I wondered this a while ago when I came across a couple celebrity polls for the MTV x Daum Music Festival. As the title of this post suggests, there was one poll for female singers that read “Sexy and Cute.” As I looked at the top five singers there, I couldn’t help but think that none of them really defined “sexy and cute”. This prompted me to wonder, was it really possible to be both of these simultaneously?
SNSD dominated at first place, which isn’t really a surprise, because many times, polls are all about popularity. However, SNSD doesn’t really have the cute appeal. Maybe it’s because they’re all adults now, but the last time I thought they were cute was when they sang to songs like Girls’ Generation, Into the New World, and Kissing You. And Sexy? Genie is the only post-Gee SNSD-promoted track where I thought that their concept was sexy with the whole leg flick movement. Even so, my definition of “sexy” has some kind of “badness” in it, which Genie didn’t have, but regardless, it did have a sexy feel. Oh!, Run Devil Run, and Hoot were …interesting. Oh! was like bubble-gum pop (if that’s the correct term for it) and cheerleader-ish. Not really cute, not really sexy, just unique. Run Devil Run had an attempted sexy feel, but it wasn’t really sexy. However, you could see the projected appeal through the song’s dance. And Hoot seemed like a SNSD effort to be retro and Western cowboy/girl-ish, which is on a whole different level than being sexy or cute. Because I haven’t see any quite “sexy” concept through their songs, I can’t help but think they’re not sexy.
Result: Used to be cute, can be sexy (has the potential).
Next up was Lee Jieun, otherwise known as IU. At a ripe age of seventeen, IU was finally gaining much public recognition with the release of Good Day, so this also came as no surprise. This girl definitely has the cute appeal; just watch a couple episodes of Dream High if you don’t believe me. A few of her earlier concepts also display this cuteness, and those cheeks of hers are extremely pinch-able/malleable. In order for people like me to see someone as being “sexy,” there usually has to be some kind of photoshoot or commercial or dance concept. It’s hard to explain the whole definition of being “sexy” in my terms, but so far, I’ve only seen it from IU once or twice and I can’t quite recall the occasion.
Result: Is cute, potential to be sexy.
Coming up as the second runner-up was 2NE1. 2NE1 is definitely a very dynamic, charismatic, and unique group. But to me, they have so much individuality that they don’t fit into either category. They’re just 2NE1. Their style are so defined and 0ne-of-a-kind that it’s even hard to give a name for it.
Result: Style is too unique to fall into either category.
Following close behind was T-ara at fourth place. T-ara was the only group/singer on this list that I could vividly and automatically recall having a “sexy” concept: I Go Crazy Because of You. While this was only one song, I vividly remember thinking that it was actually a pretty good “sexy” concept. However, I could not recall ever thinking of them as cute.
Result: Can be sexy, cannot be cute as a group, only can be cute as separate members.
At fifth place was Wonder Girls. As much as I am biased towards them, they aren’t quite “sexy and cute”. Tell Me was cute in a almost “absurd” way and also because of Sohee’s “omona”. So Hot was a bit sexy because of the whole “princess complex”. Nobody and 2 Different Tears were neither. Possibly due to the fact that their songs are retro-styled and that I haven’t lived in a world where retro-styled music is the norm, I can’t really define sexy or cute or whatever because I don’t have a basis to judge it on. I would call the younger members (Hyerim and Sohee) cute but not sexy, while I would call the older members (Yubin, Sunye, Yeeun) sexy (or mature) but not cute.
Result: Members are part sexy, part cute, but mostly retro.
I was stuck on this topic of “sexy and cute” for a while, but finally, I came across a “a-ha!” moment. No matter how much I looked at it, only one person could fit this description. There were a lot of people who only had the potential to fit this description, but this person exemplified both traits at separate times, but at the same age: Wonder Girls’ Sunmi.
Many of these pictures came from when Sunmi was at a ripe age of 15-16 (Western age). While I primarily view her as cute, there were a couple times where she showed that she can be pretty sexy. (Prepare for a photo spam below.)
Cute (mostly from late 2007-2008 era):
Sexy (mostly from Nobody and post-Nobody era):
This post is extremely opinionated and biased, so please do not feel offended by it, because it is purely my thoughts. If you think that someone on (or off of) this list deserves recognition for being sexy or cute, or just have some thoughts on this topic, feel free to drop a comment. ^^