When we get hooked on a new K-drama, it's usually because of these reasons: A) the promising plot, B) the drool-worthy leads, and C) their ~kilig~ chemistry. Sometimes, we stumble upon a gem with all of these factors PLUS strong female leads that become our #LifePegs.
Korean dramas are still all the rage and they play such an important role in influencing our mindset. Here, the top seven K-drama heroines who will inspire you to be your best self in real life:
1. Kang Mo Yeon from Descendants Of The Sun
Played by Song Hye Kyo
With all of her adorable quirks and relatable moments, it's hard not to connect to Song Hye Kyo's Dr. Kang. She's a hard-working woman who deals with issues the rest of us have experienced at one point—career exhaustion, office politics, dates that we wished could have gone better, the likes. But what makes her admirable is the way she deals with them, like how she owned the new job she originally didn't want. And men? She may love them just as much as she loves wearing pastel-colored designer pieces, but she isn't willing to sacrifice her ideals or settle for less than what she deserves when it comes to them. Even after being coupled up with Captain Yoo Si Jin, she remains in total control of her life and choices.
2. Kim Mi So from What's Wrong With Secretary Kim?
Played by Park Min Young
Secretary Kim's sophisticated, high-heeled, and level-headed character is the corporate heroine we didn't know we needed. On the outside, she's the perfect secretary—flawless at her work with a kickass wardrobe to boot!—but on the inside, she's just like the rest of us going through quarter-life issues. She had to sacrifice parts of her life to help support those closest to her, but being the strong woman that she is, she found the footing to quit and start going after what really makes her happy. Mi So showed us that it is never too late for a change of heart, whether it is about your career or other priorities in your life.
3. Kim Bok Joo from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
Played by Lee Sung Kyung
Bok Joo is a refreshing change from the typical heroines we see on Korean dramas. One, she's not traditionally feminine, and two, she pursues a career that is normally dominated by men. Still, she makes us fall in love with how real she is when it comes to dealing with real-life dramas. Who doesn't want to make themselves look extra pretty when you have a crush, right? And who doesn't want to take a break from a career you love but sometimes find exhausting? Bok Joo is as real as you can get—plus, she is proof that you can dress in sweats and still land a *cute* boyfie!
4. Choi Ae Ra from Fight For My Way
Played by Kim Ji Won
Kim Jiwon captured everyone's hearts again after DOTS when she played Choi Ae Ra, a department store employee who dreams of becoming an announcer. Ae Ra strikes a chord in everyone who has ever felt defeated in pursuing their dreams and resulted in having to take a job just for the sake of making a living. Still, she never stops working to get where she wants to be despite all of her disappointments and setbacks.
5. Do Bong Soon from Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Played by Park Bo Young
Do Bong Soon may seem like a lightweight with her small frame and cute outfits, but she is the LITERAL definition of strong. What's so great about her is the way she gives a deeper meaning to superhuman strength. Bong Soon always stands up for others but never abuses her power to hurt people. The story also presents a colorful dynamic that challenges the typical relationship between the male and female leads—Park Hyung Sik's Ahn Min Hyuk takes a step back from the knight in shining armor stereotype and lets Bong Soon be her own hero.
6. Ji Hae Soo from It's Okay, That's Love
Played by Gong Hyo Jin
For starters, the plot of this show is already unique from your run-of-the-mill K-dramas because it deals with mental illness, an issue that isn't usually dealt with in this genre. Ji Hae Soo, a psychiatrist, is an inspiration for women who feel like they were being held back by the emotional traumas that scarred them in the past. Hae Soo doesn't get over her fear of commitment and deep-seated anxiety issues just to get together with the male lead. She did it as a service to herself after realizing that she deserves to be happy and emotionally healthy.
7. Yoo Hye Jung from Doctors
Played by Park Shin Hye
With her high kicks and tough-as-rocks attitude, Hye Jung can come off as a cliche badass female character at first. She isn't afraid of getting into fistfights and never lets anyone walk over her. But the plot shifted when Hye Jung strayed away from her tough as nails character as the show progressed. While she remained the feisty girl the story started off with, she also developed more heart by embracing the compassion she usually hides under her steely image. Moral of the story: You don't always need to literally kick ass to be strong. It's about accepting your softer side, too.