A 20-year-old Filipina, Sophia Laforteza, is among the 20 candidates who will compete in The Debut: Dream Academy audition program. She is the daughter of actress Carla Guevara and chef Godfrey Laforteza.
On Tuesday, August 29, South Korean entertainment company HYBE and Universal Music Group subsidiary Geffen Records introduced the 20 candidates, with ages ranging from 14 to 21, for their upcoming global girl group. They were selected from a pool of over 120,000 candidates.
The other candidates come from South Korea, Japan, Thailand, United States, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Belarus, Sweden, and Slovakia. They will undergo the K-pop training system in order to secure a spot in the global girl group.
During the press conference, Sophia introduced herself in English and Filipino, “Hello. My name is Sophia. I’m 20 years old and I’m from the Philippines. Magandang araw. Ako po si Sophia mula sa Pilipinas. Mabuhay sa inyong lahat.”
Sophia introduce herself at The Debut : Dream Academy Press conference today! pic.twitter.com/27zzJa8GJs
— Dream Academy Updates (@DreamAcademy_UP) August 29, 2023
On Instagram, she described herself as hysterical, caring, and diligent along with a photo of herself. Sophia’s parents have also been expressing their support to her.
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The Debut: Dream Academy will premiere on Youtube and the Japanese streaming platform Abema on September 1, 2023. The group name and members will be revealed on November 18, 2023.
It will also be documented by filmmaker Nadia Hallgren for a Netflix series to be released in 2024. Aside from a panel of judges, fan voting on Weverse and TikTok will play a crucial role in the competition.
HYBE released a trailer of the audition program, showcasing the talents of the candidates. Watch it below:
HYBE manages K-pop groups, including BTS, Tomorrow X Together, Enhypen, Seventeen, and NewJeans. Meanwhile, Geffen Records is home to international artists Olivia Rodrigo, Snoop Dogg, and Marshmello.