April 17, 1982
Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea
|Education||Dongduk Women's University - Fashion Design|
|Occupation||Actress, amateur boxer|
|Revised Romanization||I Siyeong|
|Revised Romanization||I Eullae|
Born Lee Eun-rae in Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province, her family moved to Seoul when she was nine years old. Lee majored in Fashion Design at Dongduk Women's University, and later changed her name to Lee Si-young.
But 2009 was the year she began to gain attention with several high-profile supporting roles. In the smash hit Boys Over Flowers, Lee played the character of Sakurako Sanjo in the source manga Hana Yori Dango, who was mercilessly teased for being homely as a young girl, then undergoes extensive plastic surgery and becomes a backstabbing frenemy to win the heart of her tormentor. Lee then played the mistress of a married man in the surrogacy melodrama Loving You a Thousand Times.
Five Senses of Eros was an omnibus film from five different directors, and in the segment "Believe in the Moment" three teenage couples decide to swap partners for 24 hours, played by Lee and her fellow up-and-coming actors Kim Dong-wook, Song Joong-ki, Shin Se-kyung, Jung Eui-chul and Lee Sung-min. In the comedy Descendants of Hong Gil-dong (also known as The Righteous Thief), Lee played the love interest of Lee Beom-soo, whose character is the 18th descendant of Hong Gil-dong, a Joseon-era Robin Hood whose family for generations has passed down the tradition of stealing only from the rich and giving to the poor while keeping their actions secret.
But Lee rose to mainstream popularity when she joined the cast of We Got Married, a reality show about fake married couples, and was paired with Jun Jin of the boy band Shinhwa. Called the "Gundam couple" by fans for their mutual love of the anime, Lee and Jun Jin began dating off-screen, making them the first couple to officially have a real relationship outside the show. However, after dating for 6 months, they broke up in September 2009.
In 2010, she began hosting Entertainment Relay (also known as Entertainment Weekly), the longest-running entertainment news show on Korean television (her stint ended in 2012). Then in Birth of the Rich (also known as Becoming a Billionaire), Lee was the standout in the cast and was praised for her portrayal of a spoiled, Paris Hilton-esque chaebol heiress, despite mixed reviews for the series itself. Later that year, she starred in Playful Kiss, another series adapted from a manga (in Itazura na Kiss, her character is Sasuiko, a haughty paragon of perfection who becomes the heroine's rival in love). Lee had acquired a reputation for making her second-lead roles memorable and endearing in their own right, giving her characters a human, lovable side despite their role as antagonists in the narrative.
Lee played her first big screen leading role in the screwball romantic comedy Dangerous Meeting (also known as Meet the In-Laws), which portrays the struggles of a comic book writer (played by Song Sae-byeok) to tie the knot with his girlfriend (Lee) over the strong disapproval of their families, as they come from different regions with a long history of antagonism toward each other (the Korean title literally translates to "Dangerous Formal Greeting Between Families of the Bride and Bridegroom"). Deep-rooted regionalism which pits the southeastern Gyeongsang Province against the Jeolla Province in particular, had dogged various aspects of Korean society in the past, including the 1980s which is when the movie is set. Meet the In-Laws became the ninth top-grossing Korean film of 2011, with more than 2 million tickets sold.
Lee's follow-up was the ensemble romantic comedy/caper film Couples, where she again displayed her gift for physical comedy as a shameless gold digger. Despite critical praise for its cleverly constructed plot and twists, the film was less successful at the box office. Then in the low-rating action series Poseidon, Lee, along with Lee Sung-jae and Choi Si-won played members of the Coast Guard special forces who investigate maritime crimes.
In 2012, Lee cut her hair into a short perm for Wild Romance, playing a tomboyish bodyguard who protects an arrogant baseball star after he receives death threats (played by Lee Dong-wook). Lee said, "I don't see many actresses who are good at tough action roles. I hope I can fill the gap." The series received low ratings but had a cult following.
Lee returned to the romantic comedy genre in 2013 with How to Use Guys with Secret Tips, playing an overworked and undervalued assistant director who one day buys an inspirational video, "Instructions on How to Use Men," and reluctantly follows its guidelines. She becomes drastically transformed into a woman much-sought after by all men, including a top actor (played by Oh Jung-se). The film received strong word of mouth for its comic timing and witty gags, the charismatic performances of its leads and its tackling of gender equality issues.
She then headlined the horror film Killer Toon, playing a writer of webcomics (called "webtoon" in Korea) who becomes the number one suspect after a series of murders are committed that mimic her famous comics. Co-starring Um Ki-joon as the detective on the case, the movie overlaps crime scenes with CG animation. In an interview, Lee said she picks roles if she is drawn to and can empathize with the character. Killer Toon attracted more than 1 million viewers, only the third Korean horror film to do so after A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) and Death Bell (2008).
In 2014, Lee was cast as a principled prosecutor in the drama series Golden Cross. She also starred in the film The Divine Move, about a baduk player's quest for revenge. This was followed later in the year by Valid Love from cable channel tvN, in which her character has an extramarital affair.
Lee never formally debuted as a singer, but she has made contributions to several of her films' soundtracks. She was also featured in one track on then-boyfriend Jun Jin's EP Fascination in 2009. And after she sang two tracks on Honey Family's fifth album Resurrection in 2010, band member Park Myung-ho praised Lee for her vocal talent.
In 2012, she and Jay Park appeared in Music and Lyrics, an MBC Music reality show in which an actress and a male singer are paired together as lyricist and composer, respectively, to create a song, showing their meetings and songwriting process. The song they composed, Polaris, was recorded by the girl group Tiny-G.
Aside from her entertainment career. Lee is also an amateur boxer. Despite taking up the sport in her late 20s and fighting opponents who are much more experienced and younger, in just three years, Lee has established herself in the sport by winning a number of amateur titles in the 48-kg class.
She initially took up boxing in early 2010 to prepare for her role as a female boxer in a TV drama for MBC, training with Hong Soo-hwan, a former WBA bantamweight and super bantamweight champion. The drama ended up not getting produced, but she quickly became enamored of the sport. Lee said, "I kept it up as a hobby and was told that I had potential, so I trained really hard. Boxing changed who I am. I became more honest and extroverted, with more confidence in who I am." She continued training, reducing her body fat from 9.9 kg to 4.7 kg, and began boxing competitively.
Lee's passion for the sport has caused her agency anxiety. There are worries she may hurt herself, especially if she sustains facial injuries. A staffer said, "But no matter how hard we try to dissuade her, she doesn't want to quit."
To the surprise of fans and experts alike, Lee entered and won the 7th Annual Women's Amateur Boxing Competition in 2010, and the women's 50-kg category in the 10th KBI National Lifestyle Athletics Boxing Championship in November of that same year.
Her momentum continued throughout 2011, winning the women's 48-kg category in the 47th Seoul Amateur Boxing Match in February, and by RSC (Referee Stopped Contest) in the 7th National Amateur Boxing Championships in March. Lee Seung-bae, head coach of the Korean national boxing team, said Lee "has a very accurate left punch. She is tall and has long arms, a very good body for boxing," while coach Baek Seung-won said she has "the fire and the perfect physique" to become a professional boxer, but added, "She is a bit old (to turn pro now)." She later won the rookie of the year award for Seoul-based boxers.
In December 2012, she tried out for the first time for the national women's boxing team by competing in the under-48 kg light flyweight category in the National Amateur Boxing Championships, which doubled as the 2013 first national qualifying round. The 28-year-old was the oldest participant at the national championships with a 17 to 34 age limit. But Lee was defeated in the final of the 66th National Amateur Boxing Championships.
In January 2013, she became the goodwill ambassador for the 2014 Asian Games to be held in Incheon. Shortly after, she further showed her serious commitment to the sport by joining the Incheon City boxing team. After moving to Incheon from Seoul to save time for training, Lee underwent surgery for a slipped disk, and suffered from a knee injury, which meant she was unable to maintain her training program.
On April 24, 2013, Lee won the women's 48-kg title at the 24th National Amateur Boxing Championships in a controversial 22-20 decision, making her the country's first mainstream entertainer/celebrity, male or female, to become a national team athlete for any sport.
Lee said that her dream was to represent the country at the 2014 Asian Games, and her ultimate goal to win a medal there. Since her weight class is not included in international competitions such as the Asiad and the Olympics, she upgraded to the heavier under-51 kg class. But Lee was unable to participate in the Asian Games when she failed to enter the March 2014 final tryouts (as well as the two previous ones). Kim Won-chan, manager of the Incheon City boxing team, said, "She didn't have enough time to build up her skills for the bout. But we will keep working on her conditioning with the aim of getting her into the 2014 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships on Jeju Island."
|2009||Five Senses of Eros||Jung Se-eun||"Believe in the Moment"
"The 33rd Man"
|The Righteous Thief||Song Yeon-hwa|
|2010||Sooni, Where Are You?||Jo-yeon||cameo|
|2011||Meet the In-Laws||Da-hong|
|Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil||Red Puckett||animated, Korean dubbing|
|2013||How to Use Guys with Secret Tips||Choi Bo-na|
|Killer Toon||Kang Ji-yoon|
|2014||The Divine Move||Bae-kkob|
|2008||Urban Legends Deja Vu - Season 3||Sun-ah||Super Action||episode 2: "Syndrome"|
|The Kingdom of The Winds||Yeon-hwa||KBS2|
|2009||Boys Over Flowers||Oh Min-ji||KBS2|
|Again, My Love||Son Jung-hwa||KBS2||cameo|
|Loving You a Thousand Times||Hong Yeon-hee||SBS|
|2010||Becoming a Billionaire||Bu Tae-hee||KBS2|
|Playful Kiss||Yoon Hae-ra||MBC|
|2012||Wild Romance||Yoo Eun-jae||KBS2|
|2014||Golden Cross||Seo Yi-re||KBS2|
|Valid Love||Kim Il-ri||tvN|
|2009||We Got Married - Season 1||Herself||MBC||paired with Jun Jin (episodes 42, 45-55)|
|2010||Dalgona (당시에는 파일럿 프로 시절 때 였음)||MC||SBS|
|2012||Music & Lyrics - Season 2||Herself||MBC Music||paired with Jay Park|
|2013||Running Man||Guest||SBS||episode 131|
|2009||"Hey Ya!"||Jun Jin|
|2010||언제나 ("Always")||Huh Gak|
|Year||Song Title||Artist||From the Album|
|2009||바보처럼 ("Like a Fool")||Jun Jin feat. PS Jun & Lee Si-young||Fascination|
|지지리 ("Awfully")||Lee Si-young||digital single|
|"Hero"||Lee Si-young||The Righteous Thief OST|
|"Just Love"||Lee Si-young|
|2010||사랑이 뭐길래 ("What is Love")||Honey Family feat. Gary, Lee Si-young||Resurrection|
|내 스타일이야 ("That's My Style")||Honey Family feat. Poppin' Hyun-joon, Lee Si-young, Q☆B|
|2011||세월이 가면 ("When Time Passes")||Lee Si-young||Meet the In-Laws OST|
|빛나라 우리 사랑아||Gong Hyung-jin, Kim Joo-hyuk, Lee Si-young, Oh Jung-se, Lee Yoon-ji||Couples OST|
Awards and nominations
|2009||Andre Kim Best Star Awards||Female Star Award||N/A||Won|
|Men's Health Cool Guy Contest||Vital Woman Award||N/A||Won|
|2010||7th Max Movie Awards||Best New Actress||The Righteous Thief||Won|||
|KBS Entertainment Awards||Best Female Newcomer in a Variety Show||Entertainment Weekly||Won|||
|KBS Drama Awards||Best New Actress||Becoming a Billionaire||Won|
|2011||47th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actress in TV||Becoming a Billionaire||Nominated|
|KBS 감동대상||Hope Award||N/A||Won|
|KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Poseidon||Nominated|
|2013||22nd Buil Film Awards||Best Actress||How to Use Guys with Secret Tips||Nominated|
- Han, Sang-hee (10 February 2009). "Boys Over Flowers Continues to Bloom in Korea". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Elley, Derek (28 October 2009). "Review: "Five Senses of Eros"". Variety. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si Young wants both love and career". Dw4p TommyROT. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Lee, Hyo-won (19 November 2009). "Incredible Hongs Offers Comedy, Action". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Wee, Geun-woo (21 April 2011). "Actress Lee Si-young's Music Picks". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Junjin and Lee Si Young’s first public picture". Jazzholic. 11 July 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si Young on her breakup with JunJin". Allkpop. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Actress Lee Si-young to Help Youngsters". The Chosun Ilbo. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Wee, Geun-woo (24 February 2010). "PREVIEW: KBS TV series The Birth of the Rich". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Oh, Jean (1 March 2010). "Post-Olympian line-up ushers in spring". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Oh, Jean (29 August 2010). "Kim Hyun-joong eager to prove worth as actor". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Dangerous Meeting Draws Over 2 Million Viewers". The Chosun Ilbo. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Hong, Lucia (29 March 2011). "Main cast revealed for upcoming romantic comedy flick". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Couples (2011)". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Elley, Derek (24 March 2012). "Couples". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Choi Si-won, Lee Si-young embark Poseidon". 10Asia. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Lee, Jin-ho (19 September 2011). "Poseidon Shows Signs of a Bright Future Despite Troubled Past". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Hwang, Hyo-jin (19 September 2011). "PREVIEW: KBS TV series Poseidon". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Lee, Jin-ho (2 January 2012). "Lee Dong Wook On Action Scenes with Lee Si Young". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Noh, Hyun-gi (3 January 2012). "Lee Si-young to play tomboy who falls in love". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Choi, Eun-hwa (5 January 2012). "Lee Si Young Goes Wild for Wild Romance". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Boxing Actress Lee Hopes to Take on More Action-Packed Roles". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Kim, Myung-hyun (4 January 2012). "PREVIEW: KBS TV series Wild Romance". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Paquet, Darcy. "How to Use Guys with Secret Tips". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Jung, Min-ho (12 March 2013). "Lee Won-suk's debut film touches on winning heart". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Lee, Sun-min (25 June 2013). "Lee Si-young plans horror comeback". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Sunwoo, Carla (2 July 2013). "Actress breaks mold, tackles Killer role". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Jeon, Su-mi (25 March 2014). "Lee Si Young Takes the Lead Role in New Drama Golden Cross". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
- Lee, Hye-ji (21 August 2013). "Lee Si-young Joins Kang Chi Star Choi Jin-hyuk's Film". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- Sunwoo, Carla (27 June 2014). "High stakes set in risky baduk flick". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Hong, Grace Danbi (19 November 2014). "Lee Si Young is Burdened by Lee Soo Hyuk′s Good Looks and Finds Uhm Tae Woong More Comfortable". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
- Jin, Eun-soo (25 November 2014). "Sam-soon writer pens new drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-29.
- Ho, Stewart (13 April 2012). "Jay Park-Lee Si Young & John Park-Park Jin Hee Couples Officially Revealed". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Cast picked for music reality show". Korea JoongAng Daily. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Lee, Nancy (3 May 2012). "Lee Si Young Looks Like a Girl Group Member Strolling Down Street". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Shuttles Between Boxing and Acting". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Yi, Whan-woo (17 March 2011). "Boxing champ: actress Lee". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Wins Boxing Championship". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Actress Lee Si-young chasing two rabbits in acting, boxing". The Korea Herald. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Joo, Kyung-don (17 March 2011). "A boxing beauty: Actress wins title". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Park, Elli (3 July 2012). "Lee Si-young steps up for another boxing competition". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Sunwoo, Carla (7 July 2012). "Lee Si-young wins boxing match". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "She's a champ". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Sunwoo, Carla (27 July 2012). "Knockout actress wins boxing tourney". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Signs Up for National Boxing Team Tryouts". The Chosun Ilbo. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Moon, Gwang-lip (10 December 2012). "Lee Si-young would fight for Korea". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Yoon, Min-sik (10 December 2012). "Lee Si-young's fling with boxing getting serious". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Wins First Bout at Amateur Boxing Championships". The Chosun Ilbo. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Actress Lee Si-young Fails to Join National Boxing Team". The Chosun Ilbo. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lights, camera, action: Actress loses qualifier". Korea JoongAng Daily. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Sunwoo, Carla (12 December 2012). "Lee Si-young will go back to her day job". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Chun, Sung-woo (2 January 2013). "Actress-boxer Lee Si-young named envoy for Incheon Asian Games". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "For Incheon Asiad". The Korea Times. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Sunwoo, Carla (29 January 2013). "Drama actress goes back to boxing". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Actress Lee Si-young to Don Boxing Gloves for Team Incheon". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Chun, Sung-woo (31 January 2013). "Actress Lee joins Incheon boxing team". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "A role in the ring". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Actress Lee Si-young Dons Incheon Boxing Gloves". The Chosun Ilbo. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Tries for Spot on National Boxing Team". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Jung, Min-ho (25 April 2013). "Pretty, feisty actress Lee is new model of women". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Yoon, Min-sik (25 April 2013). "Lee Si-young's victory marred by bias talks". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Boxer-actress Lee talks on 'biased judgment' controversy". The Korea Herald. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Actress Lee Si-young makes Korean national boxing team". The Korea Herald. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Joins National Boxing Squad After Winning Title". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Moon, Gwang-lip; Kim, Min-kyu (25 April 2013). "Actress Lee now national boxer". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Lee Si-young Won't Box at Incheon Asian Games". The Chosun Ilbo. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
- Ko, Kyoung-seok (10 February 2010). "Old Partner wins Best Picture at Max Movie Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Choi, Jun-yong (27 December 2010). "Lee Kyung-kyu wins grand prize at KBS Entertainment Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-08.