Ryu Hwayoung (Hangul: 류화영; born April 22, 1993), often performing under the mononymHwayoung, is a South Korean singer and actress. She is best known for being a former member of the girl group, T-ara, and is now currently under the talent agency, Wellmade Yedang, also known as Wellmade StarM.
Ryu Hwayoung was born on 22 April 1993 in Gwangju, South Korea. Her older twin sister, Ryu Hyoyoung, is also a rapper and member of the group Coed School and its sub-group F-ve Dolls. In 2010, Hwayoung's sister, Hyoyoung came 1st place in a nationwide beauty pageant "Miss Chunhyang", and this led to both Hyoyoung and Hwayoung making a guest appearance on SBS's variety show Star King in May 2010. They were both subsequently scouted and recruited by Core Contents Media shortly after.
In July 2010, it was announced Hwayoung would be added into T-ara as their seventh member and lead rapper whilst Hyoyoung would be debuting in the newly formed, Coed School. Hwayoung began promotions as part of T-ara in November 2010 by appearing on the third season of Hello Baby and promoting their first mini albumTemptastic. T-ara held their first performance with Hwayoung on December 3, through KBS's Music Bank. During her time in the group, she participated in the collaboration between Davichi and T-ara for "We Fell in Love" (Hangul: 우리 사랑했잖아) in December 2011. She also participated in the writing of the rap lyrics of "Love is All the Same" (Hangul: 사랑은 다 그런거래요) by fellow labelmate Yangpa.
On July 28, 2012, several members of T-ara posted tweets that were purportedly seen to be derisive references to Hwayoung. An official announcement regarding these tweets and a "major announcement about T-ara" was made July 30, which revealed Hwayoung would no longer be a member of the group. Following the announcement of her abrupt contract termination with Core Contents Media, rumors of her experiencing severe bullying by other members of T-ara surfaced throughout the web and the media which sparked intensive public interest and controversy. Some members of the public strongly believed that Hwayoung was mistreated by the members of T-ara and her agency. Outcry by T-ara's fan community led to the scheduling of a shut down, as well as the suspension of the members' activities and a huge blow to the group's popularity. The official fan page of T-ara changed their page title to "Hwayoung Advocates" after the announcement.
2012–present: Solo career establishment, DJing and acting debut
Despite rumours of a possible return to T-ara, on September 6, 2012, Hwayoung revealed via Twitter a 51 second clip of new solo rapping content she is working on. She also announced that she would like to wait for her return to the music industry and comeback with a more mature image. Hwayoung later participated in the hip hop and rap event "Open Freestyle Day 2012" on September 10, announcing that she was looking forward to studying music and eventually returning to the industry.
In September 2013, it was reported that composer, Shinsadong Tiger set up a meeting between talent agency, Wellmade StarM, and Hwayoung when he found out that the agency was looking to produce new content and it was later announced on December 15, that Hwayoung had signed a new contract with the talent agency, which is home to Lee Jong-suk and Oh Yeon-seo, to prepare as an actress. Following the announcement of her joining Wellmade StarM, Hwayoung made her first public appearance on December 31, 2013 at the "2014 Miller Countdown Party" as a DJ, alongside DJ Koo, Park Myung-soo and TATA, becoming the youngest female DJ to ever participate in the event.