Kim Hyun-joo

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For the swimmer, see Kim Hyun-joo (swimmer).
Kim Hyun-joo
Born (1977-04-24) April 24, 1977 (age 38)
Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Education Dankook University - Theater and Film
Occupation Actress
Years active 1996–present
Agent S Box
Korean name
Hangul 김현주
Hanja 金賢珠
Revised Romanization Gim Hyeon-ju
McCune–Reischauer Kim Hyŏnju
This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.

Kim Hyun-joo (born April 24, 1977) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for starring in the television dramas Glass Slippers (2002), Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest (2004), The Land (2004), and Twinkle Twinkle (2011).


Kim Hyun-joo began modeling in teen magazines when she was in third year high school. In 1996, she made her entertainment debut when she starred in the music video for Kim Hyun-chul's "One's Lifetime."[1] Kim launched her acting career in 1997 in the television drama The Reason I Live (1997). Despite being a newcomer, she was cast in the leading role in the film If It Snows on Christmas (1998) with Park Yong-ha, followed by Calla (1999) with Song Seung-heon.

After doing a few sitcoms, Kim built her resume further by playing supporting roles on television. In 1999, she appeared in the Jang Dong-gun starrer Springtime (also known as Youth), which received low ratings. But the popular Into the Sunlight later that year boosted Kim's career, along with costars Cha Tae-hyun, Jang Hyuk and Kim Ha-neul. In early 2000, she appeared in episode 7 of Song Ji-na's omnibus drama Love Story, titled "Insomnia, Manual and Orange Juice." Kim then landed her first TV leading role in Virtue (Deok-yi), followed by more supporting roles in 2001 with Her House (headlined by Kim Nam-joo) and the historical drama Sangdo (based on Choi In-ho's novel about Joseon merchant Im Sang-ok).

Kim achieved mainstream stardom in 2002, with her Cinderella-esque leading role in Glass Slippers, about two sisters who were separated as children and unknowingly encounter each other as adults. Also starring Kim Ji-ho, Han Jae-suk and So Ji-sub, the drama was a hit with ratings of over 30%, and Kim received acting and popularity awards at the SBS Drama Awards.[2] Glass Slippers was also successful in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and with Kim's new pan-Asian popularity, she starred opposite Taiwanese actor/singer Vanness Wu in the martial arts movie Star Runner (2003).

For Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest (also known as Miss Kim's One Billion Won Project and Miss Kim's Adventures in Making a Million), she and Ji Jin-hee displayed their comedic chops as a girl left at the altar and a bankrupt playboy, respectively, who join forces in a moneymaking scheme. Kim's next role was as Lee Sung-jae's love interest in the body swapping comedy film Shinsukki Blues.

From late 2004 to 2005, Kim played the heroine Choi Seo-hee in a television adaptation of Park Kyung-ni's celebrated novel Toji ("The Land"), which portrayed the lives and loves of peasants and the nobility ("yangban") in Korea at the turn of the 20th century, spanning from Japan's colonial rule to the division of the peninsula.[3] The big-budget production was a hit, and Kim received a Best TV Actress nomination at the 2006 Baeksang Arts Awards.

Inspired by the American TV show Joe Millionaire, Marrying a Millionaire (2005) was about an average guy (Go Soo) pretending to be rich as the concept for a dating reality show, who then genuinely falls for one of the contestants (Kim), the only girl who knows the truth. After Marrying a Millionaire, Kim went on a two-year hiatus. She later said she took a break because she hated being typecast in roles with a gentle and innocent image. But as time passed, she said she regretted her decision and should've worked harder instead to overcome her career slump.

Kim returned to television in 2007 with In-soon Is Pretty, playing the titular character who went to prison for unintentionally killing someone in high school, and after serving her time, must face prejudice as an ex-con while rebuilding her life.[4] Despite the drama's low ratings, Kim was praised for her acting and received a Top Excellence Award at the KBS Drama Awards.

In 2009, she was cast in a small supporting role (or extended cameo) as the hero's tough-but-stylish older sister in the highly popular Boys Over Flowers, adapted from the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango. Then in the legal drama Partner, Kim played a widow-turned-lawyer whose passionate idealism clashes with her colleague's (Lee Dong-wook) cool cynicism.[5][6]

Kim then spent ten days in Vancouver, Whistler, and Victoria to film the documentary ECO Canada by Kim Hyun-joo, which aired on MBC Life. Also featured as a photo spread in Sure magazine, the shoot promoted environmental awareness by emphasizing Canada's natural backdrops, and showing Kim's green practices such as using fabric bags instead of plastic and unplugging unused electrical appliances.[7][8]

Her book Hyun-joo's Handcrafted Story was published on December 23, 2009, featuring personal essays and photos about her needlework and knitting.[2][9][10]

2010 was a difficult year for Kim, with the deaths of three of her loved ones in close succession: her friend, actor Park Yong-ha committed suicide on June 30,[11] the production company executive who'd cast her in The Land committed suicide on July 1 because of financial difficulties,[12] and her father Kim Tae-beom passed away on July 7 after a long illness.[13] She spent the rest of the year traveling to Bangladesh and the Philippines for her volunteer work as the goodwill ambassador for Good Neighbors, a humanitarian NGO. She donated the condolence money collected for her father's funeral and a portion of her book sales to Good Neighbors, which was used to build libraries in 11 orphanages in slum areas of Dhaka. Kim said, "I literally fled to Bangladesh after a series of personal tragedies, but I was consoled by the smiles of children who are living in these dire conditions. The act of sharing has given me strength to live." She currently works as an instructor for several classes organized by Good Neighbors, teaching Korean elementary schoolchildren about poverty around the world.[14]

Kim resumed her acting activities in 2011, playing the daughter from a wealthy publishing company whose life is turned upside down when she learns that she was switched at birth with another baby in Twinkle Twinkle.[1] Her performance garnered a Top Excellence Award from the MBC Drama Awards.[15] She also starred in Kim Dae-seung's short film Q&A, which was included in If You Were Me 5, an omnibus film commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.[16] Then in Dummy Mommy (2012), she played a fashion magazine editor with genius-level IQ who feels embarrassed by her developmentally disabled mother (Ha Hee-ra).

In a departure from her usual characters, Kim played one of the legendary femme fatales of the Joseon Dynasty, Lady Jo (or Jo Gwi-in), in the period drama Cruel Palace - War of Flowers (2013). She said she was "more than delighted to have been given the opportunity to try something new," adding that, "This role will be a new life story for my acting career. I personally think it will be more interesting for an actress with an innocent image like myself to take up this wicked role." Critics praised Kim's versatility, as Lady Jo transforms from a naive young girl into an ambitious royal concubine who uses her beauty and wiles on King Injo in her thirst for power.[17]

In early 2014, Kim began hosting Musical Journey to Yesterday, a music program in which a mix of current idol singers and industry veterans perform live hit songs from the 1970s to 1990s.[18][19]


Television dramas[edit]

  • The Reason I Love (MBC, 1997)
  • One of a Pair (MBC, 1997)
  • Ready Go! (MBC, 1997-1998)
  • Three Guys and Three Girls (MBC, 1998)
  • I Love You! I Love You! (MBC, 1998)
  • I Don't Know Anything But Love (MBC, 1998-2000)
  • MBC Best Theater "Jeondeungsa" (MBC, 1998)
  • Springtime (MBC, 1999)
  • The Last War (MBC, 1999)
  • Hur Jun (MBC, 1999)
  • Into the Sunlight (MBC, 1999)
  • Love Story "Insomnia, Manual and Orange Juice" (SBS, 2000)
  • Virtue (SBS, 2000)
  • Medical Center (SBS, 2000) (guest appearance, ep 29)
  • Her House (MBC, 2001)
  • Sangdo (MBC, 2001-2002)
  • Glass Slippers (SBS, 2002)
  • Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest (SBS, 2004)
  • The Land (SBS, 2004-2005)
  • Marrying a Millionaire (SBS, 2005-2006)
  • In-soon Is Pretty (KBS2, 2007)
  • Boys Over Flowers (KBS2, 2009)
  • Partner (KBS2, 2009)
  • Twinkle Twinkle (MBC, 2011)
  • Dummy Mommy (SBS, 2012)
  • Cruel Palace - War of Flowers (jTBC, 2013)
  • Can We Love? (jTBC, 2014) (cameo, ep 13-14)
  • What's With This Family (KBS2, 2014)


Music videos[edit]

  • Kim Hyun-chul - "One's Lifetime" (1996)
  • Lee Seung-hwan - "Entreaty" (1996)
  • Seo Ji-won - "I Liked It Then" (1996)
  • Yuno - "Now" (1998)
  • Yurisangja - "To the Bride" (1999)
  • Brown Eyes - "Already One Year" (2001)
  • Brown Eyes - "Little By Little" (2002)
  • Han Kyung-il - "Parting Was Far Away" (2004)

Variety shows[edit]

  • Scoop! Entertainment City (MBC, 1997) - VJ
  • Popular Song Best 50 (MBC, 1997) - VJ
  • Saturday Power Start (KBS, 1997) - MC
  • Gwangjang Music with Gung Sun-young (KBS 2FM, 1997) - Panelist in "I Don't Know Anything But Love" segment
  • Super TV Enjoy Sunday (KBS, 1998) - MC
  • Sunday Sunday Night (MBC, 1999) - MC
  • FM Dating with Kim Hyun-joo (MBC FM, 1999) - DJ
  • Mnet KM Music Festival (Mnet, 2000) - MC
  • And e-Wonderful World (MBC, 2000) - MC
  • Section TV Entertainment (MBC, 2001) - MC
  • Music Village with Kim Hyun-joo (MBC FM, 2009) - DJ
  • ECO Canada by Kim Hyun-joo (MBC Life, 2009)
  • Musical Journey to Yesterday (MBC, 2014) - MC
  • Roommate Season 2 ep. 23 (SBS, 2015)


  • Maxim Coffee
  • Magix
  • Goeun Nara Cosmetics - MyCel Plaster Pack
  • Hankook Tire
  • Kwailnara ("Land of Fruits") Cosmetics - Natural Sheet Essence Pack
  • Asiana Airlines (1997)
  • Lemona (1997)
  • Haitai Confectionery (1997) - Baked Potato Cookie, Shrimp Crackers
  • Julia Cosmetics - Islet Power C (1999)
  • Samsung Electronics (1999) - MyMy WinGo, MyJet Printer, Magic Station, Hi-Cool Air
  • Nonghyup Insurance (2000)
  • Lotte Chic-Choc Cookie (2000)
  • On & On (2000)
  • Woongjin Foods - Green Plum Juice (2001-2003)
  • Emons Furniture (2001-2002)
  • Tongyang Life Insurance (2002)
  • Goldfill Jewelry (2002)
  • LG (2002)
  • Nong Shim (2002) - Saengsaeng Udon, Saengsaeng Ramen
  • Robot Boiler (2002)
  • Tous Les Jours (2002)
  • Amore Pacific - Dubore Essence Body Wash (2002), Vitamin Hair Pack Rinse (2002), Hair Pack Nano Therapy (2002-2003)
  • JOFF (2002-2003)
  • Nadri Cosmetics - Me:ll Lovely Story (2002), Me:ll Covering Powder Pack (2003), Me:ll Bikini Girl (2003)
  • Daewoo Securities (2004)
  • Samsung Life Insurance (2005)
  • Hanwha - Dream & Green (2005-2008), EcoMetro (2006), Loire Valley (2007)
  • Cheez Whiz (2004)
  • Magic Speed (2005)
  • Daesang WelLife (2006)
  • 2001 Outlet (2006)
  • Hyundai Genesis (2007-2008)
  • Hyundai i30cw (2008)
  • Sisley Paris - Sisleÿa Anti-aging Cream (2009), Phyto-Blanc Intensive Lightening Serum (2012), Supremÿa at Night (2012), All Day All Year (2012), Hydra Global Intense Anti-Aging Hydration (2012)
  • Laura Mercier Liquid Crystal Lip Glacé (2010)
  • Bella Beans Coffee (2012)
  • Handon Pork (2012-2013)


  • Hyun-joo's Handcrafted Story (2009)


  • Kim Hyun-joo - "Promise" (track from Partner OST, 2009)
  • Kim Hyun-joo feat. PK Heman - "Forgetfulness" (single, 2012)



  1. ^ a b Kang, Seung-hun (24 December 2010). "Actress Kim Hyun-joo cast in new MBC drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  2. ^ a b "All That Star: Bubbly Actress Kim Hyun-joo who makes those around her happy with her pleasant smile is back as a writer.". Arirang News. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  3. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (5 May 2008). "Park Kyung-ni's Works Translated Onscreen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  4. ^ Chun, Su-jin. "TV review: Could have been called Sujiney is Pretty". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 12 December 2007. 
  5. ^ Han, Sang-hee (23 June 2009). "Friends, Lawyers to Hit Small Screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  6. ^ Oh, Jean (24 June 2009). "Legal wars and blood brothers hit TV". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  7. ^ "Kim Hyun Joo for SURE". Allkpop. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  8. ^ "Eco Canada by Kim Hyun Joo". Kreepy Korean. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Kim Hyun-joo puts out an essay book". Dramabeans. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  10. ^ (작가와의 만남) 연기와 일상을 꼼꼼히 바느질하는 아름다운 그녀 - 『현주의 손으로 짓는 이야기』 김현주. (in Korean). 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  11. ^ Park, Kun-ouc (2 July 2010). "Singer and actor Park Yong-ha laid to rest". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  12. ^ "Kim Hyun Joo's father passes away". Allkpop via Otokee. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  13. ^ "Kim Hyun Joo's father passes away". 9 July 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  14. ^ "Kim Hyun-joo Finds Relief from Personal Grief in Charity". The Chosun Ilbo. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  15. ^ Hong, Lucia (2 January 2012). "The Greatest Love snags 7 honors at 2011 MBC Drama Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  16. ^ "If You Were Me 5 (2010)". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  17. ^ Yang, Sung-hee (22 March 2013). "In drama, concubines compete for royal love". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  18. ^ Lee, Sun-min (9 January 2014). "MBC adds different music program". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  19. ^ "Actress Kim Hyun Joo To Host The MBC Music Show". KpopStarz. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 

External links[edit]