Minkyu first came into limelight in 2019 when he joined Mnet’s idol competition program Produce X 101. He finished in 12th place, barely missing the lineup for the show’s 11-member derivative boy group X1. That same year, he was tapped as the first male model for the South Korean cosmetics brand Banila Co. He was then selected as host of MBC Music’s Pink Fiesta and later of SBS MTV’s The Show. In June 2020, he landed his first acting gig as the male lead in the Playlist web series Pop Out Boy! In 2021, he starred in the JTBC music drama Idol: The Coup and also contributed his voice to its official soundtrack with the songs Talking to the Moon, To U, and Tonight.