Kim Sun-a

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.
Kim Sun-A
Born (1975-10-01) October 1, 1975 (age 39)
Daegu, South Korea[1]
Other names Kim Sun-ah
Kim Seon-ah
Education Ball State University
Kyung Hee University
Theater and Film[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1998–present
Agent Fantagio
Korean name
Hangul 김선아
Hanja 金宣兒
Revised Romanization Gim Seon-a
McCune–Reischauer Kim Sŏna

Kim Sun-A (born October 1, 1975) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for her titular role as Kim Sam-soon in the 2005 television series My Lovely Sam Soon one of the highest grossing korean drama of all time. Other notable films include City Hall (2009) and Scent of a Woman (2011).


Kim Sun-a was born in Daegu and then spent much of her school years in Chōfu, Tokyo (she speaks Japanese fluently). She is the eldest in the family, and has a younger brother and sister.[2] While back in Korea for summer vacation, she stood in for her friend as a model. Even though she was a complete unknown. She gave up her studies in the U.S. and her dream to become a pianist to enter the complicated and unpredictable world of showbiz. Kim's debut was promising from the start. She was subsequently scouted to appear in a cosmetic commercial with the slogan, "I felt his scent on a strange woman" - which jump started her career. After first appearing in a music video by Kim Hyun-cheol, she started appearing often on TV but did not emerge as a star. She would first become well known as a film actress, debuting in the big-budget box office failure Yesterday but going on to play a lead role as a student teacher in the unexpected hit Wet Dreams.[3]

Following her film success, Kim began to establish a niche for herself in comedies, often appearing as a straight-talking and not particularly demure comic heroine. She appeared in three films in 2003: a memorable cameo appearance in the period comedy Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield, opposite Im Chang-jung in the commercially successful The Greatest Expectation, and together with Cha Tae-hyun in the little-watched Happy Ero Christmas. In 2004 she took the lead role in S Diary as a jilted woman who decides to get revenge on her ex-boyfriends.[3]

The early part of 2005 saw her star in the action-comedy She's on Duty, but she would follow up by returning to the realm of TV dramas. It proved to be the best move of her career, as My Lovely Sam Soon ended up becoming the most-watched drama of 2005.[4] The forthright, independent personality she displayed in her leading role as a woman who finds unexpected success in life as a baker endeared her to women across Korea, and later Asia, establishing her as a top star.[3][5]

Her first post-Sam Soon project was supposed to have been the movie Thursday's Child, but the project ran into problems midway through filming. The film production company Yoon and Joon sued Kim for breach of contract and damages worth ₩1 billion, claiming that the actress was liable for their losses of more than ₩2.3 billion. She won the lawsuit in 2007, with the Seoul Central District Court ruling that Kim bore no responsibility for the shutdown of the movie.[6] After undergoing script revisions and a change of director and lead actress (to Yunjin Kim), Thursday's Child was eventually renamed and released as Seven Days.

In early 2008, Kim was involved in another controversy. Na Hoon-a, a successful trot singer with a career spanning over 40 years, was falsely rumored to had been castrated by yakuza, because he was having an affair with the mistress of a gang boss. The mistress was wildly guessed at, with the names of actresses Kim Hye-soo and Kim Sun-a thrown around (both issued official denials). Na ended up holding a press conference in which he almost stripped in order to prove the rumor was untrue, and demanded that the media apologize to the two actresses.[7][8]

After a three-year hiatus caused by legal and contractual disputes, Kim finally got back to work in 2008, starring in the big-screen comedy Girl Scout,[9] and the poorly received TV drama Night After Night (also known as When It's At Night).[10] Kim finally graduated from the university on February 18th, 2009. She temporarily quit Ball State University (Piano Major) in 1996 and transferred to Kyunghee University, dept. of art (theatre and movie major) in 2005. After a lengthy 4 years, she finally ended her campus life. Kim also received an award from the university for honoring the school with her artistic talent. 2009's City Hall, where she played a low-ranking city official whose life takes a turn when she wins a pageant and later becomes the mayor,[11][12] was a modest hit, with fans crediting its success to Kim's chemistry with her co-star Cha Seung-won.

Originally cast as the lead actress for 2010's I Am Legend, Kim quit before filming started due to issues with the production (she was replaced by her good friend Kim Jung-eun). Instead she chose the 2011 melodrama Scent of a Woman, which centers on a spinster who, after slaving herself at a travel agency for many years, is diagnosed that she only has six months left to live, and decides to live the rest of her life happily, turning in her resignation and leaving for a vacation of luxury.[13][14] She next starred in the movie Pitch High (in Korean, Fighting Spirit), in which she plays the supportive wife of a second string baseball pitcher.[15]

In 2012 romantic comedy series I Do, I Do, Kim's character is a workaholic shoe designer who gets pregnant after a one-night stand with a much younger newbie employee, then meets a charming obstetrician.[16][17] She returned to the big screen in 2013 thriller The Five, based on the popular webtoon by Jeong Yeon-shik, in which Kim played a woman who plots revenge against the serial killer who murdered her family and left her crippled.[18][19] She made her Chinese television drama debut in 2013. Sun ah plays Shen Wei(沈薇), Rain Li plays Ye Qiang(叶蔷). Qiang Wei(蔷薇) means roses, so the title Competition of Roses means the competition between the two women.

In 2014, Kim signed with management agency Fantagio.[20]

In early 2014, Kim has won the lawsuit she filed against a plastic surgery hospital in Busan. She sued the hospital after they illegally used her photos to promote their hospital. Seo, who was in charge of the hospital’s online marketing, posted pictures of Kim on the hospital’s blog in December of 2012. Along with the images, they posted, “Busan plastic surgery hospital recommended by Kim Sun Ah,” and “Kim Sun Ah has contacted us about visiting us sometime soon.” Kim sued the hospital, claiming that they have breached her publicity rights by spreading falsity with her name without her permission. On July 1, Kim won her case in court. She will be receiving 25 million won from the hospital. [21]

On December 24, 2014 Kim attended in the 34th Golden Film Festival to received her best actress award for her role in 2013 movie The Five. The awards ceremony included films from last year that were unable to participate and selected winners from a range of movies that aired last year and this year. [22]


Television drama[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1998 A Scent of That Winter's Day MBC
MBC Best Theater: "Her Flower Pot No. 1" Oh Hyun-ah MBC
Forever Yours Hwang Ji-young MBC
Love and Success Lee Mi-ran MBC
Showdown SBS
1999 Love Story: "Sunflower" SBS
Jump MBC
2000 Joa, Joa Woon Choo-ah SBS
Golden Era Lee Ju-young MBC
2005 My Lovely Sam Soon Kim Sam-soon MBC
2008 Night After Night Heo Cho-hee MBC
2009 City Hall Shin Mi-rae SBS
2011 Scent of a Woman Lee Yeon-jae SBS
2012 I Do, I Do Hwang Ji-ahn MBC
2013 Competition of Roses Shen Wei


Year Title Role
2002 Yesterday May
Wet Dreams Yoo-ri
2003 Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield cameo
The Greatest Expectation Mi-young
Happy Ero Christmas Heo Min-kyong
2004 S Diary Jini
2005 She's on Duty Chun Jae-in
2007 The Worst Guy Ever cameo
2008 Girl Scout Choi Mi-kyung
2010 Attack the Gas Station 2 Herself (cameo)
2011 Pitch High Oh Yoo-ran
2013 The Five Go Eun-ah

Musical theatre[edit]

Year Title Role
2000 Guys and Dolls


  • Fried BBQ Chicken
  • Hanafos Telecom
  • Lotte Pokhan Potato Chips
  • Pizza Hut
  • DHC Cosmetics
  • Chamasi
  • Max Beer
  • Crystia
  • Paris Baguette
  • Lotte Binch
  • Collagen Drink
  • Samsung Credit Card
  • Dongwon
  • VONO
  • Waffle Bant
  • Make Up For Ever
  • Emporio Armani watch
  • OB Beer Americas
  • NS Home Shopping
  • Hanwoo Korean Beef
  • C Plus Aroma

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2003 Golden Cinematography Awards Best New Actress Yesterday Won
2004 Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress (Film) The Greatest Expectation Won
Golden Cinematography Awards Most Popular Actress Won
CGV Viewer's Choice of the Year Awards Best Actress Won
2005 Grimae Awards Best Actress My Lovely Sam Soon Won
Korea Visual Arts Festival Photogenic Award, TV Actress category Won
Korea Green Foundation 100 People Who Brightened Our World Won
MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress Won
Popularity Award Won
Best Couple Award (with Hyun Bin) Won
2006 Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actress in a Miniseries Won
Korea Broadcasting Producers Awards Best Actress Won
2008 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Night After Night Nominated
2009 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special City Hall Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2011 China Entertainment Television Top Ten Hottest Asia Award Scent of a Woman Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Weekend/Daily Drama Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2012 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries I Do, I Do Nominated
2014 34th Golden Film Festival Best Actress The Five (film) Won


  1. ^ a b 김선아 영화배우, 탤런트 (in Korean). Naver. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  2. ^ "Naver People Search". Naver. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Kim Suna". Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  4. ^ "MBC Drama Sparks "Kim Sam-soon Syndrome"". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 July 2005. 
  5. ^ "Kim Sun-a Gains Weight to Win Hearts". The Chosun Ilbo. 20 July 2005. 
  6. ^ "Kim Seon-ah Wins Breach-of-Contract Suit". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 December 2007.
  7. ^ Park, Sang-woo (26 January 2008). "Na Hoon-a denies gangster rumors, drops his trousers". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  8. ^ "Na Hoon-a and the Posion of Celebrity Rumor". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 January 2008.
  9. ^ Ki, Sun-min (11 June 2008). "No pain, no gain for the streetwise ajumma squad". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  10. ^ "Night after Night premiered on June 16, 2008 and actress Kim Seon-a plays the main character Hur Cho-hee". MBC Global Media. 2 July 2008.
  11. ^ Han, Sang-hee (21 April 2009). "City Hall to Bring Public Officials to TV". The Korea Times.
  12. ^ Oh, Jean (29 April 2009). "More romantic comedy for prime time". The Korea Herald. 
  13. ^ Park, So-jung (1 June 2011). "Kim Suna, Lee Dong-wook and Um Ki-joon cast in new drama". 10Asia.
  14. ^ Lee, Ga-on (4 November 2011). "Actress Kim Suna's Song Picks". 10Asia.
  15. ^ Hong, Lucia (16 February 2010). "Kim Suna and Kim Ju-hyeok cast in new drama movie". 10Asia.
  16. ^ Hong, Lucia (17 May 2012). "Kim Suna, Lee Jang-woo's I Do I Do to air later this month". 10Asia.
  17. ^ Oh, Jean (25 May 2012). "Kim, well-shod, chic and ready for her close-up". The Korea Herald. 
  18. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (30 January 2013). "Kim Sun-a to make way back to the big screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  19. ^ Jeon, Su-mi (29 January 2013). "Kim Sun Ah to Star in The 5ive Hearts". enewsWorld. 
  20. ^ "Kim Sun Ah no longer a Free Agent and signs with Fantagio". Allkpop. 4 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "Kim Sun A wins lawsuit against a plastic surgery hospital". Soompi. 2 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Kim Sun A best actress award". Naver. 24 December 2014. 

External links[edit]