1987 was a good year. It was the birth year of three young men, Kim Young Kwang, Ahn Jae Hyun, and Jang Geun Suk, who would each become appealing models and talented actors. (If you follow the traditional Korean Zodiac, only Ahn Jae Hyun and Jang Geun Suk were born in the Year of the Rabbit. Being a January baby Kim Young Kwang falls under the previous year’s sign and is a Tiger.)
Kim Young Kwang, born in 1987, and standing at six feet two inches tall has a lot of charm as well as a captivating smile. The corners of his mouth turn up and give him a ‘a cat who ate the canary’ type look even when his face is at rest, which I find hard to resist.
Kim had some hard times growing up, his dad died while Kim was in Elementary school, he and sorta fell into modeling at age 19. He did remarkably well, walking the runway for big names such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and becoming the first Asian model to walk down the runway in a Dior ‘Homme’ show.
He debuted as an actor in 2008 and in 2011 appeared in White Christmas along with other aspiring models turned actors, such as Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Woo Bin, with whom he is still friends. This drama is well worth watching, both because it was a good drama, but also because it kick started a lot of young actors careers.
Kim had a few supporting roles in some TV/cable dramas and then in 2014 got the role of second lead in Pinocchio for which he won a ‘New Star’ Award. In 2016 he appeared in two dramas, Gogh, The Starry Night, and Sweet Stranger And Me, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and can heartily recommend. In 2017 he was in the drama Lookout and the thriller The Guardians. Then in 2018 he was in Room No. 9, as well as a couple of movies including On Your Wedding Day and The Soul-Mate.
2019 saw him star in The Secret Life Of My Secretary, which was one of my favorite dramas of that year.
He has appeared in variety shows, music videos, as well as a stint in theater, all while continuing with modeling, particularly in print and advertising. Fortunately he has already served his mandatory military service so we should be able to continue to enjoy watching his acting skills grow more with each new project.
Ahn Jae Hyun
Ahn Jae Hyun, is another popular actor who got his start through modeling. Before then, however, he had to get though a surgery during his High School years for retinal detachment. Although ‘fixed’ for now this is a serious condition which means monthly check ups and caution when doing action scenes. It also meant that he served his mandatory military service in public services.
He began modeling in 2009, appearing on the catwalk, in magazines and in commercials. He then tried his hand at acting, but had a slow start with minor roles. He was beginning to get noticed in 2011, but decided it was a good time to get his mandatory military service out of the way. Upon completion he received a big break by capturing a supporting role in the mega-hit drama My Love From Another Star.
And basically he hasn’t looked back from there. By 2015 he got his first leading role in Blood followed by Cinderella And The Four Knights in 2016 for which he received a Top Excellence Award at the Korean Drama Awards. 2017 saw him in Reunited Worlds, and 2018 The Beauty Inside. His latest drama Love With Flaws will finish January 16th 2020.
In 2016 he married his co-star from the drama Blood, Goo Hye Sun and they quickly became a power celebrity couple. They were known for their open affection for each other and even starred in a variety show focusing on their marriage called Newlyweds Diary. They were also praised for donating money to charity instead of having a large wedding. However not everything was what it seemed and in August 2019 Ahn requested a divorce and a very messy and public ‘he said, she said’ followed. The public was split on their support as both showed unfavorable character traits. The divorce was finalized in September.
Like many other models, actors, and idols he has appeared on variety shows such as Happy Together, then he tried a stint as a cast member for New Journey To The West 2 where he traveled to China. He was recommended for the role by Lee Seung Gi his costar in the drama You’re All Surrounded.
Ahn Jae Hyun continues to model, and has won modeling as well as acting awards. He has completed his mandatory military service, thought he found a woman to love, had a messy divorce and is managing to continue to get roles in dramas. Things aren’t looking too bad for Ahn Jae Hyun, and no doubt he will continue to succeed in the future.
Jang Geun Suk took a slightly different route by first being a child model and then a child actor. He was a model at the age of 5 and had acting jobs by the time he was 10. He did part of his schooling in New Zealand hence his English language skills. He also learned Japanese.
He returned from New Zealand for acting opportunities back in Korea and has pretty much been acting consistently ever since, first in roles as children or youths and then as adults. Many people first noticed him in the popular drama Beethoven Virus in 2008 as well as the movie Baby and I, but it was probably the drama You’re Beautiful in 2009 that cemented his position as an actor.
2009 also saw him in the chilling movie The Case Of The Itaewon Homicide in which he played a villain. The movie was based on a real case.
Other dramas followed such as Mary Stayed Out All Night, and Love Rain as well as the movie You’re My Pet. He also developed a career as a singer, especially in Japan where he has many fans. He has held very popular concerts in Japan as well as released multiple albums and won music awards there. A Chinese album and concerts also proved to be popular. He has sometimes been called The Prince Of Asia for his extreme popularity throughout the region. He has also written a Japanese Cookbook and branched out into appearances in music and reality shows such as Produce 101 and My Ear’s Candy.
His 2016 historical drama, Jackpot, did fairly well and it allowed him to expand his acting repertoire. That was followed by the movie Human, Space, Time And Human in 2017 and the drama Switch in 2018.
In July of 2018 Jang entered the military as a Public Service worker due to his diagnosis of Bi-polar Disorder. He was originally diagnosed back in 2011 and has undergone numerous re-examinations by the Military Manpower Association until they finally gave him a level 4 evaluation which excluded him from Active Duty. He is due to finish his commitment later this year. I hope to see him return to Kdramas, movies etc.
Have a great day everyone.
You may also enjoy Easy On The Eyes: Korean Models Turned Actors, Part 1, and Part 2, My Favorite Parks (Actors Not Green Spaces), Is It The Kdrama Actor? and Korean Variety Show Games.
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Great post! Your posts always leave me feeling like I have learned something, which is so cool.
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haha pogi namn po haha ok sige ….
Thank you so much for the compliment. It is probably the nicest one to hear.
Considering how famous some actors are it is surprising how hard it can be to really learn much about them.
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