Jung Ryeo-won

Jung Ryeo-won (born January 21, 1981) is a South Korean-born Australian actress. She began her entertainment career as a singer in the now-defunct girl group Chakra, and first rose to fame in the hit television series My Name Is Kim Sam-soon. She is also known for her roles in Two Faces of My Girlfriend, Castaway on the Moon, and History of a Salaryman.

Jung Ryeo-won
191001 정려원 (2).jpg
Jung in 2019.
Born (1981-01-21) January 21, 1981 (age 39)
Seoul, South Korea
South Korean
Other namesYoana Jung
EducationGriffith University Korea University - Journalism[1]
OccupationActress, singer
Years active2000–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationJeong Ryeo-won
McCune–ReischauerChŏng Ryŏwŏn

Early lifeEdit

The second of three children, Jung Ryeo-won was born in 1981, and emigrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1992 with her family. She encountered discrimination in grade school, which made her determined to become fluent in English. By junior high school, she had adapted to the Australian way of life. After matriculating from MacGregor State High School, she enrolled from Griffith University with a major in international business.[2]


2000–2006: ChakraEdit

While she was an exchange student at Korea University from Griffith University in the 2000s, Jung was discovered on the streets of Apgujeong by Lee Sang-min, thereby changing her life and career path. She was placed in the K-pop girl group Chakra, along with Eeni, Eun and Hwangbo; their first album was released in 2000. Jung's morale was at a low in 2002, saying she sometimes felt alienated from her fellow Koreans, and was uncomfortable with the sexy clothes she was made to wear as a singer.[2][3]

2006–2012: Transitioning in actingEdit

Chakra disbanded in 2004, and Jung pursued acting full-time.[4] After undergoing 11 unsuccessful auditions that year, she said she began doubting her decision to become an actress. In 2005, she gained recognition in the cult vampire sitcom Hello Franceska,[5] then made her breakthrough in the romantic comedy My Name Is Kim Sam-soon.[6] The series was a massive success with average ratings of over 37%, and 50.5% for the finale.[7][8] Jung was praised for her portrayal of a fragile but good-natured character who fights for the hero's love,[3] and eventually became one of the few successful singer-turned-actresses in the country.[9]

Her follow-up series Autumn Shower received low ratings,[10] but she rebounded with Which Star Are You From?, in which she played a country bumpkin living in the mountains of Gangwon Province.[11][12] She was cast in her first movie leading role as a girl with multiple personality disorder in 2007's Two Faces of My Girlfriend,[13][14] and though it was not a box office hit, she won Best New Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.[15][16][17]

As the titular character in 2009's Princess Jamyung, Jung starred in her first period drama.[18][19] She then played a hikikomori in Castaway on the Moon, arguably her most notable film yet.[20][21]

Both her 2011 big screen projects had elements of romance. She played a teacher in a small South Korean village who meets a North Korean officer in the war comedy/drama In Love and War,[22][23] and in Kwak Kyung-taek's melodrama Pained, she played a hemophiliac who falls for her opposite, a man with analgesia, the inability to sense physical pain.[24]

Jung began 2012 by starring as the heroine in quirky series History of a Salaryman.[25][26] Playing one of the most unusual female characters in Korean drama history, she delivered a fun, no-holds-barred performance as a red-haired, constantly swearing, selfish, reckless rich snob, but injected heart and raw emotion into a character that could've otherwise been very unlikable. Critics and audiences were impressed with her performance, and her series nabbed the top spot on the Monday and Tuesday primetime ratings lineup while she later won a Top Excellence Award at the SBS Drama Awards.[27][28][29]

She then starred in Never Ending Story, a romantic comedy about two people diagnosed with terminal illness who decide to spend their remaining time together preparing for death.[30][31] In June 2012, Jung's contract with Won Entertainment expired and she signed with Bae Yong-joon's agency, KeyEast.[32][33] Later that year, she played an idealistic screenwriter in The King of Dramas.[34][35]

2013–2017: Acting setbackEdit

In January 2013, Jung unveiled her official website, through which she hopes to connect with her fans. Messages from the actress are uploaded in the "From rw" section.[36] She then reunited with Pained costar Kwon Sang-woo in the medical drama Medical Top Team, playing a charismatic and ambitious thoracic surgeon.[37]

Jung next played an impatient and careless radio producer in the cable series Bubble Gum in 2015; she and co-star Lee Dong-wook previously appeared together in the 2003 sitcom Do the Right Thing.[38] In 2017, she starred in the legal procedural drama, Witch at Court, playing a highly ambitious prosecutor who speaks her mind and is known for her aggressive investigation tactics.[39] For her portrayal, she received the Top Excellence Award at the 2017 KBS Drama Awards.[citation needed]

2018–present: Return in television and continued workEdit

In 2018, Jung starred in the black comedy film Gate.[40] She then starred in the SBS' gastronomy drama Wok of Love.[41]

In 2019, Jung starred in the legal television series Prosecutor Civil War.[42]

In September 2020, after Jung Ryeewon expired from KeyEast, she signed with H & Entertainment.[43]

Other activitiesEdit

Jung published Ryeo-won's Sketchbook in 2007, which contained her drawings and writings about her Christian faith.[44] Though she hasn't received formal instruction in fine arts, Jung likes to express herself through drawing in her spare time. Two of her artwork pieces were sold at a charity auction in 2012.[45]

In March 2014, Jung began hosting Art Star Korea on cable channel StoryOn, an audition program/reality show featuring contemporary artists.[46][47] She also participated in the program '살아보니 어때'.


Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network
2002 Saxophone and Chapssaltteok Park Ja-nam KBS2
2003 Drama City "수영장에서 만난 그녀" Hee-jin
Do the Right Thing Ryeo-won SBS
Argon Kwon Soo-hyun MBC
2004 Father of the Sea Joo-hong
Banjun Drama "Exclusive Love" SBS
2005 Hello Franceska (seasons 1-2) Elizabeth MBC
Banjun Drama "Get That Girl" SBS
Banjun Drama "To Go Bungee Jump"
MBC Best Theater "Magic Power of Alcohol" MBC
My Name Is Kim Sam-soon Yoo Hee-jin
Autumn Shower Park Yeon-seo
2006 Which Star Are You From? Kim Bok-shil/
Lee Hye-soo/
Lee Hae-rim
2009 Princess Jamyung Princess Jamyung SBS
2012 History of a Salaryman Baek Yeo-chi
The King of Dramas Lee Go-eun
2013 Medical Top Team Seo Joo-young MBC
2015 Bubble Gum Kim Haeng-ah tvN
2017 Witch at Court Ma Yi-deum KBS2
2018 Wok of Love Dan Se-woo SBS
2019 Prosecutor Civil War Cha Myeong-joo JTBC


Year Title Role
2002 Emergency Act 19 Chakra as themselves (cameo)
2005 My Boyfriend Is Type B Bu-young
2007 Two Faces of My Girlfriend A-ni/Ha-ni/Yu-ri
2009 Castaway on the Moon Kim Jung-yeon
2011 In Love and War Seol-hee
Pained Dong-hyun
2012 Never Ending Story Oh Song-kyung
2018 Gate So-eun

Music videoEdit

Year Song title Artist
2008 "One" Epik High
2010 "As a Man" Gummy
2011 "Can't Be Crazy" Alex Chu
2015 "Lost in Perspective" Nell (band)


Year Song Title Notes
2012 "Wedding Song" Duet with Uhm Tae-woong; track from Never Ending Story OST


Year Title Publisher ISBN
2007 Ryeowon's Sketchbook[48] Duranno Publishing ISBN 9788953109209

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2005 MBC Entertainment Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Variety Show Section TV Won [49]
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress My Name Is Kim Sam-soon Won [50]
2006 MBC Drama Awards PD Award Which Star Are You From? Won [51]
2007 28th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress Two Faces of My Girlfriend Won [15]
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (Film) Nominated
4th Premiere Rising Star Asian Awards Best New Actress Won [52]
1st Style Icon Awards Fashionista Award N/A Won [53]
2009 18th Buil Film Awards Best New Actress Castaway on the Moon Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Princess Jamyung Nominated
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (Film) Pained Nominated [54]
5th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress History of a Salaryman Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars History of a Salaryman, The King of Dramas Won [55]
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Won [56]
2013 MBC Drama Awards Medical Top Team Nominated
2nd KOPA & NIKON Press Photo Awards Most Photogenic Actress N/A Won [57]
2017 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Witch at Court Won [58]
Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
Best Couple Award with Yoon Hyun-min Won
2018 6th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated [59]
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Monday-Tuesday Drama Wok of Love Nominated


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External linksEdit