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Tiffany Hwang

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Tiffany Hwang at a fansigning in Busan, in June 2016 06.jpg
Tiffany at a fansigning in Busan, in June 2016
Born Stephanie Young Hwang
(1989-08-01) August 1, 1989 (age 27)
San Francisco, California, United States
Other names Hwang Mi-young[1]
Education Korea Kent Foreign School
  • Singer
  • actress
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present
Labels S.M. Entertainment
Associated acts
Korean name
Hangul [1]
Revised Romanization Hwang Mi-yeong
McCune–Reischauer Hwang Mi-yŏng

Stephanie Young Hwang (born August 1, 1989), known professionally as Tiffany or Tiffany Hwang, is an American singer and actress based in South Korea. She is a member of South Korean girl group Girls' Generation and its subgroup TTS. Tiffany made her solo debut with the release of her first mini album, I Just Wanna Dance, on May 11, 2016.

Life and career[edit]

1989–2012: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Tiffany was born Stephanie Young Hwang on August 1, 1989 in San Francisco, California.[2] Her family consists of her father, an older sister named Michelle, and an older brother, Leo.[3] Her mother passed away when she was at a young age. Tiffany did not publicly disclose about her mother's passing until a 2009 interview, in which she tearfully expressed "Mom, you left this world before I have, but you gave me 8 [Girls' Generation] sisters. I want to thank my mom and God."[4] Growing up in Diamond Bar, California, Tiffany’s childhood hobbies included dancing and singing. She started becoming inspired to be a singer by listening to K-pop artist BoA–a figure whom Tiffany would later go on "look[ing] up to [her] entire career".[5][6] Encouraged by her brother, at the age of 15, Tiffany participated in a singing contest, held by an L.A.-based Asian-American talent show called "Kollaboration", at a Korean festival. Although she was not chosen at this event, her potential was spotted by a local S.M Entertainment representative, who invited her to audition at the company–she was accepted as a trainee. Her father, at the time, opposed the idea of his daughter becoming an entertainer. Tiffany was adamant with her decision, however, recalling telling her father that he could have "ruined her life". He gave in, giving her the permission to move to South Korea three weeks later.[7]

In an interview, Tiffany recalled she did not go back home for at least two years after the move, in fear she would want to quit, and thinking she "would walk [her] own path without blaming [her] parents."[8] She reflected that her relationship with her father inevitable drifted for some time as they could not talk or spent time with each other.[9] Tiffany attended Korea Kent Foreign School[10] and was trained at SM Entertainment for almost four years. She officially debuted as a member of South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation in August 2007. The singer adopted the stage name Tiffany, in honor of it being the name her mother initially wanted to name her at birth. The group gained significant popularity after the release of their hit single “Gee” in 2009.[7][11] Besides Girls' Generation, Tiffany’s early solo work mostly involved songs recorded for side projects and original soundtracks.[12] Throughout her career, she also participated as the host for several television programs.[13][14][15] In early 2008, Tiffany was diagnosed with vocal nodules and had to receive medical treatment. The symptoms relapsed in 2009 and 2010 in which the singer had to take a short break from her activities.[16] Tiffany acknowledged her voice became "huskier" and "more mature" as a result.[17]

2012–present: TTS & solo debut[edit]

"I respect my current occupation. Showing music is a method of expression, and it can also heal. You can tell a story, but you can also sing it...When you’re heartbroken, when you say goodbye, when you feel crazy, when you make a mistake, when you grow… You can sing these feelings, and when you hear it through music, it feels very different. Music can touch the bottom of your heart, and it has the ability to reach the deepest part of your soul."–Tiffany[18]

In December 2011–January 2012, Tiffany debuted as a musical actress through a lead role in the Korean adaptation of musical Fame. She played a character named Carmen Diaz, a performing arts student who has an ambition to achieve success.[19] In April 2012, a Girls' Generation subgroup named TTS was formed with Tiffany and fellow members Taeyeon and Seohyun. Their debut EP, Twinkle, met with much success and became the 8th highest selling album of the year in South Korea.[20][21][22] The subgroup went on to release two more EPs: Holler (2014) and Dear Santa (2015).[23][24] In November 2013, Tiffany participated as a contestant in the SBS’s reality program Fashion King Korea–a program where South Korean celebrities team up with the nation’s top designers to compete in fashion challenges and missions. The singer was paired with a designer named Ji Il-geun and finished the program in third place.[25] In January 2014, Tiffany started dating 2PM's Nichkhun but broke up in May 2015.[26]

During the summer of 2015, Tiffany began work on a solo record, having the mentality of it being the “transition into the next chapter of [her] music career.” She started participating in writing music since 2014, calling it “nerve-wrecking to put out music [she’s] written on [her] own.” Tiffany named Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon as “a big part” that helped her throughout the preparation process for the album. The two singers have been known to be best friends since Tiffany’s arrival in South Korea in 2004.[6][27] The album, titled I Just Wanna Dance, was released in May 2016, making Tiffany become the second Girls’ Generation member to have a solo debut. Her album met with mixed, but generally favorable reviews. Tamar Herman from Billboard called the album an "audible canvas to paint a new image for [Tiffany]", elaborating it "showcases [her] range as an artist."[28][29] The album, having a more American influence than typical K-pop, debuted at number 3 on both Billboard World Album chart and South Korea’s Gaon Album Chart.[30][31] It has sold 61,409 physical copies to-date.[32] The titular lead single debuted at number 10 on both Billboard World Digital Song Chart and Gaon Digital Chart.[30][33] In June 2016, the follow-up single "Heartbreak Hotel", featuring Simon Dominic, was released through SM Station digital music platform.[34] To accompany her solo releases, Tiffany held a series of small concerts titled Weekend during the same month.[35]

Using her social media accounts to interact with fans, in August 2016, while Tiffany was at a SMTown Live concert in Tokyo, she posted a couple of photos that involved the use of the Japanese flag and Rising Sun Flag, indicating her whereabouts. Though there was no evidence of ill-intentions, this caused heavy criticism from the Korean public as the timing coincided with Korean Liberation Day, stirring a historical war wound sentiment.[36][37] This event caused her to step down from Sister's Slam Dunk, a KBS2 variety show that she participated at the time.[38] Tiffany had since posted two handwritten apologies as a mean to reflect her mistake, acknowleging it was her lack of history knowledge.[39] After the controversial blunder, some spoke out in defense of Tiffany, while others questioned the misogyny within the Korean society, arguing that they can be "unforgiving" towards a female artist while a male counterpart wouldn't have received the same treatment if the same event has occurred.[37][40][41][42]


Extended plays[edit]