Who Is the Leader of Girls’ Generation (SNSD)?

Each member of SM Entertainment K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation is highly famous in South Korea all by herself. That is simply what happens when you are part of the most domestically impactful girl group in the country’s history and are able to embark on various solo activities, whether in singing or acting or both. All of the members are also close in age. So between their ages and their deep experience levels, it would make sense if any one of them were the leader of the group — and these days, that gets pretty close to what is actually happening. So among Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, YoonA, and Seohyun, here is the complete answer to who the leader of Girls’ Generation (SNSD) is.

Taeyeon Is the Traditional Leader of Girls’ Generation (SNSD), but It Rotates

Taeyeon has traditionally been the leader of Girls’ Generation since their debut back in 2007, and she is narrowly the oldest member of the group. She reportedly was reluctant to accept the role at first, apparently believing that the group did not need one when the members were already close in age. Nonetheless, Taeyeon became the leader, albeit perhaps with some apprehension. Notably, with an episode of 강심장 (Strong Heart) aired in December 2009, teasers for the episode suggested that Taeyeon had officially renounced her leadership of Girls’ Generation. However, when the episode finally aired, it became clear that Taeyeon had only said there would be no leader anymore during a moment of emotional frustration. She laughed about it afterward, though the pressure of leading the group was evident.

Taeyeon is the traditional leader of Girls Generation SNSD SM Entertainment K-pop Girls' Generation
Taeyeon is the traditional leader of Girls’ Generation, but the role rotates now.

Although, in an episode of Knowing Brothers from August 2022, Girls’ Generation revealed that they had changed to a rotational leadership system, where the leader of SNSD changes monthly. This change had been made in order to accommodate their promotional environment at the time. At the time of that Knowing Brothers episode being filmed, YoonA was actually the leader of the group, and Tiffany, Sooyoung, and YoonA were cited as being especially involved as leaders.

Girls’ Generation does not actively promote together on an ongoing basis anymore, and indeed, not all members of the group are signed with SM Entertainment for solo activities. As such, it isn’t necessarily clear at any given moment who the specific leader of the group might be anymore. Still, it is safe to continue thinking of Taeyeon as the leader, since she held the role exclusively for well beyond a decade.

Additionally, it is worth noting that Taeyeon is also the leader of SM Entertainment supergroup GOT the beat, which was established in December 2021. The group’s eldest member, BoA, had asked Taeyeon to be leader since Taeyeon had more experience as a leader and also because Taeyeon, being three years younger than BoA, might be better able to mediate with the group members from Red Velvet and Aespa.

In summary, Taeyeon is traditionally the leader of Girls’ Generation, but since at least some time in 2022, SNSD has been using a rotational model, where the leader changes potentially monthly when the group is promoting together. Taeyeon is also the leader of SM supergroup GOT the beat, while maintaining a highly successful solo singing career.

For more about SNSD, check out how old the Girls’ Generation members currently are. Or for more SM girl group leaders, refresh yourself on who the famously beautiful leaders of Red Velvet and Aespa are.

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