If you haven’t heard of BNK48 yet, then you’re in luck! Tokyo Idol Festival in Bangkok just finished and we thought it’s finally time to kick-off our BNK48 feature with their Captain: Cherprang Areekul!
FULL NAME: Cherprang Areekul (เฌอปราง อารีย์กุล)
BIRTH DATE: May 2, 1996
EDUCATION: Currently studying Chemistry (as of April 2018)
SCHOOL: Mahidol University International College
POSITION: Captain of BNK48 / Center for BNK48 Single “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie”
GENERATION: 1st Generation
Cherprang has been a fan of AKB48 since 2012, and upon learning they’re having auditions for BNK48, she immediately tried out for a spot. After beating 1,500 applicants, she made it to the final 29.
She joined BNK48 as a trainee on February 12, 2017. Cherprang was then promoted to be its Captain (Group Leader)
Cherprang is currently taking up a degree in Chemistry in the Mahidol University International College. But she isn’t your average student as she’s been part of a published scientific study focusing on reaction mechanisms and deducing the chemicals involved in the process. Wow!
Cherprang’s rise to stardom wasn’t unnoticed by the science community. The Royal Society Open Science (the science journal who published her study) noticed the increase in search hits after Cherprang debuted. They conducted an interview with Cherprang to get to know the musician-scientist even better: Musical Notes and a Chemistry Experiment – Interview with Cherprang Areekul.
Life As An Idol
Cherprang ranked #39 out of 120 in the final results of the AKB48 53rd Single Sekai Senbatsu Sousenkyo held in Japan. Estimates put the amount of money she brought in (through votes cast) over 1 Million THB (over 30,000 USD). Only Cherprang and Praewa Suthamphong (แพรวา สุธรรมพงษ์ / Music) from BNK48 made it to the Top 120 Global Rankings.
BNK48 fans were pleased that the group exceeded expectations just after 1 year of being active. The girls have since appeared on major advertisements for big brands in Thailand such as Lactasoy, Toyota, and even promoting their special edition BNK48 Samsung J8 phone.
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Cherprang Areekul is arguably BNK48’s most popular member. Most events (big ones) and advertisements always have Cherprang in them. Unfortunately for her, being BNK48’s most popular member has required her to take a leave of absence from her university studies.
Just How Famous is BNK48 Cherprang?
Fans of the entire AKB48 franchise know girl group merchandise collects value over time. BNK48’s financial success has also been because of this phenomenon. Combine girls with great personality and limited edition merchandise, you’ve got a working marketing/sales strategy.
A few months ago, one of Cherprang’s fans sold a Cherprang merchandise for an undisclosed 6-figure amount in THB. The fan decided (in keeping with the spirit of Cherprang’s message) that he would use the money from the sale to buy books and computers for a local school’s library.
The fan, known as Mr. K, was also helped by Cherprang’s facebook fanpages: Cherheart BNK48 and Cherprang BNK48 Fanclub. The project drew so much attention that Cherprang herself noticed and helped out. One visible sign of her contribution was her signature on multiple boards, namely the library being named after her: Cherprang Areekul Library.