Kim So-yeon

Kim So-yeon (born November 2, 1980) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for starring in a number of well-known television series, notably All About Eve (2000), Iris (2009), Prosecutor Princess (2010), Happy Home (2016), and The Penthouse: War in Life (2020).

Kim So-yeon
Kim So-yeon in March 2019.png
Kim So-yeon in March 2019
Born (1980-11-02) November 2, 1980 (age 40)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationDongguk University (Theater and Film)
Years active1994–present
AgentJ Wide-Company
(m. 2017)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim So-yeon
McCune–ReischauerKim Soyŏn


Kim So-yeon broke into the entertainment industry in 1994 at the age of 14 by entering the Miss Binggrae beauty pageant without her parents' approval. Then in her second year of middle school, she used a marker pen as her eyeliner and ended up winning the top prize.[1] Not long after her acting debut in Dinosaur Teacher, the teen actress starred in popular TV shows such as Reporting for Duty (1996) and Soonpoong Clinic (1998), while hosting the music program Inkigayo and appearing in numerous commercials (Kim was the first Korean teen star to earn more than ₩100 million from commercial modeling).[1] Because of her preternaturally mature looks and poise, she was often cast in older roles, notably as a manipulative, villainous anchorwoman in All About Eve, which drew a peak viewership rating of 45.2% when it aired in 2000.[2]

But being typecast as prim, cold-hearted characters had a negative effect on Kim's career, and her fame went downhill in the mid-2000s. Her attempt to crossover to China via Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's wuxia film Seven Swords (in which she played a Joseon noblewoman-turned-slave) and the Chinese dramas Just Like a Beautiful Flying Butterfly[3] and Anhui Merchants[4] also proved unsuccessful.[5][6] So Kim took a break for three years to ponder whether she wanted to continue being an actress.[7] She returned to television in 2008 with Gourmet (adapted from Huh Young-man's titular manhwa) and found acting fun for the first time.[8]

A year later, Kim's career resurgence began with the 2009 big-budget series Iris.[9][8] She cut short her trademark long hair and worked hard on her action scenes to look convincing in her role as a North Korean spy, and she drew praise for her portrayal of a tough woman conflicted about her loyalty to her country and her love for a South Korean agent.[10][11] Kim later reprised the role in the re-edited cut Iris the Movie, the series' spin-off Athena: Goddess of War (2010) and sequel Iris II (2013).[12]

Kim was cast in the leading role in romantic comedy Prosecutor Princess in 2010, and showcased her versatility by playing a Legally Blonde-inspired newbie district attorney who's initially more interested in shopping and dating, yet surprises her colleagues with her intelligence and learns to strive for justice.[13][14][15] Kim said that the cheerful, unpredictable character was similar to her own real-life personality.[16][17][18] Later in the year, she played a rigid doctor in sports drama Dr. Champ.[19]

In 2012, Kim appeared on the big screen as a royal barista embroiled in a plot to assassinate Emperor Gojong in Gabi, adapted from the historical fiction novel by Kim Takhwan.[20][21] She spent months studying the Russian language and coffee brewing even before shooting began.[22] Gabi was Kim's first Korean feature film in 15 years, since Change in 1997.[1][23][24] This was followed by another period drama The Great Seer, where she played a healer in Goryeo.[25]

Kim reunited with Prosecutor Princess screenwriter So Hyun-kyung in Two Weeks (2013), in the role of a prosecutor who teams up with a fugitive to bring down a corrupt politician and her gangster henchman.[7][26] In 2014, she played a fashion merchandiser who falls for her much younger childhood friend in I Need Romance 3.[27][28][29] Kim then appeared in the "Female Soldier Special" of military boot camp reality show Real Men.[30]

In 2015, she starred in her second cable series Beating Again, about a businessman who falls for his secretary after he gets a heart transplant.[31] Kim also joined the fourth season of We Got Married, pairing up with Kwak Si-yang.[32]

In 2016, Kim starred MBC's weekend drama Happy Home, playing a mother who has lost her son in an accident.[33]

In March 2018, Kim left her previous agency Namoo Actors and signed an exclusive contract with J Wide Company on April 3, 2018.[34] She was then cast in SBS weekend drama Secret Mother.[35][36]

In March 2019, Kim returned to small screen with the KBS weekend drama Mother of Mine.[37][38]

In 2020, she appeared in TV series The Penthouse: War in Life aired on SBS TV from October 26.[39]

Personal lifeEdit

On September 6, 2016, it was confirmed that Kim and actor Lee Sang-woo were in a relationship. The pair met on the set of MBC's weekend drama Happy Home. On March 28, 2017, it was announced that Kim and Lee were getting married in June 2017.[40]


Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network
1994 Dinosaur Teacher SBS
Daughters of a Rich Family Hye-ri (Kwon Il-ryung's daughter) KBS2
1995 Drama Game "Min-woo vs. Min-woo"
Drama Game "Their Summer"
1996 You Can't Stop Mom Eldest daughter SBS
Drama Game "Come Back Home" Park Mi-kyung KBS2
City Men and Women Yoo Won-hee SBS
1.5 MBC
Reporting for Duty Woo Ji-soo KBS2
Open Your Heart Jung Yoo-kyung MBC
Seven Spoons Hye-joo
1997 Because of Love KBS2
Drama Special "Christmas in May"
Yesterday Lee Seung-hye MBC
Friday Night Theater "On Her First Night" KBS2
1998 Soonpoong Clinic Oh So-yeon SBS
I Love You, I Love You Lee Soon-young
Winners Kim Seo-joo
1999 Sunday Best "Pickpocket by Name" Kim Ji-hyun KBS2
We Saw a Little Lost Bird Seo Ga-hee
Ad Madness Lee Ye-rin
2000 All About Eve Heo Young-mi MBC
Mom and Sister Noh Seung-ri / Jang Yoo-kyung
2002 Sunlight Upon Me Kim Yeon-woo
Trio Choi Seo-young
2004 2004 Human Market Hong Si-yeon SBS
Just Like a Beautiful Flying Butterfly Jin Zhi Xiu CCTV
2005 Autumn Shower Lee Kyu-eun MBC
2007 Anhui Merchants Hu Yu Ling DTV
2008 Gourmet Yoon Joo-hee SBS
2009 Iris Kim Seon-hwa KBS2
2010 Prosecutor Princess Ma Hye-ri SBS
Dr. Champ Kim Yeon-woo
Athena: Goddess of War Kim Seon-hwa (Cameo, ep.17 & 19)
2012 The Great Seer Hae-in
2013 Iris II Kim Seon-hwa (Cameo, ep.20) KBS2
Two Weeks Park Jae-kyung MBC
2014 I Need Romance 3 Shin Joo-yeon tvN
2015 Beating Again Kim Soon-jung jTBC
High-End Crush Entertainment news anchor (Cameo) Naver TV Cast
2016 One More Happy Ending Divorced woman (ep.1) MBC
Happy Home Bong Hae-ryung
2017 20th Century Boy and Girl Director Kim (Cameo)
2018 Secret Mother Kim Lisa SBS
2019 Mother of Mine Kang Mi-ri KBS2
2020–21 The Penthouse: War in Life Cheon seo-jin SBS
2021 The Penthouse: War in Life 2


Year Title Role
1997 Change Ko Eun-bi
2005 Seven Swords Luzhu/Green Pearl
2007 The Pictures (short film) Photographer
2010 Iris the Movie Kim Seon-hwa
2012 Gabi Tanya
2015 Love Forecast Kang Joon-soo's ex-girlfriend 1 (cameo)

Variety showEdit

Year Title Network Notes
1997 Inkigayo (Popular Music) Best 50 MBC MC
1998-2000 Inkigayo (Popular Music) SBS
2009 KBS Drama Awards KBS2
2014 Real Men: Female Soldier Special - Season 1 MBC Cast member
2015 We Got Married - Season 4
2016 King of Mask Singer Contestant as "Nice to Meet You Squirrel" (Ep 77)
2020 Running Man Seoul Broadcasting System Guest (Ep. 530)

Music videosEdit

Year Song title Artist
"Why Is the Sky"
Lee Ji-hoon
"Beautiful Goodbye"
Jung Jae-wook
"Endless Sorrow"
Sa Joon
"Diary of a Day"


Year Title Role
2009 Hamlet Ophelia

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1994 Miss Binggrae Pageant Miss Binggrae June N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards Best Young Actress Dinosaur Teacher Won
1998 SBS Drama Awards Popularity Award, Actress Soonpoong Clinic, Winners, I Love You, I Love You Won
2000 MBC Drama Awards Viewer's Favorite Character (Actress) All About Eve Won
2008 SBS Drama Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Special Planning Drama Gourmet Won
2009 KBS Drama Awards[41] Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Iris Nominated
Popularity Award, Actress Won
2010 46th Paeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
SBS Drama Awards[42] Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama Dr. Champ Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Prosecutor Princess Nominated
Top 10 Stars Prosecutor Princess, Dr. Champ Won
2011 6th Asia Model Festival Awards Asia Special Award N/A Won
9th Korea Jewelry Fair Best Jewelry Lady N/A Won
2012 20th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards Best Actress Gabi Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special The Great Seer Nominated
2013 18th Busan International Film Festival Female Fashionista Award N/A Won
2nd APAN Star Awards Excellence Award, Actress Two Weeks Won
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
6th Herald-Donga TV Lifestyle Awards[43] Best Style Award N/A Won
2015 MBC Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award for Variety Show We Got Married Won
2016 5th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Happy Home Won
9th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
Star of the Year Won
MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actress in Serial Drama Won
2018 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Daily/Weekend Drama[44] Secret Mother Won
2019 KBS Drama Awards[45] Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Mother of Mine Won
2020 SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang)[46] The Penthouse: War in Life Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-Length Drama[47] Won


  1. ^ a b c Lee, Claire (7 March 2012). "Former teen star returns to big screen". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  2. ^ Lee, Young-ee (18 August 2002). "Korean TV Series to Be Aired First Time in Japan". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  3. ^ Transliterated as Jiu Xiang Mei Li Hu Die Fei.
  4. ^ Transliterated as Da Qing Hui Shang.
  5. ^ Park, Jeong-ho. "Korean producer hopes for hit film". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 24 June 2005.
  6. ^ Elley, Derek (31 August 2005). "Review: Seven Swords". Variety. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  7. ^ a b Cho, Suyoun (23 July 2013). "From being a teen star to real actress, Kim So yeon talks about her passion". BNTNews. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  8. ^ a b "Kim So-yeon Spreads Her Acting Wings in TV Drama Iris". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  9. ^ Han, Sang-hee (24 May 2009). "Iris to Bring Spy Story to Small Screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  10. ^ "Interview: Kim So-yeon, The female warrior Sun-wha from KBS drama Iris - Part 1". 10Asia. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  11. ^ "Interview: Kim So-yeon in Iris - Part 2". 10Asia. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  12. ^ Hong, Lucia (19 November 2010). "Movie version of TV series IRIS to be released next week". 10Asia. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  13. ^ Han, Sang-hee (30 March 2010). "Younger Men, Power, Money Fill Dramas". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  14. ^ "Press conference for SBS TV series Princess Prosecutor: Kim So-yeon says "Ma Hye-ri and I are very similar" - Part 1". 10Asia. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  15. ^ "Press conference for SBS TV series Princess Prosecutor: Kim So-yeon says "Ma Hye-ri and I are very similar" - Part 2". 10Asia. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  16. ^ "Interview: Actress Kim So-yeon says "feels like I am back at the starting line" - Part 1". 10Asia. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  17. ^ "Interview: Actress Kim So-yeon - Part 2". 10Asia. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  18. ^ "Interview: Actress Kim So-yeon - Part 3". 10Asia. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  19. ^ Kim, Sun-young (28 September 2010). "Review: SBS TV series Doctor Champ - 1st Episode". 10Asia. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  20. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (15 February 2012). "Kim So Yeon of Gabi Wants to be Jang Hee Bin". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  21. ^ Kwaak, Je-yup (21 February 2012). "Gabi: East-meets-West thriller on Joseon Kingdom's first coffee". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  22. ^ Oh, Mi-jung (7 March 2012). "Kim So Yeon Speaks Russian and Japanese for Gabi". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  23. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (8 March 2012). "Kim So-yeon returns to the big screen after 15 years". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  24. ^ "Kim So Yeon: 'I Seem to have Begun Acting 18 Years Since Debut'". KBS Global. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  25. ^ "Kim So-yeon cast as female lead in Ji Jin-hee's TV series". 10Asia. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  26. ^ Ko, Hong-ju (16 May 2013). "Kim So-yeon Cast in Lee Joon-gi Drama". 10Asia.
  27. ^ Lee, Sun-min (19 November 2013). "Kim So-yeon joins I Need Romance". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  28. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (8 January 2014). "Kim So Yeon Plans on Being Bold If a Bed Scene Comes Up in I Need a Romance 3". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  29. ^ Park, Jin-hai (9 January 2014). "Cable dramas having heyday". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  30. ^ Ko, Hong-ju (4 August 2014). "Kim So Yeon, Girl's Day's Hyeri, G.Na and More Join Real Man Female Soldier Special". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  31. ^ Park, Ah-reum (11 December 2014). "Jung Kyung Ho and Kim So Yeon Confirmed as Leads of New JTBC Drama". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  32. ^ "Kim So Yeon and Kwak Si Yang Confirmed for ′We Got Married′". enewsWorld. 27 August 2015.
  33. ^ "An emotional performance leads to the next chapter". Korea JoongAng Daily. 26 August 2016.
  34. ^ "FA 김소연, 제이와이드行..이상윤 김태리와 한솥밥". Sports Seoul (in Korean). April 3, 2018.
  35. ^ "'Secret Mother' looks at Korea's intense education scene". Kpop Herald. 9 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Kim So-yeon Returns with Mysterious Role in New TV Series". The Chosun Ilbo. 19 May 2018.
  37. ^ Bae Seo-yeon (18 January 2019). "유선·김소연·김하경, KBS2 새 주말극 캐스팅 확정". YTN.
  38. ^ Kim Min-ji (18 January 2019). "[공식입장] '제일 예쁜 내 딸' 유선X김소연X김하경 출연… 3인 3색 자매". News1.
  39. ^ "Lee Ji-ah, Kim So-yeon and Eugene to Star in "Penthouse: War In Life"". HanCinema.
  40. ^ "TV stars Lee Sang-woo, Kim So-yeon to wed in June". The Korea Times. 12 April 2017.
  41. ^ Han, Sang-hee (3 January 2010). "2009 Drama Awards Wrap Up With No Surprises". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  42. ^ "Ko Hyun-jung wins grand prize at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. 8 June 2011.
  43. ^ "Joo SW, Han JH win best dressed prizes at Herald·Donga TV Lifestyle Awards". The Korea Herald. 4 December 2013.
  44. ^ Lee, Jihyun (January 1, 2019). [SBS 연기대상] 감우성·김선아, 공동 대상..베스트 커플상까지(종합) [[SBS Drama Awards] Gam Woo-sung, Kim Sun-ah, co- grand prize.. Best Couple Award (Comprehensive)]. News1 (in Korean). Archived from the original on December 31, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  45. ^ "Winners of the 2019 KBS Drama Awards". Hancinema. December 31, 2019. Archived from the original on April 6, 2020. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  46. ^ "[2020 SBS 연기대상] 남궁민·주지훈·김혜수·김소연·한석규·주원·김희선, 대상 후보". 매일경제. 31 December 2020.
  47. ^ Kim, Jong-eun (January 1, 2021). "'남궁민 대상→'펜트하우스' 9관왕, SBS 빛낸 두 작품 [종합]". TV Daily (in Korean).

External linksEdit