Our Top 20 Picks For The Most Popular Koreanovela Stars Today
They've taken the Philippines by storm, and what a storm they've conjured up!
No pop culture phenomenon quite compares to the widespread effect that Koreanovela actors and actresses have had on their adoring audiences. Aside from being the famous heroes and heroines of their massively successful K-dramas, these multi-talented stars are also style icons and cultural ambassadors.
They've enticed Filipinos to travel to Korea and propeled Korean cuisine to the mainstream. They've popularized tons of things from cosmetics to catchphrases to hip dance moves. And, lest we forget the obvious, they're also some of the most flawlessly beautiful people who have ever graced our screens!
Whether you're a fan(atic) yourself or know someone who is—and chances are, we all do—there's no denying the spell that these Korean stars have on us.
Now, without further ado, for the uninitiated and those who never want to cure their burning Koreanovela fever, here's a list of our top 20 picks of the most popular Koreanovela stars.
Just last year, Song Hye-kyo was put in the top 7 spot on Forbes' Korean Power Celebrity list, cementing her influence in the industry. She began acting in her teens and has become a household name since. She is the wife of another famous Korean star, Song Joong-ki.
Known for: Autumn in My Heart, All In, Full House, That Winter, the Wind Blows, and the award-winning Descendants of the Sun
Don't let his kind face underestimate his acting prowess. The 30-year-old actor made his name playing dramatic and action roles on both TV and films, and for the true Ji Chang-wook fan, they may already know that his talent extends to singing and musical theater as well.
Known for: Smile Again, Empress Ki, Healer, The K2, and Suspicious Partner
Another list-maker on Forbes, Park Shin-hye found herself at the top 3 spot on their Korean Power Celebrity list. She's considered one of Korea's most successful singers and actresses. Most recently, she's also become a hugely sought-after brand ambassador to several labels like Bruno Magli, Millet, homegrown brand Bench, and is the first Korean star to model for and endorse Visa and Swarovski.
Known for: You're Beautiful, Heartstrings, The Heirs, Pinocchio, and Doctors
After completing his mandatory military service, he took to the screen and was eventually touted as a top "Hallyu" star—a Korean talent that helped popularize Korean film and TV in Asia and the rest of the world. Initially wanting to stay away from the entertainment industry, this Business Administration degree-holder was actually a successful athlete before he hit the silver screen.
Known for: Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Running Man, The Innocent Man, and Descendants of the Sun
Originally a K-pop star who was part of the girl group miss A, Bae Suzy transitioned to a solo singing career and acting. Outside of television, the doll-faced beauty is a popular endorser in Korea for cosmetics, clothing, and food, and, to the pleasant surprise of many, an active donor of Community Chest of Korea's Honor Society, a charity that seeks to promote a culture of giving and charity.
Known for: While You Were Sleeping, Dream High, and Uncontrollably Fond
As the youngest talent to be named Actor of the Year by Gallup Korea and the first actor to top Forbes'' Korean Power Celebrities list, Park Bo-gum has consistently kept his fans on their toes with the diversity of the roles he takes on. The actor who is known to be charismatic and approachable with his followers and polite and easygoing with his colleagues has had such a powerful effect that it's been given a name: "Bo-gum Magic."
Known for: Hello Monster, Reply 1988, and Love in the Moonlight
Known internationally as Gianna Jun, this actress has done projects in both Korea and Hollywood. She might also be one of the first Korean imports to become known in the Philippines, as she played "The Girl" in the chart-topping blockbuster My Sassy Girl. Beginning her career as a young model who appeared in Ecole magazine in 1997, Jun Ji-hyun has also dabbled in fashion by launching celebrity apparel label and luxury jeans brand "Gianna by True Religion."
Known for: Happy Together, My Love From the Star, and Legend of the Blue Sea
He sings, he dances, he acts, he makes us swoon. Is there anything Lee Min-Ho can't do? The film and TV actor proved his popularity when he disappeared from the silver screen for some time not once, but twice, after serious car accidents yet returned to the excitement of a fan base that never forgot him. Overall, he's starred in 13 television series, six web series, and four films, and has released two albums. Local homegrown brand Bench has also tapped him to be one of their ambassadors.
Known for: Boys Over Flowers, City Hunter, Faith, The Heirs, and Legend of the Blue Sea
Her short stage name is no match for the long list of her accomplishments. Having broken through the scene eight years ago at 15 years old as a singer, IU, or Lee Ji-eun, has become a formidable force in the industry. She acts, continues to sing (she is the lyricist and producer of her fourth studio album, Palette), and also hosts radio and television shows.
Known for: Dream High, You are the Best!, Bel Ami, The Producers, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Aside from being a top Hallyu star, Kim Soo-hyun has landed several roles as an ambassador, thanks to his pleasing personality on and offscreen. He's the Promotional Ambassador for Korean tourism, the Goodwill Ambassador of Seoul, and was named as the honorary ambassador for the Incheon International Airport. When it comes to his acting career, he may have carved his name in the industry with his dramatic roles that require him to take on a serious persona, but in reality, the class act is known to be a bubbly and amicable person.
Known for: Dream High, Moon Embracing the Sun, My Love from the Star, and The Producers
No one does romantic comedies better than Gong Hyo-jin. The seasoned actress who spent some time in Australia as a student has managed to win the hearts of Korean and international fans alike because of her charm and honest portrayals of the relatable women she plays.
Known for: Sang-doo! Let's Go to School; Thank You; Pasta; The Greatest Love; Master's Sun; It's Okay, That's Love; The Producers; and Don't Dare to Dream (Jealousy Incarnate)
Thanks to his slight frame and close-to-perfect features, a 16-year-old Lee Jong-suk became the youngest male model in history to join Seoul Fashion Week in 2005. Not one to play it safe, the actor first caught fans' attention when he starrred in hit drama Secret Garden where he played a gay character. He's since been handpicked for some of Korea's top K-dramas where he's played characters needing to overcome big personal challenges.
Known for: School 2013, I Can Hear Your Voice, Doctor Stranger, Pinocchio, W, and While You Were Sleeping
K-pop group Girls' Generation's Im Yoon-ah is successful as both a singer and an actress in Korea and China. Having graduated from Dongguk University in 2015, she was named by Forbes as Asia's "30 under 30" most influential celebrities in 2016, and was honored by South Korean president Park Geun-hye in 2015 for her charitable and volunteering efforts in the country.
Known for: You Are My Destiny, Love Rain, Prime Minister and I, The K2, and The King is in Love
Handsome actor and model Kim Woo-bin has made thousands of women fall in love with him, thanks to his manly screen presence. But more than being a good-looking talent, this actor touched the lives of many when he spoke openly about being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2017 and the challenges that came with it. The famous actor has gone on an acting sabbatical while he is undergoing treatment for his illness.
Known for: A Gentleman's Dignity, To The Beautiful You, School 2013, The Heirs, and Uncontrollably Fond
Not needing to wait long for a career breakthrough, Kim Go-eun won several Best Actress awards for her first screen project, 2012 Korean film, A Muse. It comes as no surprise as this talent who grew up in China was a star pupil at the School of Drama at the Korea National University of Arts.
Known for: Cheese in the Trap and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin)
As one of the most prolific actors on this list, Gong Yoo is also probably the most famous in the Philippines. With a face that doesn't betray his age (he's 39), he's played diverse roles on both film and television that have seen him as both a father and a bachelor and even an otherworldly being and a struggling everyday man. Serving at the front lines during his year-long military service, Gong Yoo has made discipline and hard work central to his career.
Known for: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, Big, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin), and the blockbuster horror movie, Train to Busan
Lee Sung-Kyung began as a model and started acting later in her life, but with even just a few acting credits to her name, she's already become an international sensation. She's particularly known for appearing to be very ladylike yet taking on comedic roles and making her audience laugh with her antics.
Known for: Cheese in the Trap, Doctors, and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo
At just 20, it wasn't difficult for Park Seo-joon to transition from being a young military man to acting. He entered the scene with his hosting gigs for several tv shows, and was eventually picked up to star in hit teen TV shows. Almost immediately after beginning his acting career, this talent was nominated for both lead and supporting roles for almost all of his projects.
Known for: Kill Me, Heal Me; She Was Pretty; Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth; and Fight for My Way
This theater degree-holder established her spot in the industry as a woman unafraid to take on more challenging roles. She veers towards female leads who have an urgent mission to complete or a crisis to overcome, sending the message that women don't simply exist to look pretty or be a cute sidekick to a more important character.
Known for: City Hunter, Glory Jane, Dr. Jin, Healer, Remember: War of the Son, and Queen for Seven Days
Gaining popularity in his roles in rom-com series and comedy variety shows, Nam Joo-hyuk has impressed his audience by trying his hand at dramas and historical films. He began his career in entertainment as a model but overtime has honed his skills in acting as proven by his awards two Best Actor Awards from the 4th APAN Star Awards and 36th MBC Drama Awards.
Known for: Who Are You: School 2015, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo, and The Bride of Habaek
Photo from @gongyoo7010