"Kim Namjoon! Kim Seokjin! Min Yoongi! Jung Hoseok! Park Jimin! Kim Taehyung! Jeon Jungkook! BTS!"
If you know, you know.
Yes, I'm a 43-year-old woman and I'm an ARMY. That's the name of the fandom for BTS, the seven-member K-pop sensation from South Korea who are taking over the world.
They've had a string of hit songs recently ("Dynamite," "Butter," and "Permission to Dance") and they're a heck of a group of talented young men.
(And attractive. Very attractive.)
They're incredible dancers and singers, and did I mention they're extremely attractive...? But it's really the package deal that makes them so likeable: they're funny, charming, hard-working and genuine, and their chemistry together is really special.
You may or may not be familiar with the seven boys. I'm going to break down why you should love them as much as I do. (Especially if you're even remotely cougar-adjacent.)
1. Kim Namjoon (RM)
Starting with the group's leader: Kim Namjoon. He's also known by his stage name RM, and is affectionately referred to by ARMY as "our President." He really should be president of everything. He's spoken at the UN, and very eloquently at that. He also has an IQ of 148. He famously taught himself English by watching Friends.
Namjoon was the first to join BTS, and is one of the three rappers of the group. He actually started his music career as an underground rapper, and he participates in writing and producing much of BTS's music.
On a cougar note, he's been working out a lot lately and is super buff now, something his group mates tease him about frequently.
He's Namjoon: the brainy, brawny, beloved leader of BTS.
2. Kim Seokjin (Jin)
Now we arrive at Kim Seokjin, a.k.a. Jin, the oldest member of BTS.
But for people familiar with BTS, they know that Jin doesn't act the oldest. He's playful, silly, flirtatious and energetic, and always willing to get a laugh at his own expense.
He also loves to eat, to the extent that it's like magic that he stays so svelte.
Whereas Namjoon is the leader, Jin is what's known in the K-pop biz as "the visual." As to my understanding, this is the member who represents the ideal of male beauty. Jin is also one of the vocalists of the group, and has grown a lot in his vocal abilities over the past few years.
Jin's self-appointed nickname is "Worldwide Handsome," which he humourously sprinkles into almost every red carpet interview and American late-night talk show appearance. And always with great enthusiasm. It never gets old.
So we've covered Worldwide Handsome and our President. Next: a cat.
3. Min Yoongi (Suga)
Meet the multifaceted Yoongi, a.k.a. Suga, a.k.a. "Lil Meow Meow."
Yoongi is also one of BTS's rappers, and like Namjoon, he was an underground rapper before joining BTS. He also participates in writing and producing the group's songs, and outside of BTS, he performs as a solo artist under the name Agust D.
He's an amazing rapper. He spits fire.
But there's two sides to Yoongi, and that's what makes him so endearing. Let's call it Suga mode and Lil Meow Meow mode.
Suga mode is his bluntness, no-nonsense practicality, and deadpan reactions. He was famously the only member of the group who didn't flinch on Ellen when someone jumped out of a box to scare them. Cool as a cucumber.
Conversely, Lil Meow Meow mode is his cute side. Much like a cat, he doesn't like to get wet and shrinks back when the other guys try to hug him.
Yoongi is also in Lil Meow Meow mode when he takes care of the other members, making sure they are warm and have eaten. He's the second-oldest member of BTS - like a co-parent with Worldwide Handsome Jin. They make quite a pair.
4. Jung Hoseok (J-Hope)
Whereas Yoongi can come across like a cloudy day, you can count on Jung Hoseok to be the sunshine. In addition to his stage name, J-Hope, he's also known as Hobie or simply "our hope." Not long before or after Jin pipes up about "Worldwide Handsome," we can count on an "I'm your hope, you're my hope, I'm J-Hope" from our man Hoseok.
He matches the energy level of Jin, if not exceeds it, and that's really saying something.
J-Hope is the third rapper of the group. He is also the main dancer. In his life before BTS, he was a street performer. His freestyle videos on YouTube are worth finding and watching.
Hoseok is really the mood-maker of BTS. He's almost always cheerful and bright. He can be a strict dance teacher when helping the other members learn choreography, but he's the most colourful and eccentric dresser of the group by a country mile, and the most likely to tumble off a chair when full-body laughing. The group wouldn't be the same without him.
5. Park Jimin (Jimin)
Where to start with Jimin? He's arguably the most charismatic member of BTS - his stage presence is unreal.
One of his nicknames is "Little Mochi," attributed to his cute face and even cuter personality. He's also known for his cute little hands.
Like Suga, Jimin has many sides to his personality. He can go from cute to serious to silly to sexy with ease. He's also got a reputation for being the member most likely to make men question their sexuality. And no wonder: he's a beautiful specimen.
His high vocals have a feminine quality to them that is unmistakable in BTS's songs. He's also in the dance line of the group with J-Hope and two other members we'll meet shortly. Like J-Hope, Jimin was a dancer before he joined the group. Whereas J-Hope was a street performer, Jimin is a classically trained modern dancer. Apparently he was the top of his class.
Another similarity with J-Hope is his contagious full-body laugh. It's fun to watch the two of them lose control of their bodies as they disintegrate into a fit of giggles.
Next up, we go from the lofty androgynous vocals of Jimin to the smooth baritone of Mr. V.
6. Kim Taehyung (V)
In addition to the name V, Taehyung is often called Tae and, oddly, "Good Boy." Arguably he's tied with Jimin for the most sex appeal on stage. His vocal range is incredible, and his voice is one of the most stable live of any of the members.
He hovers around the level of Suga when it comes to his tendency towards seriousness, although he is one of the most sensitive members of the group. He is known to be close to Jimin - together, ARMY know them as "Vmin."
Some of his defining characteristics are his love of dogs and kids, his slightly eccentric fashion sense (although J-Hope is still in a category of his own), and his history of playing the saxophone. He also has a passion for art and photography.
Originally, V was just a member of the vocal line, but the dance line of BTS (J-Hope, Jimin, and Jungkook) officially designated him as the fourth member after the music video for V's solo song "Singularity" was released. His dance performance in that video is stellar.
And now, the moment has come. I introduce to you my bias (K-pop slang for the member of the group you'd jump off a cliff for): Jeon Jungkook.
7. Jeon Jungkook (Jungkook)
Jungkook is the "maknae" of BTS, meaning he's the youngest. In fact, he's referred to as "the Golden Maknae" because he's pretty much good at everything (singing, dancing, rapping, running, wrestling, boxing, archery...there are lots of athletic competitions for K-pop stars for some reason...). He also goes by the nickname JK much of the time.
In addition to his many other talents, Jungkook is adept at photography, and he even directed one of BTS's recent music videos ("Life Goes On").
He's gone a bit rogue by traditional beauty standards in recent months: he got an eyebrow piercing (almost unheard of for a K-pop star) and, even more radical, a lip piercing! Before that, photos surfaced of hand tattoos and a heavily tattooed right arm, also taboo in Korea.
He was one of the most popular celebrities in the world before said body modifications. He's since claimed social media and cause the internet to explode on numerous occasions.
Each member of BTS has an animal emoji avatar attached to them - Jungkook's is the bunny, which is fitting due to his two front teeth being slightly bigger than the rest, giving him a cute bunny smile (as compared to Suga's "gummy smile," which fans also love).
He joined BTS super young and was essentially raised by the other six members. Having a president, a worldwide handsome guy, a rapping cat, a ray of sunshine, a little mochi and a good boy as his six dads has surely helped our Golden Maknae become the versatile and talented badass he is today.
(Also my husband. Let's not forget he's that, too.)
BTS are awesome for so many reasons. Their music is diverse (rap, pop, R&B, rock, EDM). Their fashion is incredible. Their videos are insane. Their dancing is amazing. Their beauty is undeniable.
But what I like best about the group is the personality of the members, and the bond they have amongst them. They're so entertaining in interviews and in their reality TV and game show appearances. (Look up "Run BTS" on YouTube to see them do things like attempt pottery, train dogs, cook pasta and play video games.) They remain humble and grateful to their fans. And they balance each other out so well. An amazing band of brothers.
I've been a fan for about six years and I'll continue to be as long as they're around. I can't wait to see what they do next! (And what Jungkook's next internet-breaking reveal will be. Go easy on us, JK!)