It's been a month since the release of hit Netflix series Squid Game and we're still not over it! The series has achieved global success and has catapulted its talented actors to instant stardom. Lee Yoo Mi, who stars as Player 240 Ji Young, might be a new face to K-drama fans but did you know she's been in the entertainment industry since 2010? She's had mostly supporting roles in more than 20 films and dramas but she's been getting more attention for her acting in recent years.
Lee Yoo Mi certainly deserves all the hype she's getting (seriously, have you seen her top-notch acting in Squid Game Episode 6?) and if you're like us, you might be a bit curious about what she's like in real life.
Here are eight facts about Squid Game actress Lee Yoo Mi:
1. Lee Yoo Mi was born on July 18, 1994.
Which makes her a 27-year-old Cancer! Those under this sign are known to be charming, funny, and just overall a wonderful company to have around. In an interview, Yoo Mi said that her best qualities are being super positive and joyful. "I'm bright and full of joy. That could be a disadvantage, but I think it's great. I feel like I'm always gaining some feel-good energy."
2. She started acting when she was 16 years old.
Yoo Mi made her acting debut in the 2010 action thriller film The Yellow Sea. That same year, she starred in the sci-fi children's show Future Boy. As to what got her into acting, Yoo Mi recalled watching the 2007 South Korean film Herb and finding the lead actress' portrayal so interesting that she decided to give acting a shot. "Actress Kang Hye Jung played a mentally challenged person. I was young so I thought that an actual mentally challenged person starred in the film but I realized that wasn't the case. It was shocking. I was in awe so I was drawn to acting."
Because she couldn't tell her mom about her dream at first, her sibling helped her take photos, which she sent to agencies. She then "participated in auditions and sometimes filmed commercials."
3. Lee Yoo Mi almost didn't appear in Squid Game.
DYK, Player 240 was actually supposed to be a man? Squid Game director Hwang Dong Hyuk revealed that in the original version of the script, Ji Young a.k.a Player 240 was initially written as a male character. "When I wrote this 10 years ago, Ji Young was a boy. His name was Ji Yong. But I thought a bond between women would make more sense. I think it's the scene that makes you cry the most."
"They're the most innocent people in a way. People who are on the verge of fighting and killing each other but were able to have empathy and understanding of each other. I thought they would be the perfect example to portray such feelings. They're complete strangers but there's some kind of friendship between them formed in a short period of time," he shared.
4. She became super close with Squid Game co-star Jung Ho Yeon.
Although their friendship in the hit Netflix series was short-lived, (watch Episode 6, if you haven't already) fans are delighted to know that Lee Yoo Mi and Jung Ho Yeon are actually close friends in real life! Yoo Mi shared, "We're the same age and we share similar interests so we got along really well. There was no way we wouldn't grow close while filming. After filming ended, we would go out and get tteokbokki together and go to a cafe to chat."
Since becoming even busier after the success of Squid Game, Ho Yeon said they are staying in touch. "Even now, I text her several times a day. I keep asking her how her day is going."
5. She won the Best New Actress award at the 2021 Buil Film Awards.
Lee Yoo Mi bagged the award for her impressive acting performance in the film Young Adult Matters. She plays the role of Yoon Se Jin, a high school student who after finding out she's pregnant, runs away from home to get an abortion. Along the way, she meets other runaway teens with problems of their own. In an interview, Yoo Mi talked about how much she enjoyed playing free-spirited but also very complex Se Jin, saying that she understood the character more after playing her.
The movie, which premiered at the 2020 Busan International Film Festival, also stars idol-turned-actress Hani. She plays Joo Young, another runaway teen who becomes Se Jin's lover.
6. Lee Yoo Mi beat out a *thousand* actors in an audition for a film.
Yoo Mi appeared in the 2021 action-thriller film Hostage: Missing Celebrity. She stars as Ban So Yeon, a shop assistant who gets kidnapped alongside top movie star Hwang Jung Min, who plays himself in the film. Yoo Mi reportedly beat out 1,000 actors for the coveted role. Talk about talent!
7. Yep, she's on Instagram.
You can follow her @leeyoum262! Prior to the release of Squid Game, Lee Yoo Mi had around 40,000 Instagram followers. As of this writing, she now has 6.5 million followers! Her Insta is filled with updates on her new projects, pictorials, and behind-the-scenes photos with co-stars.
Here's a photo of Yoo Mi with some Squid Game co-stars on her last day on set:
8. She's booked and busy with another film in the works.
The actress has been cast as yet another high school student in the film We Can’t Go To Heaven, But We Can Love. The upcoming movie is set in 1999 and will revolve around the stories of love and friendship of four friends.