Friday, June 13, 2008

Top 10 South Korean actresses

Earlier, I have written about top ten South Korean actors. In the late 1990s, South Korean cinema started to turn around. Now, South Korean cinemas and dramas are popular in many other countries like Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Like the South Korean actors, South Korean actresses are also very popular in many countries. Here is a list of top ten South Korean actresses.
Son Ye-jin:
Birthplace: Daegu, South Korea
Height: 165cm
Weight: 45kg
Blood type: RH+A
Born on January 11, 1982, Son Ye-jin is a graduate from the Film Art Department of Seoul Institute of the Arts. Till now, Son Ye-jin has played a wide range of characters in both drama and television. Son Ye-jin first appeared in a supporting role in Park Ki-hyung’s movie Secret Tears in 2000. She then landed with lead roles in many television dramas including: Delicious Proposal, Sunhee Jinhee, and Daemang: Great Ambition. Her first major role in cinema was in Chihwaseon in 2002. Directed by Im Kwon-taek, Chihwaseon received Blue Dragon Film Award for Best movie. Im Kwon-taek received Best Director award at Cannes Film Festival. Son Ye-jin became successful in Lovers Concerto, and The Classic. Both these movies were solid mid-level hits. The Classic received wide exposure in Hong Kong and China. Son Ye-jin became very popular in Japan. In Japan, Son Ye-jin solidified her status as a “hallyu” (Korean wave) in 2003 with her performance in a drama titled Summer Scent. Other major dramas that played major roles in “hallyu” were Autumn Love Story and Winter Sonata. After Summer Scent, Son Ye-jin appeared in two movies:A Moment to Remember and April Snow. Both these movies were very successful in Asia.

Go So Young:
South Korea
Height: 167cm
Weight: 46kg
Blood type: A
Go So Young was born on October 6, 1972. A graduate from Choongang University, Go So Young majored in Drama and Cinema. Known as South Korea’s “ideal woman,” Go So Young debuted in 1993 television drama Love Tomorrow. Go So Young quickly established herself as a representative of her generation. In 1994, Go So Young debuted in movies. Her first movie Fox with Nine Tails was South Korea’s first movie to use computer-generated images. In this movie, she appeared with Jung Woo-sung. The movie was not very successful. In 1997, Go So Young again paired up with Jung Woo-sung in Beat. Beat was a major success and gained cult following. Many Koreans especially high school students relate the movie with their generation. Beat turned Go So Young into a big star. After Beat, Go So Young appeared in a series of successful melodramas such as, If the Sun Rises in the West, Love Wind, Love Song,
Love. In If the Sun Rises in the West, Go So Young played the character of a young model. In Love Wind, Go So Young played the character of a Cheju Island tour guide. In Love, Go So Young played the character of a Korean American adoptee.

Song Hye-kyo:
South Korea
Height: 161cm
Weight: 45kg
Star sign: Sagittarius
Blood type: A
Born on November 22, 1981, Song Hye-kyo entered into the entertainment industry by winning a model search contest in 1996. At that time, she was in the third year of her high school. Song Hye-kyo, won the Grand Prize in the modeling contest, Sung Kyung Smart, a school uniform company. That year, Song Hye-kyo debuted as an actress in the KBS TV Sunday morning drama, Happy Morning. Since then, Song Hye-kyo appeared in several drama series. She rose to fame in 2000 with another KBS TV drama Autumn Fairy Tale. Autumn Fairy Tale tells a tragic love story of three people. In the drama series, Song Hye-Kyo appeared with Song Seung-hun and Won Bin. Autumn Fairy Tale became very much popular in Asia and propelled Song Hye-kyo to stardom. Next, Song Hye-kyo appeared in another drama series titled, All In. The series was so successful that the title became a common word in South Korean language. Off the camera, Song Hye-kyo involved in a relationship with her co-star, Lee Byung-Hun. This gave both the actors huge publicity and rumors about their marriage started to spread. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last long. Song Hye-Kyo then did a supporting role in SBS miniseries, Sunlight Pours Down in 2004. That same year, she appeared in another KBS comedy series Full House. The series became very successful. It was one of the highest rated South Korean dramas of 2004.

Lee Young Ae:
Seoul, South Korea
Height: 165cm
Weight: 48kg
Blood type: AB
Star Sign: Aquarius
Family: Two older brothers
Lee Young-Ae is one of the top TV stars of South Korea. Her popularity can be compared to that of Bae Yong Jun. Born on January 31, 1971, in Seoul, Lee Young Ae has huge fan base in East and South East Asia, South Asia and even Middle East. Lee Young Ae debuted as a model in 1991 and earned the titled ‘Oxygen Lady.’ From modeling, she made a transition to television dramas and movies. Famous Japanese television channel NHK TV, made a documentary about Lee Young Ae. In 2007, Lee Young Ae gave an interview in Iranian TV. Lee Young Ae became very popular for her performance in 2003 MBC TV drama, Dae Jang Geum(Jewel in the Palace). The drama tells the story of Joseon Dynasty Korea. Lee Young Ae played the character of
Jang-geum, a royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty. Her perseverance and portrayal of traditional Korean culture made the drama series extremely popular not only in Korea but also in other Asian countries. Half of the Hong Kong people stayed at home to watch the last episode of the drama. In 2007, when Lee Young Ae went to China, thousands of fans waited for hours to see her at -20 degrees temperature at the Harbin International Airport.

Jeon Ji-hyun:
A student of the Department of Theater and Film at Dongguk University, Jeon Ji-hyun started her career as a model in 1997. For the next two years, she appeared in various TV sitcoms and then in 1999, made her movie debut in White Valentine. That same year, Jeon Ji-hyun became very popular after appearing in an audio system ad. Her dancing skills and expression turned her into a major icon of young South Korea. She became extremely popular among teenage Koreans and Korean who were in their early twenties. After success as model in TV, Jeon Ji-hyun made her second effort in the movies. In late 2000, she appeared in Il Mare; a well-made melodrama set on Kanghwa Island. In 2006, Il Mare was remade in Hollywood movie, The Lake House, starring Speed couple, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Il Mare was not a commercial success but it established Jeon Ji-Hyun as an actress in South Korean film industry. Finally, Jeon Ji-hyun got her taste of success in 2001 with My Sassy Girl. That year, My Sassy Girl became the second highest selling movie in South Korea with 4,852,845 tickets sold nationwide and 1,765,100 in Seoul in the first 10 weeks. Famous Korean movie website praised Jeon Ji-hyun’s performance and referred her as the ‘undisputed star.’ The website said that the movie could not have been so successful without her.

Shim Eun Ha:
Weight: 43kg
Blood Type: B
Family: Parents and 2 younger sisters.
Born on September 3, 1972 in Yongin, Shim Eun Ha did not receive any university education. In 1994, Shim Eun Ha appeared in a basket ball-themed TV drama The Last Match. For her outstanding performance in The Last Match, Shim Eun Ha became one of the most popular TV stars in South Korea. The Last Match was followed by three more television dramas and two movies. In one of the movies, Born To Kill, Shim Eun Ha was paired up with Jung Woo-sung. The two movies were not so successful. Finally, as an actress, Shim Eun Ha made her mark in Chistmas in August in 1998. The movie tells a tragic love story between a photoshop owner Jung-won (played by Han Suk-kyu) and Da-rim, a metermaid (played by Shim Eun Ha). Jung-won comes to know that he is suffering from a serious disease and will die. He wants to spend the rest of the days of his life in peace but his world turns upside down after Da-rim comes into her life. The movie grossed more than 400,000 admissions in Seoul. It was also screened at Cannes, Singapore and Pusan. Still today, Christmas in August enjoys a big fanbase all over Asia. The movie was remade in many Asian countries.

Kang Su-yeon:
From the mide 80s to the end of the 90s, Kang Su-yeon has been one of most well known Korean actresses nationally and internationally. Kang Su-yeon started in the 1970’s as a child actress. After acting in some low profile movies she got her big break in 1986 in the movie The Surrogate Woman. Directed by Im Kwon-taek, the movie won Kang Su-yeon Volpi Cup Best Actress Award in 1987 at the Venice International Film Festival and Best Actress Award at the Nantes International Film Festival. For the first time, any Korean actor won major international award. Again in 1989, Kang Su-yeon won the Best Actress Award in Moscow International Film Festival. The movie Come, Come, Come Upward was also directed by Im Kwon-taek. It was a Buddhist themed movie, where Kang Su-yeon played the character of Sun Nyog, a young student who takes shelter in a monastery to escape from her troubled home and letter falls in love with a person who tries to take away her modesty. For her character, Kang Su-yeon shaved her head. That same year, she served as a jury in the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Kim Yoon-jin:
Seoul, South Korea
Height: 168cm
Weight: 48kg
Family: Younger sister, and an older sister.
Born in Seoul, Kim Yoon-jin migrated to the USA at the age of ten and received her degree from the USA. She lived in New York with her family. Kim Yoon-jin joined the middle school drama club. In her 7th grade, she performed in the musical My Fair Lady. Later, Kim Yoon-jin went to study in the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Music & Art and Performing Arts. From there, she went to study drama at the London Academy of Performing Arts. Later, she earned her drama degree at Boston University. After her graduation, Kim Yoon-jin became a full time actress. In the beginning, she appeared in several minor parts on MTV and few ABC soap opera drama. She also performed on Broadway. In 1997, Kim Yoon-jin appeared in Splendid Holiday, a Korean TV drama shot in New York. While working in the drama series, Kim Yoon-jin decided to return to her home country. After returning to South Korea, Kim Yoon-jin appeared in another TV drama Wedding Dress. Then in 1999, she got her big break with Shiri, the first big budget action movie of South Korea. The movie propelled Kim Yoon-jin’s career and turned her into a major film star in South Korean cinema.

Lee Mi-sook:
Born in April 2, 1960, Lee Mi-sook debuted as an actress in 1979 in the movie, Thoughtless Momo. By the mid-1980s Lee Mi-sook became a big name in South Korean film industry. Some of her major movies in this time were: Whale Hunting, That Winter Was Warm, Bbong and Eunuch, Wanderer in Winter. Directed by Bae Chang-Ho, Whale Hunting was one of the most of popular movies of the 80’s. Upon release in theatres, the movie attracted an audience of 400,000 in Seoul only. The story revolves around a hopeless young man named Byung-tae (Kim Su-cheol), a beggar named Min-wu (Ahn Sung-ki) and a dumb prostitute played by Lee Mi sook. In 1987, Lee Mi-sook appeared in Love Triangle. She then stopped acting in movies. In 1998, Lee Mi-sook made her come back with An Affair. Directed by E J-yong, in the movie Lee Mi-sook played the character of Seo-hyun, a bored house wife who becomes involved in an extra-marital affair with her sister’s fiancĂ©. The movie own prestigious award and gave a big boost to Lee Mi-sook’s acting career. In 2000, Lee Mi-sook appeared in a high profile movie The Legend of Gingko. Directed by Park Jae-hyun the movie did not do well at the box office.

Song Yun-ah:
Born on June 7, 1973, Song Yun-ah entered into the movie industry by winning the Gold Award at the KBS supertalent contest in 1995. In the next few years, she established herself as a talented TV drama actress. During this time, she became well known for her performance in Tears of the Dragon (1997), Love (1998), Hotelier (2001), and The Present (2002). She debuted as a film actress in 1997 in a movie titled, 1818 but till 2002 she did not deliver any major hit movie. In 2002, Song Yun-ah got her first hit movie Jail Breakers. It was one of the most commercially successful movies of 2002. In the movie, Song Yun-ah appeared with Sol Kyung-gu and Cha Seung-won. For her performance, she received awards for Best Supporting Actress at the 23rd Blue Dragon Awards ceremony. Song Yun-ah’s next movie Face was released in 2004. It was not a big success. A humanities graduate from Hanyang University Song Yun-ah also works as a part time lecturer at the Korean Central Academy of Fine Arts. She is now more active in movies.