It’s common knowledge by that TWICE, JYP Entertainment’s nine-member girl group, was formed on the 2015 reality show Sixteen. But how were TWICE’s members discovered before that? Like many K-pop stars, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung and Tzuyu could’ve had different careers if they didn’t become members of one of the most popular K-pop girl groups ever.
But before we discuss what the lives of TWICE’s members were like before they became JYP Entertainment trainees, let’s recap how TWICE came to be: In 2015, a South Korean reality series, titled Sixteen, pitted 16 JYP Entertainment trainees against each other for seven spots in the entertainment company’s next girl group. Each week, the contestants competed against each other before the final seven were announced in the finale: Nayeon, Jeongyeong, Mina, Dahyun, Sana, Chaeyoung and Jihyo.
But, in a reality show twist, these seven wouldn’t be the only members of TWICE. As Sixteen‘s judges later revealed in the finale, Tzuyu would also become a TWICE member based on the audience’s opinions and votes. But Tzyu wasn’t the only twist. The judges also announced that Momo, a contestant who was eliminated very early on in the competition, would also be a member of TWICE. Though the decision was controversial at the time, fans have since embraced Momo, who’s by far one of TWICE’s best dancers.
So that’s the history on TWICE. But what were the members’ lives like before they became a part of one of the most popular girl groups in the world? Read on to find out.
When Nayeon was young, she entered a modeling competition and was accepted by a modeling agency. However, given her age, Nayeon’s mother didn’t allow her to model, so she never trained with the agency. Fast forward to 2010 and Nayeon auditioned for an open audition with JYP Entertainment, which she didn’t tell her family about. Nayeon passed the audition as the second best auditionee from that day. She was then accepted as a trainee with JYP Entertainment. Before TWICE, Nayeon was set to debut with a girl group named 6MIX. However, the debut was cancelled when 6MIX lost two of its members, and JYP Entertainment had a difficult time finding replacements. The cancelled debut is what led Nayeon to compete in Sixteen and eventually become a member of TWICE after five years as a trainee.
Jeongyeon was a trainee for five years before she became a member of TWICE. When she was younger, Jeongyeon auditioned to be a trainee with JYP Entertainment, but she didn’t pass. In 2010, she auditioned again. This time, she was accepted by both JYP Entertainment and SM Entertainment. In the end, Jeongyeon chose JYP because of how long she dreamt to be a JYP trainee. “I have never thought about debuting with any other agency than JYP Entertainment,” Jeongyeon has said. Like Nayeon, Jeongyeon was also set to be member in 6MIX, but the band’s debut was cancelled. In the end, it worked out, as Jeongyeon competed on Sixteen and became a member of TWICE.
Momo was a trainee for three years before her debut with TWICE. JYP discovered Momo, who had auditioned to be a member of a girl group for Superstar K3, on YouTube via a dance performance that she uploaded. JYP then asked Momo to audition to be a trainee. She went with her sister, but only Momo passed. Momo was rumored to be a part of a Japanese girl group that JYP was planning, but when that idea was cancelled, Momo and the other Japanese trainees became contestants on Sixteen, which led to TWICE. As we explained earlier, Momo was the third contestant eliminated on Sixteen, but she became a TWICE member in the finale as the judges believed the band needed a performer like her.
“I have chosen Momo whom I believe will improve TWICE’s dancer line and the group’s performance overall.” J.Y. Park said at the time.
Sana was a JYP trainee for three years before her debut with TWICE. When she was in middle school, Sana was shopping with a friend when she was scouted by a JYP Entertainment casting associate. Sana, who didn’t know Korean at the time, had her friend translate for her, who told her that the agent wanted her to audition to be a trainee. Sana was convinced to audition because the agent showed her that other JYP artists included the cast of Dream High, Sana’s favorite Korean show at the time. Sana passed the audition, but her parents weren’t sure about her quitting school to become an idol. They were convinced when Sana attended a 2PM concert and they saw how much she wanted to perform too. After she became a trainee in 2012, Sana was rumored to be a member of JYP’s Japanese girl group. She later became a member of 6MIX with Nayeon and Jeongyeon after two members dropped out. However, when that debut was cancelled, Sana competed on Sixteen with the rest of TWICE’s members. In the finale, she was announced as a member of the band.
Jihyo was a trainee with JYP for more than a decade before she debuted with TWICE. In 2004, Jihyo entered 1st Junior Naver Child Acting Star competition and came in second place, which caught the attention of a JYP agent who offered her a spot as a trainee. She trained from July 2005 to October 2015 until she competed on Sixteen and became a member of TWICE. Before Sixteen, however, Jihyo was also a member of 6MIX with Nayeon, Sana and Jeongyeon, but of course, the debut with that group was cancelled, which led to the formation of TWICE.
Mina was a trainee for a little over a year before she became a member of TWICE. She was shopping with her mom in Osaka, Japan, when she was scouted by a JYP agent who convinced her to audition. Mina passed her audition and soon became a trainee in January 2014. In May 2015, only 16 months into her training Mina competed on Sixteen, which would soon lead to a spot with TWICE.
Dahyun was a trainee for three years before her debut with TWICE. In middle school, Dahyun entered a dance competition, where she choreographed and arranged her own music for a performance. A JYP associate who attended the competition noticed Dahyun and cast her as a JYP trainee. In 2015, she competed on Sixteen and became a member of TWICE with eight other contestants.
Chaeyoung had trained with JYP for three years before her debut with TWICE. Since she was young, Chaeyoung wanted to be an idol. In 2011, when she was in the sixth grade, she signed up dance classes and continue to hone her dance skills, which proved useful for her JYP audition later down the road. She auditioned for JYP in 2012 and passed. Three years later, she competed on Sixteen and became a member of TWICE.
Tzuyu was a trainee at JYP for three years before she became a member of TWICE. In 2012, the dance school that Tzuyu was a student at posted a YouTube video of her at a recital. The video caught the attention of a JYP agent who flew to Taiwan, where Tzuyu is from, to meet her in person. The agent recorded a video of Tzuyu dancing and sent the video to others at JYP, who gave the approval to recruit the singer as a trainee. In 2015, Tzuyu competed on Sixteen. She wasn’t chosen as the original seven members, but she won a place with the band as the most popular contestant with the audience.