Chrystal Soo Jung is an American singer and actress currently working in South Korea. Better known by the mononym Krystal, she is one of the most prolific artists in the Korean entertainment industry today. Despite being spotted at only five years of age by her future agency S.M. Entertainment, it wasn’t until 2002 that she began her career as a child model, appearing in television commercials. S.M. Entertainment arranged dance classes for her and in 2009 she debuted as part of the K-pop group f(x), alongside four other girls. The group’s popularity led her to be included in a second group, S.M. The Ballad. In 2010, television came calling. She portrayed a young student in a series of music videos called the Melody Project. Krystal landed her first major role on Korean television in 2014 when she was cast opposite Rain in the musical romance ‘My Lovely Girl’. Considered to be a fashion icon, her elegance and sense of style have garnered her several awards, including the 2016 Celebrity of the Year – Photogenic Award from the Korea Fashion Photographers Association. In 2017, she is set to appear in a major role in a film, a Chinese-Korean joint venture, ‘Unexpected Love’.
Childhood & Early Life
In the 1980s, Krystal’s parents moved from South Korea to San Francisco, California, where she was born on October 24, 1994. Her father is a boxer turned lawyer while her mother used to be a gymnast. Her older sister, Jessica Jung, is an established singer-songwriter herself.
She accompanied her family on a trip to South Korea in 2000. It was her first visit to the country where her parents were born. During their stay, both Krystal and her sister Jessica were spotted at a shopping mall by a member of S.M. Entertainment and asked to appear in Shinhwa's ‘Wedding March’ music video.
The talent agency later approached their parents with an offer to provide the girls with singing and dancing lessons which would ultimately lead to a career in the music industry. However, Krystal’s father and mother only accepted part of the offer. While they let Jessica join the agency, Krystal, they deemed, was too young.
Jessica went on to become a member of a K-pop group, Girl’s Generation. The Jung sisters have since collaborated many times together.
Krystal eventually started her entertainment career with television commercials, including an appearance in a Lotte advertisement alongside actress Han Ga-in. When she turned seven, her parents finally allowed her to begin training with S.M. Entertainment.
In the same year, the family moved permanently to South Korea where she was enrolled at the Korea Kent Foreign School. She then attended Hanlim Performing Arts High School from where she graduated on February 7, 2013. For her academic achievements at Hanlim, she was conferred with an award. At present, she is studying theatre at the Sungkyunkwan University.
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After three years of training, Krystal teamed up with Victoria (Song Qian), Luna (Park Sun-young), Amber (Amber Josephine Liu), and Sulli (Choi Jin-ri) to form f(x), a dance-focused K-pop group. They were introduced in a teaser put out on August 24, 2009. A week later, their debut single ‘LA chA TA’ was released. On September 5, the group was presented on MBC’s Music One. This was their first televised appearance.
In 2010, she sang the solo track ‘Melody’ for the Melody Project. She then teamed up with Thunder, a former member of the boy band MBLAQ, to host the music show ‘The M-Wave’. In the same year, she made her acting debut with a minor role in the comedy-drama ‘More Charming by the Day’.
She took part in SBS's figure-skating show ‘Kiss & Cry’ as a contestant in 2011, eventually winning the competition. She was also cast in the third instalment of the popular sitcom ‘High Kick 3,’ portraying the character of a shallow, urban girl.
In the 2013 series ‘The Heirs’, she played the supporting role of Lee Bo-na, the spoiled but kind-heart daughter of a media executive who was previously in a relationship with the male protagonist Kim Tan (Lee Min-ho).
Krystal joined S.M. The Ballad in 2014, four years after its formation. She collaborated with TVXQ's Changmin on the title track of the group’s second album ‘Breath’. Her duet ‘When I Was... When U Were...’ with EXO’s Chen became hugely popular, leading to a performance at the S.M. The Ballad Joint Recital on February 12.
Krystal starred alongside her sister in ‘Jessica & Krystal’, a reality show based on their private lives. It was televised on OnStyle from June to August 2014.
She played the female lead for the first time in SBS’ romantic drama ‘My Lovely Girl’. She was cast as Yoo se-na, a character close to her real self. Like Krystal, Yoo is a singer and songwriter as well. She contributed the song ‘All of a Sudden’ for the series’ OST.
Krystal worked with Seo Jun-Young in the 2015 short film ‘Listen to My Song’, a project to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the fashion magazine ‘W Korea.’ In 2017, she appeared in tvN dramas ‘The Bride of Habaek’ and ‘Wise Prison Life’. She is currently shooting for the Chinese TV series ‘Graduation Season’.
Till date f(x) has released four studio albums: ‘Pinocchio’ (2011), ‘Pink Tape’ (2013), ‘Red Light’ (2014) and ‘4 Walls’ (2015); two Extended Plays ‘Nu ABO’ (2010) and ‘Electric Shock’ (2012); and one video album ‘f(x) Dimension 4 – Docking Station in Japan’ (2016).
All of f(x)’s studio albums have topped the Korean music chart at one point or another. ‘Pink Tape’, the second album, reached the #1 spot on the US World chart as well. Released on July 29, 2013, through KT Music, it was the group’s first work after a year of absence. The opening track of the album, ‘Rum Pum Pum Pum’, was ranked 59th on Billboard’s 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time list.
Awards & Achievements
As an f(x) group member, Krystal won her first award when she was crowned alongside her bandmates as the ‘Rookie(s) of the Month (September) in 2009 at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards.
Since then the group has received several other awards -- four Gold Discs, three Korean Entertainment Awards, two Korean Music Awards, two Mnet Asian Music Awards, and one Seoul Music Award to name a few.
in 2010, Krystal was the recipient of the MBC Entertainment Award for Best Newcomer in a Sitcom or a Comedy for ‘More Charming by the Day’.
For ‘The Heirs’, she took home the Best Couple Award with Kang Min-hyuk at the 2nd DramaFever Awards in 2014.
Krystal started dating Kai, a member of the Chinese-Korean boy band EXO in April 2016. Like f(x), EXO is also a product of the E.M. Entertainment stable. The couple are of the same age and joined the agency’s talent program at the same time. They grew up training together and despite joining their own successful groups, the friendship they had forged remained as strong as ever. When the rumours of a relationship began to fly around, their talent agency came forward and confirmed. However, they broke up in June 2017.
Krystal considers herself a fan of American singer Christina Aguilera.