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Monday, March 4, 2024

Could K-pop get its biggest nepo baby yet? Leaked trainee photos go viral

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Annie Moon, pictured on the very right, poses for a photo along with trainees under The Black Label. [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Annie Moon, pictured on the very right, poses for a photo along with trainees under The Black Label. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

 

K-pop town began the week in a fuss after leaked photos on Monday hinted the industry may be getting the biggest nepo baby yet: an heiress to one of Korea’s largest retail conglomerates, Shinsegae Group.

Two photos seeming to show trainees at K-pop agency The Black Label, including actress and model Ella Gross, K-pop choreographer Bailey Sok and Shinsegae heiress Annie Moon, went viral online Monday.

The photos were not officially released by the agency but leaked through unknown sources, according to the agency.

A second photo of the trainees was leaked online on Monday. [SCREEN CAPTURE]
A second photo of the trainees was leaked online on Monday. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Moon, the granddaughter of retail giant Shinsegae Group Chairman Lee Mung-hee and daughter of Chung Yoo-kyung, the president of Shinsegae’s department store business, was a particular head-turner.

Born in 2002, Moon is reportedly attending Columbia University and has over 70,000 followers on her Instagram account.

Should she debut as a girl group member, it would mark one of the few cases in which a member of a chaebol family, a family-owned business conglomerate in Korea, debuts as a K-pop artist.

Gross became known to fans in 2018 after it was announced that she had joined The Black Label at only 10 years old. Photos of her together with members of the girl group Blackpink surfaced online in the same year, and fans nicknamed Gross “Jennie’s little sister” for her resemblance to the Blackpink member.

Sok, a professional dancer and influencer, has also been known to K-pop fans as the choreographer for big names like Red Velvet, Taeyang and BTS’s Jimin.

Only Gross is listed as an official trainee on The Black Label’s website. The agency did not comment when asked whether the trainees will debut as a girl group.

The Black Label is an agency founded in 2016 by Teddy, a longtime in-house producer for YG Entertainment, who co-produced and co-wrote songs for big names including groups Blackpink, Big Bang, 2NE1, and solo artists Lee Hi and Jeon Somi. The agency currently houses K-pop artists including Taeyang, Jeon Somi and Zion.T, as well as actors such as Park Bo-gum.

The agency began its online audition last year to debut a girl group. Women born after 2004 were eligible to apply. Details of the girl group have not been revealed yet.

To find out more about The Black Label, visit Celeb Confirmed!

BY KIM JU-YEON [kim.juyeon2@joongang.co.kr]