Im Yoona

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Im.
Im Yoona
Yoona,LG 3D, snsd.jpg
Background information
Birth name Im Yoona (임윤아)
Born (1990-05-30) May 30, 1990 (age 24)
Seoul, South Korea
Genres K-pop
Occupation(s) Singer, actress
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 2004–present
Labels S.M. Entertainment
Associated acts Girls' Generation, SM Town
Website Girls' Generation
Im Yoona
Hanja [1]
Revised Romanization Im Yun-a
McCune–Reischauer Im Yuna

Im Yoona (born May 30, 1990) is a South Korean singer and actress. She is a member of the South Korean girl group Girls' Generation and has participated in various television dramas such as You Are My Destiny (2008), Love Rain (2012) and Prime Minister and I (2013).

Life and career[edit]

1990–2007: Early life and Girls' Generation debut[edit]

Im was born on May 30, 1990[2] in Seoul, South Korea. Her family consists of her father and an older sister.[3] While growing up, she listened to girl group S.E.S and dreamed of becoming a singer. In 2002, she was cast in the SM Saturday Open Casting Audition and spent five years "doing nothing but constant training" in singing, dancing and acting. During her trainee days, she had low self-esteem about her low voice, and once thought of giving up singing in order to pursue an acting career. An SM choreographer persuaded her to continue, saying it would be "a waste to give up becoming a singer" with her "outstanding dancing skills". He also considered her as the best female dancer within the agency. She eventually made her official debut as a member of Girls' Generation in August 2007, becoming the "center" of the group.[4][5] She has since become known for taking the center position on stage.[6][7] Prior to debuting, Im was introduced to the public through various appearances in music videos and commercials; she first appeared in TVXQ's "Magic Castle" music video in 2005.[8] Im has said that she went through a total of 200 auditions for commercials, music videos, dramas, and movies during her pre-debut days.[9] She graduated from Daeyoung High School in 2009.

Girls' Generation gained some attention at the beginning of their career, but did not gain significant popularity until the release of their hit single "Gee" in 2009. The song was classified by the online music site Melon as the most popular song of the decade in South Korea.[10] The group's immense popularity in their native country has earned them the titles "The Nation's Singers" and "The Nation's Girl Group".[11] Aside from Girls' Generation's activities, Im has acted in several television dramas. Her acting career began in 2007 with a small role in MBC's drama, Two Outs in the Ninth Inning.[12] She then appeared in MBC's Woman of Matchless Beauty (2008), and was complimented by veteran actress Bae Jong-ok for her cameo performance.[13]

2008–present: First leading role and subsequent TV work[edit]

In May 2008, Im landed her first leading role KBS's drama You Are My Destiny, playing Jang Sae-byuk. On her first day of filming, she was sent home crying by the director after making a mistake and being told she "was not yet ready for the role".[14][15] She also had difficulties at first with her crying scenes.[16][17] Im would prove her worth as an actress with the role,[18] and credited the director for helping her grow as an actress.[14][15] The drama was well-received and Im considered it a turning point in her career.[19][20] Its first episode achieved a 23.4% ratings,[21] and some later episodes peaked at 41.5%.[22] Girls' Generation as a group was not well-known at the time, but Im was known for her character in the drama.[5] She won several awards for this role, most notably two "Best New Actress" awards at the 2008 KBS Drama Awards[23] and 45th Baeksang Arts Awards.[24]

In 2009, Im filmed MBC's drama Cinderella Man along with Kwon Sang-woo.[25] She was not satisfied with her performance, which made her depressed. During the drama's press conference, she said although she "had the ambition to do well", she was not sufficiently prepared due to "juggling between acting and Girls' Generation's activities".[5] In 2010, she appeared as a guest on SBS's variety show Family Outing and later joined season 2 of the same program as a permanent cast member.[26] The program ran from February to July that year.

In March 2012, Im was cast in a lead role with Jang Keun Suk in KBS2's drama Love Rain. It was a fantasy drama about fate and how the offspring of an ill-fated couple who met in the 1970s, also manage to fall in love with each other.[27] She played two characters, Yun-hee of the 70s and Ha-na of modern times.[28][29] She used a different approach to acting, analyzing the characters and substituting herself in their place in order to feel their emotions.[30][31] Although the drama lacked in domestic viewership[32] and received some criticism for its failure to relate to the viewers,[33] Im's acting received positive reviews. Yoon Ga-ee of OSEN wrote: "The speed at which her acting is improving is blinding. She has matured to the point where you want to ask, 'When did her acting get so good?' The criticism that trailed behind her during Cinderella Man is now nowhere to be found."[34] Choi In-kyung of Hankook Ilbo said her acting was continually improving and "Yoona is completely immersed in her character and has now become 'Hana' herself."[35] The drama garnered much positive overseas interest[36][37] and was sold to Japan for $10 million, the second highest price for a KBS drama at the time, partly due to Im's popularity.[38]

In December 2013, Im starred alongside Lee Beom-soo in KBS2's romantic comedy drama Prime Minister and I. Loosely based on the musical film The Sound of Music,[39] Im played Nam Da-jung, a young and stubborn reporter who falls in love with the prime minister. The drama received low ratings, but Im was still noted for her acting.[40] Lee Beom-soo praised her, saying "Acting has to go by logic, only when one understands can the audience understand too, Yoona is smart and did very well. I am anticipating her path down as an actress; at the same time, I want to give her applause".[5] She won an Excellence Award at the 2013 KBS Drama Awards for the role.[24] In 2014, Im was initially chosen to be the female lead for KBS2's drama Cantabile Tomorrow, but turned down the role to be in the Korean-Chinese romantic comedy movie Goodbye Ani.[41] She graduated from Dongguk University in February 2015, receiving a lifetime achievement award at the graduation ceremony. Her fellow Girls' Generation member, Seohyun, attended the same university.[42][43] That same year, Im filmed the Chinese drama Wu Shen Zhao Zi Long, set to be released later in the year.[44]

Personality and public image[edit]

Im is known for her good-tempered and friendly personality. At the end of every drama filming, she expresses her gratefulness to the staff by giving them all handwritten letters and gifts. Jang Ha-jin, a former SM trainee, commented on Im in her autobiography, Tell Me Your Wish: "Just seeing her will make one happy. She is kind in nature...always giving and compromising, and likes to laugh a lot".[5] Im has won various online surveys because of her "pure image" and beauty, and is the ideal type of many South Korean celebrities.[45][46][47] She has a reputation for not trying to protect her image, and her uncontrollable laughter on variety shows and radio gained her the nickname "Alligator Yoona". She also earned various other nicknames throughout her career.[5][48]

Im is known as a TV commercial queen among the South Korean public,[49][50] and has been a spokesperson for many brands such as Clean & Clear,[8] Eider,[51] Innisfree,[52][53] and SK Telecom.[54] CNN credited her as "one of the household names in the Asia-Pacific region" which has helped Korean beauty brands become popular in China.[55] In 2010, she became the first idol to endorse S-Oil, a large South Korean petroleum and refinery company.[56] In 2012, she appeared in at least 20 commercials and was ranked fifth among celebrities with the most commercial appearances by TVCF, South Korea's largest advertisement information site.[57][58] In 2013, she became the first overseas endorser for Alcon Taiwan.[59][60]

Im has also done charity work that is mostly unpublicized. The media reported on her donating money to various charities[61][62][63][64] or becoming ambassadors for various organizations.[65] Im started giving to charity at a young age, donating to World Vision as well as participating in overseas volunteer work in the early days of her debut. Her work only became known later when it was revealed by others.[5] Actress Jung Ae-ri mentioned in an interview that she has done volunteer work with Im.[66] In 2014, she became an ambassador for her school, Dongguk University,[67] as well as the UNIHERO Campaign by UNICEF.[68] In January 2015, Yoona became a part of the Honor Society, an organization that honors donors who have donated more than 100 million won. Speaking of this, she stated, "I didn't want this to be announced publicly at first because I wanted to help out the neighbors in need quietly. But I think it's also important to give along with many other people...I wanted to contribute to expanding the culture of giving by joining Honor Society".[24][69] In March 2015, Im was honored with a presidential commendation for her exemplary tax payments and became an ambassador for her country's National Tax Service.[70]

Personal life[edit]

In January 2014, Yoona and South Korean singer Lee Seunggi were confirmed to be in a relationship since September 2013.[71]



Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Yoona hanja birth name.". September 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ Mark Russell (29 April 2014). K-Pop Now!: The Korean Music Revolution. Tuttle Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-4629-1411-1. 
  3. ^ Girls' Generation Yoona's family is revealed (in Korean) (August 6, 2008). Retrieved on December 2014.
  4. ^ (Yonhap Feature) Girl bands flourish on S. Korean pop music scene, groomed for more than singing (August 26, 2009). Retrieved on December 23, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "K팝 프린세스에서 한류 여왕으로, 소녀시대 윤아의 네버엔딩스토리" [Kpop princess to Kpop Hallyu Queen - Yoona's Never Ending story]. WStarNews. February 17, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ Yoona Loves Being the Center of Attention? (April 8, 2012). Retrieved on January 5, 2015.
  7. ^ SNSD's Yoona talks about her position on stage StarNews (February 8, 2013). Retrieved on February 25, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Girls' Generation Yoona debuted in TVXQ's "Magic Castle" (in Korean) (July 7, 2007). Retrieved on December 4, 2014.
  9. ^ Girls' Generation Yoona auditioned 200 times, regardless of genres (in Korean) (November 30, 2013). Retrieved on December 4, 2014.
  10. ^ Kim, Do-yeun (November 2, 2011). "Girls' Generation featured on Yale School of Art website". Korea Times. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  11. ^ 2010년 올해의 10대 가수와 가요 (in Korean). Gallup Korea. November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  12. ^ Girls' Generation Yoona, MBC 9 End 2 Outs small-screen debut (in Korean) (July 23, 2010). Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  13. ^ Yoona as a homeless runaway girl in Woman of Matchless Beauty (in Korean) (April 6, 2008). Retrieved on November 30, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Strong Heart Episode 166 (Episode 38 on DramaFever)". Strong Heart. Episode 166 (in Korean). February 12, 2013. approximate 44 minutes in. SBS. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Yoona had to stop filming during You are my Destiny (in Korean) (February 13, 2013). Retrieved on January 31, 2015.
  16. ^ ""Nam Hee-suk and Choi Eun-kyung's Free Time"". (in Korean). August 6, 2008. approx.60 minutes in. KBS2. I noticed there is a lot of crying scenes in this drama. At first, I couldn't cry so I got scolded a lot. But since a few days ago, I've been reading the script and the story is so sad, that I can't help but to cry. Last time too, when Taepoong said "I don't need a younger sister like you", those words were so sad. All those scenes with him doing good things for me went through my mind.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  17. ^ Yoona: "I'm still a "girl" even though I'm in college" (in Korean) NoCutNews (December 25, 2008). Retrieved on February 27, 2015.
  18. ^ YoonA, "I Hope 'Prime Minister' Give You Joy Like Christmas Gift" BNTNews (December 20, 2013). Retrieved on February 28, 2015.
  19. ^ Yoona Appears in 'CeCi' Magazine's March Issue for a Photoshoot and Interview (English translation) (February 19, 2014). Retrieved on January 23, 2015.
  20. ^ "Yoona's interview with CeCi magazine". CeCi Magazine (March 2014). 
  21. ^ You are my destiny 1st episode achieves a 23.4% ratings (in Korean) (May 7, 2008). Retrieved on November 30, 2014.
  22. ^ You are my Destiny ratings reached 41.5% (in Korean) (December 16, 2008). Retrieved on December 9, 2014.
  23. ^ You Are My Destiny Yoona wins "Best New Actress" at the 2008 KBS Drama Awards (in Korean) (December 31, 2008). Retrieved on December 16, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c SNSD's Yoona Becomes First Member of 'Honor Society' Donors in 2015 (January 2, 2015). Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  25. ^ Girls' Generation Dominates MBC (May 20, 2009). Retrieved on January 5, 2015.
  26. ^ Girls' Generation Yoona's appearance on 'Family Outing Season 2′ Confirmed (in Korean) (January 8, 2010). Retrieved on December 14, 2014.
  27. ^ Yoona to star in new drama (September 19, 2011). Retrieved on January 5, 2015.
  28. ^ Yoona on Her Comeback with 'Love Rain' and Jang Keun Suk (December 13, 2011). Retrieved on January 5, 2015.
  29. ^ Jang Keun Suk and Yoona Come Together for 'Love Rain' (September 23, 2011). Retrieved on January 5, 2014.
  30. ^ Yoona Featured in October Issue of 'Harper's Bazaar' Magazine (English translation) (September 22, 2012). Retrieved on February 8, 2015.
  31. ^ "Yoona's Interview". Harper's Bazaar (South Korea). October 2012. 
  32. ^ 'Love Rain' Viewership Ratings Still Low (May 9, 2012). Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  33. ^ Why 'Love Rain' Failed to Relate to Its Viewers (March 27, 2012). Retrieved on January 5, 2015.
  34. ^ '사랑비' 윤아, 얼굴보다 100배는 더 예쁜 연기력 (April 18, 2012). Retrieved on January 21, 2015.
  35. ^ 소녀시대 '윤아'의 향상된 연기력이 화제다 Originally from (April 24, 2012). Archived on April 24, 2012. Retrieved on January 21, 2015.
  36. ^ Jang Keun Suk and Yoona (of SNSD)'s Love Rain is sold to twelve countries StarNews (May 11, 2012). Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  37. ^ 'Love Rain' Expected to Bring Big Profits From Sales Abroad (May 30, 2012). Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  38. ^ K-pop stars dominate TV dramas (March 3, 2013). Retrieved on January 1, 2015.
  39. ^ Lee, Sun-min (September 12, 2013). "Yoona offered lead role on KBS drama". Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  40. ^ SNSD's Yoona to play lead in 'Nodame Cantabile' (July 7, 2014). Retrieved on January 9, 2015.
  41. ^ Yoona declines 'Nodame Cantabile' for Korea-China rom-com (July 14, 2014). Retrieved on January 9, 2015.
  42. ^ Graduation photos of Yoona, Seohyun go viral (December 18, 2014). Retrieved on December 31, 2014.
  43. ^ "Yoona to graduate from university with award". Kpopherald. February 23, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  44. ^ SNSD's Yoona Cast as Lead in Historical Chinese Drama (December 26, 2014). Retrieved on January 25, 2015.
  45. ^ SNSD's Yoona reminds many males of their first love StarNews (May 30, 2012). Retrieved on February 28, 2015.
  46. ^ Celebs fuel plastic surgery tourism (July 22, 2013). Retrieved on February 4, 2015.
  47. ^ A Look at the Hundreds of Stars Who Chose SNSD's Yoona as Their Ideal Type (January 2, 2014). Retrieved on January 12, 2015.
  48. ^ Deer Yoona, Strong Yoona and More of the SNSD Member′s NIcknames (January 19, 2014). Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  49. ^ SNSD Yoona's No.1 Titles (January 19, 2014). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  50. ^ Healing Camp: Yoona earns 40billion for the first half alone? (in Korean) (March 18, 2014). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  51. ^ SNSD Yoona and Lee Min Ho Run through the Rain and Sunshine (March 12, 2013). Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  52. ^ Yoona becomes Innisfree's new face (in Korean) (September 22, 2009). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  53. ^ Yoona becomes Innisfree's global muse (in Korean) (July 17, 2014)
  54. ^ SM′s Kyuhyun, Yoona, Sulli, and Minho Join the 'Noot Family′ for SK Telecom Yahoo (April 11, 2013). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  55. ^ How South Korea drives Asia's love affair with cosmetics CNN (November 6, 2014). Retrieved on February 4, 2015.
  56. ^ YoonA chosen as new model for S-OIL (in Korean) (June 19, 2010). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  57. ^ Girls' Generation Appears in the Most Advertisements Over the Past Year (in Korean) (June 06, 2012). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  58. ^ SNSD's Yoona is the Highest Earning Female Idol Group Member (July 14, 2012). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  59. ^ Alcon Renews Endorsement Contract with Yoona (in Korean) Originally from (December 5, 2013). Archived on December 12, 2013. Retrieved on January 8, 2015.
  60. ^ Yoona becomes first overseas endorser for Alcon (in Chinese) (October 23, 2013). Retrieved on December 28, 2014.
  61. ^ Girls' Generation's Yoona who is the ambassador of Jung-gu, Continuously donating to financial difficulties families (January 16, 2013). Retrieved on December 6, 2014.
  62. ^ 소녀시대 윤아 중구 어려운 이웃 위해 3000만원 후원 (December 24, 2014). Retrieved on January 26, 2015.
  63. ^ Girls' Generation Yoona donates 10 million won to a blindness awareness campaign (in Korean) (December 16, 2014). Retrieved on January 26, 2015.
  64. ^ Girls' Generation Yoona donates 10 million won to a blindness awareness campaign (English translation) (December 2014). Retrieved on January 26, 2015.
  65. ^ YoonA is Jung-gu's Honorary Ambassador Cinema Online (Yahoo) (January 10, 2012). Retrieved on December 6, 2014.
  66. ^ Jung Ae-ri's interview (in Korean) (July 2009). Retrieved on December 29, 2014.
  67. ^ Girls Generation's Yoona, Seohyun, & A Pink's Na-eun Named Dongguk University Ambassadors KBS (September 17, 2014). Retrieved on January 26, 2015.
  68. ^ SHINee, Girls' Generation stars promote UNICEF (December 15, 2014). Retrieved on December 6, 2014.
  69. ^ Girls' Generosity: Yoona becomes Honor Society member (January 6, 2015). Retrieved on January 8, 2015.
  70. ^ "Song Seung-heon, Yoona honored by president". March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  71. ^ Jackson, Julie (January 1, 2014). "Lee Seung-gi and SNSD’s YoonA dating". The Korea Herald. Retrieved December 13, 2014. 
  72. ^ "Documentary Shows Top K-Pop Singers Behind the Scenes". Chosun Ilbo. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  73. ^ 한류 스타들의 시선이 중국으로 뻗어있다
  74. ^ SM Announces Premiere Date for World’s First Hologram Musical “School OZ” Starring EXO’s Suho, Xiumin, TVXQ’s Changmin, and Others

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