In any group of people, individuals fall into roles as naturally as we sort idols into “lead rappers” and “main visuals”. There are always those who lead and those who follow, those who lend a sense of calm and those who make the mood. And in a group under circumstances as high-pressure and emotionally intense as debuting in an industry that stands more cutthroat than any other, there’s a need for someone who can always remind everybody else that the sun will still come up tomorrow.

Hyoyeon has never had qualms about being front and center: whenever she isn’t blowing audiences away with her powerful moves and stage presence, she’s pushing everyone around her to at least crack a smile, if not an ugly belly laugh. Wherever she goes, the attention shifts accordingly — drawn by something steadier than a magnetic pull.

Really, Hyoyeon was already a fire waiting to spark when she stepped into S.M. Entertainment. Quickly rising into the top ranks of the company’s dancers, she blasted into public awareness with brilliant blonde hair and an equally brilliant stairwell dance break. Back then, it wasn’t yet apparent how far Hyoyeon’s flames could spread, and not many even paid attention to the telltale traces of smoke in front of them.

Then Girls’ Generation rocketed into stardom, shoving Hyoyeon under the spotlight. She took to it like a fish to water, not wasting time cultivating an image of anything other than herself. She navigated the pinnacle of the industry with crisp steps and a warm attitude, winning over the hearts of many through her genuine yet devil-may-care attitude.

Because at the center of it all, Hyoyeon is someone who opens herself to the world around her. It’s this openness that gives her a quick mind at the expense of a quicker tongue, and the stage presence of a million that she never thinks to extend beyond just one. She’s here to make her mark on the world, and it wouldn’t be the same without everyone who came along the way.

Hyoyeon is a firecracker, always sparkling but refusing to burst entirely. It’s how she can take DJing to multiple gigs all around Asia and also give heartfelt advice to her juniors, on or off reality programs. Because sure, she’s shooting for the stars, but she’ll pull you with or push you ahead if she has to.

Hyoyeon is definitely a moodmaker in all senses of the word. And she doesn’t do it because she feels obligated to, but because this is who she is as a person: someone who has a heart brilliant enough to share.

So happy birthday, Hyoyeon. Thank you for being both the life of any party and the brightest of guiding lights — a duality that you will no doubt balance for years to come.

Sources: S.M. Entertainment, “GGPM”, “COSMPOLITAN”, BALENCIAGA, Hyoyeon’s Instagram
Written by: moonrise31@soshified

Originally posted on September 22nd, 2019.