With more than 50 dramas and films under her belt, Kim Yoo Jung is easily one of the most successful Korean actresses of her generation. With such an *impressive* filmography, can you believe she's only 22 years old? Dubbed as the "Nation's Little Sister," Yoo Jung started acting at the age of four and was most known for her memorable child roles in dramas. Throughout the years, K-drama fans have *proudly* watched this talented actress grow up and eventually land her own lead roles. Yoo Jung is currently starring in the historical fantasy romance Lovers Of The Red Sky as Hong Chun Gi, a female painter who was born blind due to a demon’s curse.
Here are eight facts about child actress-turned-leading lady Kim Yoo Jung:
1. Kim Yoo Jung was born on September 22, 1999.
In an interview with Elle Korea, she got super candid about growing up in the public eye. "Since I started acting young, I think I missed out on happiness because I am in a situation where many people see and evaluate me. I was nervous and worried about the past and the future. Now, I am satisfied with the way I am and I try not to lose sight of the happiness that I can enjoy at the moment."
Yoo Jung also sat down for an interview with Cosmopolitan Korea and talked about acting out scenes she hasn't experienced (yet) in real life. "I think I am the same as my friends who have indirect experiences through dramas, movies, and novels rather than direct experiences. In the case of a love story or a fantasy story, it's not easy to act if you don't empathize with the role. In addition to the situation written in the script, I often ask a lot of questions such as 'What would this character do if she was in this situation?' and 'Why did she do that?'"
2. She is known as the sageuk fairy.
We can't talk about Kim Yoo Jung without mentioning her sageuk aka historical drama roots! From a young princess in Queen Seon Deok to a noble lady in Moon Embracing The Sun, Yoo Jung has consistently impressed viewers with her acting in period pieces. In 2016, she starred in the hit 2016 Love In The Moonlight, which cemented her status as the goddess of historical dramas and earned her various awards including Most Popular TV Actress at the 2017 Baeksang Arts Awards. Yoo Jung reportedly practiced for two months to prepare for that ~iconic~ solo dance scene in Love In The Moonlight!
3. Kim Yoo Jung has her own travel reality show.
In 2019, she took a much-deserved break from her acting projects and traveled to Italy! Yoo Jung tried out a variety of activities in Italy, such as working part-time at a gelato shop in the travel program Kim Yoo Jung's Half Holiday In Italy. She talked about the importance of experiences as an actress in the show's first episode, saying, "I really like to have lots of experiences. Acting is a job where I should be able to express something. The more experience I have, the better actress I could be."
The part-time job experience certainly came in handy when Yoo Jung starred as a part-time convenience store employee in the 2020 romantic comedy Backstreet Rookie alongside Ji Chang Wook.
4. She's an avid painter.
Prior to landing the role of a genius painter in Lovers Of The Red Sky, Yoo Jung has already been sharing her artistic talent with fans. In an interview with Allure Korea, she talked about picking up painting and drawing as a hobby. "I like oil painting and acrylics. There's a workshop that I attend and the teacher lets us do whatever we want. I was studying photography and tried out a drawing class by chance, but after that, I kept on drawing. I liked being able to portray emotions in a different way from acting."
5. Another hobby of hers is fishing.
Kim Yoo Jung surprised the cast of the variety show Knowing Brothers when she revealed her love for big game fishing. "I go boat fishing. I usually catch bluefin tuna and yellowtail amberjack. The largest fish I caught was about four feet long." Yoo Jung put her skills on display when she went fishing with her Moon Embracing The Sun co-star Im Siwan and on-screen dad Sung Dong Il in an episode of House On Wheels Season Two.
6. Kim Yoo Jung is a philanthropist.
Not only is she talented, she has a heart of gold too! In 2020, The Green Umbrella Children's Foundation announced Kim Yoo Jung's inclusion as the youngest member of the Green Noble Club. ICYDK, the club is dedicated to individuals who have donated at least 100 million Korean Won to the foundation that supports low-income children. Other celebrity donors in the Green Noble Club include Song Il Kook, TVXQ's Changmin, and BTS' J-Hope.
7. She's on Instagram (and so are her pets).
Yoo Jung's Insta is filled with behind-the-scenes photos, nature shots, selfies, and pets! She has a cat named Ddo Ddo and a dog called Sa Wol and they too are on Instagram. The furmom isn't shy when it comes to sharing adorable snaps of her pets. So cute!
8. She's booked and busy with one drama and an upcoming Netflix film.
2021 is shaping up to become another successful year for the actress. According to a Soompi article, Kim Yoo Jung's ongoing drama Lovers Of The Red Sky recorded its highest viewership ratings yet with an average nationwide rating of 10.2 percent for its sixth episode. Yoo Jung is also set to star in the Netflix romantic movie 20th Century Girl. She'll play the role of Na Bo Ra, a fiercely loyal friend who chose friendship over love in 1999, only to reunite with her first love by the start of the next century. She will act alongside Record Of Youth breakout star Byeon Woo Seok.