Kdrama: My Top 10 Korean Actors
You guys seem to have liked the previous k-content but I don’t have the time to start a column right now so here I am with another k-content article.
I tend to choose the kdramas I watch according to the actors. It especially helped with finding dramas to watch when I first started watching kdramas. So, I wanted to write an article on my top 10 for anyone new and for people to add more Korean actors to their lists, if they don’t have them already.
Top 5 Male Actors:
- Ok Taecyeon
Okay, you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about Taecyeon but he’s been my favourite Korean person for the past ten years both as an actor and as an idol. There is a prejudice against idol-turned actors, although currently there are many idol-actors in Korea, right now. Taecyeon is one of those who is helping move beyond this prejudice.
He started acting in 2010 with Cinderella’s Step Sister and he’s lately been in Secret Royal Inspector and Joy which ended last Tuesday. His most known project is probably Vincenzo which aired at the beginning of 2021. Taecyeon has improved so much over the years but his performance in Vincenzo even left fans in awe.
Other kdramas of Ok Taecyeon to check out: Dream High, Save Me, Game Towards Zero
2. Lee Junho
Taecyeon’s fellow bandmate Lee Junho started acting later than Taecyeon, in 2013, with the movie Cold Eyes. His first kdrama was Memory in 2016. He’s lately been in The Red Sleeve Cuff, ending on the 1st, which brought him a lot of recognition. He received the Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards, like his partner Lee Seyoung, as well as the best couple award, while the drama itself collected most of the awards at the award show. The fan favourite Just Between Lovers has also recently been put on Netflix and are being more known among kdrama fans, which it really deserves.
Other kdramas of Lee Junho to check out: Chief Kim (Good Manager), Wok of Love, Confession
3. Lee Jong-suk
If you’re not a newbie, you probably know Jong-suk, he’s been in many known dramas since 2013, though he started his career in 2005. He hasn’t been on our screens since Romance is a Bonus Book in 2019, as he’s been serving in the army but he’s finally discharged and returning to the kdrama world in 2022 with the legal drama Big Mouth in which he will be partners with Girls’ Generation’s Yoona. I’m very excited to see his return.
Other kdramas of Lee Jong-suk to check out: W, While You Were Sleeping, Pinocchio
4. Nam Joo-Hyuk
Joo-Hyuk started his career in 2014 with Surplus Princess. He is our boy next door. His latest kdrama was Start Up in 2020 which earned a lot of rewards and recognition. He has a drama coming up in February called Twenty-Five, Twenty-One that we should all look out for.
Other kdramas of Nam Joo-Hyuk to check out: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo, The Bride of Habaek
5. Kim Soo-Hyun
He’s one of the best-known kdrama actors that probably all kdrama fans came across at least once. He started his career in 2007 with his first role being a supporting role in the sitcom Kimchi Cheese Smile. He started earning recognition after Dream High in 2011 and he’s been becoming more popular ever since. He earned four Baeksang Arts Awards, two Grand Bell Awards and one Blue Dragon Film Award, as well as appearing in Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 list 6 times since 2012. He’s currently in a mini-drama called One Ordinary Day.
Other kdramas of Kim Soo-Hyun to check out: It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, My Love From the Star, The Moon Embracing the Sun
Top 5 Female Actresses:
- IU (Lee Ji-Eun)
She is one of the best actresses and also musicians in Korea. She had a difficult childhood and she is one of the most hardworking celebrities I have ever seen. Her story and work as both an idol and actress amaze me. His first kdrama was Dream High in 2011 but she debuted in 2008 first as a singer. She debuted solo which is rare in Korea. She hasn’t been in any kdramas since 2019, she’s been more focused on her music career lately but she has an upcoming film with Park Seo-Joon called Dream that we are looking forward to.
Other kdramas of IU to check out: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Hotel del Luna, My Mister
2. Bae Suzy
Another idol and Dream High actor. Is it because I love idols and Dream High? Or is it because Dream High was really ahead of its time introducing these amazing actors to the public? I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, Suzy is known as The Nation’s First Love. Her debut was in 2010 as a part of the girl group Miss A and she debuted as an actress the next year in Dream High. Debuting at the age of 16, she enchanted the whole nation with her beauty but she exceeded being known for her beauty and became very well-known as one of the best actresses in Korea. She proved herself to everyone with many different roles she played over the years. Her next project Anna, a psychological drama, is completely different from anything she has done before and surely one that will highlight her talent. It is one of the most anticipated dramas of 2022. She is affiliated with all of the male actors I mentioned above. She’s been partners with Taecyeon and Soo-Hyun in Dream High, Jong-suk in While You Were Sleeping and Joo-Hyuk in Start Up,while she is close friends with 2PM’s Junho from when they were in the same label, JYP Entertainment. I think it’s about time ‘JunZy’ came together in a project. Since their performances of Rihanna’s Nobody’s Business in 2014, many fans have been waiting for it to happen, including me. Casting directors, come on, hear our voices already.
Other kdramas of Bae Suzy to check out: Vagabond, Uncontrollably Fond, Gu Family Book
3. Park Shin Hye
Although I’ve loved her in a musical drama and she is known to have a talent for singing, Shin Hye is not one of the idol-actors. She debuted in 2003 at the age of 13 in the drama Stairway to Heaven. While her earlier projects were rom-coms, her latest projects, the drama, Sisyphus: The Myth and the films, The Call and #Alive were thrillers. I was introduced to her in her earlier dramas Heartstrings and You are Beautiful. Lately, it’s been announced that she is pregnant, therefore, we don’t expect her to be on our screens for a while but meanwhile, we’ll keep watching her many amazing previous projects.
Other kdramas of Park Shin Hye to check out: Memories of Alhambra, Doctors, Pinocchio
4. Kim Hye-Yoon
Hye-Yoon newly made it to my list of favourites. While many of her projects in the past only featured her in supporting roles, in 2021, she started drawing more attention to herself as she appeared in two kdramas and two movies, as well as bringing an old character of hers back to life as a guest actor in True Beauty. Lately, she was in Secret Royal Inspector and Joy with Taecyeon and is currently in Snowdrop. It’s bizarre that she had two dramas airing at once. While she is a great actor, she is also known to be a ray of sunshine on set. Together with Taecyeon, the behind-the-scenes footage of their latest drama is at least as fun as the actual drama to watch.
Other projects of Kim Hye-Yoon to check out: Extraordinary You, SKY Castle, The Girl on a Bulldozer (film)
5. Kim So-Hyun
Last but not the least, the youngest actor on this list. So-Hyun who is currently 22, debuted as a child actor in 2006. Her first leading role was 9 years after her debut in Who Are You: School 2015. She partnered with Taecyeon in Bring It On, Ghost a year later and lately, she appeared in two of the ballad group, 2AM’s latest music videos with Junho that left fans wanting to see them act together more. Maybe a drama soon? Who knows? Her last project was Love Alarm 2 which was 8 episodes, less than a normal kdrama, but then again, they also tend to not get a second season. The name similarity with Kim Soo-Hyun really confuses everyone, including me at times; what a coincidence that they are both very successful actors in South Korea.
Other kdramas of Kim So-Hyun to check out: Radio Romance, The River Where the Moon Shines, The Tale of Nokdu
Honourable Mentions: Kim Seon-ho (Chief Kim, Start Up, Hometown Cha Cha Cha), Song Joong-ki (Vincenzo, Arthdal Chronicles, Descendants of the Sun), Hwang Chansung (Show Window: The Queen’s House, So I Married an Anti-fan, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim) Lee Se-young (The Red Sleeve Cuff, Memorist, Kairos), Jung So-min (Playful Kiss, Because This Is My First Life, D-Day) and Seo Yea-ji (It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, Save Me, Lawless Lawyer).
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