Fairlane is a devout Asian entertainment fan. On the side, she is a professional screenwriter and author.
Less than a decade ago, being 30 means being "ancient" in Korea. These women are the ones breaking the image. Being 30 and still single, these women are showing how life needs to be lived - by being the best at what you do, having substance and helping as much as you can.
This is part 2 of the 10 Single Women in Korea that Makes Being 30s Better Than 20s (6-10).
#1- Ha Ji Won
- Started out in 1996 with a small role in the drama Adults Don’t Know, she continued playing supporting roles in dramas before landing a major role in Truth Game, where she won two Best New Actress Awards.
- She became known as the “queen of horror” for a series of successful horror movies, such as Phone and Nightmare. She then avoided being typecast by starring in the sexy comedy film Sex is Zero, which became the second highest grossing comedy film in South Korea in 2003.
- She continued starring in various dramas and films, gaining awards, and received international fame for playing the titular character in the period drama Hwang Jini, which was syndicated out in various countries outside of South Korea. She then repeated the worldwide success with another period drama with 2013’s Empress Ki, again starring in the title role.
Brains and Heart
- Ha Ji Won is known as a committed actress who doesn’t shy away from physically taxing roles, willing to perform her own stunts and take rigorous martial arts lessons to make scenes more convincing.
- Ha Ji Won shows remarkable ability to learn various disciplines if it is required for her roles. She learned sports aerobics for Sex is Zero, sunmudo for Duelist, boxing for Miracle on 1st Street, and even table tennis for As One.
- She does charity work with her fans regularly, including delivery of coal to Bangbae-dong, which is a rural village that isn’t subsidized by the government.
- When she published the book This Moment, she donated the proceeds to children’s aid group Choi Kyung Joo Foundation and Yonsei University Hospital, whch aims to set up a scholarship for prospective arts students and to subsidize treatment for deaf and blind children, respectively.
- She is also volunteered to be an organ donor when she dies, pledging to donate her cornea after her death.
#2- Han Hyo-joo
- Han Hyo Joo was first discovered in a teenage beauty pageant and given a role in the sitcom Nonstop 5, as well as the action comedy film My Boss, My Teacher. She started receiving attention after being cast in the final installment of the season drama Spring Waltz.
- Her fame received a massive boost in 2007-2008 when she was cast in two successful TV dramas, KBS1’s Like Land and Sky and SBS’ Iljimae.
- With her newfound fame, Han Hyo Joo continued starring in various TV dramas and films, even joining indie productions if the role is right. She gained various awards along the way, with her role in MBC’s Dong Yi cementing her status as one of South Korea’s most bankable female stars.
- Besides her dramas being shown overseas through syndication, Han Hyo Joo also gained overseas accolades by starring in the Japanese film Miracle: Debikuro-kun no Koi to Maho ("Miracle Devil Claus' Love and Magic")
Brains and Heart
- Guesting in various reality TV shows such as X-Man and Running Man showed that Han Hyo Joo is athletic and smart, able to think on her feet and hang with more experienced contestants in the shows.
- In 2012, Han Hyo Joo visited the Philippines along with other Korean celebrities Cha in Pyo and Shin Ae ra, in order to do some charity work for the children of Payatas. They helped feed the children, played games with them, and helped paint/renovate some houses.
- In June 21. 2013, Han Hyo Joo donated $30 thousand dollars to the non-profit organization Beautiful Foundations, which helps senior citizens, particularly those who live alone. She also visited the seodaemun seniors center and helped feed 500 senior citizens beef bone soup, while also entertaining them.
- She is a goodwill ambassador for various organizations, including the Republic of Korea Air Force, Chongbuk National education, the National Tax Service, and even the population and housing census.
#3- Shin Min Ah
- Shin Min Ah started out as a model in 1998, mostly for teen magazines, but was hired to appear in several music videos, particularly those from K-pop boyband G.o.D. She debuted as an actress in 2001.
- She got her big break through the high school martial arts comedy film Volcano High, where she played the badass female foil to Jang Hyuk’s character.
- A series of lead roles in dramas followed, but she soon landed several main roles in romance dramas and films, as well as a thriller with The Devil. She gained fame overseas due to being cast as the nine tailed fox in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, opposite Lee Seung Gi. The drama was syndicated overseas and was successful.
- Shin Min A is currently one of the most in demand and highest paid endorsers in South Korea, modeling for international brnads such as LG, Giordano, Calvin Klein (opposite Jamie Dornan) and others.
Brains and Heart
- Shin Min ah is a supporter of AMIS, which is a not-for-profit organization that aims to help the less fortunate children. She has donated funds and has donated items for AMIS’ charity bazaar, including personal items that had her autograph.
#4- Sandara Park
- Sandara Park was born in Busan, South Korea, but had to migrate to the Philippines at 10 year old so that her family can start a trading business. In 2004, she was encouraged by a friend to join ABS CBN’s talent search contest, Star Circle Quest. She reached the final stages of the competition and was 2nd runner up. The contest led to her being signed by ABS CBN’s talent stable, star Magic.
- Sandara’s popularity in the Philippines caught the attention of KBS, which did a documentary called “My Name is Sandara Park.” It was this documentary that caught the attention of YG Entertainment’s Yang Hyun Suk, who offered her workshop classes in South Korea. Park put her career in the Philippines on hold and went ahead with the workshops. She soon signed a contract with YG Entertainment and became part of YG’s then-newest project, 2NE1.
- Currently, 2NE1 is one of South Korea’s most popular groups, winning various awards and boasting chart topping sales.
Brains and Heart
- When Sandara originally debuted in the Philippines, she was unfairly stereotyped as someone who makes up for lack of talent with her looks and bubbly personality (her songs were novelty songs that highlight her lack of tone and featured simplistic dance steps), but after receiving proper training under YG, Sandara showed that she’s got talent in spades, as she is now a better singer and dancer than many of the colleagues she left behind.
- Despite achieving worldwide success, Sandara never forgot her roots and frequently comes back to the Philippines, either as part of 2NE1 or on her own. When she makes appearances, she still talks in Tagalog (one of the Philippines’ main dialects.) and still performs her old songs and dances even though it makes her look silly.
- Sandara and her brother, MBLAQ’s Thunder, launched an online campaign to raise money for people affected by Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.
- She, along with other YG artists, were part of Elle Korea’s “Share Happiness” charity campaign.
#5- Song Hye Kyo
- She got her first break by winning first place in the SunKyung Smart Model Contest, which landed her a gig as a model for the school uniform company and a small role in the TV drama First Love.
- Hye Kyo appeared in various dramas and sitcoms but only rose to national fame when she was cast in the KBS drama Autumn in My Heart in 2000. Since the drama was syndicated outside of South Korea, she also became popular overseas.
- Her star continued to shine bright and reached its zenith when she played the lead role in the series Full House, costarring with Rain. The drama was a worldwide success and was part of the first wave of Korean dramas that introduced the South Korean entertainment industry to other countries like the Philippines and the US.
- She continued gaining accolades in Pan-Asia when she was cast in the film adaptation of Hwang Jini, a role that she was originally not fit for because of her youthful appearance, but rigorous dieting and training let her fit the role.
- Song Hye Kyo was also cast in the Hollywood indie film Make Yourself at Home, which is a horror film.
Brains and Heart
- For a role in Wong Kar Wai’s martial arts film The Grand Master, Hye Kyo showed brains and intestinal fortitude when she managed to learn Cantonese and Martial arts during the span of the film’s production.
- Hye Kyo regularly joins the charity bazaars that Korean artists frequently hold for a cause, with the most recent one being in Shinsadong (organized by Lee Hyori for animal shelters.)
- Hye Kyo also regularly volunteers for work in animal shelters, although information about this was only made available recently because she tries to keep a low profile.
- She also funded a project for the publication of 1,000 Braille guidebooks, after finding out that there are no Braille guidebooks available at the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan.
- Kyo approved a Celine handbag named and designed after her, on the condition that part of the proceeds will go to a worthy cause. The first make in the serial numbered bags was auctioned off, and the proceeds were sent to the Save the Children Charity in her name.