The wave of popularity that K-pop rests in currently, it is no wonder that Korean stars are some of the most popular in the entire world. From the vastness of the Korean entertainment world to its all reaching allure, the intense interest generated by Korean dramas and films make Korean actors and actresses widely recognisable presences worldwide. Here’s listing 10 such famous Korean actresses who enjoy a world wide fan following-
The first and only Korean actor ever to win the Best Actress award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, Jeon Do-yeon stands testimony to her legendary fame and success. In however being an actor at the foremost and an entertainer later, Jeon Do-yeon might not be the most famous Korean actress in the public domain. But in the world of cinema where credibilities rest on skill and not on presence, Jeon is inarguably one of the most phenomenal actresses of all time. A role model for young actors, this respected and celebrated lady however caught on to fame somewhat late. There though has been no looking back for this incredible lady ever since she made her feature film debut in 1997 with The Contact, venturing to portray such roles and characters that earned her international acclaim.
A commendable actress of repute and one of the most beautiful South Korean women, Choi Ji-woo has every attribute that makes her among the most famous personalities in entertainment. In starring in Winter Sonata albeit almost a decade after she debuted, Choi gained wide pan-Asian recognition with the drama that is often credited as one of the initiators of the Korean Wave. Over the years, Ji-woo went on to emerge as even more bankable a star, starring in films as well as dramas.
In fact, her casting in the 2008 tele-series Star’s Lover earned her ₩48 million per episode making her the highest paid Korean actor at that time. In her versatility and popularity, Choi Ji-woo swept across a range of awards for the entire first decade of the new millennium. Needless to say, her two decades and a half long presence in showbiz has earned her enough name and fame to make her stay put as an incredibly popular celebrity.
Among the Korean celebrities immensely famous in their identity as an actress is Im Yoon-ah, who also is as popular a singer in her home country. Debuting while still a teen in 2007, Yoona, as she is mononymously popular, rose to prominence with one of South Korea’s most popular girl groups, Girl’s Generation before setting out to explore the world of acting. From starring in popular K-dramas to playing the lead in a couple of the highest grossing films in South Korea, Yoona has established her potential as an actor to emerge as a popular face not just in her region of origin but also internationally.
Named in 2016 as one of Asia’s “30 under 30” most influential celebrities in entertainment and sports by Forbes, Yoona has dwelt on her popularity to emerge also as a celebrity with the highest number of endorsements. Credited by CNN as “one of the household names in the Asia-Pacific region” which has helped Korean beauty brands become popular in China, the actress has endorsed international biggies like Michael Kors, Lee Jeans, Crocs in her presence as a famous entertainer. Also the ambassador for UNICEF’s campaign, “UNIHERO”, Yoona’s popularity has rendered her also equally vital in being South Korea’s global face.
A Korean actress famous internationally is Bae Doona, whose acting repertoire has transcended trans national boundaries. Debuting with tele dramas before moving on to films, Bae went on to star in Hollywood as well, with such projects that premiered at some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. In her exemplary histrionics and international fame, Bae Doona also became one of the 14 professionals from the Korean film industry invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.
In her legacy of noble ventures aside from her acting and glamour, Lee Young-ae is a Korean actress famous for her wide repertoire of personal and professional work. Debuting as a model in 1991 before making advances on the acting stage a couple of years later, Lee has starred in a wide range of film and television series that has earned her also a host of distinguished awards. Her success as an actor also reflects in the many honours bestowed on her.
From receiving the Medal of Culture Merit from the South Korean government for her contribution to the Korean Wave to becoming the first Korean actress to be selected as a jury member of the International Berlin Film festival, Lee Young-ae’s phenomenal career in showbiz has earned her unprecedented name and fame. A special envoy for the UNESCO Korean Commission as well as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Lee has ensured that her fame translates well also into her empathetic realisation as a person.
From being the ‘Nation’s First Love’ as the Girl in the 2001 romantic comedy My Sassy Girl to touching on international fame with the Hollywood flick as the lead in Blood: The Last Vampire, Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun is a personality famous world wide. In also being the first Korean actress to find inclusion in the iconic fashion magazine Vogue in its July 2010 issue, Jun asserts further her popularity that goes well beyond her pan-Asia stardom as one of the biggest Hallyu stars. Her fame also further asserts her credibility as one of the most in-demand celebrity endorsers in South Korea, as does her regular presence in the Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list.
A new gen Korean singer- songwriter cum actress who isn’t just incredibly famous; IU also is one of the highest-earning celebrities in South Korea. Recognized by Billboard as the all-time leader of its Korea K-Pop Hot 100 chart with the most number-one songs and the artist holding the number-one position for the most number of weeks, IU made her debut with her EP in 2008. Debuting as an actor three years later, Korea’s ‘little sister’ soon established her dominion also in acting though it has been her musical exploits that had already earned her exponential fame. In her numerous endorsement ventures as well in her philanthropic leanings that led IU to earn mention as the youngest celebrity in Forbes’ Asia’s 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy: Catalysts For Change, the young talent has definitely build up a brand of her own and continues to enchant one and all with her aura.
Widely popular as one of the most prolific actresses of her generation is Korean beauty and singer Park Shin-hye. Having debuted as a 13 year old in 2003, Park celebrated her 10th anniversary with a tour across four Asian countries, making her the first actress to do so. As also the Most Favored Korean Actress, chosen by fans of the Korean Wave in the United States, Park asserted her immense international popularity even as she continued to emerge as a big name in her home country, receiving the Prime Minister’s Commendation at the Korea Popular Culture Awards for her contribution to the genre.
Park Shin Hye’s outreach as a famous Korean actress also has led her to endorse prestigious international brands like Bruno Magli, Milet and Bench. She also is the first ever Korean celebrity to be chosen as a model for Visa as well as the first Korean global ambassador for Austrian jewelry brand Swarovski. Park is as notable for her numerous philanthropy works, and is also the recipient of the Philanthropic Celebrity of the year award at the 2019 Asia Philanthropy Awards.
For someone who achieved breakthrough success on her very debut, Kim Go-eun is one of the most gifted Korean actresses. Her role in the 2012 film A Muse earned her acclaim, while also catapulting her to the heights of fame out of nowhere. In her subsequent appearances on the silver screen as well as in television dramas, Kim went on to prove her versatility, thereby building up on her new found fame and also asserting its validity. In being such an incredibly talented and famous Korean actress, French fashion house Chanel named Kim as its ambassador for South Korea, and also selected her to be one of the seven faces for Chanel’s “J12 Turns 20” campaign in 2020.
As the first Korean actress to have her wax figure at the Madame Tussauds museum in Hong Kong, Bae Suzy is incredibly famous. Having made her film debut in 2012 with Architecture 10, the talented lady became the first Korean female celebrity to win a singer rookie award, drama rookie award and film rookie award, having received the Best New Actress award at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards for her acting performance in the film. Her starring in the widely acclaimed film also earned Suzy the title of the Nation’s First Love while fetching her also a host of lucrative endorsement deals.