Jang Yoon Joo might be a new face to K-drama fans but this multi-talented actress already has more than two decades of experience in the Korean entertainment industry. She's a multi-hyphenated celebrity known for her talents in modeling, hosting, singing, writing, and acting. Her latest acting project is the highly anticipated Netflix series Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area, the Korean spin-off of the popular Spanish series Money Heist.
Here are eight facts you need to know about Jang Yoon Joo:
1. Jang Yoon Joo was born on November 7, 1980.
Which makes her a 41-year-old Scorpio! Those born under this sign know what they want in life and are the ultimate go-getters and Yoon Joo is no exception. Throughout her very successful career, the multi-hyphenated star has continued to challenge herself in different fields. In an interview with Singles Korea, Yoon Joo shared how enjoying what she does is a big factor in broadening her horizons: "If I can enjoy myself as an actor, broadcaster, singer, or model, I want to keep doing it and do it for a long time. I want to get through my career wisely and I want to broaden my horizons. I want to be a cool adult, an attractive person, and a sexy woman."
She added, "I always try to feel that I am growing physically and mentally. Also, I try not to overlook or ignore the responsibilities in life. Even now, in my 40s, I think I'm growing up rather than getting older."
2. She's a top Korean model.
Then-17-year-old Jang Yoon Joo burst into the fashion scene when she made her runway debut as the opening and finale model (which is a big deal, by the way) for designer Jin Tae Ok's 1997 Seoul collection. 25 years later, Yoon Joo is now considered one of Korea's most successful models. She even served as the host and judge for five cycles of Korea's Next Top Model and has co-authored a fashion book titled Top Model.
Yoon Joo talked about her philosophy for fashion and style in a L'Officiel Singapore interview, saying, "I believe fashion and style involve fantasy and creativity. To continue playing the role of a model, one must have a vast atelier of pictures and stories within one's self. One must experience many different cultures around the world and have a sharp eye to see things for what they really are."
3. Jang Yoon Joo has released three albums.
Seriously, is there anything she can’t do? In 2008, she added singer-songwriter to her long list of titles when she dropped her first album Dream. Yoon Joo followed it up with the 2012 release I’m Fine and a third album named after her daughter Lisa.
She got candid about the many opportunities modeling opened up for her, including being a recording artist. "Compared to the past, there are more media in which models can work now. Being a model gave me more opportunities to work in areas that were not easily accessible. I've wanted to do music since I was a kid but it wasn't easy to do without preparation and determination. After my album was released, the scope of my work expanded a bit also by being a radio DJ."
4. She made her acting debut in the award-winning film Veteran.
Jang Yoon Joo landed a supporting role in the 2015 action comedy film Veteran. In an interview with Vogue Korea, she revealed that she got a lot of acting offers while working as a model but decided to turn them down initially (including Veteran) because of her love for fashion and her worries about acting: "At first, I turned down the project, but I fell in love with it while talking to director Ryu Seung Wan. After that, there were quite a few drama proposals but I had a lot of trouble and asked myself if I can act and how will I develop."
Her worries were put to rest when in 2020, she starred as one of the three leads in the movie Three Sisters and won the Jury's Special Award at the 2021 Golden Cinematography Awards.
5. Jang Yoon Joo is married!
In 2015, she married fashion brand CEO Jung Seung Min and they have the *cutest* love story! "I went to his studio to film. Afterward, he sent me a message through social media. We met face-to-face, ate together, and walked to the parking lot together, and it felt good. It's kind of like my own way of getting to know people, walking together. I can't pinpoint exactly what but there are people who give me a special feeling when I walk with them. He was just that," she shared in a pre-wedding interview with Allure Korea.
But according to Yoon Joo, the decision to get married did not come easy: "Since I wasn't interested in marriage, I needed more confidence that I needed to be with him rather than be alone. I was watching a movie and the last subtitle read, 'Do you want to go fast? Go alone. Do you want to go far? Go together.' It was like a revelation as if someone reassured me that I don't have to be alone anymore."
6. She's close friends with Red Velvet's Joy.
Jang Yoon Joo has a huge circle of celebrity friends, which includes Joy of the popular K-pop girl group Red Velvet. The two got close after both appearing in the travel show Pajama Friends as well as the beauty show Get It Beauty. Joy has been exploring her more mature and sexy side in recent years and it turns out, we have Yoon Joo to thank! The duo appeared alongside model Irene Kim in an episode of Knowing Brothers and talked about Joy's image change.
Yoon Joo shared, "She had only worn pretty, lovely, and feminine clothes but she was so sexy when she wore just a white T-shirt and jeans. She was so beautiful so I told her, 'Boldly show your sexiness. Then, you will shine more.'"
Joy added, "After meeting these two, I started thinking more about beauty and fashion and I think I’ve changed."
7. Jang Yoon Joo is on Instagram.
Yoon Joo's IG feed is filled with behind-the-scenes snaps of her fashion photoshoots, family pictures, exercise routines, and many more! She is also not shy in sharing her iconic ~model walk~ in videos, proving that anywhere can be a runway for a top model like Yoon Joo.
8. She's booked and busy with Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area and two upcoming films.
Jang Yoon Joo's first acting project in 2022 is the star-studded Netflix drama Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area. She will be acting alongside Yoo Ji Tae, Park Hae Soo, and Jeon Jong Seo, to name a few. Yoon Joo will play the role of Nairobi, who specializes in counterfeiting and forgery in the original Spanish series. Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area is now available for streaming on Netflix.
Yoon Joo is also set to star in two films: Citizen Duk Hee with Ra Mi Ran and Gong Myung as well as the sports movie One Win with Song Kang Ho.
MORE K-DRAMA ROUNDUPS FEATURING YOUR FAVORITE ACTRESSES:
6 K-Dramas Starring 'Snowdrop' Actress Yoon Se Ah
6 Kim Da Mi K-Dramas And Movies That You *Really* Have To Watch