An excellent Kdrama wouldn’t be complete without a leading lady who will take us to feel the feels in every episode and will make us feel intimidated by their ageless beauty.
Here’s a list of the first generation leading ladies in Kdrama Land. Some of them are still well known today. Do you still remember them?
- Song Hye Kyo
We have seen her first on the first installment of Endless Love “Autumn in My Heart” which was aired in the Philippines in 2003. Soon after, she starred in the hit rom-com “Full House” with Rain. Song also appeared as the main lead in several dramas like “All In”, “Hotelier”, “The World that They Live In” and “That Winter the Wind Blows”. Her latest drama “Descendants of the Sun” was a total success not in only in South Korea but also in other countries and gained several awards. She is going to tie the knot with her DOTS leading man, actor Song Joong Ki, on October 31.
- Choi Ji Woo
She portrayed the role of Jung Yoo Jin in the drama “Winter Sonata” with Bae Young Joon as her male lead. Choi was also the main lead in the melodrama “Stairway to Heaven” together with actor Kwon Sang Woo and they were reunited in the 2014 drama “Temptation.” She also appeared in “Twenty Again” which was her first cable drama and in “Woman with the Suitcase.”
- Jang Na Ra
She debuted first as a musician and made a name in South Korea and China. Jang Na Ra starred in the drama “Bright Girl” in 2002. She was notably known for her several dramas “Wedding”, “Baby-faced beauty”, “School 2013” and “Hello, Monster”. She became more popular by her outstanding performance in the Korean version of “Fated to Love You” alongside her Bright Girl leading man, Jang Hyuk. Her newest drama “Confession Couple” is set to air this October 2017.
- Kim Tae Hee
First known for her villain character in the drama “Stairway to Heaven”, Kim Tae Hee is one of the most stunning and gorgeous actress in South Korea. She got the main role in the dramas “Love Story in Harvard”, “Iris” and “My Princess”. Kim was also the female lead in the award-winning drama “Yong Pal” with Joo Won. She is happily married to Rain and they are expecting their first child soon.
- Lee Young Ae
Considered as the “Queen” of Korean historical dramas, Lee Young Ae’s portrayal of Dae Jang Geum was a huge success. The said drama was aired in the Philippines more than once and was still loved by many viewers. After her 12-year hiatus in the entertainment industry, she made a comeback for portraying another Korean historical figure in the drama titled “Saimdang” which was aired earlier this year.
- Yoon Eun Hye
She was first known for her character in the drama “Princess Hours” as Shin Chae Kyung, a commoner who was set to marry the crown prince. Her popularity kept on the high track as she starred in the gender-bender drama “Coffee Prince” followed by “My Fair Lady”, “Lie To Me”, “Missing You” and “Marry Him If You Dare.” As of now, Yoon doesn’t have any dramas but we are still waiting for her comeback anytime soon.
- Song Ji Hyo
We may have seen her first as the second lead in the drama “Princess Hours” but Song Ji Hyo became the main lead in “Emergency Couple” and “Ex-girlfriends Club” and both series were aired in tvN (South Korean cable channel). Her latest drama is “My Wife’s having an Affair this Week” where she gave a remarkable performance. She’s been one of the cast members in the variety show “Running Man” since 2010.
- Kim Sun Ah
We will never forget her character Kim Sam Soon in the highest-rating kdrama “My Name is Kim Sam Soon”, one of the well-known dramas in the early 2000s. Kim Sun Ah also appeared as the female lead in “Scent of the Woman” and “I do, I do”. Her latest work is the recently concluded drama “Woman of Dignity”.
- Kim Hee Sun
Kim Hee Sun is one of the veteran actresses who rose to fame in the 90s. We can recall her in the drama “Sad Love Story” in 2005 alongside Kwon Sang Woo. She also appeared in the Lee Min Ho-starred fantasy period drama “Faith” in 2012. She was also one of the main lead in the drama “Woman of Dignity”.
- Han Ye Seul
Han Ye Seul was first known for her portrayal of rude and arrogant Anna Jo in the rom-com drama “Couple or Trouble” which was aired in the Philippines in 2007. Since then, Han got another female lead roles in “Tazza”, “Birth of a Beauty” and “Madame Antoine.” Her newest drama is “20th Century Boy and Girl”.
- Gong Hyo Jin
Before she became more popular for the dramas “The Greatest Love”, “The Master’s Sun”, “It’s Okay, That’s Love” and “Producers”, Gong Hyo Jin was first seen in the melodrama “Thank You” wherein she played the role of a single mother whose daughter has an HIV. On the latter part of 2016, Gong appeared in the 24-episode rom-com drama “Jealousy Incarnate” with actors Jo Jung Suk and Go Kyung Pyo. She gave us another exemplary performance in the movie “Missing” which was also released in 2016.
- Jang Seo Hee
Jang Seo Hee is popularly known as being the female lead in the weekday dramas in South Korea. She was first seen in “Miss Mermaid” aka “Irene” which was aired in the Philippines in 2005. Jang also appeared in some of the highly anticipated dramas “Temptation of Wife” and “Two Mothers” and garnered good viewership ratings. She is currently on the weekend drama “Band of Sisters”.
- Uhm Jung Hwa
Although she debuted in South Korea in the 90s, Uhm Jung Hwa was first seen in the drama “Get Karl! Oh Soo Jung” when it was aired in the Philippines in 2008. She also appeared in the noona-romance themed drama “Witch’s Romance” with Park Seo Joon and the recently concluded weekend drama “You Are Too Much”.
- Lee Yo Won
She was first seen in the period drama “Fashion 70s” as Han Deo Mi and was best known for the titular role of the historical drama “Queen Seondeok”. Lee gave another great performance in “49 Days” with Jo Hyun Jae. She also appeared in the drama “Night Light” which was concluded earlier this year and she has a comeback titled “Avengers Social Club”.
- Kim Min Jung
She was also in the drama “Fashion 70s” together with Lee Yo Won. Kim was also in the crime-thriller “Gap Dong” and historical drama “The God of Trade”. Her latest work “Man to Man” with Park Hae Jin was also one of the anticipated dramas this year.
- Ha Ji Won
She was one of the main leads in the hit-drama “Memories of Bali”. Since then, Ha Ji Won starred in several dramas such as “Damo”, “Empress Ki”, “Secret Garden” and “The Time We Were Not in Love”. Her latest comeback drama “Hospital Ship” garnered high ratings on its first few episodes.
- Lee Bo Young
Before she became best known to the dramas “My Daughter Soyoung” and “I Hear Your Voice”, Lee Bo Young was first seen as the second lead in the melodrama “Save the Last Dance for Me”. Her recently concluded legal drama “Whisper” was one of the highest-rating kdramas of 2017. She is happily married to actor Ji Sung whom she met on the set of “Save the Last Dance for Me”.
- Eugene (Kim Yoo Jin)
Although she debuted as a singer in the girl group S.E.S., Eugene became the main lead in the drama “Save the Last Dance for Me”. She was also the leading lady in several dramas such as “Wonderful Life”, Love Truly”, “Three Dads and One Mommy”, and mid-length dramas “King of Baking Kim Tak Gu”, “Hundred-year old Legacy” and “All About My Mom.” This award-winning actress is currently seen on “The Return of Superman” together with her husband and actor Ki Tae Young and their lovely daughter Lohee. They were on-screen partner in the series “Creating Destiny”.
- Jung Ryeo Won
This Korean-Australian actress rose to fame when she was first seen in the drama “My Name is Kim Sam Soon” as the second lead. Soon after, she became the main lead in the dramas “Which Star Are You From?”, “Medical Top Team” and “Bubblegum”. She is having her drama comeback with “Witch’s Court” which is set to air this October 2017.
- Kim Jung Eun
Kim Jung Eun was one of the popular South Korean actresses when she starred in the highest-rating drama “Lovers in Paris”. Kim was also the female lead in several dramas such as “Princess Lulu”, “Lovers”, “I Am Legend” and “Ohlala Couple.” Her comeback drama “Duel” just ended last July.
- Kim Ha Neul
She was first seen in the drama “Stained Glass” with Lee Dong Gun in 2005. In 2008, she became the main lead in the drama “On Air”. Kim also appeared in 2012 drama “A Gentleman’s Dignity” where she had a great chemistry with veteran actor Jang Dong Geun. Her latest drama “On the Way to the Airport” became her comeback drama after her 4-year hiatus in doing TV series.
- Jun Ji Hyun
Being known for her outstanding performance in the movies “My Sassy Girl”, “Blood: The Last Vampire” and “The Thieves”, Jun Ji Hyun was able to maintain her popularity throughout the years with her first drama comeback “My Love from the Star” with Kim Soo Hyun. She got the main role of a mermaid in a fantasy drama “Legend of the Blue Sea” which ended earlier this year. She got married to a real life chaebol and is expecting their second child.
- Son Ye Jin
She rose to fame for her roles in “The Classic” (2003), “Endless Love: Summer Scent” (2003), and hit films “A Moment To Remember” (2004) and “April Snow” (2005). She became one of the multi-awarded actress in South Korea for her excellent works in movies and television. She was partnered with Lee Min Ho on the hit rom-com, “Personal Taste” in 2010. She has upcoming movie projects with Hyun Bin in 2017 and with So Ji Sub in 2018.
- Han Hyo Joo
Believe it or not, Han Hyo Joo first appeared in the last installment of Endless Love series, “Spring Waltz” which was aired in the Philippines in 2007. Han also became the female lead in the dramas “Brilliant Legacy” and “Dong Yi”. After years of being more visible in the large screen, she made her drama comeback through “W: Two Worlds” alongside Lee Jong Suk.
- Shin Min Ah
Before her success for portraying the role of a nine-tailed fox in “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho”, Shin Min Ah was first seen in the melodrama “A Love to Kill” with Rain. She was also the main lead in “Arang and the Magistrate” and “Oh My Venus”. Earlier this year, she was in the drama “Tomorrow with You”, her first drama in a Korean cable channel.
- Lee Da Hae
Lee Da Hae was first seen in the rom-com “My Girl” where she played the role of Joo Yoo Rin. Aside from that, she got several main lead roles in the dramas “Green Rose”, “East of Eden”, “Miss Ripley” and “Hotel King”. Lee doesn’t have new dramas for now but we are looking forward for her comeback.
- Han Chae Young
She was first known for her role in the drama “Sassy Girl Chun Hyang” with Jae Hee as her male lead. She was also starred in dramas “Only You”, “Exhibition of Fireworks” and “Pretty Man”. This gorgeous lady became a part of the hit Korean adaptation of “Boys over Flowers” as the first love of Kim Joon Hyung’s character.
- Han Ga In
She appeared in several dramas such as “Yellow Handkerchief”, “Super Rookie” and “Witch Yoohee” which were all aired in the early 2000s. In 2012, she was starred in the period drama “Moon Embracing the Sun” and romance film “Architecture 101”. She is happily married to actor Yeon Jung Hoon and they have one child.
- Chae Rim
Chae Rim rose to popularity in the drama “All About Eve” which was one of the first Kdramas to be aired in the Philippines. She was also known for roles in “Dalja’s Spring”, “Cheer Up on Love” and Chinese drama “Love at the Aegean Sea”. Her last drama “Oh My Lady” was aired in 2010.
Feeling old? Then it only proves that you are one of the certified #TitasOfKdrama.
Bonus: Some of them are active on Instagram. See their official accounts here.
Related Post: First Generation Leading Men in Kdrama Land
Written by: Jehan Del Ayre
Edited by: Annyeong Oppa (Joey)