K-dramas are celebrated for having beautiful leading characters who get viewers hooked immediately on their beauty and charm. With good looks, compelling personalities, and great talent, models have not only been transitioning into the acting space; for some, it has catapulted them to fame.
Here are five popular Korean stars who started on the runway and took a leap into the K-drama world:
1. Han So-hee — My Name, Nevertheless, The World of the Married
Han So-hee stole the hearts of viewers as mistress Da-kyung in The World of the Married and as art student Na-bi in Nevertheless. She wowed viewers again as an action star with her role as undercover cop Jiwoo in My Name, where she impresses by doing her own stunts.
Before she was a rising K-drama icon, the Ulsan-born actress started out as a professional model and was even scouted through social media for a Shinee music video.
2. Jung Ho-yeon — Squid Game
Jung Ho-yeon is another model-turned-actress who needs no introduction after appearing in the world-dominating series Squid Game as North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok.
Prior to being Player 067, Jung began her career as a model at 16 years old, strutting on the catwalks of Seoul Fashion Week before placing as a runner-up on the fourth season of Korea’s Next Top Model. She has since dominated fashion week shows across the globe, walking for Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, and more. Jung shows no signs of stopping as she was recently made Louis Vuitton’s Global House Ambassador.
3. Shin Min-a — Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Oh My Venus
Shin Min-a graced our screens as Yoon Hye-Jin, the double-dimpled-dentist from Seoul who moves to a small seaside town and meets fellow double-dimpled village chief Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho) in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.
Prior to her acting debut in 2001 melodrama Beautiful Days, Shin was one of the most in-demand models in Korea, having been featured in campaigns for LG, Giordano, Calvin Klein, and appeared in music videos for popular K-pop boyband g.o.d. The actress continues to model on the side with an ambassadorship with French brand Roger Vivier.
4. Nam Joo-hyuk — Start-Up, The School Nurse Files, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo
Another rising K-drama star is everybody’s favourite Start-Up founder Nam Do-san and Chinese-language teacher, Hong In-Pyo from The School Nurse Files. Nam Joo-hyuk has been gaining heat since he charmed viewers in his breakout role in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo.
Before making his way to the small screen, this Busan boy started walking the runway at 19 years old after winning a modelling contest which bagged him a contract with an agency.
5. Bae Doona — Kingdom, Sense8
Before kick starting her shining acting career, Bae Doona was scouted as a model in 1998 while attending college in Seoul and she began doing catalog work before taking on the small screen. If you can’t get enough of Bae, catch her in the upcoming sci-fi mystery thriller series The Silent Sea starring alongside Gong Yoo and Heo Sung-tae.
Feast your eyes on these models-turned-actors, only on Netflix!