Much like Philippine showbiz, many child actors in South Korea grow up to become some of the biggest talents on the small screen. This is exactly the case for Kim Yoo Jung who started acting when she was only—believe it or not—four years old! Many of you may know her from her lead role in Love In The Moonlight opposite fellow cutie Park Bo Gum, but this girl has had a lot of acting experience under her belt even though she's only 20 years old.
Yoo Jung was tagged as one of "Korea's Little Sisters" when she was a child and is now dubbed as the "Sageuk Fairy," a title given to her because most of her body of work involves historical period dramas. In 2017, she ranked eighth on the list of Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list and made history for being the youngest to ever be included in the Top 10 at only 17 years old. Talk about being accomplished at such a young age!
Can't get enough of this talented young actress? Here's a must-watch list of the top five shows she's starred in from 2012 to 2019:
1. Moon Embracing The Sun (2012)
Yoo Jung already had a lot of acting credits under her belt when this fantasy historical drama aired, but it is her role in this show that made Korea realize that the child actress was slowly growing up to become a lady. The story, which is set in a fictional version of Korea's Joseon Dynasty, revolves around the love story between the king (Kim Soo Hyun) and a shaman. Yoo Jung played the younger version of Yeon Woo (Han Ga In), the female lead of the series. Despite only starring in the first few episodes of the series, she received praise for her acting versatility that had made the further world-building of the plot effective. She received the Best Child Actress Award in the 4th Pierson Movie Festival and the Best Young Actress recognition at the 1st K-Drama Star Awards for her performance in the show.
2. May Queen (2012)
Following her impressive performance in Moon Embracing The Sun, Yoo Jung once again captured the attention of viewers when she starred in the romantic melodrama May Queen in the same year. The series revolved around the intertwined lives of characters in Korea's shipbuilding industry during the country's modernization period. Similar to her role in the historical drama, Yoo Jung played the younger version of Hae Joo (Han Ji Hye), the series' lead character who was in the center of all the betrayals and power plays that moved the story along. Many people praised her for her flawless acting that captured the tragic plot of the story and the young love between the main characters. She was named Best Young Actress at the 1st K-Drama Star Awards for her role in the series.
3. Secret Door (2014)
Yoo Jung's next foray into the historical drama genre is in the series Secret Door where she played the younger version of Seo Ji Dam, a lady detective that was also believed to be the subject of affections of Prince Sado (Lee Je Hoon). The story is a revisionist take on the complicated relationship between King Yeongjo (Han Su Kyu), a Joseon ruler who ordered the murder of his own son, the Crown Prince, because of differences in their political agenda. The Secret Door painted the murdered prince in a redeeming light, though some historical documents believed that he was ordered to be killed because of his abusive tendencies. Ji Dam is considered as Yoo Jung's first adult role and she took home the New Star Award at the 22nd SBS Drama Awards for her participation in the show.
4. Love In The Moonlight (2016)
Yoo Jung's big break that sealed her status as one of Korea's up-and-coming leading ladies is her role in Love In The Moonlight, another—you guessed it—historical drama opposite Park Bo Gum. The coming-of-age and romantic comedy was set in the Joseon Dynasty and followed the adventures of childish prince Lee Yeon (Bo Gum) and boyish Hang Ra On (Yoo Jung) who is posing as a male relationship counselor for the prince. The series was a total hit in and out of Korea (it was also aired here in the Philippines!), garnering an audience rating of 23.3 percent at its peak. Both Yoo Jung and Bo Gum were praised for their acting performances and the pair even won the Best Couple Award at the 30th KBS Drama Awards. Yoo Jung also took home the Excellence Award for Actress in a Mid-length Drama at the same award ceremony and the Most Popular Actress for Television at the 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards.
5. Clean With Passion For Now (2018 to 2019)
Yoo Jung's latest project is this romantic comedy which follows her character Gil Oh Sol's adventures while working for a cleaning company. Here, she meets Jang Seon Kyul (Yoon Kyun Sang), the CEO of the business who is suffering from a severe case of mysophobia (a pathological fear of germs). The show features a different side of Yoo Jung as she breathed comedic life to Oh Sol's character, a woman with a strong stomach endurance for dirt and anything ~disgusting~. The series has recently been added to Netflix's fresh releases for November, so make sure to add it to your list!
Bonus: Yoo Jung was also a regular host for the popular music show Inkigayo from 2014 to 2016 before she took on her leading role in Love In The Moonlight. She was confirmed to star in the mystery thriller The Night of the 8th Day, a movie about a former exorcist who has to fight an evil entity. The movie will air in 2020.
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