Right now, everyone is talking about Son Ye-jin, who plays Se-ri in the hit Netflix K-drama “Crash Landing On You” (“CLOY”). The 38-year-old Ye-jin has never been more famous around the world, but she’s been a very famous star in Korea for two decades now, known for her porcelain beauty as well as her versatile acting.
“CLOY” has made her powerfully popular. On the show, she plays Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean heiress who, because of a paragliding accident, winds up across the border in North Korea. There, she is found by North Korean Captain Ri Jeong-hyuk (Hyun Bin). At first the two are standoffish, but he decides to protect her and get her back to Seoul. Both are far more complicated than they seem, and “CLOY” unfolds as a pitch-perfect piano concerto of action, humor and romance. The two get to know each other and the rest is K-drama history.
Son Eon-jin was born on January 11, 1982 in Daegu. She studied film at the Seoul Institute of the Arts and first appeared in a movie, 2000’s “Secret Tears,” and her filmography is dominated by film. One of her earlier films, 2002’s “Painted Fire” was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and won Best Director for Kwon Taek-in. She has since appeared in the full spectrum of films, including actioners like 2014’s “The Pirates” and comedies such as 2002’s “Lovers’ Concerto.” She’s done a handful of K-dramas, but between movies and shows, she’s appeared opposite a heavy line-up of leading men, including Cha Tae-hyun in “Concerto,” Lee Min-ho in 2010’s “Personal Taste” and Jo Si-jub in 2018’s “Be With You.” She was the heart-breaking Su-jin in 2004’s “A Moment to Remember.” There’s also the unforgettable turn as Soo-ah, wife to So Ji-sub’s Woo-jin, who promises to somehow come back a year after she dies in 2018’s “Be With You,” based on the Japanese movie. She’s been dubbed “Queen of Melodrama” and has won best actress awards for “The Last Princess,” the period drama where she literally plays Korea’s last princess Princess Deokhye of the Joseon era.
Most notably, Ye-jin has developed a reputation for daring and subversive roles, her innocent face often clashing with the seductive femme fatale elements of her performances. In 2008’s “My Wife Got Married,” for example, she asked for a three-way marriage with Kim Ju-hyeok’s Deok-hoon. She won best actress for that, too. In her big K-drama comeback, 2018’s Something in the Rain,” she challenges Korean dating taboos with she gets into a relationship with the much younger Jun-hui (Jung Hae-in).
Interestingly, “CLOY” was not the first time Ye-jin had starred in a movie with Hyun Bin. In 2018’s “The Negotation,” a tense suspense film, Ye-jin played Chae-yoon, the crack negotiator for the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, pitted against his arms smuggler who is holding a group of people hostage, threatening to kill them in 12 hours. They match wits mostly over a webcam. It is ironic and fitting to find them in each other’s arms in “CLOY” instead of at each other’s throats.
“CLOY” is the perfect project for her as is evidenced by her obvious chemistry with Hyun Bin. Ye-jin is always a distinctive screen presence and she plays Se-ri as both flirty and fierce, as both savvy and vulnerable. Her chemistry as well as snappy repartee with Hyun Bin is what makes “CLOY” work so well.
She is still single. “I didn’t understand at first why I couldn’t meet a guy for so long,” she has said. “But as time goes by, I understood why actresses usually get married late. I think their hearts for work become bigger and happiness from the work takes the most space in their hearts.”
There is of course an amazing array of YouTube videos with Ye-jin in them, but the most interesting one is among those from her appearance on the reality show “Master in the House,” also known as “All the Butlers.” In this episode, we see her doing the extremely difficult strap-and-weights exercise discipline known as TRX and find out she has not only been doing in for 10 years but is a licensed instructor. This is how she keeps that figure. You can watch it here:
She’s really into skin care and healthy eating. She is quite giggly and there are many outtakes online that show her easily breaking character because she finds something funny.
You can also see the really cute “CLOY” promotional appearances she did with Hyun Bin on the Swoon, such as this one
and the behind-the-scenes clips such as this first kiss rehearsal:
Our Picky Princess has a generous heart as well. Earlier this year, she donated 100 million won to the Community Chest of Korea’s Daegu branch for the fight against COVID-19. She was born in Daegu and it’s been the hardest hit by the virus.
You can visit her Facebook here: OfficialSonYejin and her wonderful Instagram here: yejinhand. Now that she’s an freshly minted international star, it would be very interesting to see what she does next.