Renjun by @maesgomi

By Kyit | @renjunslight

Our feisty Renjun, our baby lion, Mark, and our little Mushu, Xiaojun. We know them as the main vocal of NCT Dream, main rapper of NCT 127, and main vocal of WayV respectively; but what were they like before?

Before becoming the eldest member of the 00 line of NCT and one of the eldest members in NCT Dream, Renjun was just like any kid from China. He was born on the 23 of March 2000 in Jilin, Northeast China, a city that borders North Korea. Jilin had a large number of Koreans, including Renjun’s parents themselves (they are ethnically Korean; which also explains his phenomenal Korean skills). 

Renjun was in his school’s cover dance team where he did covers of K-Pop songs like EXO’s ‘Growl’, which is also his audition song for SM Entertainment! He wanted to be an idol all along. Even while everyone in his school was thinking about university, he could never see himself going in that direction. When he found out about the SM auditions, he mustered up the courage to ask his parents for their support in chasing his dreams. Renjun auditioned for SM in January of 2015 in Shenyang and joined the company to train in December after he completed the last school year. From what we know about pre-debut Renjun, it’s safe to conclude that he has always been a hard worker and always wanted to bring the best out of himself. There’s no doubt that his past has built the foundation for him, to becoming the Renjun we love and adore today. 

On the other side of the globe, Mark; born Mark Lee Minhyung on August 2nd, 1999, was an ordinary kid from Vancouver. He was just like any Korean child living in Canada, going to school and attending church every Sunday. Mark moved to New York when he was around 5 to 6 years old, where he spent much of his childhood and graduated from grade 5 in 2010. He moved to Toronto a while after where he attended the global auditions for SM Entertainment. Despite being known for being one of SM’s best rappers, Mark was initially accepted as a trainee because of his vocals!

Fast forward a few years, Mark studied in the Seoul School of Performing Arts where he majored in dance, even though he had no professional training in it before. He debuted at the age of 16 in NCT U with ‘The 7th Sense’ and he’s known to be one of SM’s aces. Mark’s hardworking attitude and perseverance are extremely admirable and it’s led to him becoming NCTzens’ beloved baby lion whom we all know and love today. 

Just 6 days after Mark, Xiaojun was born as Xiao Dejun in Guangdong, China on August 8, 1999. Xiaojun was in the Shanghai Theatre Academy’s Music department and was in multiple musicals held by his school. Xiaojun had always wanted to be in a career that allowed him to sing and in 2018, he participated in a Chinese survival program known as X Fire but was eliminated. Little did he know that the elimination would bring him to greater heights. He was invited to be a trainee at SM the same year. In 2019, he would debut in WayV, NCT’s Chinese subunit, and officially join NCT with NCT 2020 and Resonance Pt.1.

The members we’ve come to love today have been built by their pasts and the hard work they’ve put in to present every stage, song, and album to us knows no limits. 

“Anywhere far away in a dream I saw another place/Let’s go searching even if we’re pushed by the opposing wind”, just like the lyrics of NCT 127’s Long Slow Distance, all the members, not just Renjun, Mark, and Xiaojun were looking to achieve their dreams somewhere. And that somewhere happened to be in NeoCity all along.