Korean actresses who first got their start as models on the runway and in commercials have been drawing attention as leading ladies on TV shows and in the movies.
By Anna Kim
Fashion modeling and action, those appear to have something in common. Models and actresses/actors evoke certain emotions, play a character, or make the audience believe in a story they showcase whether it’s on screen or in the glossy pages of a magazine. It’s no wonder that a lot of models parlay their cat-walking skills into legitimate acting careers, turning over a new leaf. However, there are only a handful of models to beat a path to success on screen.
Here are some former Korean supermodels that have made the notoriously tricky transition into acting.
Unobjectionably, Jun Ji Hyun, alias Gianna Jun, comes out on top over any other Korean actress turning her modeling career to acting. She was born on October 30th, 1981 in Seoul, Korea and got her start as a model for Ecole Magazine in 1997. When she was 16, her high school friend (who was also a model back then) introduced her to a photographer. It was her pose, posture, and dance moves in the Samsung My Jet Printer ad in 1999 that made her an icon among the young Korean populace.
Gianna Jun gave acting a try with the 1999 Korean romantic film White Valentine which failed to garner the expected viewership. Despite the outcome, her rise to fame was intact. The comedy flick My Sassy Girl made a breakthrough in her acting career and the movie made the big time emerging as the highest rated Korean comedy of all times. Jun married a banker on April 13, 2012. The couple were childhood friends and now they're raising two adorable sons.
Gong Hyo Jin had years of experience in the modeling business, including starring in TV commercials before becoming one of Korea’s top rom-com leads. Avid about fashion design in her teens, she flew to Australia with her mother and brother to pursue that goal. It turned out that Australia didn’t fit her dreams and she flew out of the country to return to her motherland. She got off to a great start with her debut in the horror flick Memento Mori in 1999. Since then, Gong has appeared in a wide variety of roles showcasing her acting talents. Her personal life was gossiped about as she went out with actor Ryoo Seung Bum following their work together in the SBS drama Beautiful Days in 2001 and the film No Manners in 2001. The couple broke up and then reinstated their relationship as lovers, announcing that they were again romantically involved in 2008.
Shin Min Ah is another gorgeous actress turning her modeling gigs to the screen. In middle school, she took a picture with her friends on a school picnic and sent the photo to teen magazine KiKi. She was chosen as a model for the magazine debuting at the age of 14. She would first appear in commercials and music videos. With her signature dimples, irresistible eye smile, and acting talent, she went on to star in the hit soap opera Beautiful Days with Lee Byung Hun. She starred in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho that made the big time. Her acting repertoire has been expanded from martial-arts comedy My Mighty Princess to 70’s go-go dancer Go Go 70s. In the music video Miracle Blue, she displays both child-like pureness and sexy blonde haired singer.
Bae Doona is considered as one of the best actresses in South Korea and now she is getting the recognition she deserves in Hollywood. Bae’s mother affected her incredible acting talent. Her mother Kim Hwa Young was also a stage actress and Bae would help her mother memorize the scripts. She has known for pushing the envelope when it comes to acting. She is willing to act without makeup---something that actresses don’t dare to do. She turned over a new leaf as a real actress and has left a milestone in the acting industry.
Jun Ji Hyun, alias Gianna Jun, comes out on top over any other Korean actress turning her modeling career to acting.