Im Yoona

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Im.
Im Yoona
LHS-최광모-소녀시대 윤아.jpg
Yoona in Baby G Mrmr Event
Born Im Yoona
(1990-05-30) May 30, 1990 (age 24)
Seoul, South Korea
Musical career
Genres K-pop
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2004–present
Labels S.M. Entertainment
Associated acts
Im Yoona
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 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 career beginnings[edit]

Im Yoona was born on May 30, 1990[1] in Seoul, South Korea. Her family consists of her father and an older sister.[2] 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.[3][4] She has since become known for taking the center position on stage.[5][6] Prior to debuting, Yoona 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.[7] Yoona has said that she went through a total of 200 auditions for commercials, music videos, dramas, and movies during her pre-debut days.[8] She graduated from Daeyoung High School in 2009.[9]

2008–present: Girls' Generation and television roles[edit]

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, Yoona 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]

Yoona performing with Girls' Generation in 2011

In May 2008, Yoona 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] Yoona 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 Yoona 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 Yoona was known for her character in the drama.[4] 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, Yoona 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".[4] 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.[27]

In March 2012, Yoona 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.[28] She played two characters, Yun-hee of the 70s and Ha-na of modern times.[29][30] She used a different approach to acting, analyzing the characters and substituting herself in their place in order to feel their emotions.[31][32] Although the drama lacked in domestic viewership[33] and received some criticism for its failure to relate to the viewers,[34] Yoona'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."[35] 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."[36] The drama garnered much positive overseas interest[37][38] and was sold to Japan for $10 million, the second highest price for a KBS drama at the time, partly due to Yoona's popularity.[39]

In December 2013, Yoona 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,[40] Yoona played Nam Da-jung, a young and stubborn reporter who falls in love with the prime minister. The drama received low ratings, but Yoona was still noted for her acting.[41] 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".[4] She won an Excellence Award at the 2013 KBS Drama Awards for the role.[24] In 2014, Yoona 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.[42] 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.[43][44] That same year, Yoona filmed the Chinese drama Wu Shen Zhao Zi Long, set to be released later in the year.[45]

Personality and public image[edit]

Yoona 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 Yoona 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".[4] Yoona has won various online surveys because of her "pure image" and beauty, and is the ideal type of many South Korean celebrities.[46][47][48] 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.[4][49]

Yoona in the music video for "Chocolate Love" (2009), which was used as a promotional song for LG Chocolate phone

Yoona is regarded as a "television commercial queen" among the South Korean public,[50][51] and has been a spokesperson for many brands such as Clean & Clear,[7] Eider,[52] Innisfree,[53][54] and SK Telecom.[55] CNN credited her as "one of the household names in the Asia-Pacific region" which has helped Korean beauty brands become popular in China.[56] In 2010, she became the first idol to endorse S-Oil, a large South Korean petroleum and refinery company.[57] 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.[58][59] In 2013, she became the first overseas endorser for Alcon Taiwan.[60][61]

Yoona has also done charity work that is mostly unpublicized. The media reported on her donating money to various charities[62][63][64][65] or becoming ambassadors for various organizations.[66] Yoona 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.[4] Actress Jung Ae-ri mentioned in an interview that she has done volunteer work with Yoona.[67] In 2014, she became an ambassador for her school, Dongguk University,[68] as well as the UNIHERO Campaign by UNICEF.[69] 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][70] In March 2015, Yoona was honored with a presidential commendation for her exemplary tax payments and became an ambassador for her country's National Tax Service.[71]

Personal life[edit]

In January 2014, Yoona and South Korean singer Lee Seung-gi were confirmed to be in a relationship since September 2013.[72]



Awards and nominations[edit]


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  68. ^ "Girls Generation's Yoona, Seohyun, & A Pink's Na-eun Named Dongguk University Ambassadors". KBS. September 17, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2015. 
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  70. ^ "Girls' Generosity: Yoona becomes Honor Society member". Koreatimesus. January 6, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  71. ^ "Song Seung-heon, Yoona honored by president". March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
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External links[edit]