Nancy is a South Korean-American singer, actress, and TV host who is famous for being the Maknae (youngest member) of the popular South Korean girl group Momoland.
Nancy Jewel McDonie ET News was born on Thursday, April 13, 2000 (age 21 years; as of 2021), in Nam-gu, Daegu, South Korea. In early interviews, Nancy said that her Korean name was Lee Seung-ri. ET News In a 2020 interview with Mnet, Nancy revealed that her Korean name was Lee Geu-roo (Geu-loo or Geu-ru). Mnet – YouTube
At the age of two, she moved to Columbus, Ohio, US, with her family; in between, she also stayed with her family in Dublin, Ireland. After almost six years, in 2009, she returned to South Korea and studied at Wolbae Elementary School, Daegu, and Hyoja Elementary School, Pohang. In 2018, she did her secondary school graduation in music from Hanlim Multi Art School, Seoul, South Korea.
Eye Color: Brown (Being a Kpop idol, she used lenses of various colors)
Hair Color: Black (Being a Kpop Idol, Nancy changes her hair color frequently)
Family & Ethnicity
She is of South Korean and Irish origins. Metro.Style Her father’s name is Richard Lee McDonie, who is an American and a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Army. Her mother’s name is Lee Myung-joo, who is a South Korean. Her parents got married after they met during his father’s military service in Daegu, where her mother served the unit at that time.
Sometime after their marriage, her parents moved out of South Korea. She has an elder sister named Brenda Jowel McDonie, who is a cellist.
Agency: MLD (2016-Present)
Korean Reality Shows
In 2010, Nancy made her television debut as a child artist when she appeared in the kids’ show ‘Hangul Train Chipo,’ which aired on EBS.
She then made an appearance in the popular South Korean reality show Hello Counselor: Season 1 (2010). Nancy desired to be a Kpop idol and has liked singing and dancing since childhood. Looking towards her love for performing, her mother enrolled Nancy in a dance class, where she created a hip-hop group called ‘Cutie Pies’ with three other girls.
In 2011, Nancy contested as a member of ‘Cutie Pies’ in the show Korea’s Got Talent. Cutie Pies reached the semi-finals but were eliminated in the round.
She then appeared in a variety of Tooniverse’s shows like The Unlimited Show (2011-13), Mak Ee Rae Show: Just Do It Expedition (2012), and Olala School 2 (2014). In 2017, she participated in the acting reality show ‘Idol Acting Competition,’ which aired on K Star. Nancy was one of the finalists of the show.
In 2020, she participated in the 143rd Generation of the singing reality show ‘King of Mask Singer.’
In 2016, Mnet released an MLD Entertainment-produced reality survival show ‘Finding Momoland,’ which featured teen MLD trainees competing to become a part of the K-pop girl group ‘Momoland.’ In the competition, a seven-member girl group was formed and she was the second person in the group.
Talking about her experience from the show, Nancy said,
It was tremendously trembling. It’s a regrettable part, but it’s an honor to be the 4th appearance after the members. Because I was working as a team called ‘Momoland’, I had a fright when I stood on the stage alone. I wanted to overcome the stage fright within this year.”
The show’s last mission for Momoland was to gather 3000 people for their concert, which Momoland failed to do, and it became a reason for their delay in debut. However, the girls continued to train in MLD and performed in music festivals and school concerts, managing to crowdfund their debut album. On November 10, 2016, Momoland made its debut with the extended play ‘Welcome to Momoland.’
The same day, they made their stage debut with their single ‘Welcome to Momoland’ and lead single ‘Jjan! Koong! Kwang!’ in the music television program M Countdown.
After the addition of two more girls to the group, Momoland released its first single album ‘Wonderful Love’ (2016) with the single of the same name.
In 2017, Momoland released its second extended play ‘Freeze!’. In June 2018, Momoland’s career gained momentum after the release of their third album ‘Great!,’ which featured the lead single ‘Bboom Bboom,’ a huge commercial success that charted at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.
The group then released other mini-albums Fun to the World (2018), Show Me (2019), and Starry Night (2020). Some lead singles that got popular from the EP were Baam, I’m So Hot, and Starry Night. They also released single albums Thumbs Up (2019) and Ready or Not (2020). In 2019, Momoland marked their Japanese debut with their full-length album ‘Chiri Chiri.’ The album was made of hit singles such as Boom Boom, Baam, I’m So Hot, Freeze, and Wonderful Love (EDM). Chiri Chiri’s singles Boom Boom, Baam, and I’m So Hot peaked at number four, number eight, and number eight, respectively, on Oricon Singles Chart.
Nancy and her group’s popularity spread across South Korea to the Philippines. Momoland had their concerts in countries like Japan, the United States, Vietnam, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Mexico.
In 2017, Nancy made her acting debut in the Naver series ‘Some Light’ in which she played the lead role of ‘Nancy.’
In 2018, she gave a cameo appearance in the MBC Kdrama ‘Dae Jang Geum Is Watching’ as an idol trainee. In 2021, she played the lead role of ‘Binna’ in the Filipino miniseries ‘The Soulmate Project,’ which was produced by ABS-CBN and Dreamscape Entertainment.
Before Momoland’s debut in 2016, Nancy appeared in South Korean singer MC Gree’s ‘Dangerous’ music video and appeared in Dangerous’s comeback stage.
On November 19, 2016, MLD announced that Nancy would be joining Inkigayo’s project girl group ‘Sunny Girls,’ which would also be composed of GFriend’s Eunha, WJSN’s Cheng Xiao, Oh My Girl’s YooA, and Gugudan. On November 27, 2016, Sunny Girls made their official stage debut at SBS’s Inkigayo stage with their title track ‘Taxi.’
On December 26, 2016, Sunny Girls also performed SBS Gayo Daejeon, the annual televised music festival taking place at the end of each year. Nancy and Ha Min-woo of the Kpop boyband ZE:A sang the title track of “Some Light’ (2017), Nancy’s debut Kdrama.
From March 2017 to June 2018, she was the host of Arirang TV’s ‘Pops in Seoul,’ a show that features the latest music, news on K-pop culture, and gives an insight into the latest Korean pop music and information to overseas viewers.
In 2018, Momoland released their first reality show called ‘Momoland’s Saipan Land,’ which features the journey of Momoland to Saipan, where they were allowed to do whatever they want for 48 hours. The show aired on MBC Network.
Idol Star Athletics Championships
Idol Star Athletics Championships are annual sports events that feature male and female Kpop idols competing in various sports competitions. In 2018, she contested in the 4 × 100 m relay contest in the ‘Idol Star Athletics Bowling Archery Rhythmic Gymnastics Foot Volleyball Championships’ that took place at Goyang Gymnasium in Goyang, South Korea, on August 20 and 27, 2018. The event aired on MBC on September 25 and 26, 2018. Momoland came in second place, winning a silver medal. In 2019, Momoland participated again but did not win in any competition. In 2020, Momoland participated in the championship again in Ssireum/Korean wrestling. They came second and received silver medals.
Awards (As a Part of Momoland)
- 2018: Gaon Chart Music Awards – World K-Pop Rookie
- 2018: Genie Music Awards for The Performing Artist – Female for the song ‘Boom Boom’
- 2018: Melon Music Awards – 1theK Performance Award
- 2018: Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) – Discovery of the Year
- 2019: Golden Disc Awards – Digital Bonsang for the song ‘Boom Boom’
- 2019: Japan Gold Disc Award for Best 3 New Artist (Asia)
- 2019: Seoul Music Awards – Bonsang Award
- 2019: Soribada Best K-Music Awards – Bonsang Award
- 2020: Korean Arts and Culture Awards – Korean Wave Idol Award
Asia Artist Awards
- 2017: Rising Star Award
- 2018: Best Icon Award – Music
- 2019: Choice Award
- 2017: Asia Model Awards – New Star Singer
- 2017: Korea-China Management Awards – Asia Rising Star
- 2017: Korean Culture Entertainment Awards – K-Pop Artist Award
- 2018: Korea Brand Awards – Idol of the Year
- 2018: Korea Cable TV Awards – Artist of the Year
- 2018: Korea Popular Music Awards – Bonsang Award
- 2019: The Fact Music Awards – Artist of the Year (Bonsang)
- 2020: Korean Entertainment Arts Awards -Group Singer Award
- 2018: MTN Broadcast Advertising Festival – Rookie Star Award
- Once, Nancy passed comment on bulimia, a serious eating disorder marked by bingeing, followed by methods to avoid weight gain. Netizens highly criticized her for being insensitive. Later, Nancy released a statement, confessing that she had suffered from the same in past and joking about it was a form of coping mechanism. PEP
- In November 2018, Momoland attended the MGA (MBC Plus X Genie Music Awards) ceremony, where they were seen passing by South Korean Boyband BTS and not bowing to them (considered disrespectful in South Korea as BTS was senior to Momoland). Momoland was also seen laughing at BTS Jimin’s vocals during their ‘Fake Love’ performance. This did not go well with BTS’ fandom Army, who criticized Momoland for being disrespectful towards BTS. Armys flooded Momoland’s social media accounts condemning them. Koreaboo
- In 2018, Momoland was accused of Sajaegi (chart manipulation) when their album ‘Great!’ sold over 8000 copies in just one day. Netizen’s suspicion was aroused when they saw a sudden increase in sales of their album. Later, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, South Korea, had to come forward to clear Momoland’s name of Sajaegi. Koreaboo
- In 2018, another fandom, Blinks, of the girl group Blackpink accused Nancy of having a blank stare at Blackpink members during their winning speech for their song ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ at MBC’s Show Champion. This made Blinks and netizens tag Nancy as ill-mannered. M News
- In April 2020, due to the 2020 COVID lockdown in South Korea, Nancy’s shoot for an upcoming Filipino series was delayed. Nancy was unhappy about it and talked about it in an interview, where she was found saying,
All these nonsense and quarantine whatever.”
- In January 2021, a person illegally took Nancy’s pictures, manipulated them, and uploaded them on social media platforms. The pictures went viral and brought mental and social damage to Nancy. Nancy’s agency soon released a statement, stating, ABS-CBN
Nancy is a victim of having photos being inappropriately taken and manipulated. The person that should be protected first and foremost is Nancy. We ask for your cooperation with a heavy heart. We will follow through with our legal actions with no leniency and without reaching a settlement. Nancy is currently undergoing severe emotional turmoil. We sincerely ask of you: We long for an end to malicious posts that harass our artist. We want to express our gratitude to fans who always love and support our artists. We will continue to do our best in ensuring our artists’ personal and given rights.”
- Food: Food with Cheese, Mint Chocolate, Malatang, Hot pot, Sushi, Tteokbokki
- Band: GFriend
- Singer: Sowon (of GFriend)
- Travel Destination(s): Paris, Boracay
- Color(s): Burgundy, Pink, Black
- In her leisure time, she does makeup, nail art, play Nintendo games, travel, shop, watch American dramas, and sing Disney songs. She also started a new hobby of diamond painting during the COVID lockdown in South Korea.
- Nancy has often expressed her liking towards elephants and unicorns. She also likes to buy stuff toys, items, or figurines of elephants and unicorns.
- Six years after Nancy returned to South Korea, she faced difficulties in coping up in a different environment. Her mother always poked fun at Nancy by making her scared of differences between the US and South Korea. After she transferred to a South Korean school, she couldn’t speak Korean well, but she didn’t face many difficulties because her friends helped her.
- Nancy is good in Korean and English. She can also speak a little Japanese.
- Momoland’s fans are officially called Merry-Go-Rounds.
- Nancy has often confessed that she would have been a cellist like her sister if she was not a performer. In an interview, Nancy revealed that her sister went to a music school, where she played cello, Nancy also began playing the instrument. However, her desire to sing and dance stopped her from learning it further. According to her,
If I didn’t, I would probably be doing the same thing.”
- Momoland has engaged in several philanthropic activities. The group organized a charity concert in South Korea in which they donated the amount from ticket sales to children who were victims of car accidents in school zones. In April 2018, Momoland did another charity concert to help the victims of violence and abuse.
- Momoland was named the new ambassador of the Korean Red Cross Blood Service in February 2018.
- In October 2018, Momoland had their first charity concert in the Philippines, where they donated all the earnings to the children Barangay San Jose and Barangay Calawis in Antipolo City. After the concert, Momoland also distributed clothes and other necessities to the children.
- Merry-Go-Rounds in the Philippines have often termed Nancy and Filipina-American actress Liza Soberano as each other’s doppelgangers. In an April 2018 Facebook Live session with Ahin and Daisy (from Momoland), Nancy searched for pics of Liza on the internet and was absolutely awed by her. Nancy even said that Liza looked like Ariana Grande. In 2019, Nancy and Liza finally met and posed for a photograph. Nancy uploaded the picture on her social media accounts and captioned the post,
Nice meeting you Liza.”
- Nancy was made the brand ambassador of the popular skincare brand Some By Mi in January 2020. A Some By Mi representative said,
We chose Nancy because of her healthy and pure image fit well with the direction that we pursue, of our clean, natural skincare products.”