Some of the biggest names in K-pop aren’t actually Korean! From BLACKPINK‘s Lisa (the most followed K-pop star on Instagram) to GOT7’s BamBam and (G)I-DLE‘s Minnie, these K-pop stars all hail from Thailand — and they’re pretty close friends IRL. Keep reading for a list of all of the K-pop stars that are Thai.

In case you didn’t know, Lisa and BamBam are childhood best friends — no, seriously! Before becoming K-pop stars and debuting in their respective groups, they grew up together in Bangkok, Thailand and were both in a dance group called We Zaa Cool.

BamBam spoke about his friendship with Lisa during podcast episode of “Park Sohyun’s Love Game” in July 2021. “I mean, I’ve known Lisa since we were younger. But with Lisa, I only went up to Lisa’s waist [height-wise]. So I think naturally, I began calling her noona.”

For context, “Noona” means “older sister” in Korean and is used to address women who are older than you — BamBam calls Lisa noona as she is two months older than him.

“Now, I’m used to it, but I don’t call her noona when we speak in Korean,” BamBam explained. “I only call her noona when we speak in Thai.” In the same interview, BamBam also revealed that Lisa is one of the first people to listen to his songs before his albums are released.

Lisa has become a mega star in her home Thailand, and spoke about the pressures of being a role model during an interview with Rolling Stone in May 2022.

“Whenever I go to Thailand, there’s this new generation of babies that all look up to me: ‘I want to be like Lisa, unni!’ But when I look at myself, I am lacking in so many areas,” she revealed. “There are so many things I don’t know because I’m still young. They look up to me as an idol, but I still don’t think I’m perfect enough to be their idol. Am I there yet? Am I ready? I’m actually really curious. In what ways am I an idol to those kids? I still feel I have a long way to go.”

Click through our gallery to uncover all of the K-pop stars who are from Thailand.

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