Happy Birthday to Mi!

Bomi 2

Today is my 27th birthday. But more importantly, it’s Bomi’s 27th birthday, with the time zones. So while this post originated as the first in a feature — an idol hall of fame — let’s stay focused on the birthday girl for now, because there’s a lot to cover.

Vocals

“Why Bomi?” I hear you ask, indignant, looking like an asshole in that shirt emblazoned with the faces of Chorong, Eunji, Naeun, Namjoo, and Hayoung. Oh, you wore the wrong shirt, friend. I think that, generally, in fan breakdowns, Bomi is considered the dancer of the group. I’m willing to accept that, though honestly what strikes me first about her is her vocals. She’s a powerful weapon in the Apink lineup, hitting those high notes as we ride into the chorus. An excellent showcase for this exact thing is “Good Morning Baby,” where she represents that high peak, that rush.

Character

I’m still a novice with K-pop. The “K-Pop Pick of the Day” posts are not the most intensive write-ups I contribute here (making them the most frequent), and it’s not because the subject matter doesn’t warrant it. Simply, I don’t know how to talk about music. Indeed, watching even singular “vocal coach reacts to ‘Monster'” or “dance major reacts to ‘Naughty'” videos helps me get a sense for how much I don’t know. And they help shift my priorities — I tend to emphasize idols’ character and relationships, but is that what they put the most work into? Is it what they’re most proud of? Probably not. So consider this a time capsule, from back when I didn’t have the language to properly celebrate Bomi’s talents, and hopefully I will put the time and effort into that critical skill. For now, honestly, this is the second thing that stands out to me, and despite everything just mentioned, I don’t think it’s insignificant.

For the promotion on their 2020 album, Apink traveled all over Seoul to visit interesting places, and they split up into two odd groups: Chorong, Eunji, Namjoo, and then Bomi, Naeun, Hayoung. Now, first of all, there are no odd groups in Apink, and second, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. You have to split up Hayoung and Namjoo, and you have to split up Eunji and Bomi. If you didn’t, there’s a risk, however slight, that Chorong and Naeun get third-wheeled. However, it is a lost opportunity for more Eunji/Bomi fun, and that was my starting point with Bomi.

Eunji and Bomi are fantastic together, and it’s actually kind of painful how much their relationship reminds me of my earliest friendship. Of course, myself and my friend were small children, so I can hardly account for what Eunji and Bomi get up to. But my first reaction was that Eunji was the big and brash one, all shoving and yelling. While that’s still the case, Bomi is also extremely loud, and she can bring that out of others. Her energy is infectious, and it’s so clear to me she’s taken up the role of class clown. But unlike early Sooyoung, whose anarchy on and off-stage feels directionless (not a complaint, though I do find it fascinating how mellow she is today), Bomi’s crazy voices and sudden comedy sketches starring whoever’s around have a uniting effect.

Bomi 4

This brings us to perhaps my favorite video on the Internet, a behind-the-scenes feature where the three Apink unnies play with the colorful birds featured rather briefly in the “Dumhdurum” MV. Well, Chorong adorably plays with birds while Hayoung excitedly photographs her, and then Eunji gets her hands on a bird, too. Then, in a brilliant stroke of comedic timing, we pan over to Bomi, who despite being decked out in her confident tight black leather, is all but huddled into herself. The very sight of the bird — it’s terrifying her. And yet, she tries so hard. One cut, she’s standing at arm’s length, reaching for the bird’s tail with her pinky and cringing, and the best part is that she’s still saying “Hello,” and occasionally saying “Cute!” in that big Bomi way, but against nearly grit teeth. Next, she has the bird handler place one of them on her leg, and she’s just straining, the “Cute!” at odds with her body’s escape contortions. She’s a trooper, though, as we end with the bird being placed in her high ponytail.

And lastly, Bomi is responsible for the very first ASMR mukbang I’ve ever witnessed, after a couple of abortive attempts. God, they’re just so… I don’t know. Intense? Sounds of eating are a notorious button for people with misophonia (for me, it’s just annoying coworkers — I’m a pretty fun guy), and Korean food is difficult to eat silently. Well, ought not be, but I think the sluuuurp is part of the appeal? As a side note, it’s sometimes amusing to see Koreans go abroad in these Battle Trip-like shows and eat, like, Italian pasta in much the same way they’d consume noodles. Regardless that trenchant observation, I’d liken this episode of Bbom Bbom Bbom to a tragic short film. At the end of it, she sits back and remarks on how good the food was and stares off, glassily, and says that tomorrow she has to start dieting. Jesus Christ.

Bomi Video-Viewing Guide

[MV] Apink(에이핑크) _ Everybody Ready?
One of Apink’s recent releases, edited together with footage documented in an hour-long video elsewhere, wherein we see that Bomi did a lot of directing during the white dress party sequence. She points in one direction, looking upset, and then rapidly turns, mouth agape. This song, too, is really good, and everyone gets to be big and silly, though the camera loves Naeun and Bomi and kind of forgets about Eunji, I noticed.

[언박싱] 우리 믕지 앨범 탈탈 털어뽐 | Simple | AWay
Here, Bomi does an unboxing of Eunji’s 2020 solo release, Simple, which she stresses she bought with her own money. She’s also done this with Hayoung in the past, but was able to go and bother her in person afterward. Here, she can only call Eunji, but the results are just as funny. And I’m a sucker for the idea that like with Wendy and Red Velvet, Bomi is Apink’s biggest fan.

대만 야시장 먹방 설명왕 정은지, 냉정한 박초롱 그리고… 그냥 윤보미. [뽐뽐뽐 뽀미]
This is a great two-parter, one I’ve seen many times. Bomi is doing a kind of mukbang in Taiwan, in a hotel room where Chorong and Eunji are hovering around. Eunji joins, and they sample food together, while Chorong watches and comments. I love at the end, how when Bomi burps, you hear Chorong react with what in English sounds like “Oh, no!” which is hysterical. The dynamic between these three is really good, like a sitcom cast. Chorong is the disembodied parental figure while Eunji brings even extra brother energy than usual. Also, that fried chicken looks — and sounds — amazing.

Bomi 7

대만 야시장 먹방 2탄 하정우 먹방에 도전장을 내밀다! 차세대 ‘먹방 요정’ 윤보미!!! [뽐뽐뽐 뽀미]
And in part two, Bomi and Eunji get even punchier — apparently the cola’s to blame — losing their faculties of speech to fits of manic laughter. And though Bomi mostly does mukbangs on her channel, she defers to Eunji’s culinary expertise in combining ramen, seaweed, kimchi, and all sorts of things. One of the best bits comes at the very end, with Bomi’s sign-off, where instead of the signature finger-guns, she does that finger-check-mark on her chin and just stares at the camera for a beat too long while Eunji sits there confused.

대반전 몰카현장 하영이 웹 드라마 촬영장에 응원을 가보았다!!! [뽐뽐뽐 뽀미]
Back on Bomi’s channel, she decides to surprise her groupmate and friend Hayoung on the set of her drama by… wearing a sandwich board featuring embarrassing pictures of her? And getting multiple staff member to do the same? This is a prank that I swear treads the line. Hayoung’s reaction is very, very funny, but I think she was actually angry. All in a day’s work for Bbom! There’s a cute moment here, also, where Hayoung says she wants to do Habang, which she is now doing, as we’ll see…

대배우님 드라마 촬영현장 방문 근데 배우님 응원하는거 맞지…? │ [오하빵 ohhabbang]
On her own channel, Hayoung has her revenge, but against Naeun, in this shortform version of Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum. She and Bomi surprise Naeun on the set of her drama, hoping to sit her down and ask for her preferred soccer players based on looks. With Naeun unavailable, Bomi plays the game. In the next episode, finally they get Naeun, and to both Bomi and Hayoung’s shock/amusement, Naeun really goes for the foreign guys.

뽐뽐뽐 최초 에이핑크 전체 멤버 등장! 자카르타 공연 VLOG | 기내식, 룸서비스, 케이터링 먹방의 모든것! [뽐뽐뽐 뽀미 / BBOM BBOM BBOM]
In this one, Bomi documents Apink’s tour stop in Jakarta, to predictably funny results, especially as all of Apink is involved. The “unnie line” gets together the night before the concert to eat, like, a ton of food — you associate idols with “a lot of food” often, leading some wayfaring commenters to remark “She eats so much and still looks good?!” when in reality, it’s likely a binge-purge cycle, but minus the purge (I hope) — and the next morning, they take pictures of one another and have fake kung fu battles amidst the preparations. Namjoo’s commentary during Bomi and Chorong’s “fighting” is really funny, as is their method of combat. What particularly struck me during this video was Bomi on the bus, on the way to the venue. She’s just listening to music and bopping her head — if not in the zone yet, at least completely comfortable. This is what she does. I’d be terrified — I get nervous in anticipation of anything. I used to get anxiety dreams before a new year of school, and I still get those dreams today. Bomi and I might be the same age, and she appears so personable I almost convince myself I could be her friend, so it’s nice to be reminded that we occupy vastly different worlds, undertook enormously different paths to the present day. We’re talking about the ways in which minds are structured. And speaking of minds…

proof that naeun loses braincells around bomi
Lastly, a fan video where we’re witness to a particularly heartwarming dynamic in Apink. Naeun is shy by any standard, making her a remarkable idol. Her “gentle giggle” energy is the perfect compliment to Bomi’s outsized waviness. And also, Bomi’s Pikachu impression is uncanny.

Bomi

Conclusion

Bomi, you’re just too cool for school. Always looking fierce in the videos and on stage, but a lovable goof everywhere else. So while I might marvel at her sick moves in “Dumhdurum,” especially that sideways head bang on the “RUM,” that dichotomy never leaves me. And that exuberant spirit grants her passage into an infinity of styles and energies, each of which she takes to with aplomb and courage (no birds allowed).


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