Sandara Park facts

For the Philippines, in the vibrant tapestry of K-pop, one name stands out like a sparkling gem — Sandara Park, the “Pambansang Krung-Krung” of the Philippines turned international K-pop sensation. She’s been in the public eye for almost two decades but there’s no signs of slowing down.

From Star Circle Quest and 2NE1 days to her solo ventures, let’s unravel the fascinating journey of an icon who not only conquered the K-pop world but left an indelible mark on music, television, and fashion. Here are 8 facts about Sandara Park.

1. Dara moved to the Philippines when she was 10 years old

Sandara Park and family
Image credit: Pinaypo via WordPress

Sandara Park was born in Busan, South Korea, but their family had to move to the Philippines in 1994 when she was ten years old, for her father’s business and a better life. Dara has two siblings – a younger brother, Thunder from former K-Pop boy group MBLAQ, and a younger sister, Durami.

Dara and her siblings spent their formative years in the Philippines, eventually learning to adapt to the culture and learning Tagalog. She shared that she had to learn the language and be fluent in it because she didn’t have friends and was feeling lonely.

2. She was discovered in Star Circle Quest

Sandara Park Crying on SCQ Audition
play button
Sandara Park Crying on SCQ Audition

Video credit: Anthony Legaspi via YouTube

In 2004, Sandara auditioned in ABS-CBN’s artista search, Star Circle Quest. She impressed the judges and they became fond of her quirks and playful personality. This is where the “mahal ko kayo” wave was made famous while she was crying.

Dara won second place with over 500, 000 text votes after Hero Angeles, who would eventually be her love team. They starred in several series and movies, including Bcuz of U and Can This Be Love.

Sandara PH EP
Image credit: KProfiles

Dara also released her first-ever EP under Star Records, Sandara. Its single “In or Out” became a hit in the Philippines. The EP has a combination of Tagalog and English songs proving Sandara’s fluency in both languages. It also featured originals and revivals, such as “Smile In Your Heart” and “Dear Heart”.

3. YG Entertainment scouted her to train for their company

Dara and CL pre-debut
Image credit: 2NE1 via DC Inside

In 2007, Star Magic didn’t renew Dara’s contract in the Philippines. Eventually, she signed with YG Entertainment whose CEO, Yang Hyun-suk, watched Dara in KBS’ documentary, My Name is Sandara Park. He scouted her way back in 2004.

Her stint in Star Circle Quest paved the way for her entrance into the competitive world of K-pop. She and her family moved back to South Korea, where she started training with Bom, CL, and Minzy – who would become the quartet of the famous second-generation K-Pop girl group, 2NE1.

4. She’s ¼ of 2NE1

Image credit: @daraxxi via Instagram

In 2009, Dara debuted in YG Entertainment’s girl group, 2NE1. This is where she got re-introduced in her stage name, Dara, along with CL, Bom, and Minzy. She debuted as the visual, vocalist, and sub-rapper of the group. 2NE1 was considered a monster rookie group, winning ‘Song of The Year’ with “I Don’t Care” at the Mnet Music Asian Awards in just their first year.

In a short amount of time, 2NE1 did a lot of iconic things, such as consistently releasing chart-topping songs and being the second South Korean artist to top the Billboard World Digital Songs chart. Also, Dara and 2NE1 are recognized as part of the leading figures who brought the Korean (Hallyu) wave to the Philippines

2NE1 in CoachellaImage credit: @daraxxi via Instagram

In 2016, YG Entertainment announced 2NE1’s disbandment, with CL and Dara signing solo contracts with the company. Minzy left earlier while hinting that Bom also left YG. Fast forward to 2022, for Coachella’s comeback after cancellations of the previous years’ shows, 2NE1 surprised everyone in CL’s set with a reunion performance.

5. She’s a multilingual queen

Sandara Park speaking Tagalog, Chinese, Japanese and English[cut scene]
play button
Sandara Park speaking Tagalog, Chinese, Japanese and English[cut scene]

Video credit: Vibes via YouTube

Dara is a multilingual idol who can speak Korean, Tagalog, English, and conversational Japanese and Chinese. She often says in interviews that she’s the most comfortable speaking Tagalog.

6.  She’s a fashionista

Sandara Park PFW
Image credit: @daraxxi via Instagram

In the heyday of 2NE1, Sandara emerged not just as a vocalist but as a trendsetting fashion icon. Her daring choices and fearless approach to style cemented her status as a bona fide fashionista, influencing fans and fellow artists alike.

We can never forget her bold hairstyles too, like the palm-tree hair we first saw in the “Lollipop” music video with former label mate, BIGBANG.

Sandara Park in Paris Fashion WeekImage credit: @daraxxi via Instagram

She gets invited by powerhouse designer brands such as Balmain, Chloe, and Rick Owens to attend their shows, hence being a frequent in Paris Fashion Week front row seat with A-listers.

7.  She’s a sneakerhead

[DARALOG] 🌟최초공개🌟 다라의 럭셔리 신발장 | 랜선 집들이 Part. 2🏠🤩
play button
[DARALOG] 🌟최초공개🌟 다라의 럭셔리 신발장 | 랜선 집들이 Part. 2🏠🤩

Video credit: DARA TV via YouTube

During her guesting stint at DIVE Studios’ Daebak Show, when asked by Eric Nam about her shoe collection, she answered that she couldn’t keep up and she must have over a thousand pairs of sneakers already. She’s known to have the most recent and limited sneakers, making her collection worth a bankable amount.

What’s great about her too is that she sells some of her clothes and shoes, then donates the proceeds to charities.

8.  She released her first solo Korean EP in 2023

Sandara Park EP FestivalImage credit: @daraxxi via Instagram

Sandara captioned on her Instagram post that stage is where she belongs. As a multi-hyphenate, she shared in the Daebak Show that she gets confused about what she is sometimes, but stays firm that she wants to be a singer first.

So she made her self-titled Korean EP happen, which she co-wrote. It featured her single “Festival” which sampled her inspiration and friend Uhm Jung-Hwa’s song with the same title. A couple of songs in the EP were co-written by Korean artists, Gray and Heize.

Sandara Park as an icon

From a reality show in the Philippines to conquering the competitive world of K-pop in South Korea, Sandara’s rise was nothing short of meteoric. Her journey, marked by resilience and talent, captured the hearts of fans on a global scale.

In the realm of K-pop, Sandara Park is not just a name – she is an icon, a trailblazer, and a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those with a dream and the courage to pursue it.

Check out Dara’s latest Filipino brand endorsement, or get to know the first Filipino-Korean K-pop artist Youn Dongyeon.

Cover image adapted from: @daraxxi via Instagram

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.