Here’s How ITZY’s 5 Members Were Discovered Before They Became K-Pop Stars

Photo: Lee Young-ho/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images.

If you’re a new MIDZY, first—welcome the fandom. Second—you may be curious to know how ITZY’s members were discovered. Like most K-pop idols, Ryujin, Yuna, Yeji, Lia and Chaeryeong had different paths to stardom. So, how were ITZY’s members discovered and what order did they join the band? Worry not, reader. We will answer all your ITZY-related questions ahead. But first, let us explain who is ITZY in the first place.

ITZY is a five-member girl group that debuted in 2019 with their single “Dalla Dalla.” The group is managed by JYP Entertainment, which is the same company that manages TWICE, GOT7, Stray Kids and other K-pop acts. In a short amount of time, ITZY has become one of K-pop’s fastest-growing girl groups. In June 2019, they released their first EP, It’z Icy, which included “Dalla Dalla” and their second single, “Icy.” ITZY’s second EP, It’z Me, debuted at number one on the Gaon Album Chart in March 2020. Five months after their most recent single, “Wannabe,” ITZY will release their next single, “Not Shy,” on August 17.

With five members, each with their own distinct personalities, sounds and styles, ITZY is on the rise to become one of this K-pop generation’s most successful girl groups. Ahead is what you need to know about ITZY’s members and how they were discovered.


Ryujin is a rapper, dancer and vocalist for ITZY. She’s also the band’s center. In a March 2020 interview on SBS Power FM’s Lee Joon’s Young Street, each of ITZY’s members revealed how they were discovered before they became trainees at JYP Entertainment. Ryujin explained that she was at a fan event for GOT7 (another JYP act) when a scout asked her for her number while they were waiting in line for the restrooms. “I went to GOT7’s concert, and someone asked for my number in front of the restrooms, so I gave it to them. I was a little suspicious at first, but they were so adorable that I ended up giving them my number,” Ryujin said at the time. After that, Ryujin trained with JYP for four years until ITZY’s debut in 2019.

Before ITZY’s debut, however, Ryujin also starred in BTS’ “Love Yourself” highlight reel in scenes with J-Hope and Jimin. She also appeared on Stray Kids’ survival show and was a contestant on MIX NINE.  In December 2017, YG Entertainment’s Yang Hyun Suk also told Ryujin that he wanted to “steal” her from JYP and train her as a YG artist. “I can’t forget the first time I saw you at JYP [Entertainment]. I think you clearly showed your charms then. You’re skilled at taking 100 percent advantage of the opportunity that comes your way,” he said on JTBC’s MIX NINE.“It’s a shame that you’re at JYP. I want to steal you away.”


Yuna is one of ITZY’s rappers, dancers and vocalists. She’s also the maknae (the youngest member) of the band. She was discovered by JYP Entertainment in 2015 while she and her sister were at a music festival. “In 2015, I went to a year-end festival where many different groups and artists were appearing. It was my first concert ever. I went with my sister, and as we were roaming around, lost, a woman came up to me and gave me her business card, asking me to contact her later,” she said on a March 2020 episode of Lee Joon’s Young Street. Yuna trained with JYP Entertainment for three years until ITZY’s debut in 2019. Like Ryujin, Yuna also appeared in BTS’ “Love Yourself” highlight reel with Jungkook. She and Lia are roommates in ITZY’s dorm.


Yeji is a dancer, vocalist and rapper for ITZY. She’s also the band’s leader. Yeji, who is Ryujin’s roommate in ITZY’s dorm, auditioned for JYP Entertainment in 2015. For her audition, she performed TWICE’s “Like Ooh-Ahh.” She trained for three years with JYP before ITZY’s debut. Before her debut with ITZY, Yeji appeared in Stray Kids’ survival show and was a contestant on SBS’ The Fan, where she gained a lot of her popularity. In December 2018, 2PM’s Junho described Yeji as “JYP’s secret weapon.”


Lia, who is Yuna’s roommate in ITZY’s dorms, is a vocalist and rapper for the band. Before she was a trainee at YG Entertainment, Lia was a trainee with SM Entertainment, which manages groups like EXO and Red Velvet. She started as a trainee with SM Entertainment when she was 14 years old but left the company because of her parents. “It’s a long story. I passed the auditions in Canada in middle school. I was able to convince my parents for a short period of time to be active as a trainee, but I ended up leaving without signing any contracts. It was when I was really young, not much of a big deal,” Lia has said, according to K-Pop Map. Lia, who lived in Canada and is fluent in English, then went on to become a trainee at JYP Entertainment. She trained for two years until her debut with ITZY.


Chaeryeong, who’s a dancer, vocalist and rapper for ITZY, has been a trainee at JYP Entertainment the longest. Chaeryeong became a JYP trainee after she and her sister, Chaeyeon, auditioned for Fantagio in 2012 but didn’t make it. That led her to audition for JYP and pass as a trainee. Chaeryeong trained with JYP for five years before her debut with ITZY. Before her debut, however, Chaeryeong was a contestant on JYP’s SIXTEEN when she was 14 years old. The show was to form JYP’s next girl group, now known as TWICE. Chaeryeong was eliminated in the finale and didn’t make it into the nine-member girl group, but all is well as she went on to debut with ITZY in 2019.

What is the order ITZY’s members joined?

According to their time with JYP Entertainment, here is the order of when ITZY’s members joined the band: Chaeryeong, Ryujin, Yeji, Yuna and Lia. (Yeji and Yuna were trainees for around the same amount of time, so it’s unclear who joined first.)

Who is ITZY’s leader?

As we mentioned earlier, ITZY’s leader is Yeji, who performs a lot of the choruses to ITZY’s songs. “I wanted to be an entertainer since I was young. But I hated dancing. How weird is that?” Yeji said in a previous interview with Korea Times. “I wanted to be an entertainer and my second dream was to become a [football] player. I don’t know why, but I just wanted to be one.”

She continued, “Our group is different from girls with just pretty faces. Our ambition is to create our own genre and win rookie awards this year.”

What are ITZY’s members’ ages?

Below are ITZY’s members’ birthdays and ages from oldest to youngest.

Yeji – 20 years old (May 26, 2000)

Lia – 20 years old (July 21, 2000)

Ryujin – 19 years old (April 17, 2001)

Chaeryeong – 19 years old (June 5, 2001)

Yuna – 16 years old (December 9, 2003)

What are ITZY’s members’ heights?

Here’s are ITZY’s members heights from shortest to tallest

Lia – 5’4″

Ryujin – 5’4″

Chaeryeong – 5’4″

Yuna – 5’7″

Yeji – 5’7″

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

New Entertainment Newsletter