Get to Know Better Aespa Leader Karina: Profile, Pre Debut, Controversies, Etc.


Meet the Stunning Visual from SM—Aespa’s Leader Karina

For all of you K-pop enthusiasts, hearing the word SM Entertainment must be familiar for you. Not only SM Entertainment is one of the big three companies in the K-pop Entertainment industry, but also their groups and solo artists are some of the most popular K-pop groups or solo artists in the Hallyu wave.

Whether you’re a fan or not, you must know about SM Entertainment and its artists; girl groups, boy groups, solo artists, etc. Well, are there any K-poppers who don’t know about Super Junior, SNSD, f(x), SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet, and so many more artists from SM Entertainment?

So, yeah, no wonder people have big expectations when SM Entertainment is about to debut a new girl group, aespa.

Plus, aespa’s visuals are attracting people’s attention.

In this article, we are going to talk about the one and only leader of SM Entertainment’s new girl group.

Seeing her name, you must be curious if she’s a Japanese member or a Korean overseas? And how come she is that pretty? Is she only the leader because she’s the oldest member?

Get ready to find all the answers in the sections that follow!

Karina’s Full Profile

Full name: Yoo Ji-min

Chinese Name: 柳智敏

Korean Name: 유연정

Stage name: 카리나, 유지민

Nicknames: Rina, Kagingi, Karomi, Palcheok Baby, etc.

Official representative animal: Whale

Official representative symbol: Heart

Birthday: April 11th, 2000

Birthplace: Gyeonggi-do, Seongnam-si, Bundang-gu, South Korea

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Foot size: 235–240 mm


  • Seongnam Shingi Elementary School
  • Jeongja Middle School
  • Hansol High School

Position: Sub-vocalist, Main dancer, Leader

Occupation: Singer, Idol

Blood Type: B

Height: 167 cm

Weight: 45 kg

Religion: Catholic

Baptism name: Katarina

Family: Parents, 1 older sister

Debut year: 2020

Agency: SM Entertainment

Facebook: aespa’s Facebook Page

Instagram: @aespa_official

Twitter: aespa’s Twitter Page

Weibo: aespa’s Weibo

YouTube: aespa’s YouTube Channel

Karina’s Pre Debut

Before Karina made a debut with Aespa and even got chosen as the leader, she was just a little girl with a big dream from Seongnam. Karina was born on April 11th, 2000. She was born and raised in her hometown Gyeonggi-do. And of course, she used her real name when she was living in Gyeonggi-do.

Karina who went by her real name, Yoo Ji-min, once attended a piano academy. She also won a prize from the academy due to her talent in piano.

She was a pretty high schooler back then, which made her popular as an ulzzang.

If you don’t know what ulzzang means, it means people with the best face (just like the literal meaning of ulzzang) that their photos go viral all over the Internet despite them not being a celebrity.

But what made Karina become a trainee of SM Entertainment was not just her pretty face. Karina was a talented dancer even when she was attending Hansol High School in her hometown. She did a cover of BLACKPINK’s “Boombayah” and Hyuna’s “Bubble Pop” along with her friends back in 2016.

Luckily, her talent was caught by SM Entertainment.

In December 2020, when Aespa became a guest of “Choi Hwa-jung SBS Power FM,” she revealed that SM Entertainment sent a DM to her through Instagram. She almost thought that it was a fraud and told her parents about that. Gladly, it was real and her parents gave her permission.

It’s nice to know that even when Karina was still in high school, her parents let the youngest daughter in the family go to Seoul, and become a trainee there. If not, then we wouldn’t have been able to see the stunning Aespa leader Karina that we know today.

Karina’s Debut with Aespa

Karina’s journey doesn’t stop there. After she became a trainee, Karina had to wait and train for around four years before making a debut.

In November 2020, she was appointed to be a partner of EXO’s Kai to be a model in “The All-new Hyundai TUCSON Beyond Drive,” a collaboration between Hyundai and SM Entertainment.

Let’s see the live performance of Kai and Karina in the video below!

The two main dancers really showed us their amazing movements. Especially Karina, who at that time hadn’t made an official debut yet. It really proves how good her dancing skills are. No wonder SM Entertainment recruited her as a trainee!

And because of that project, people started getting more curious about SM Entertainment’s new girl group, especially Karina.

Who is she and why is she so pretty and talented?

In October 2020, SM Entertainment released teaser photos of each member of their new girl group that Aespa.

The second member that was introduced as part of Aespa was Karina.

Just like other members, Karina also shows an utterly stunning visual with the futuristic-fantasy-like photo theme. Karina’s avatar was also introduced.

Not a long time after that, SM Entertainment released a video of Aespa’s interview. But the interviewer is none other than her own avatar, ae-Karina.

On November 17th, 2020, SM Entertainment released the long-awaited Aespa debut song, “Black Mamba,” after they shared some teaser photos of the members. Let’s see the teaser photos of Karina!

Before the official release, SM Entertainment shared the intro of “Black Mamba” which shows the beautiful face of Karina!

And here is the MV of “Black Mamba,” the most awaited debut in 2020!

The debut stage was released by SM Entertainment.

If you see the thumbnail, there are eight members in the video. But this was because of the avatars of each of the four girls. What an interesting concept!

Let’s see Aespa’s debut stage in some music shows below!

What do you think of Aespa’s debut? “Black Mamba” is really such a nice song, don’t you think so?