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Kim So-hyun (Korean김소현; Hanja金所炫; born June 4, 1999) is a South Korean actress[1] who began her career as a child actress in 2006 and initially gained public attention for playing a villainous young queen-to-be in Moon Embracing the Sun (2012) and a girl who falls into tragedy in Missing You (2013). She was then affectionately labeled as "Nation's Little Sister",[2] "Queen of Child Actor",[3] and "Goddess of Historical Drama".[4]

Kim So-hyun
Kim So-Hyun in 2018.png
So-hyun in 2018
Born (1999-06-04) June 4, 1999 (age 20)
NationalitySouth Korean
EducationHanyang University
Years active2006–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim So-hyeon
McCune–ReischauerGim Sohyŏn

She took on her first leading role in teen drama Who Are You: School 2015 (2015) and since then, has starred in musical Page Turner (2016), historical melodrama The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (2017), romantic comedy Radio Romance (2018) and television dramas based on Naver webtoon, Hey Ghost, Let's Fight (2016), Love Alarm (2019) and The Tale of Nokdu (2019). She was the regular host of MBC's music program Music Core and survival reality show Under Nineteen in 2019.

Early life and educationEdit

Kim So-hyun was born in Australia.[1] She moved to South Korea in 2003 when she was four years old.[1] She has a younger brother.[5]

Kim transferred from Hoe-ryong Elementary School in Gyeonggi-do to Towol Elementary School and graduated in February 2012.[6] Then, she graduated from Yongin Munjung Middle School in 2015.[7][8] She was homeschooled for her secondary education,[9] and passed the high school graduation exam in 2017.[10] The same year, she enrolled at Hanyang University's Department of Theater, through rolling admission.[11] Kim attended the 79th entrance ceremony held at Hanyang University in Seongdong-gu, Seoul on February 28, 2018.[12]


2006–2011: Beginnings as a child actressEdit

Kim debuted as a child actress playing a supporting role in the 2006 Drama City special titled Ten Minute Minor. Then, she is diligently increasing her appearances from A Happy Woman (2007), Que Sera Sera (2007), Hometown of Legends (2008), My Name Is Pity (2008), Wife and Woman (2009) and Ja Myung Go (2009).[13]

Later, she signed a management contract with Sidus HQ in 2010.[14] Then, she was casted in Becoming a Billionaire (2010) and King of Baking, Kim Takgu (2010). Kim was confirmed to make her big-screen debut in Man of Vendetta (2010) as Joo Hye-rin, a daughter of a well-respected pastor who gets kidnapped. Kim was cast through a fierce competition of 500:1 which she was able to convey expressions without words through her modest facial expressions, which are hard to see for child actors.[15] She continued to portray the child counterparts of the female protagonists in television series such as The Thorn Birds (2011), The Duo (2011) and Sin of a Family (2011). She then starred in a family comedy film, Spy Papa about parents and children's relationship during inter-Korean relations in 1974.[16]

2012–2014: Rising popularity and teenage rolesEdit

Kim So-hyun in March, 2013

In 2012, Kim appeared in six works in the first half of this year.[17] She starred in a romance fantasy television series, Padam Padam and historical comedy film, I Am the King.[18] She gained public attention when she featured in the fantasy-period drama Moon Embracing the Sun as the younger version of the second female lead.[19][20] Kim received commend from the audience and the director of how well she portray the antagonist's desire realistically.[21][22] The drama managed to rank number one in its time slot throughout its run and achieved a peak recorded viewer rating of 42.2 percent thereby earning the "national drama" status.[23][24] Kim became "Korea's little sister" at the same time.[25] This was followed by fantasy-comedy, Rooftop Prince as an evil sister,[26][27] Love Again[28] and a high school student who roommate is a female idol star in Ma Boy.[29]

Kim So-hyun in December, 2013.

Kim was reunited with co-stars from Rooftop Prince, Park Yoo-chun and Moon Embracing the Sun, Yeo Jin-goo in a melodrama Missing You.[30][31] She was dubbed the "Queen of Child Actor" (아역퀸) by the Korean press.[3] She played the role of Lee Soo-yeon, bullied by her schoolmates and being called 'the daughter of the murderer' gets kidnapped and sexually assaulted while trying to save her friend.[32] Kim and Yeo shared the highest best one-minute viewer rating scene of 10.4 percent in the drama.[33] She then become the most praised child actresses of her generation.[34][35] She received her first acting award as "Best Child Actress" at the 1st K-Drama Star Awards for Ma Boy and Missing You.[36]

In 2013, Kim made a surprise appearance on Iris II: New Generation as the childhood counterpart of the female protagonist[37] and starred in The Secret of Birth as a girl with a genius brain.[38][39] Then, she played the younger version of Lee Bo-young's character in the popular Korean drama I Can Hear Your Voice.[40] On June 20, Kim co-host MBC's music program Music Core along with Minho of SHINee and Noh Hong-chul.[41] The three received a lot of attention because of the amazing combination of singers, actors, and broadcasters eventhough they showed a bit of immature progress from the beginning but amplified the expectation of how they expressed their charms despite having different career groups.[42] She then got cast in The Suspicious Housekeeper, a Korean remake Japanese hit drama, Kaseifu no Mita.[43]

In 2014, Kim has been cast as a child actress of Oh Yeon-soo in MBC drama, Triangle.[44] Kim challenged her first dual role and first genre through OCN's new drama Reset.[45] Later, she was cast in KBS2 special drama, We All Cry Differently which won the 2013 KBS Screenplay Contest.[46][47]

2015–2016: Transition to lead roles and hostingEdit

Kim at a fan signing event on October 15, 2016.

In 2015, Kim did a special appearance as sister of the male lead in A Girl Who Sees Smells.[48] In the drama, she reunites with Park Yoo-chun for the third time after Rooftop Prince and Missing You.[49] On April 18, Kim step down from her Music Core MC posts after two years.[50] Kim starred in KBS's school series Who Are You: School 2015, playing dual roles as twins Lee Eun-bi and Go Eun-byul.[51] She was awarded "Star of the Year" at the 8th Korea Drama Awards for her performance.[52] At the end of the year, Kim became the MC of 2015 KBS Drama Awards with Jun Hyun-moo and Park Bo-gum.[53]

In 2016, she returned to the big-screen in a romance film, Pure Love opposite Do Kyung-soo, playing the heroine of the film who has a beautiful voice but suffers with a leg injury.[54][55] Kim then starred in a mystery-school web drama Nightmare Teacher alongside Lee Min-hyuk, playing a class president that discovers mysterious secrets of the school.[56][57] The drama was filmed and featured nine students from Hosan University.[58] The same year, Kim starred in Park Hye-ryun's three-episode drama special, Page Turner opposite actors Ji Soo and Shin Jae-ha.[59] She played the role of a "piano genius" who lost her sight after an accident.[60] The drama achieved 600,000 views and recorded an unusual number as a one-act play.[61] Kim's first fan meeting Lovely Day in Taiwan was held on April 9.[62] She was dubbed as the "Korean Wave Fairy" by the Taiwanese media.[63] On June 4, Kim hosted 2016 Dream Concert with Leeteuk and Hong Jong-Hyun.[64] She then starred in the horror comedy Hey Ghost, Let's Fight with Ok Taec-yeon,[65] and had a recurring guest role in the hit fantasy drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.[66] Kim showed an overwhelming presence and increase audience immersion in the early stage of the drama making a big impact as a cameo.[67][68] On November 21, Kim held her first overseas promotion schedule at Sunshine City, Hong Kong.[69]

2017–present: Adult roles and other activitiesEdit

Kim So-hyun at This Is My First Twenty's conference in 2018.

Kim then starred in the historical and political drama The Emperor: Owner of the Mask alongside Yoo Seung-ho which premiered in May 10, 2017.[70][71] This marked her first adult historical drama after five years since Moon Embracing the Sun.[72] Kim held her first domestic fan meeting "Lovely Day" on June 3.[73] She made a special appearance in drama While You Were Sleeping to show her support for scriptwriter Park Hae-ryun, who she worked with on KBS’s Page Turner.[74] In August 2017, she ended her contract with her agency Sidus HQ, after seven years in the company.[75] On November 11, Kim So-hyun successfully completed her second Taiwan fan meeting Sweet Dream with Allets.[76] In December, Kim launched her own one-person agency, E&T Story Entertainment, in partnership with LOEN Entertainment. The agency is currently led by Park Chan-woo, Kim's manager in her SidusHQ days.[77]

In 2018, Kim starred in romance drama Radio Romance alongside Yoon Doo-joon, which began airing on January 29.[78] She plays a radio script writer who isn't exactly talented in writing.[79] Then, she co-hosted the 27th Seoul Music Awards with Kim Heechul and Shin Dong-yup.[80] She held her first Japan fan meeting Kim So Hyun 1st Premium Fanmeeting with 800 people on July 1.[81] After 10 years of debut, Kim starred in her own travel reality show, This is My First Twenty - Kim So-hyun’s YOLO Solo California where she challenged herself and discover her true identity in a foreign country.[82] On October 12, she was named the first 10th generation MCs to host a survival reality show Under Nineteen on MBC.[83] Kim received good comments from the premiere for catching the eyes and ears of viewers with her steady voice and host strength, as well as colorful styling.[84]

Kim at The Tale of Nokdu's conference.

In early 2019, Kim So-hyun were selected for two consecutive years as the MCs for 28th Seoul Music Awards alongside Kim Heechul and Shin Dong-yup.[85] She held her second fan meeting in Korea, Sso.Affirmation.Happiness: Kim So Hyun's Little & Indeed Happiness ahead of her birthday with an attendance of 300 people.[86][87] Kim is set to star in Netflix's original production Love Alarm, based on the popular webtoon of the same name.[88] Kim explained her character is experiencing the emotion of love for the first time, and it reminded of herself. She decided to tap into those feelings as she wanted to portray a living and breathing character with Jo-jo.[89] She was highly praised for showing off her original character, high synchronize rate and rich and stable acting performance in the series.[90] The same year, she was cast alongside Jang Dong-yoon in a romantic comedy drama set in the Joseon dynasty, The Tale of Nokdu as a clumsy and hot-tempered Kisaeng trainee.[91] Chon Kye-young and Hye Jin-yang, the author of both webtoons named Kim as their first choice in casting the leading woman.[92] Kim and Jang Ki-yong was selected by the netizen as 'Tessa' and 'Hardin' from the movie, After.[93]

In 2019, an official statement from Kakao M revealed that Kim received 815 shares (about 100 million won) of it to resolve issue rights with the intention of strengthening solidarity with affiliates and entertainers. Kim is one of many Kakao M-affiliated artists who received stocks from the company, which, according to reports, is preparing to rejoin Korea Exchange through a re-IPO.[94]

On October 29, 2019, Netflix confirmed that Kim would reprise her role of Kim Jo-jo in the second season of the drama series Love Alarm.[95]

Personal lifeEdit

In January 2018, the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) chose Kim and Yoo Seong-min as the National Representative of Honorary Smile to represent Korea's smile and kindness.[96]

Kim suffered with "growing pains" and "transition period" after seven months of filming The Emperor: Owner of the Mask. She felt emptiness in her schedule and feeling uncomfortable even though she was resting.[97][98]



Kim cited Son Ye-jin and American actress, Rachel McAdams as her main influences because of their sophisticated and graceful look.[99][100]

Acting styleEdit

In an interview in 2013, she revealed she was never been formally trained for acting in the past.[101] While filming for Pure Love, she lived in Goheung. Kim said that, when there was no filming, she went around Goheung city alone and listened to the stories of the residents. She explained she looked around every corner of the village for how she could be part of it.[102]

To prepare for a role, Kim listens to music that matches the emotions of her role before shooting a scene.[99]

Actress Jo Soo-hyang went on praising Kim on her acting skills and strong mentality, saying, "Kim So Hyun is really amazing. When we were filming, her schedule was very hectic. At first, I would play around with her after we were done filming, but she looked more and more tired as the days went on and I couldn’t do that anymore." She continued, "But when the camera starts rolling, she puts on a smile and acts really well. As I saw her doing that, I just thought, she’s amazing."[103]

For the role of a blind person in Page Turner, she changed everything from the tone and way of speaking to the eye contact when reciting her dialogues.[98]

She has stated that, when she received a script, she set plenty of time to fully understand and know the character like a real person and try her best to genuinely express the character.[104] Kim prefers having many projects because she feels more comfortable and happy continuing acting rather than resting.[98]


Kim for "10+Star" in 2017.

Kim So-hyun plays a role in stimulating her colleague actors. Who Are You: School 2015 co-star, Yook Sung-jae shared, "Despite her young age, So Hyun leads the entire drama. When seeing her with a smile on her face during working in spite of the exhaustion due to lack of sleep, I myself feel and learn a lot." Chun Jung-myung gave her his recognition, "She is polite and always looks strong. So Hyun possesses such an outstanding charm that I believe she might become the greatest actor of this era." Actor Nam Joo-hyuk also praised, "Like an adult and really trustworthy. She is a positive person that never show any hints of negativity even when facing hardship. I have a lot to learn from her."[105] As an experienced former child actress, Kim So-hyun has acted with many actors who are older than her. Many of her co-stars described her as an "older sister" to them. Such as, Yoo Seung-ho who is six years older than her, confessed he couldn’t stop speaking to her like she was older. "She seems like an older sister. She’s extremely mature.", L said, "So Hyun is very mature. Though she’s seven years younger than me, she sometimes feels like an older sister." and same goes to Yoon Do-joon.[106][107][108]

Despite the freezing temperatures during filming The Emperor: Owner of the Mask, Kim was praised for her work ethic and kindness by reading the script over and over again as she filmed her scene, give affection for the child actor that was working with her, be on set at a very early time and showed no signs of tiredness while on set. A staff member said, "Kim So Hyun is cheerful and kind both on and off camera, making her the best energizer. Kim So Hyun’s bright smile helps everyone on set have a good time while filming."[109]

Lee Na-jung, her director in Love Alarm said "the acting skills were as important as the synchronisation rate. Jojo was a difficult role and needed deep acting skills." She continued "I saw Jojo's eyes in Kim So Hyun's eyes."[110] Actor Jung Ga-ram, her co-star in Love Alarm , has said that when Kim was reading the script, she definitely had a mature feeling. He was able to talk about his worries in acting, and that’s how they connected. He describe her as "very serious and a really great actress".[111] Actor Song Kang talked about working with Kim So-hyun, saying that Kim gave a lot of advice about many heart-fluttering points. As a senior actor he saw on TV, he was worried that it would be an inconvenience to her but she contacted him whenever there were difficult scenes and gave congratulatory messages at the end of the day.[112] According to director Kim Dong-hwi of The Tale of Nokdu, "Kim So-hyun is a rainbow-like actress. She is pretty, cute and cool, and has colourful charms from laughters to tears. I am always admiring her detailed and sincere acting while filming".[113] In particular, the charm of Kim's tone shines in the drama from a plump romantic comedy to a complex subtle feeling of conflict between the family's revenge and the love she felt for the first time in her life. A broadcast official said, "The deeper the emotions in the play, the more shining of Kim's inner space will be".[92]

In the mediaEdit

Kim was given several nickname throughout her career, such as "Nation's Little Sister"[2], "Queen of Child Actor" [3] and "Korean Wave Fairy" [63]. Kim earned the nickname, "Little Son Ye-jin",[114] due to the resemblance of Ye-jin's early works, Lover's Concerto and The Classic.[115] In addition, the two actors, also resemble the coexistence of clean, pure and mature image with subtle expressions and perfect eyes acting.[116] She was also dubbed as "3金 Troika" (3金 트로이카) alongside Kim Yoo-jung and Kim Sae-ron due to impressive performances since childhood and a veteran actor with more than 10 years of acting career.[117] Previously, the nickname was given to Kim Tae-hee, Song Hye-kyo, and Jeon Ji-hyun, who represented the 2000s.[118] Kim was named "Teardrop Goddess" for her deep sensitivity and dense tears in The Emperor: Owner of the Mask.[119] Following the release of Love Alarm and The Tale of Nokdu, the press gave Kim "Come-out-of-manhwa girl" (만찢녀 (만화 찢고 나온 여자)) due to perfect sync rate with the original characters and emotional performance.[120] After starring in several historical period dramas, she received the title "The Goddess of Historical Drama" because of her quick character exploration skills, varied expressions through eye contacts and emotional acting.[4]


Kim at S.E.S 10th Green Heart Bazaar 2018

In 2017, Kim So Hyun and Ji Chang-wook donated their dubbing fees for Your Name to the Korea Barrier-Free Film Commission.[121]

On April 21, 2018, Kim participated in "S.E.S 10th Green Heart Bazaar" held by the first generation K-pop girl group, S.E.S.[122] Kim and many other celebrities gave generous good deeds by selling items at the bazaar. The proceeds that were collected are donated to the Green Umbrella Children's Foundation and KARA.[123]

On April 5, 2019, Kim So-hyun donated ₩10million to help support the victims of Sokcho Fire.[124] Kim also donated ₩10million with her fans to Ajou University Hospital Trauma Center.[125] This is the result of the fan's giving support towards Kim's idea who wanted to achieve and sharing on her June 4 birthday. Her fans also donated 61 blood donation certificate to the hospital along with the fund to help patients who were living with difficulties.[126]

Social activitiesEdit

Year Work/Activity With Ref.
2013 Honor Peer Counselling Ambassador N/A [127]
Prevention of School Violence [128]
2014 Korean Language and Culture Youth Ambassador
Korea Guardian Angel
Oh Jae-moo [129][130]
2015 Prevention of School Violence Who Are You: School 2015's cast [131]
2016 2016 Festive Korea Ambassador N/A [132][133]
2018 National Representative of Honorary Smile Yoo Seong-min [96][134]



Soundtrack appearancesEdit

Year Song title Drama/film Ref.
2007 "You Better Not Cry" (sung by 4Angel)
2011 "Family Picture" Sin of a Family
"Daddy and Me" Spy Papa [135]
2013 "First Love" The Suspicious Housekeeper [136]
2014 "Reset" Reset [137]
2016 "Violet Fragrance" Pure Love [138]
"Dream" Hey Ghost, Let's Fight [139]
2017 "Can't You Hear My Heart" The Emperor: Owner of the Mask [140]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Kim at KBS Drawa Awards 2016
Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2012 1st K-Drama Star Awards Best Young Actress Missing You,
Ma Boy
Won [36]
5th Korea Drama Awards Moon Embracing the Sun Nominated
31st MBC Drama Awards Popularity Award Nominated
Best Young Actress Moon Embracing the Sun,
Missing You
Won [141]
2013 13th Korea Youth Film Festival Won [142]
13th MBC Entertainment Awards Best Female Newcomer in a Variety Show Show! Music Core Won [143]
21st SBS Drama Awards New Star Award The Suspicious Housekeeper Won [144]
6th Herald-Donga TV Lifestyle Awards Style Icon Rookie Award N/A Nominated
2014 28th KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a One-Act/Special/Short Drama We All Cry Differently Won [145]
14th MBC Entertainment Awards Most Popular Award in a Variety Show Show! Music Core Won [146]
2015 30th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards Rising Star Award N/A Won [147]
8th Korea Drama Awards Star of the Year Who Are You: School 2015 Won [52]
29th KBS Drama Awards Best New Actress Won [148]
Netizen Award, Actress Won
Best Couple with Yook Sungjae Won
2016 Multimedia & Film Technology Awards Shining Actress Award N/A Won
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award for Special Drama Page Turner Nominated
2017 Korea Hallyu Awards Popular Culture Awards The Emperor: Owner of the Mask Won [149]
44th MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
Popularity Award, Actress Won [150]
2018 12th Soompi Awards Best Couple with Yoo Seung-ho Nominated [151]
K-Food Content Indonesia Popularity Award (Actress) N/A Won [152]
Instagram Awards in Korea Emerging Celebrity Won [153]
18th MBC Entertainment Awards Excellence Award, Music/Talk Category (Female) Under Nineteen Won [154]


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