Every decade has Western girl groups that have helped shape the definition of girl power in that era. The late ‘90s to early 2000s had the Spice Girls, TLC, Destiny’s Child and even The Cheetah Girls. The 2010s had Little Mix and Fifth Harmony. In the past couple of years, the concept has been largely taken over by K-pop girl groups. But there’s one contender that has risen to take on the mantle in the West: Boys World.
It’s interesting to note that while there’s been a drought in Western girl groups, it doesn’t seem to be the case for its boy bands. Is it due to the difference in marketability? Boy groups often debut as a romantic fantasy while girl groups (though still crushworthy) often, in varying degrees, celebrate women empowerment. Boys World follows that tradition. ICYDK, Boys is actually an acronym that stands for Best Of Your Self—a slogan that the group often uses to encourage their fans to unapologetically live their best lives.
The five-member group was formed in 2019 by KYN Entertainment. Before founding the company, Sonny Takhar was the president of Simon Cowell’s Syco Music which handled the likes of One Direction. Apart from Boys World, KYN also has boyband PrettyMuch on its roster. Our fingers are crossed for a future collab between the two or even a track featuring a K-pop collab like PrettyMuch did with NCT Dream for “Up to You.”
Takhar told People in an interview that they wanted to create “a new girl group for a new generation of pop fans” and that it was vital for them that its existing members were involved in the process of choosing who will be in the final lineup. “We wanted raw talent, but natural chemistry and forming strong bonds between them were essential,” he said.
Fast facts on the members
So who are the girls of Boys World? The group consists of Olivia Ruby (20), Lillian Kay (19), Queenie Mae Villaluz (19), Elana Caceres (18) and Makhyli Simpson (18). What did they have in common before signing on? They already had large followings on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Fil-Am Cali girl Queenie was the first to be selected for the group. She shared that she was scouted via an Instagram DM. “It took me a month and a half to even reply because a random person just hit my DM,” she told People. Before joining, she was already posting song covers and photos with fellow musician BF, Jaden La Rosa. Queenie is hilarious and a master of goofy facial expressions. She adds the ABG flair and style to the team. And currently, she’s looking good rocking a mullet.
Black Michigan native and youngest member Makhyli joined next. Before joining, she did musical theater and modeling. She’s even published a book with her mom Eddie titled “Changing Directions.” She also posted TikToks, a number of which showcased her dancing. She’s the person in charge of the rap verses on their tracks. She loves color and Spongebob Squarepants. Her personal style is kidcore. And her mom is the house mother of the Boys World house (which is similar to TikTok houses or K-pop dorms).
The next addition was Lillian from Idaho. Lillian first gained followers by posting style photos, art and original songs on Instagram. She has a similar singing voice to Ariana Grande (yes, even the whistle), but she looks wildly different: She rocks an e-girl grunge look. If you wanted an alt Ariana Grande, Lilian’s ya girl. She’s got a BF named Stefan who isn’t on social media. She really likes Nirvana and sharks.
Puerto Rican New Yorker Elana came next. She has experience as a professional model and took regular dance lessons. She attracted followers by posting style photos and song covers. Among the members, she has the daintiest style and seems to be the biggest skin neutrality advocate. In some of their vlogs, you can see that her marks aren’t edited out. She’s into butterflies and is a fan of Audrey Hepburn.
Last but not least is Ohio gal Olivia. Before becoming part of Boys World, she posted original songs, covers and random vlogs on YouTube. Her hair has been flamingo pink for quite some time since it’s her fave color. Her personal style has ‘70s and ‘80s influences. She’s often sporting blazers and wide-legged pants. She’s a huge Harry Styles stan.
Content to catch up on
It’s evident even for a newbie Star (the group’s fandom name Stars was decided through a Twitter poll) that KYN didn’t just mean that it wanted to cater to a new gen of fans sonically. The group shares as much content as K-pop stars do.
Before launching their music video, the group aired a five-episode series called “Girlfriends: The Show” on its YouTube channel. It’s like a vlog sitcom about the girls preparing for their debut. It has a bit of a “Parks and Recreation” vibe which makes it a fun watch. Fans can get a peek at their rooms, closets and rehearsal sessions. It’s a must-watch if you want to know their group dynamic.
Their channel also has random vlogs like “what girls really do at a sleepover (truth or dare)” and “we made quarantine care packages” that show how well they know each other. Watching these is like becoming a part of their friend group.
The group also regularly posts on TikTok where they have 1.2 million followers as of writing. Apart from dance challenges, Boys World has a lot of funny TikToks that will have you giggling and calling them beloved.
Music to stream
On April 9, Boys World dropped its first EP titled “While You Were Out” (you can rewatch their listening party here). The five-track album contains their first two singles “Girlfriends” and “Wingman.” Although it’s a pop album, the R&B and disco influence is very apparent. It certainly sounds like a number of radio hits in the best way. There really is no skip.
In the MV for “Girlfriends,” the girls use a couple of languages (even sign language!) to give advice to other teenagers. A scene that you’ll probably get a kick out of is when Queenie says, “Hindi mo kailangan ng ibang tao at ‘yun ang totoo.”
Still want more content? There’s also a music video for “Wingman” and a lyric video for “Tiptoe.” They’ve got the vocals, the style and the moves. Boys World is definitely the whole package that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.