If your introduction to the South Korean entertainment industry is through K-pop idols, you’ll see that they value youth both for the boundless energy it brings and the beauty it brings. However, there is a place for women who have aged a little bit. In fact, these 10 single women show that even in their 30s, they have done things that idols 10 years their junior can only dream of.
#6- Gong Hyo-jin
- Gong originally started as a model, appearing in various print and TV ads. After a year and a half of modeling, she debuted as a supporting actress in the horror film Memento Mori.
- She followed it up with a long string of movie and TV roles, many of which are cult hits. Her first big break was in the drama Sang-doo! Let’s Go to School, which was Rain’s acting debut and received massive ratings because of it. Gong won several awards at the KBS Drama Awards for the role.
- A brief slump in her career occurred in 2004 to 2005, after Gong rejected many scripts because she didn’t want to be typecast in stock character roles. Her career rebounded in Family Ties, and she continued that momentum with various movie roles that range from mainstream to indie.
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Brains and Heart
- Gong is a gifted writer, and she showed her skill when she published a collection of essays about the environment titled Gong Hyo Jin’s Notebook. In it, she provided various practical and useful tips on how to help the environment. The book is a best seller and is already on its fourth printing.
- In October last year, Gong hosted a charity auction alongside fellow actress Yoon Eun Hye. The funds for the auction went to various charity organizations in Korea.
#7- Han Ji Min
- Han Ji Min started out doing various commercials and music videos while still in High School. She got her big break when she was cast in the TV dramas All In and Dae Jang Geum.
- While originally not dreaming of being a serious actress, the success of All In made her change her mind. She followed it up with various roles that challenge her artistically, including the one in Blue Swallow where she played a tomboy.
- Han also hosted the weekly showbiz news program Entertainment Weekly on KBS from 2006 to 2008.
- She suffered a brief career setback when she and her co-star Eric Mun got into a car accident during the shooting of the TV drama Wolf. The injuries caused the drama to be delayed multiple times, until the studio decided to cancel the drama (ending it prematurely after 3 episodes.)
- She gained fame outside of South Korea for her role in The Rooftop Prince, which aired in other Pan-Asia countries. It was particularly popular in Japan, where Han received several awards.
Brains and Heart
- Han graduated from Seoul Women’s University, where she majored in social welfare.
- She is very active in volunteer work and fund drives, and published a book titled We’re Already Friends: Han Ji-min’s Philippines Donation Book.
- The book not only chronicled her volunteer work in the Philippines while helping a village, it also showcased her brains and skill as it features her writing and her own drawings.
#8- Choi Ji Woo
- Got her start after joining a talent audition organized by MBC in the early 90s, which allowed her the opportunity to get cast in the drama series War and Love in 1995.
- Got her first major role in the 1996 film The Gate of Destiny, but was replaced in the middle of filming because of her limited acting skills. She soon honed her acting skills as she continued getting roles in various TV dramas and films, including the hallyu remake of the Hollywood thriller Hush, titled The Hole.
- She got her biggest break when she was cast in Winter Sonata, which is one of the TV dramas included in the Korean Wave, which brought the Korean entertainment industry to the attention of Pan-Asia.
- These days, Choi is a far cry from the actress who was replaced in The Gate of Destiny, as she is a critically acclaimed actress and is being cast in roles not just in South Korea, but in China and Japan as well.
Brains and Heart
- Choi Ji Woo regularly does charity work, particularly during her birthdays. She enjoys babysitting at t he orphanage and doing voluntary work, such as kitchen work and cleaning.
- Choi Ji Woo also encourages her fans to do the same, and even took 40 people from her fan club on one of her charity work.
#9- Son Ye Jin
- Son Ye Jin started out in 2000 via a supporting role in the film Secret Tears. She went on to star in the TV drama Delicious Proposal, followed by other successful drama shows like Sun Hee and Jin Hee, and Great Ambition. Her first high profile role was in 2002, via Chi hwa seon, which managed to screen at Cannes and took home an award for Best Director.
- Son is part of the stars that spearheaded the Korean wave in early 2003, via her role in the TV drama Summer Scent. She then followed it up with two films that became huge hits in Pan-Asia – A Moment to Remember and April Snow.
- Currently, Son Ye Jin is one of the most popular actresses in South Korea and has also received recognition in other Asian countries, thanks to her versatility, which allowed her to pursue roles in different genres.
Brains and Heart
- In October last year, Son Ye Jin joined other Korean celebrities for a charity program called The Rainbow Project, which aims to help the poor children in Africa by donating their own personal possessions and other help they could give. In her donations, Son Ye Jin included a bracelet that she personally made.
- She has also participated in Cartier’s Love Collection exhibit, which has celebrities modeling the boutique’s featured items, with the proceeds of the event going directly to charity.
#10- Kim Tae Hee
- Kim Tae Hee was discovered while riding the subway and offered a modeling job. After appearing ina string of print ads and TV commercials, Kim debuted in a small role for the 2001 drama Last Present. A year later she was given a starring role in the short film Living in New Town and the sitcom Let’s Go.
- She rose to stardom when cast as the villain in the popular SBS drama Stairway to Heaven, which was followed a year later with a main role in the KBS series Forbidden Love and the SBS campus romance Love Story in Harvard.
- Not content with being part of the Korean Wave, Kim turned her attention to film by starring in the action fantasy film The Restless and the rom com Venus and Mars. Both films failed to succeed in the box office so she went back to TV drama: the massively successful and ambitious spy action thriller Iris. This same series allowed her to win her first major acting award: an Excellence Award in a Miniseries.
- Kim is also one of the more popular product endorsers in Korea, having represented popular brands such as Samsung, Olympus, Toyota, Daewoo Matiz, LG, and others.
Brains and Beauty
- Kim reportedly had perfect scores in all of her subjects throughout her three years in middle school, and she also attended the prestigious Seoul National University for her college degree. She was also the president of the SNU Women’s Ski Club at the time.
- Kim Tae Hee not only does charity work, she also seeks a low profile and tries to keep it discrete when possible. A foundation that she’s an honorary ambassador for once revealed that she helped a kid with an incurable disease by sending the kid a bunch of baseball equipment with her autograph and message, because she found out that the kid wanted to be a baseball player.
- Kim regularly participates in celebrity Charity Bazaars, where celebrities pledge their own possessions or creations, the proceeds of which go to charity.