In 2024, Forbes Korea’s Power Celebrity 40 list featured an eclectic mix of talent from various fields, showcasing the dominance of South Korean culture on the global stage.

Here’s an in-depth look at the top 10 celebrities who are not only leading their respective industries but also shaping trends and setting new standards worldwide.

1. Blackpink (Girl Group)

Blackpink, formed by YG Entertainment, is celebrated as the biggest girl group in the world. Comprising members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa, Blackpink has spearheaded the Korean Wave internationally. Debuting in August 2016, their breakout singles “Whistle” and “Boombayah” quickly topped charts.

Blackpink, from YG entertainment, Korea's power celebrity 2024, Forbes
source: official Blackpink on Instagram

Over the years, their global influence has only grown, with hits like “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” and “Kill This Love” breaking records on platforms like YouTube. Their albums, including “The Album” and “Born Pink,” have set sales records in South Korea and topped the Billboard 200.

Blackpink’s Born Pink World Tour became the highest-grossing concert tour by a female group, and they made history as the first Asian act to headline Coachella. With numerous accolades including Golden Disc Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and MTV Video Music Awards, Blackpink continues to be a powerhouse in the music industry.

2. Son Heung-min (Football Player)

Son Heung-min, the captain of both Tottenham Hotspur and the South Korean national team, is renowned for his exceptional skills and versatility on the field.

Son Heung-min - Forbes Power Celebrity 2024, Korea
Source: the Korea Times

Known for his speed, finishing, and ability to play with both feet, Son has set numerous records, including becoming the top Asian goalscorer in both Premier League and Champions League history.

In 2022, he won the Premier League Golden Boot, making him the first Asian player to achieve this feat. Son’s influence extends beyond football, as he is a symbol of national pride in South Korea and has significantly boosted Tottenham’s popularity in Asia.

His contributions to football were recognized with the Cheongnyong Medal, South Korea’s highest sports honor.

3. NewJeans (Girl Group)

NewJeans, formed by ADOR, has captivated audiences with their nostalgic 1990s and 2000s musical stylings. The group, consisting of Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein, debuted in July 2022 with “Attention,” which topped South Korea’s Circle Digital Chart.

NewJeans - Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 2024
Source: NewJeans official on Instagram

Their follow-up singles “Hype Boy” and “Cookie” also saw immense success. In 2023, their EP “Get Up” reached number one on the US Billboard 200, solidifying their international presence.

With endorsements from brands like Levi’s and Coca-Cola, NewJeans has established themselves as a major force in K-pop, earning recognition from Time and Forbes.

4. Kim Min-jae (Football Player)

Kim Min-jae - Forbes Korea power celebrity 2024

Nicknamed “The Monster,” Kim Min-jae is one of the world’s top defenders. Playing as a center-back for Bayern Munich, he became the most expensive Asian player of all time with a transfer fee of €50 million.

Known for his defensive prowess and strength, Kim has been pivotal in his teams’ successes both domestically and internationally. His journey from youth football in South Korea to professional stardom in Europe is a testament to his dedication and talent.

5. Lim Young-woong (Singer)

Lim Young-woong , Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 2024
Source: Kpop Wiki

Lim Young-woong, a prominent figure in the South Korean music scene, rose to fame after winning the reality show Mr. Trot. Known for his ballads and trot music, Lim has achieved significant commercial success, with multiple number-one hits on the Gaon Digital Chart.

His influence extends to YouTube, where he became the first trot artist to receive a Gold Play Button for surpassing one million subscribers. Lim’s heartfelt performances and relatable lyrics have earned him a dedicated fanbase and numerous awards.

6. Lee Jung-hoo (Baseball Player)

Lee Jung-hoo, an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, is a standout player in Major League Baseball. Starting his career in the KBO League with the Nexen Heroes, Lee won multiple awards including the KBO Rookie of the Year and MVP. His transition to MLB has been marked by impressive performances, making him one of the top Korean players in the league. Lee’s international experience includes representing South Korea in the Asian Games and WBSC Premier12, where he has earned medals and accolades.

7. Jimin (Singer)

Jimin, a member of the globally acclaimed boy band BTS, has made a significant impact as a solo artist. Known for his unique voice and captivating performances, Jimin’s solo tracks “Lie,” “Serendipity,” and “Filter” have been major hits. His debut solo album “Face” topped charts in South Korea, Japan, and the United States. In 2023, he made history as the first Korean solo artist to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Like Crazy.” Despite his recent enlistment for mandatory military service, Jimin’s influence in the music industry remains strong.

8. Lee Kang-in (Football Player)

Lee Kang-in, playing for Paris Saint-Germain, is one of South Korea’s brightest football talents. Known for his dribbling skills and creativity on the field, Lee made his professional debut with Valencia at just 17. His career highlights include winning the Copa del Rey and being named the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup’s Golden Ball winner. As a key player for both his club and the South Korean national team, Lee continues to impress with his performances in major tournaments.

9. Jungkook (Singer)

Jungkook, the youngest member of BTS, has established himself as a prominent solo artist. His solo debut single “Seven” featuring Latto broke numerous records, debuting at number one on multiple Billboard charts.

jungkook - Forbes Korea power celebrity 2024
Jungkook fanpage on Instagram

Known for his versatile voice and dynamic stage presence, Jungkook has also collaborated with international artists like Charlie Puth. His contributions to the FIFA World Cup soundtrack with “Dreamers” further highlight his global influence.

Jungkook’s consistent chart-topping releases and immense popularity make him a key figure in the music industry.

10. Ive (Girl Group)

Ive, formed by Starship Entertainment, consists of members Yujin, Gaeul, Rei, Wonyoung, Liz, and Leeseo. Since their debut in December 2021, Ive has quickly risen to prominence with hits like “Eleven” and “Love Dive.” Their music, characterized by themes of self-love and catchy melodies, has resonated with a wide audience. Their debut studio album “I’ve Ive” and singles like “Kitsch” and “I Am” have achieved commercial success and critical acclaim. Ive’s innovative approach to K-pop and their rapid ascent in the industry make them a group to watch.

These top 10 celebrities of the Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 list for 2024 exemplify the dynamic talent and global influence of South Korean culture. From music and sports to their contributions on and off the stage, these stars continue to shape the entertainment landscape and inspire fans around the world.