Without a doubt, she is the sexiest kpop idol. Flat out. No argument will sway me. Several thousand degrees hotter than incandescent, plasma arc hot. Yuri’s hotness would blow away every model that’s ever posed in any men’s mag. She’s just perfection made female. Really, there’s no other description that does her justice.
But what does it mean to be both smokin AND an idol in Soshi? It’s all about balance. The Black Pearl could have been a high wire act.
The first time I saw Yuri, actually noticed her as a person, was in the Chuesok Idol Special, their training room practice footage. I thought she was Yoona. (Cut me a little slack. It was a fairly grainy video.)
But even with how poor the video quality was, she drew my eyes. That was when I was trying to figure out who was who in the group, and the only one I knew with long black hair was Yoona. Yes, Yoona was sporting short colored hair at the time, but I had just gotten done watching the Gee video, aka Yoona of the long black locks and Yuri was the closest match. Only I realized, that’s not Yoona, she’s sexier than Yoona. And wow, whoever she is, she has presence.
Check out her solo bit in the Chocolate MV, when she’s on the glass bed. That is the pinnacle of her using her talents. And Black Soshi? Oh my. She’s not a very strong vocalist, but she uses what she has to devastating results in Chocolate Love and Run Devil Run.
HOW did she get so hot? Certainly genetics helped, but that’s at most half of the equation. You know the saying, ‘my body is a temple’? Yuri could have written that. She cares for her body, she trains it, sculpts it. Yoga was invented for her, or should have been. In a group of 9 outstanding individuals, women who’ve trained for years to maximize what they were born with, Yuri is simply in a class of her own. She took what Momma gave her and ran with it.
Body builders take an aspect of this to a different extreme, where it’s more about delineation, size and raw intimidation. It’s a severe display of the potential of the human genome. But she’s not a statue meant for posing. She’s delightfully dynamic, and in this artificial situation that requires such delicate balance she is the best in the game, the best in all of K-Pop.
What do I mean by that? Women in Korea are judged by a different standard than men. It’s the truth. Yuri knows that her sexiness is her greatest strength, but unlike Taeyeon’s talent in singing, or Hyoyeon’s talent for dance, her sex appeal is a two-edged weapon. One as apt to hurt her if she were to mis-judge and stumble as it is her most outstanding characteristic and quality. She’s simply perfect at walking that tightrope. She has to be.
Any K-Pop idol has to balance public expectation, personal pride, ridiculous schedules and arduous training with performance and rigorous scrutiny. Being an idol is NOT easy. For Yuri, it’s even more difficult. Examine for instance the hypocritical duality in the demands of the adoring public. An idol has to be sexy, but not too sexy. An idol has to know her perfect type, but never actually go out on a date. An idol has to be both virginal and alluring. She has to be both modest, and prideful, and not look like she’s being coy about it.
And she has to sell that duality. That’s unsaid in Korean society. It’s a given, everyone in the showbiz industry there knows it. If they’ve done too good a job selling the notion, of being too sexy, the oncoming backlash can be counted to hit within minutes if not seconds.
Think about that for a moment. They have to flaunt it, make the audience want it, dangle it out there, but not for an instant, MEAN IT. This is beyond difficult. There’s simply nothing analogous to it in the Hollywood scene. It’s like playing chicken, but instead of pink-slips, it’s their career on the line, or the reputation of the group they’re in.
Let’s contrast Yuri with Hyuna, from G7 and 4Minute. I love Hyuna. In G7, she’s the whiny maknae, she’s silly, immature and adorable. But in her solo activities, her image is all about the sexy. I’d say she’s much more risqué than Yuri. But for her, it’s just an act. Watch her for one minute on G7 and you’re hard pressed to see the connection between her and the dancer in 4Minute. That’s why she can get away with doing what she does.
But Yuri is Yuri. She’s hot opening a can of tuna, or punching microwave buttons.
On the other end, contrast her with Park Gyuri (who I really like), Kara’s leader. Gyuri’s arrogance and belief in her looks is her shtick, her identifying characteristic. If Yuri were to mimic her attitude, proclaim what is actually true, that she is the hottest of the hot, it would be too much, and another backlash would set in. It’s ironic. When one is truly gifted, to be accepted, to be acceptable, one has to downplay that gift and live humbly.
How does she do it? How does she maintain her image? There’s the outward superhot goddess, and then there’s the goof, the tongue-sticking-out-while-napping, talking-to-herself dork carrying a Yoona doll. She deflates her hotness by not taking it too seriously. Underneath the outward facing fire is the rest of Yuri. The good daughter, the good friend, the one that can put on a wig or glasses and make odd faces that belie the smoldering heat. And yet, she can slip into a one-piece dress and wear it casually while causing jaws to drop wherever the the internet reaches.
So, beyond the hotness, there’s the friend, the daughter, the clown and the goof. But after watching more and more of their interactions, I get a feeling that Yuri has a softness and vulnerability to her. She loves attention, and works hard to capture the eyes of any audience, but within the group her feelings are closer to the surface than the majority of the members. She’s sensitive and genuine. She’s really bad at trying to fake her emotions and when something bothers her, it has to be let out.
Yuri’s sex appeal is powerful, but it’s as if she’s living with a tiger. She has to always be in control, or it can cause serious damage. Powerful, beautiful, sleek and deadly. That would be Yuri.
So here my picture of WHY Soshi is so exceptional is starting to come into focus. Soshi has the best leader in Taeyeon, the best maknae in Seohyun, the cutest member in Sunny, the best dancer in Hyoyeon, the coolest presence in Jessica, the most heart in Tiffany, the best enforcer in Sooyoung, the strongest idol in Yoona, and the hottest member in Yuri, who can be such a draw and still maintain the true meaning of Soshi. Really, each of them contributes their best qualities to the Soshi gestalt. It’s no wonder they dominate their industry.