Now that the entire world is bingeing on K-dramas, they are also being won over by the beauty and prowess of the K-drama actress (just observe the frenzy over the revelation that Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin of “Crashing Landing On You” are dating in real life). Many Korean actresses are noted for their statuesque builds (Lee Sung Kyung is a good example) or their perfect features (how else to describe Jun Ji-hyun) or their irresistible aura (hello, Suzy Bae). But there is also a small group of K-drama actresses who have a following because of their wholesome doll-like looks, whose roles tend to skew young, some of them big names and some of them still on the way up. Please meet five K-drama queens of cute.
Having appeared in 2019’s “I Hate Going to Work” and 2018’s “My Healing Love,” the freshest face on this list is also the youngest-looking one. The single most petite actress on this list of petite actresses–take a look at those amazing dimples– is actually better known as a model, having been in countless advertisements, particularly for cosmetics and facial care because–despite being an astounding 27 years old, she can easily pass for a middle-school student. In fact, she is currently playing one in her most high profile role as the lead Sol-i in the Korean adaptation of the hit Taiwanese series “A Love So Beautiful” on Netflix. She is also playing the carefree Rin-yi in Netflix’s “Lovestruck in the City.” With the youngest face in perhaps all of K-drama, Joo-yeon will be playing bubbly, lovesick teenagers long into her 30s and expect to see more of those unmistakable dimples.
Despite the fact she’s only 28, Go Ah-sung is one of Korea’s most successful young actresses–and notably one of Academy Award-winning director Bong Joon-ho’s muses. Her quirky resume reflects her quirky good looks (look at that adorable nose). As a child actress she gravitated away from the cutesy roles and instead made a splash in one of Korea’s biggest blockbusters—Joon-ho’s “The Host in 2006. The director would cast her again in his Hollywood debut “Snowpiercer” in 2013. She showed more of her comedic chops in the 2017 series “Radiant Office” and in the time travel cop show 2018’s “Life on Mars,” the Korean adaptation of the British show. Amid all this, she even managed to earn a psychology degree from Sungkyunkwan University. Look forward to even quirkier appearances in the future; right now, she is appearing on the tVN reality show “K-Ocean Pathfinders,” sailing from one Korean island to another.
The youngest name on this list at 25, Da-mi has the most extreme resume. Da-mi won awards and international accolade in director Park Hoon-jung’s mystery “The Witch Part 1: The Subversion,” beating out 1,500 girls at the auditions. She has the shortest filmography, but her next role, her first K-drama, “Itaewon Class,” based on the bestselling webtoon, was a smash. Her casting as Yi-seo, the too-cool-for-school genius in love with Park Seo-joon’s Sae-ro-yi, made her a fashion icon and an actress to watch. You can catch her in the upcoming sequel to “The Witch.”
For most K-drama fans, she will always be the adorably super-powered “Strong Girl Bong-soon,” but Bo-young has a crazy long filmography, including 2006’s “Secret Campus” (opposite Lee Min-ho), the title role in 2015’s “Oh My Ghost” and the body-swapping “Abyss.” Look at those big eyes and tiny features. No one makes cute faces or cries like Bo-young. And her long list of movies proves this. Her range (middle-schooler to adult) and beauty is on full display in2018’s “On Your Wedding Day,” which is currently one of the most-watched shows on Netflix. You can catch her next opposite Lee Byun-hun and Park Seo-joon in the upcoming disaster film “Concrete Utopia.”
The true queen of K-drama cute, Min-young, 34, has been in the industry since 2005, and she is one of the global faces of the hallyu wave. Just the list of her shows read like a must-watch list for K-drama fans: “Sungkyunkwan Scandal,” “City Hunter,” “Healer” and “Queen for Seven Days.” Her dainty features and wholesome personality allow her play to play both the younger and older versions of the same characters (usually done by having two different actors) and can do period as well as modern. She does prim and proper but funny and mischievous very well. While she’s had more recent shows, her definitive drama is the 2018 workplace comedy “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim,” which incidentally is also the definitive performance for her leading man Park Seo-joon. She has two new k-dramas in the pipeline: “Braveness of the Ming” and “City of Time.” She is the very definition of what a cute K-drama actress should be, and perhaps always will be.