Oh My Girl’s YooA hopes to one day be known by her real name

YooA of girl group Oh My Girl [WM ENTERTAINMENT]

It’s common for K-pop artists to be better known by their stage name rather than their real name, especially if a group becomes popular for its music rather than its individual stars. Such is the case of girl group Oh My Girl’s YooA, who is known as just that — YooA of girl group Oh My Girl — rather than by her real name, Lyu Si-ah.

And it’s not just when she’s on television: Her past two solo albums were also released under the name YooA, as well as her newest and first single “Borderline,” set for release today at 6 p.m.

She had always wanted to be known as Lyu Si-ah, but being called Oh My Girl’s YooA is actually “a reminder of how lucky” she is, according to the singer.

“I would be lying if I said I never felt that; I’ve always wanted to use my real name ever since my debut,” YooA told local reporters when asked whether she wanted to use her real name for her solo career, during an interview held ahead of the music’s release at a cafe in western Seoul.

“But I was given the name YooA, and by living as Oh My Girl’s YooA, I’ve come to realize what a grateful title this is. There are so many people who debut with their own hopes and dreams in this industry, but that chance really just doesn’t come that often. I know how lucky I was to have people recognize who I am, so YooA of Oh My Girl is a name that I’d love to keep on hearing in the future.”

YooA of girl group Oh My Girl [WM ENTERTAINMENT]

YooA has instead been making the most of her K-pop christening by flaunting herself in different lights.

With her solo debut EP “Bon Voyage” (2020), YooA went for the image of a mystical fairy-like creature, inviting listeners to a dreamy fantasy with her soft vocals. The following EP “Selfish” (2022) showed YooA turn into a trendy hipster confidently expressing her desires, especially when it comes to love, in a stark contrast to Oh My Girl’s signature theme.

Cover image for YooA's ″Borderline″ [WM ENTERTAINMENT]

“Borderline” is yet another turn from the brighter side of YooA that she had highlighted up until now. Lead track “Rooftop” is a darker hip-hop dance track and an vow to leave the cage that has trapped the bird-like ego of the singer, who, “on the rooftop,” expresses her desire to escape the suffocating reality and jump into the unknown future.

“This time, I wanted to get across a more mature and feminine side of myself — almost provocative and daring in a way,” she said.

“I’ll always have that bright image, but I wanted to go with a touch of dark femininity. I tried to slim down my cheeks so that I’d better suit more mature-looking makeup. I don’t believe that being skinny is the ideal beauty, but I did lose 3 or 4 kilograms [7 or 9 pounds] to go for a more confident and daring look.”

Losing weight was just one change that she underwent for this comeback. But the whole point was in “escaping the cage” that entrapped her and her ego, which was ultimately, according to the singer, herself.

“When I was younger, I thought I was competing with other people,” she said.

YooA of girl group Oh My Girl [WM ENTERTAINMENT]

“I thought I had to do better than others and get past others for everyone to see me. It was all about other people. But after being a part of Oh My Girl and releasing three solos, I realized that it was a fight with myself — how I overcome myself and show a better side of myself. The question I began to ask was, in what way have I become better than my old self? I want to find out more about myself and beat myself.”

Trying to break free from her former self is not a form of self-denial, she said. In fact, the other two tracks of the “Borderline” compilation also emphasize the importance of self-affirmation and confidence, especially in the self-explanatory song, “Love Myself.”

“I felt so consoled when I heard the lyrics of ‘Love Myself,’” she said. “There are a lot of songs that send the message of loving oneself, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they feel precious every time you listen to them.”

“Self-esteem is a crucial part of my beliefs,” she continued. “If you don’t have it, I think life becomes so much harder to enjoy. My hope is that my fans and people who love music will listen to this song and feel revitalized the way I did every time I listened to it to reassess myself.”

YooA of girl group Oh My Girl [WM ENTERTAINMENT]

As for her next step, YooA is “open to everything,” from any song theme to acting, if given the chance. But when she does try something entirely new, that might be the right time for her to start anew as Lyu Si-ah, the singer said.

“I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing next, but I know that these things present themselves if you keep working,” YooA said.

“Just as I found a new side of myself with this music, I know that I’ll find something new and another side of myself in my next step. I would like to try that new thing as Lyu Si-ah, but if people remember me more as YooA, then I guess YooA won’t be so bad.”

For now, her goal as singer YooA is to hold a world tour.

YooA of girl group Oh My Girl to release her new single on March 14 [WM ENTERTAINMENT]

“I’m friends with [singer] Sunmi, and I see her traveling around so much to perform,” YooA said. “I look at her and think, would I be able to perform overseas with my solo songs? It’s my ambition and goal.”

“I’d also like people to think, ‘YooA has really become a solo artist now,’” she continued. “Topping charts would be great, and you may think I’m lying when I say this, but I really don’t pay much attention to the ranks on music charts. It’s more about showing a new side of myself, how well I do it, and how people like it that are more important to me. Yes, I’d like to top charts, but I will be content in knowing that people will look forward to more of YooA in the future.”

Find out more about YooA and her single at Celeb Confirmed