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8 K-Pop Idols Who Started Out As Child Actors

We’re getting déjà vu! Where have we seen these K-pop idols before?
K-pop idols who started out as child actors
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) INSTAGRAM/moon_ko_ng, INSTAGRAM/0529.jihoon.ig

You might have seen these K-pop idols on the small screen way before they debuted with their respective groups. Before chasing the idol dream, they were cute and gifted child actors, famous for playing the young versions of your fave drama protagonists. Some of them continue to star in dramas up to now. Talk about talented! Read on to see if you’re familiar with these idols. Did we miss a child actor that was on your list? Let us know who in a comment!

K-Pop Idols Who Started Out As Child Actors 

1. F.T. Island's Hongki

The lead singer of rock band F.T. Island and a thriving solo singer in his own right, Hongki actually started his career as a child actor. He used to be popular with elementary school students because he starred as Masuri’s friend in the sitcom Magic Kid Masuri. He was also a regular on other educational TV shows. After he debuted with his band in 2007, Hongki found success in dramas too. He made a splash as the fun Jeremy in hit drama You’re Beautiful and has since landed lead roles in dramas like Bride Of The Century and Modern Farmer. You might also remember him as pig demon P.K. in A Korean Odyssey.

2. iKON's Chan

Chan earned his place in iKON after joining the survival reality show Mix & Match. The group has plenty of certified bops and chart-toppers, including the worldwide sensation, “Love Scenario.” Before his foray into K-pop, Chan appeared in several dramas, including The Great King, Sejong, Cain And Abel, and The Slingshot. He gained fame as mini Lee Min Ho, having starred as the young version of the popular actor in Boys Over Flowers and The Heirs. He was also mini Max Changmin in TVXQ’s “Balloons” MV.


3. ASTRO's Moonbin

Fans of second-generation K-pop idols will know Moonbin because, like Chan, he starred in TVXQ’s “Balloons” MV in 2006, charming people worldwide as mini U-Know Yunho. He also starred as the young So Yi Jung (the grownup version was played by Kim Bum) in the hit dramas Boys Over Flowers. Moonbin debuted with ASTRO in 2016 but continued to take on small roles in web dramas like Idol Fever and Sweet Revenge. He made his comeback on the small screen with Moment At Eighteen where he played Jung Oh Je, best friend of protagonist Choi Jon Woo.

4. Oh My Girl's Binnie

You might know Binnie as one of the vocalists in the girl group Oh My Girl, which debuted in 2015. Their success hit new heights when they joined the singing show Queendom where they competed with other girl groups for a chance to win a comeback show. Binnie might be slaying the music charts with her group now, but this talented girl was a prolific child actor pre-debut. She has a long list of dramas under her belt. Among them are Beethoven Virus, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, King Of Baking, Kim Tak Goo, and More Charming By The Day.

5. SF9's Chani

Chani was a regular on the small screen before he debuted with boy group SF9 in 2016. He started with the dramas Queen Seondeok and Three Brothers in 2009, and progressed to playing the young versions of drama protagonists like Kang Maru (adult version: Song Joong Ki) in The Innocent Man in 2012. He was even in hit dramas The Queen’s Classroom and Signal. Post-debut, Chani became more widely known after he starred in critically-acclaimed drama SKY Castle where he played the Hwang family’s son, Woo Joo. You might have recently seen him in the dramas True Beauty and Imitation.

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6. Wanna One's Park Ji Hoon

Ji Hoon with his popular “Save you in my heart” catchphrase was in different entertainment agencies before he landed in Maroo Entertainment, joined Produce 101, and debuted with one of the biggest boy groups of all time, Wanna One. After its disbandment, he continued his career as a solo artist. Ji Hoon has been in show business since 2006 as a child actor, appearing in musicals and dramas, among them Jumong, The King And I, and Iljimae. He made his small screen comeback in Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency in 2019, and he played his first leading role this year in At A Distance, Spring Is Green.

7. CRAVITY's Wonjin

Wonjin participated in the survival audition show Produce X 101 before making his debut with his Starship Entertainment labelmates in CRAVITY in 2020. But long before he developed his idol dreams, he was a child actor, starting his acting career at the age of nine. Among dramas he’s been in are Dong Yi, Feast Of The Gods, and The Third Hospital. He has even appeared in movies like The Man From Nowhere (with the elusive Won Bin) and The Sound Of A Flower.


8. STAYC's Si Eun

Multitalented Si Eun is girl group STAYC’s main vocalist. The group debuted in 2020. She comes from a celebrity family, her dad being legendary singer Park Nam Jung. Before she became a K-pop idol, Si Eun had quite the career as a young actress. She started out in Pluto Secret Society, a children’s TV series, as early as 2014. She has played the young version of plenty of characters in dramas, including Shin Chae Kyung in Queen For Seven Days and Woo Seo Ri in Still 17, the latter of which earned her a Best Young Actress award. You might have recently seen her as the young Wol Joo in Mystic Pop-Up Bar.



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