The leadership role in a K-pop group is handled differently and may come with slightly different responsibilities depending on the group and the company. For instance, the leader of Twice was selected by a group vote and acts as a spokesperson for the group when communicating with their company. The leader of Fifty Fifty seemed to be selected by her company for her strong planning and organizational skills. And Blackpink has no leader at all! With BabyMonster being the next YG girl group to debut after Blackpink, there are many who would like to know who the leader is out of the seven members — Ruka, Pharita, Asa, Ahyeon, Rami (Haram), Rora, and Chiquita — so here is the complex answer.
The Leader of BabyMonster Was Ahyeon
When the BabyMonster group lineup was finalized, YG Entertainment did not technically announce an official group leader, but YG executive producer Yang Hyun-suk all but confirmed then that Ahyeon was intended to be the leader. The Last Evaluation documentary series on YouTube recorded the titular final evaluation of the BabyMonster member candidates, and at its conclusion, YG executive producer Yang Hyun-suk revealed that all seven members would debut. However, of Ahyeon in particular, he said, “Considering that she has the ability and skills to lead BabyMonster, in every aspect, I chose Ahyeon as the first member.”
Ahyeon had presented herself as a strong leadership candidate even before this announcement had been made. For starters, she was noted in Last Evaluation as being well-rounded in all respects as an idol, especially as a vocalist. Additionally, Ahyeon speaks three languages — Korean, English, and Chinese, making her an effective global spokesperson for the group. Lastly, and most notably, Ahyeon stepped up during the events of Last Evaluation episode 7, helping (with Rami) to make the group’s vocals harmonize during a singing challenge. Ahyeon even directly coached Chiquita to tune her voice. It was a moment in which Ahyeon genuinely led the group and demonstrated her leadership potential.
The problem is that YG Entertainment announced on October 15, 2023 that Ahyeon would not debut with BabyMonster, due to health issues, and the group would debut as six members without her. The current intention is for Ahyeon to join eventually, but she is not in the group yet. As such, until YG provides further clarification, it currently remains unclear if BabyMonster has any leader at all. They could have potentially debuted with no leader, like Blackpink did, or the role could pass on to someone like, say, the oldest group member, Ruka.
It is also worth noting that, although Ahyeon is not the oldest member of BabyMonster, she is the oldest Korean member. The three members who are older than her are originally from Japan and Thailand, and it is rare (but not unheard of) for a non-Korean member to lead a K-pop group.
In summary, the answer to who the leader of BabyMonster is is that it was intended to be Ahyeon, but since she has not debuted with the group yet, the role might have passed to someone else or not been assigned at all. Check back soon for additional details and confirmation, now that BabyMonster finally debuted in November 2023.
For more about the group, check out our vast archive of adorable predebut photos for all BabyMonster members, or check out our separate archive of all of the BabyMonster music videos. Or if you want to learn absolutely everything there is to know about the group, check out our comprehensive BabyMonster members profile page, which is fact-checked meticulously with citations.