Jun Ji-hyun

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Wang. In stage/pen name, the surname is Jun.
Jun Ji-hyun
네파 따뜻한 세상 캠페인 전지현 홍보대사 위촉식.jpg
Born Wang Ji-hyun
(1981-10-30) 30 October 1981 (age 34)
Seoul, South Korea
Other names Gianna Jun
Alma mater Dongguk University - Theater and Film
Occupation Actress
Years active 1997–present
Agent Culture Depot
Religion Buddhism[citation needed]
Spouse(s) Choi Joon-hyuk (married in 2012)
Website www.giannajun.com
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jeon Ji-hyeon
McCune–Reischauer Chŏn Chihyŏn
Birth name
Revised Romanization Wang Ji-hyeon
McCune–Reischauer Wang Chihyŏn

Jun Ji-hyun (Hangul; hanja; born Wang Ji-hyun, 30 October 1981), also known as Gianna Jun, is a South Korean actress. She is best known for her role as "The Girl" in the romantic comedy My Sassy Girl (2001), one of the highest-grossing Korean comedies of all time. Other notable films include Il Mare (2000), Windstruck (2004), The Thieves (2012), The Berlin File (2013), and Assassination (2015), as well as the television series My Love from the Star (2013-2014).

Early life[edit]

Jun Ji-hyun was born in Seoul, South Korea. Her mother and her mother's friends all encouraged her to be an model or actress due to her tall and slim body shape. Her childhood dream was to become a flight attendant, but later gave up after a plane flight experience. At the age of 16, her high form friend who was a model discovered her and introduced her to a photographer. [1] Using the stage name Jun Ji-hyun, she began her career as a model for Ecole Magazine in 1997.



Jun first became well known as a commercial model and as a TV actress. Although she made her film debut in the little-watched White Valentine in 1999, it was not until later in the year when she was featured in a commercial for Samsung My Jet Printer that she became a popular sensation. The dancing and attitude expressed in the ad made her into an icon for Koreans in their late teens and early twenties.[2]

After continuing her TV and modelling career, Jun made her first well-publicized film appearance in late 2000 with Il Mare. A handsomely shot melodrama set on Ganghwa Island, the film did respectably well at the box office (despite opening on the same day as blockbuster Joint Security Area) and solidified her status as a star.[2]

Jun's breakout film was comedy My Sassy Girl, which became a huge hit both in Korea and throughout Asia with its tale of a gullible college student and his slightly unhinged girlfriend.[3] The film spent two weeks at No. 1 in Hong Kong, and turned her into Korea's most recognizable star in the Chinese-language market.[4][5][6] She also won as Best Actress at the 2002 Grand Bell Awards. Two years then passed before she appeared in her next film, an "occult thriller" titled The Uninvited which wowed critics but failed to catch on with viewers.[7] Throughout this time she was a constant presence in TV ads and on billboards in Korea and also in other Asian countries.[2][8][9]

2004-2009 :Breakthrough[edit]

Jun Ji-Hyun at a promotinal event for the film Blood: The Last Vampire in 2009.

2004 saw her return to the big screen in another film by Kwak Jae-yong, the director of My Sassy Girl. Windstruck cast her in the role of a policewoman, but many viewers felt it was too similar to My Sassy Girl. There were also signs that her popularity had started to suffer because of overexposure in advertisements.[10][11] Nonetheless, Windstruck became the best-performing Korean film in Japan at the time, where My Sassy Girl was not as well known.[2][12][13] In a 2005 survey of influential movie producers, she was ranked among the top ten most bankable stars in Korea.[14]

Jun's next project Daisy teamed her with Jung Woo-sung (who frequently appeared together with her in Giordano and 2% Lotte Chilsung Water advertisements), and drew attention for its 100% location shooting in the Netherlands, and for using the Hong Kong director Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs). [2][15]

In late 2006 it was announced that Jun would be making her long-predicted jump to Hollywood to take the lead role in Blood: The Last Vampire.[16] The international co-production, which was filmed in China and Argentina in 2007, is the live-action adaptation of a popular Japanese anime.[2] She went through three months of hard training to play the sword-wielding martial arts heroine.[17] During the filming and promotions for the movie prior to its 2009 release,[18][19][20] she adopted the Westernized name Gianna Jun.[21][22] "Gianna by True Religion" was launched by the luxury blue jeans brand in 2008, its first celebrity line. Jun was reportedly involved in every stage of their production, from design to deciding on fit and wash and their decoration with accessories.[23]

For the film A Man Who Was Superman, Jun cut off her signature long silky hair to play a cynical documentary producer who meets an odd, Hawaiian-shirt-clad modern-day hero who battles urban apathy and preaches the virtues of lending a hand. Of initially feeling pressured at the opportunity to work with acclaimed actor Hwang Jung-min, she said, "Although luck was probably involved, I think it's destiny for an actor to 'meet' new work. On the first day I met him, I realized that I have much to learn from him, not only from his acting, but also as an individual."[24][25]


Jun Ji-hyun at Busan International Film Festival, 2012 October 7.

In 2010, she acted opposite Chinese actress Li Bingbing in the English-language film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, based on Lisa See's bestselling novel of the same name, which was directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club). The film, set in remote 19th-century China, features the lifelong friendship between two women, Lily and Snow Flower, and their imprisonment imposed by the strict cultural codes of conduct for women at that time.[26][27][28][29] She was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the July issue of the American edition of Vogue, the first Korean actress to be included in the iconic fashion magazine.[30][31]

As part of the star-studded cast of The Thieves, Jun was a scene stealer in Choi Dong-hoon's heist film about thieves from Korea and China who team up together to steal a diamond worth US$30 million, which is locked in a special room at a casino in Macau.[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39] The Thieves became the second top-selling Korean film of all time.[40]

She played a translator married to a North Korean intelligence agent in the 2013 spy thriller The Berlin File, and director Ryoo Seung-wan praised Jun's action scenes and her North Korean dialect.[41][42][43][44]

2014-present: My Love from the Star[edit]

Main article: My Love from the Star

14 years after Happy Together in 1999, Jun made her highly anticipated return to television in fantasy romance My Love from the Star.[45] Kim Soo-hyun (Jun's costar in The Thieves) played an alien who landed on earth 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty, then falls for a present-day top actress (played by Jun).[46][47] The series was a ratings success, sparking trends in fashion, make-up and restaurants.[48] Jun won the Daesang (or "Grand Prize"), the highest award for television, at the 2014 Baeksang Arts Awards and the 2014 SBS Drama Awards.[49][50][51][52][53][54]

In 2015, she reunited with director Choi Dong-hoon for Assassination, an espionage action film set during the 1930s colonial era in which she played a sniper , Ahn Ok Yun who assembles a squad of independence fighters to kill a Japanese army commander and a pro-Japanese Korean business tycoon. The film was a great success and rounded at 7th on the Korea highest box office at all time. The movie gave a deep impression in people, especially Korean of the fight they had with Japan. This movie has been planned for over 10 years till it worked out. Jun Ji Hyun accepted to play to role immediately when director Choi Dong-hoon requested her to. [55][56][57][58]


Jun is one of the most in-demand celebrity endorsers in South Korea. In 2014, she earned an estimated ₩20 billion from advertising and endorsement fees.[59] Market research in that same year showed that based on the value of real estate holdings, she ranked first among South Korean female celebrities, and fourth out of both male and female.[60]

A lipstick she wore on My Love from the Star, YSL "Rouge Pur Couture No. 52" sold out worldwide, while the same coat she wore on the show caused a surge in sales of over 2,500 in ShesMiss stores in ten days.[61][62][63]

As of April 2014, Jun appears in the following commercials,[62] namely: outdoor clothing brand Nepa, which credited her for increased sales in China;[64] SK Telecom, for which the commercial in which she sings "You Are Handsome" was chosen as 2014's best ad and model by KOBACO;[65] Hanyul cosmetics; coffee shop franchise Droptop, which she has endorsed since 2011 that it is sometimes nicknamed the "Jun Ji-hyun café";[66] refrigerator Samsung Zipel which signed her in 2013 for her "urban and modern yet mature" image following her marriage, as well as for its Chinese ad campaign with Kim Soo-hyun in 2014;[67][68] Coupang e-commerce; vinegar drink Hongcho; Reebok sportswear; Cup Noodles; bakery Paris Baguette; Hera Cosmetics, notably the "Love All, Take All or Lose All" commercial;[69] HStyle's Spring 2015 apparel;[69] Lotte Liquor's Kloud Beer;[70] and ShesMiss clothing brand.[63]

Legal issues[edit]

Jun, along with six other South Korean stars (Jung Woo-sung, Kim Sun-a, Jo In-sung, Ji Jin-hee, Cha Tae-hyun and Yang Jin-woo), sued local monthly movie magazine Screen in 2006 for commercially using their pictures without permission.[71] Seoul Central District Court ruled in 2007 that the publisher must pay from ₩5 million to ₩15 million to each star for infringing their publicity rights.[72]

In 2009, police discovered that Jun's cell phone had been illegally cloned. Seoul Metropolitan Police arrested a private detective identified as Kim, who testified that it was ordered by SidusHQ (Jun's then-agency of 13 years), for which he was paid ₩6.4 million in cash by the brother of CEO Jung Hoon-tak. Police believed Jun’s management company used the cloned phone to keep tabs on her, in an attempt to exert control over all aspects of her life. SidusHQ denied those allegations.[73][74][75][76][77] Jung Hoon-tak was later cleared after police could not find any concrete evidence of his direct involvement.[78] Kim was sentenced to one year in prison for invasion of privacy, Jung's brother received suspended jail terms.[79] Because of the scandal, many expected her to leave once her contract expired, but she surprisingly extended her contract with SidusHQ for one more year. Then in 2011 she set up her own management agency J&Co. Entertainment,[80] which was later renamed to Culture Depot.

In 2011, SidusHQ CEO Jung Hoon-tak was accused of illegally using Jun's bank account to pocket profits from a merger and acquisition. Jung allegedly made ₩200 million after purchasing a stake in the junior KOSDAQ-listed Stom E&F in 2009 with an account under Jun's name and announcing through a public filing several months later that he would buy Stom E&F. Jung and Stom E&F's former CEO Kwon Seung-shik were reported for gaining unfair profits by leaking information on the M&A beforehand. Upon investigation by the Financial Supervisory Service, Jun testified that she had not even been aware of such an account existing under her name.[81] Jung issued a denial.[82]

Personal life[edit]

More than 600 guests, including celebrities and close friends and family of the star, attended her wedding to banker Choi Joon-hyuk on 13 April 2012 at Shilla Hotel in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul.[83][84][85][86][87] Choi is the grandson of famed hanbok designer Lee Young-hee, and the son of fashion designer Lee Jung-woo.[88][89]

Her agency confirmed in July 2015 that Jun is 10 weeks pregnant with her first child.[90][91][92]



Year Title Role
1999 White Valentine Jung-min
2000 Il Mare Eun-joo
2001 My Sassy Girl The Girl
2003 The Uninvited Yeon
2004 Windstruck Yeo Kyung-jin
2006 Daisy Hye-young
2008 A Man Who Was Superman Song Soo-jung
2009 Blood: The Last Vampire Saya Otonashi
2011 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Sophia/Snow Flower
2012 The Thieves Yenicall
2013 The Berlin File Ryun Jung-hee
2015 Assassination Ahn Ok-yun/Mitsuko


Year Title Role
1997 The Season of Puberty
1998 Inkigayo (Popular Music) Host
Fascinate My Heart Wang Ga-young
1999 Happy Together Seo Yoon-joo
2013-2014 My Love from the Star Cheon Song-yi

Music video[edit]

Year Song Title Artist
1999 "The Beginning of Love" Leon Lai
2000 "Hey Girl" Jang Hyuk (T.J Project)
"January Love"
2002 "Love Is Always Thirsty" Yumi

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1999 35th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress White Valentine Won
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Happy Together Won
2001 22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress My Sassy Girl Nominated
2002 39th Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Won
Popularity Award Won
2006 43rd Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Daisy Nominated
2012 56th Asia-Pacific Film Festival Best Supporting Actress The Thieves Nominated
2013 7th Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards 20's Movie Star - Female The Berlin File Nominated
17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival[93][94] Producer's Choice Award The Thieves, The Berlin File Won
33rd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actress The Berlin File Nominated
2014 50th Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) for Television My Love from the Star Won
Best Actress (TV) Nominated
InStyle Fashionista Award N/A Won
Korea Tourism Awards[95] Star of Korean Tourism N/A Won
41st Korea Broadcasting Awards Best Actor/Actress My Love from the Star Won
7th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
3rd APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
Hallyu Star Award Won
SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Nominated
PD Award Won
Top 10 Stars Won
Best Couple Award (with Kim Soo-hyun) Won
2015 24th Buil Film Awards Best Actress Assassination Nominated
6th Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards[96] President's Award N/A Won
52nd Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Assassination Won
36th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
2016 Maxmovie 2016 Movie Award Best Actress Assassination Won


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External links[edit]