The 9 Times Gugudan Displayed Their Charms

When Jellyfish Entertainment revealed Gugudan (often styled as gu9udan) as the name of its first girl group, most international fans were fine with it until they learned its literal translation from Korean is “nine times nine” or “multiplication table.”

Things went well when the company justified it to mean “nine girls with nine charms,” and Gugudan was able to prove just that. 

The group consists of eight members now following the departure of Hyeyeon, sadly, and they haven’t made another comeback as a group since 2018. However, members Hana, Soyee, Sejeong, Nayoung, Haebin, Mimi, Sally, and Mina have shown their unique colors that set them apart from other girl groups and endeared them to the fans they lovingly call Danjjaks or Dear Friends. 

In celebration of Gugudan’s fourth year in the K-pop industry, let’s explore how they impressed us nine times and more!

1 | Theater Concept

Before Gugudan debuted on June 28, 2016, Jellyfish introduced the lovely nine girls as staff in charge of a theater house. This spelled the direction the girls went to all their albums took inspiration from well-known tales and presented them as “acts” to a stage play.

via YouTube / gugudan

Gugudan’s first EP is called Act. 1 The Little Mermaid, where they showed us a mermaid image in “Wonderland.” This was followed by Act. 2 Narcissus, which took inspiration from the Greek mythology, and Act. 3 Chococo Factory, which was Gugudan’s adaptation of the popular novel and movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “The Boots” from Act. 4 Cait Sith was Puss in Boots reimagined, while Act. 5 New Action, their first comeback since becoming an eight-member group, was inspired by the movie, Oceans 8.

via YouTube / gugudan

2 | Pre-Debut Fame

Fans first found out about Jellyfish Entertainment’s female trainees, Sejeong, Mina, and Nayoung, through the idol survival show, Produce 101 Season 1. This proved to be good exposure for the girls ahead of their debut as Gugudan.

via YouTube / Mnet Official

While Nayoung didn’t make it to the final lineup, Sejeong and Mina were able to promote as members of I.O.I, which debuted only a month earlier than Gugudan. The special agreement with YMC Entertainment allowed Sejeong and Mina to still participate in their group’s official releases whenever I.O.I is on a break. 

Two years later, the three PD 101 graduates formed a subunit as Gugudan SeMiNa.

via YouTube / gugudan

3 | Gugudan 5959

Embracing the multiplication table identity, Gugudan has a representative number for each member. This gave birth to the group’s first subunit, Gugudan 5959 (read as ogu-ogu) with Hyeyeon (represented by the number five or “oh” in Korean) and Mina (represented by the number nine or “gu” in Korean). Gugudan 5959 delivered a summery vibe in “Ice Chu,” where Hyeyeon and Mina had fun with their ice cream friends and turned into popsicles.

via YouTube / gugudan

Unfortunately, this might be the only song from this unit as Hyeyeon is no longer with Gugudan. 🙁

4 | Solos and OSTs

Aside from unit activities, Gugudan has individual careers too.

Sejeong is the first one to have a solo debut with “Flower Way” on November 23, 2016, earning her first music show trophy as a soloist. This was followed by “Lover,” an OST of the drama Mr. Sunshine, Legend of the Blue Sea OST “If Only,” and the single “Tunnel.” She also collaborated with artists from different labels: “I Like You, I Don’t” with Block B’s Taeil and “Star Blossom” with NCT’s Doyoung. Early this year, Sejeong released her first EP Plant.

via YouTube / Jellyfishenter

Haebin, whose dream is to be named the “Queen of OSTs,” has also lent her voice in the OSTs of various Korean dramas. She sang “Forever Love” for the drama Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim, “Everyday” for This Is My First Life, “On The Road” for Radio Romance, “From That Time” for Children of Nobody, and “Wait For You” for The Great Show.

via YouTube / 1theK

Meanwhile, Hana’s voice can be heard as OST to the dramas My First Love (“Fluttering Forecast”) and Touch Your Heart (“Falling Down”). Mina also sang “Peach Paradise” for the drama Mama Fairy and Woodcutter in which she played the main role.

5 | Gyudanie as Actresses

While Gugudan is doing well as singers and performers, the members have also shown their talents in acting. Members like Soyee, Sally, Hana, and Nayoung have made appearances in their labelmate VIXX’s music videos pre-debut. 

via YouTube / Jellyfishenter

Apart from a long list of variety shows she has partaken in as host or regular cast member, Sejeong has taken lead roles in various dramas such as School 2017, I Wanna Hear Your Song, and Extraordinary Rumor.

Mimi, on the other hand, has a number of support and guest roles under her name even before debuting as a member of Gugudan. This includes One Sunny Day, The Producers, Sweet Stranger and Me, 20th Century Boy and Girl, I Picked Up a Star on the Road, and Extraordinary You.

Another active actress from Gugudan is Mina, who starred in Dokgo Rewind and Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter, and played a supporting role in Hotel Del Luna. Chinese member Sally, for her part, was cast for a support role in the Chinese drama Hello Debate Opponent.

6 | Acapella

A discussion about Gugudan won’t be complete without mentioning their excellent acapella performances! There’s something magical about the way their voices mix together to create wonderful music. Have a listen here:

via YouTube / gugudan

via YouTube / dingo music

via YouTube / TongTongTv

7 | Chained Up and Other Covers

When Gugudan was a fairly new group, they caught the attention of fans and non-fans alike with their on-point covers of performances and songs by other artists. The members maintained our familiarity with their seniors in the industry but added their own twist to their version.

One notable video from the Gugudan Cover Project was their version of “Chained Up” by their senior labelmate, VIXX:

via YouTube / gugudan

8 | Sally in Produce Camp

Sally is currently back in China and participating as a contestant in Produce Camp or Chuang 2020─the Chinese version of Produce 101─where she is doing well and steadily gaining attention for her dancing skills. 

via YouTube / 创造营 CHUANG2020

Finale is coming up soon, and fans are hoping she would make it to the final lineup. Like Produce 101, Chuang 2020 will form a girl group at the end of the show, but there will only be seven members instead of the usual eleven. 

9 | Gugu-Gold Archers

Gugudan has been an active participant in the Idol Star Athletics Championships (ISAC) since their debut, and they have stood out as excellent archers.

The group held a record of 91/100 points in the team archery category during the 2019 ISAC, winning against Twice in the finals. This record was later broken by Gugudan themselves when they scored 93/100 points against ITZY in the elimination round of the 2020 competition. 

via YouTube / MBCentertainment

In the end, Gugudan emerged as the champion after beating WJSN. In 2018, they also won against Red Velvet. In total, Gugudan holds three gold medals in team archery.

Congratulations on your 4th year anniversary, Gugudan!

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