Hyon Song Wol is a North Korean pop star who has been used as a propaganda figure by the regime’s tyrannical dictator, Kim Jong-Un. She is one of the highest-profile members of the North Korean delegation to enter South Korea in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
In January, Hyon Song Wol was sent to South Korea to inspect Olympic facilities. North and South Korea are planning to march in the opening Olympic ceremonies under a single flag. Kim Jong-Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, is also part of the North Korean delegation to the Olympics.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hyon Song Wol Is the Leader of the All-Girl Band That Is Compared to the Spice Girls
According to News.com.au, the band has drawn comparisons to the British all-female group, The Spice Girls. “The group perform a mix of pop and rock music that has been labelled as North Korea’s version of the Spice Girls,” the news site reported.
The Guardian reports that the girl band is designed to present a lighter image of the North Koreans. “Its members, in short skirts or military uniforms, dance and sing odes to Kim,” Guardian reports.
2. Hyon Song Wol Has Known Kim Jong-Un for Years & Is Rumored to Have Been His Lover
Were Hyon Song Wol and Kim Jong-Un lovers? That’s unclear, but it’s a story that has followed them for years. “She reportedly is a former lover of Kim Jong-un from a relationship about a decade ago, but his father Kim Jong Il ordered the affair to end. Now it is clear is alive and well,” reports News.com.au.
The Australian news site reported that the two met in their teens, and “rumours about the two having an affair have been circulating among Pyongyang’s top elite.” Kim Jong-Un is married to another woman named Ri Sol Ju.
3. False Reports Once Said That Hyon Song Wol Was Executed By a Firing Squad
Hyon Song Wol is a controversial figure about whom many rumors have circulated, including some eventually proven false. For example, it was once reported that she was executed by a firing squad in North Korea.
According to The Independent, “she had been supposedly executed on charges of producing pornographic films.” Obviously, this rumor has proven to not be true, although her arrival in South Korea has been criticized as an attempt by North Korea to put a positive propaganda face on its abusive regime.
4. Hyon Song Wol Crossed Into South Korea Because She’s Leading an Art Troupe During the Olympics
Hyon Song Wol caused a stir in the South Korean media when she crossed over the border to help lead an art troupe that is holding performances during the 2018 Winter Olympics. She didn’t have much to say to reporters, though.
“Hyon made no comment as she walked past a throng of reporters and onlookers before boarding an express train at Seoul’s railway station for the eastern city of Gangneung, where her art troupe is to perform during the Pyeongchang Olympics,” reported UK Telegraph.
Wol was in South Korea to lead the “140-member Samjiyon art troupe,” which “will give two performances – one in Seoul and the other in Gangneung, where part of the Games will take place – with Hyon as the leader,” according to The Guardian, which adds, “The group will play folk songs and classic masterpieces that are well known to both countries and fit in with the theme of unification.”
5. Hyon Song Wol Caused a Frenzy in South Korea
Hyon Song Wol is considered to be an enigmatic beauty and, by some accounts, her arrival in the South ahead of the Olympics sparked a “frenzy” in that country.
“A frenzied media posse, the kind usually associated with K-pop stars, has been chasing Hyon Song Wol, a singer in North Korea’s all-female Moranbong Band and a rising political star in Kim Jong Un’s regime, on her two-day visit to the South,” reports The Star.