity Sunmi herself participates in these behaviors too. What a bold statement, but nothing less from someone with an Aries Mercury! Sunmi explains why she chose to tackle this subject matter in an interview with 1theK:
During the period [between finishing promotions for “Siren” and end of the year ceremonies] I watched noir films. They’re overall dark and cover heavy subjects. So, I was thinking over and over and then I thought that social media is like the noir films of our time. Everything on social media is flamboyant. Flamboyant, strong, or sexual. The word “noir” and the features of social media make a contrast. I thought this can be an interesting material. Actually, the music video is about “attention seekers.” They call it “attention seeker” in the U.S. So, I’ll be an attention seeker in the music video. Strange situations in social media, people may think, “What’s wrong with her? Is she an attention seeker?” …In one sense as an entertainer, who is the real “attention seeker,” is playing the role of an “attention seeker.” I think that is very ironic and interesting. Of course, I think I’m an attention seeker because I’m an entertainer. I always need attention. I’m an attention seeker. I’m a person who has a hunger for attention. To people’s eyes what if I look bad like this? That’s why I started this.
In a different interview she says this:
I’ve read about how every year the number of people losing lives while taking crazy and dangerous pictures just to get "likes" from other people is increasing. Despite that, social media keeps on getting bigger. I think of this as a noir. Black, ominous, gloomy. Noir is dark. However, social media is extremely colorful and diverse. The more I think about these two contrasts, the more I feel that it’s ironic. I am not criticizing the reality in any way. In a way, entertainers are those who need the most attention from the audience. It has a somewhat self-mocking meaning.
What I find interesting about how Sunmi promoted “Noir” was through acting out these same behaviors she is calling out, perhaps to heighten the underlying self-mocking nature of the video she described in various interviews. A week or so before dropping the music video Sunmi uploaded a photo of enough Advil pills that could kill her onto Instagram. On Naver’s V Live she was breaking down and crying. On Twitter Sunmi stated that people were doing dangerous, self-harming things to get likes and so did she. Finally, on Instagram live Sunmi was propped up in a hospital bed, saying that she was okay. This last live was actually put in the video, showing how Sunmi’s likes and views went up despite not being sick or hurt in reality. It was all staged.
Today, in order to stay relevant, celebrities are often pushed by their record labels to go to great lengths to promote their songs across an overly saturated social media market, so it shouldn’t be shocking that Sunmi leaned into that when promoting her own song about the dangers of this practice. (Both her and her company did come clean about why she was posting these things later.) Nevertheless, this song is very Aquarian, even Uranian, in nature. It is poignant and provocative, especially the suicide scene, but ultimately the video revealed that some structures in society are not serving humanity well as they (namely, social media and celebrity culture) are adversely affecting people’s health, both physically (6th house) and mentally (12th house), Sunmi’s included which we’ll get into later. This song, despite its shock value though, was well-received and seemed to have sparked a social conversation both in Korea and abroad.
Special Consideration: Saturn in Aquarius in the 6th house
One last thing I want to touch on here, is Sunmi’s Saturn. Saturn gets a bad rap, understandably so as it is the greater malefic. However, when it is the moderate malefice in a person’s chart, and is dignified in some way, it can actually manifest in some positive ways. For Sunmi this can be seen with her thriving solo career under a new company. Before this time though, things were more difficult.
Sunmi revealed on Talk Mon that the reason she wanted to become an idol was because she thought it would be the easiest way to make money and fast for her sick single father who was rapidly declining in health and had to be hospitalized. So, at 14 she headed for Seoul to audition. At 14, she became a JYP trainee. It was very time consuming and she unfortunately didn’t respond to a text message from her father that was his last. Sunmi’s father passed away 3 months before her debut. Although the Wonder Girls were wildly popular, Sunmi had to tackle being the sole financial provider for her family and take care of her two younger brothers. No wonder she took a break from idol life!
It [being in the Wonder Girls] was an extremely busy life. I was also used to getting lots of love and attention from fans. but the worst part was that everything was just routine. My lifestyle was very mechanical and after a while. there was no heart put into what I did. Going up on stage and coming back down, the same thing over and over again.
If I was feeling that a young age, I had a hunch that my career wouldn’t go very far in the long run. That’s why I needed time alone to reflect and think about what I really wanted to do. After leaving, I realized how happy I could be but also at the same time, envied the other members of Wonder Girls as they continued to perform and be active in the K-pop scene.Sunmi on why she took a brief hiatus from the Wonder Girls
I’m still young right now but back then, at the age of 17, everything was so overwhelming. I wasn’t able to understand or communicate well in the US and having so much interest put on us gave me so much pressure. Memories of the hardships of touring the country on a bus with the members and the overwhelming feelings of making it into the Billboard charts all came to me at once, which is why I burst into tears at a press conference.
From some point, I felt my beginning intentions starting to get dull and my body going up on stage like a machine. At one time, I used to get up on stage with a thankful heart but my emotions started to get dull. I was sorry to all the fans who came to watch our concert and it was hard to see my humility going away.Sunmi on her break from the Wonder Girls in 2010 after she returned in 2013
But Saturn also manifested in how she was limited as an artist under JYPE. Despite her popularity now, within the Wonder Girls Sohee, not Sunmi, was the most popular member. Sunmi, however, gained a lot of attention when she returned to JYPE as an independent artist with “24 Hours” and “Full Moon.” To the public she had matured into a sophisticated yet sexy young woman. But this was an image crafted by JYP himself. On Radio Star, Sunmi reflects on how much more freedom and control she has now in terms of singing and performances under a different label:
…As for producer Park Jin Young [JYP], he told me not to make any kinds of facial expression on stage. When I performed “24 Hours,” he told me to look like a pale girl and not to wear any makeup or any false eyelashes. So, I really performed without any false eyelashes. So, I sang with a blank face. After leaving his label I could perform however I wanted, including facial expressions.
A host chimes in and says, “You grow as an artist as you try to defy the authority.” Although Sunmi initially agreed with this remark, she walked it back by saying it worked for the song. Another host observes that this a common thing said by former JYP artists, that they hated the restrictions placed on them but argue that in hindsight JYP was “right.” However, when asked if they would go back they all say no and that JYP was like the military. Sunmi winks at the hosts and gives an “ok” sign.
When Sunmi signed under Makeus Entertainment and released “Gashina” in 2017, she was 25 and nearing her first Saturn return. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of what this important transit entails but I believe that leaving JYP before her Saturn return—which she will go through later this year (at the time of uploading this article, Saturn had just entered Aquarius) and into 2021—was like a little taste of how Saturn will start to behave in her life going forward and especially after it returns. By this I mean that all of the hardship Saturn had caused her in youth is gone and Saturn is now aiding her in her maturity. The old, restrictive structures of JYPE have been torn down and replaced with structures that are new and liberating and most importantly, her own creation.
The difference between even promotional pictures is staggering Top: When Sunmi was under JYPE (2007-2017) Bottom: Sunmi while under Makeus Entertainment (2017-)
I felt like a frog in a well. I was under JYPE for 10 years. It was difficult to leave and I’m also afraid of new things, but the reason I made the decision was that I felt like my perspective was limited. I believed there would be a different world (outside of JYPE). JYPE is a long-running agency so it’s very systematic whereas the style of [Makeus] Entertainment is freer.
I felt like I didn’t really know who I was [before releasing “Gashina”], even while releasing solo albums and promoting as a member of the Wonder Girls. After I left JYP, I had a lot of time to think about who I am, and that’s when I really started to get to know myself better. I looked deep inside of myself and I realized that I’d been holding myself back because I was afraid that people wouldn’t like what I did and say something about it. And then the thought hit me like I’d been hit really hard on the back of the head, “Even Michael Jackson and Beyoncé have people who don’t like them.” That’s what I realized before my comeback with “Gashina.” I think that realization showed in my music video and performances.
It was important to know who I was; my emotions were very suppressed. I decided to be very honest with myself. Freely express my emotions in front of the camera. Things I wanted to show and express were clearly visible to the audience: frowning, laughing, crying, angry, cursing, making strange faces — they are all Sunmi.
Gashina Your cold eyes They kill me The fire in your heart that used to grow Why are there only ashes remaining? Maybe time is medicine But I’m getting weaker The sad pain is getting numb too Fine, I’ll forget you I’m gonna live like a flower, I’ll be myself Can’t nobody stop me now No try me Everyone wants my scent But only you don’t know, like a fool Are you sure you’re not crazy? Why are you leaving the pretty me here And going? You’re leaving me here You’re leaving me so easily You promised we’d go together But you’re leaving, leaving You’ll see me all sharp And you’ll bow your head low My thorns will dig deeper in you, yeah You already bent and twisted me So don’t act like you’re sorry But the one who’s really twisted It’s not me, it’s you Fine, I’ll forget you I’m gonna live like a flower, I’ll be myself Can’t nobody stop me now No try me
Gemini on the 10th house/Gemini Midheaven
Some celebrities seem to live on Twitter and/or Instagram (e.g., Jameela Jamil, J.K. Rowling, Azealia Banks, etc.). It’s like they always have something to say and then say it lol. For some of these celebs it could be because they have Gemini Midheavens like Sunmi.
As was mentioned in my latest Lizzo post, Gemini isn’t a “bad” sign; it’s just that its need to share everything that is on their mind and question things in a very binary or dichotomous manner can lead it to rub people the wrong way and also put its foot in its mouth more often than not. And as was demonstrated, Lizzo did have many moments where she was loud and wrong unfortunately. For Sunmi I’m not really seeing that; I’m seeing a more defensive streak with her.
As I detailed in her Big 3 article, Sunmi’s Mercury is in Aries (in the 8th house), making her more biting, assertive, and honest in speech that can take people aback when they get to know her more. But if you go on to her social media (i.e., Twitter and Instagram), you can see as clear as day that that’s just how she is.
Like Lizzo, Sunmi deals with a lot of trolls and haters for similar and dissimilar reasons. As a woman, she of course gets harassed for how her body looks at any given state. All entertainers in Korea have to deal with this issue of plastic surgery rumors despite the fact that it is well known and documented that idols in particular are forced or pressured into them, sometimes before they even debut. Nonetheless, like here in America, idols all deny the allegations and claim it’s “just” weight gain or exercise. When Sunmi was in the media for a suspected boob job she used the former excuse and even responded to commenters online.
Firing back seems to be Sunmi’s go-to when the public eye is negatively on her, reflecting Aries’s hot, fiery nature. She has shown in the past to not be afraid of putting people who leave hateful comments on her social media pages or on articles written about her on blast or otherwise be quick to run to social media to defend herself and her actions. One big instance of this was when some Korean commenters took issue with an outfit she wore during her world tour while another is an on-going battle the public has with her weight.
No matter the format, creating something is a very difficult process. You also need help from many people in various ways. But if the person in the lead doesn’t know what story they want to tell, can’t understand what they want to express, can’t explain it and can’t carry it out, then the people who work with them become confused.
I do not put on the appearance of working on music just to put my name on the album credits. I think hard about each part of the process of making the lyrics, melody, arrangement, and album. I refine it, fix it, and complete what I’m trying to express. It is your personal prejudice that most idols including me are like that and I hope it is not believed as true.
While performing overseas, Sunmi uploaded a picture to her personal Twitter account of her in an all red corset tank top and short shorts with a garter attached. She also had on fishnet stockings and high-heel boots. I’m sure to Western eyes the outfit was sexy and perhaps evocative of lingerie, but it wasn’t anything to be particularly shocked by, especially when celebrities over here regularly perform in nothing more than a bra and some panties, body hugging and revealing body suits, and things that look like they’re straight out of a BDSM video. Yet, in Korea, this outfit was scandalous to some, apparently to the point of “justifyingly” calling Sunmi a prostitute over it. I don’t follow any K-pop or Korean related news sources so I’m not sure if this situation actually became bigger than a few people being upset in her mentions or what, but I do know Sunmi did make a tweet saying there was nothing wrong with her outfit and that seemed to be the end of it.
The types of outfits and performances Americans typically get
A related issue to Sunmi’s body that has been harder to shake is the public’s perception that she is dangerously underweight. This entire debacle is rather complicated so I’ll link a video that breaks it down below, but basically the gist is that despite being naturally very thin, the media and fans think that Sunmi’s frame is reflective of a potential eating disorder or extreme diet, two things that are not unknown or undocumented in Sunmi’s line of work, especially among female artists. However, throughout her career Sunmi never had extreme gains or losses–she was always the same weight her entire life. But as the harassment and scrutiny continued Sunmi has revealed in passionate clapbacks on social media and on TV that she been unfortunately forcing herself to overeat in order to gain weight. Remember that Sunmi is not a HyunA here in that she did not actually have an eating disorder that she was recovering from. This is an eating disorder that is the result of public scrutiny and surveillance that is being passed off as almost body positivity.
Although her Midheaven is not in Taurus and her Venus cannot see her Midheaven nor Mercury, Sunmi is still facing issues that are very Taurean in nature. But instead of channeling these problems into songs of self-love and acceptance like Lizzo, Sunmi often fights back by trying to prove dissenters wrong. How can she be underweight when she eats a lot and has gained X number of kilograms? How can she be like other artists people dismiss for supposedly not writing their own lyrics when she does in fact not only write her own songs but has composed the melodies as well? A problem Aries has is constantly feeling it has to defend itself from others to prove how strong, original, and independent it is. With the ruler of the Midheaven in this sign, Sunmi may feel as though she has to respond to every bit of criticism the world throws at her or else. What this “else” is exactly I’m not sure. Perhaps a tank in her reputation? Everything is more managed by herself so when things go wrong, they will now fall back on her to deal with. Perhaps “lashing out” is a way to shake whatever falls on her off. Whatever the case maybe, I think her 10th house is where we see a slight dip in luck that was seen in her other houses but let’s compare to make sure.
Luck in Career: Moderate to Good Luck
|Libra on the 2nd house||Aquarius on the 6th house||Gemini on the 10th house|
|No planets are here||Saturn, the moderate malefic, is here||No planets are here|
|Ruler(s): Venus||Ruler(s): Saturn (and Uranus rx)||Ruler(s): Mercury|
|In the 9th house||In the 6th house |
(In the 5th house)
|In the 8th house|
|In a “good” house||In the second to worst house|
(In a fortunate house)
|In a “bad” house|
|Domicile, dignified by triplicity and term||Domicile, dignified by triplicity||Dignified by term|
|Rejoicing by gender||Rejoicing by gender||N/A|
|Maltreated by Saturn (x1)||Neither bonified nor maltreated||Neither bonified nor maltreated|
|The moderate benefic||The moderate malefic||N/A|
|—||—||Ruler is the most malefic planet|
|—||—||Ruler: Dignified by triplicity, term, and face; |
not rejoicing on all levels;
neither bonified nor maltreated;
in a strong house
|Good luck||Moderate luck||Moderate luck|
Overall, what boosted Sunmi’s “score” is that all of her planets are dignified in some matter, with two of them being domicile in their own sign as well. What took them down a notch, however, is that both malefics were involved in these houses as well. Saturn is in the 6th but is only at moderate malefice and Mars, the most malefic planet in her chart and the ruler of her Mercury, is in the 7th house of relationships. But even with these planets present they are not wrecking a lot of havoc career-wise in my opinion. One to two planets that are that I overlooked is Uranus and Neptune retrograde. Both square Mercury which can also explain why Sunmi tends to rush to defend herself even in cases where it may not be necessary. She may suffer throughout her career from putting her foot in her mouth because she doesn’t think before speaking or posting at times, or she responds too passionately. She may be too concerned about saying her piece that perhaps the better response was no response at all. With her North Node in the 5th house, she may need to learn how to not take everything so seriously or as an attack on her even if it is. In some cases, maintaining what makes her happy and secure in life in focus is more important than “dunking on haters” or “setting the record straight.” Her work should involve things that are fun, not things that causes her grief. We shall see how things change after her Saturn return, I guess.
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