Jasmine B. Lee

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For other people named Jasmine Lee, see Jasmine Lee (disambiguation).
Lee Jasmine
Jasmine Villanueva Bacurnay Lee
자스민 바쿠어나이 이
Member of the National Assembly
Assumed office
1 June 2012
Constituency Proportional Representation №15
Personal details
Born Jasmine Villanueva Bacurnay
(1977-01-06) 6 January 1977 (age 38)
Manila, Philippines
Political party Saenuri
Spouse(s) Lee Dong-ho (deceased)
Children 2 children
Alma mater Ateneo de Davao University
Profession Actress, TV Host, Civil Servant
Korean name
Hangul 이자스민
Revised Romanization I Jaseumin
McCune–Reischauer I Chasŭmin

Jasmine Lee (born Jasmine Bacurnay y Villanueva; January 6, 1977) is a Philippine-born South Korean television personality, actress and civil servant. Elected as a proportional representative in South Korea's National Assembly in 2012, she is the first non-ethnic Korean and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Jasmine met South Korean mariner Lee Dong-ho in Davao del Norte when she was still a college student majoring in biology at Ateneo de Davao University in 1994. They got married and first visited South Korea in 1995 and finally united in 1996. They have two children, Lee Seung-geun and Lee Seung-yeon. She became a naturalized South Korean in 1998. Her husband died of a heart attack in 2010 while saving their daughter from drowning in a whirlpool in a mountain stream in Okcheon, Gangwon while on a family vacation.[2] Lee has been living with her parents-in-law and seven other family members of her late husband ever since.


Since 2006, she has been a panelist on the KBS program "Love in Asia" and has also appeared on a Korean language program on educational channel EBS.[3][4]

As an actress, she essayed the role of the mother of lead actor Yoo Ah-in in the highly acclaimed 2011 film Punch which drew 5.3 million viewers. She also appeared in the 2010 film Secret Reunion.

In January 2012, Lee became the first Filipino to receive the Korea Image Millstone Award from the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI). She was cited for her volunteer and charity works for foreign immigrants in South Korea.[5] An advocate of multiculturalism in South Korea, she regularly gives lectures about the subject to teachers and student leaders.

She is the secretary general of Waterdrop, a charity formed by foreign spouses of South Koreans, and worked at the Foreign Residents Assistance Division of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.[6]

On April 11, 2012, she was elected as a proportional representative in South Korea's National Assembly election following her party’s majority victory in the polls held. With her win, she has made history in South Korea as the first Filipina and naturalized South Korean to become a lawmaker. Lee’s win is a result of the victory of the ruling Saenuri Party, to which she belongs.[1][7]


Since the election, Lee has been hit by charges of misrepresenting her education, after claiming on national television to have attended medical school in the Philippines when in fact she had simply taken biology classes during college.[8][9][10][11][12][13]