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 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.
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 in 2018 Room No. 9. He has also acted in a handful of movies including 2018’s On Your Wedding Day and The Soul-Mate.
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.
In 2016 he married his co-star from the drama Blood, Goo Hye Sun and they have been a power celebrity couple since then. They are known for their open affection for each other and have even starred in a variety show focusing on their marriage called Newlyweds Diary. They have also been praised for donating money to charity instead of having a large wedding. EDIT, The couple are in the process of a very messy divorce, (summer 2019.)
In 2017 he appeared in the drama Reunited Worlds and in 2018 The Beauty Inside.
Like many other models, actors, and idols he has appeared on variety shows such as Happy Together, now however, he’s trying 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, found a woman who loves him as much as he loves her, and is continuing to get roles in dramas. Things are looking good for Ahn Jae Hyun and I wish him continued success 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 has recently 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.
Being born in 1987 means that time is running out for Jang Geun Suk to begin his mandatory military service, so future projects may or may not happen until after he has done his duty to his country. (Most men enlist before they turn 30 as it is said the training is harder the older you are.) Either way, I wish him good luck for his future.
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.All photo credits to original owners.
All photo credits go to original owners.
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