Im Yoon-ah

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Im Yoon-ah
180403 크록스 라이트라이드 런칭행사 윤아 02.jpg
Yoona in April 2018
Native name 임윤아
Born (1990-05-30) May 30, 1990 (age 28)
Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul, South Korea
Alma mater Dongguk University
  • Singer
  • actress
Musical career
Genres K-pop
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present
Labels SM Entertainment
Associated acts
Korean name
Hangul 윤아
Revised Romanization Im Yun-a
McCune–Reischauer Im Yuna
Im Yoona signature.png

Im Yoon-ah (Hangul: 임윤아; born May 30, 1990), better known by the mononym Yoona, is a South Korean singer and actress. She debuted as a member of girl group Girls' Generation in August 2007, who went on to become one of the best-selling artists in South Korea and one of South Korea's most popular girl groups worldwide.

Apart from her group's activities, Yoona has participated in various television dramas, notably You Are My Destiny (2008), marking her career breakthrough, Love Rain (2012), Prime Minister & I (2013), The K2 (2016) and The King in Love (2017).

Life and career[edit]

1990–2007: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Yoona was born on May 30, 1990[1] in Yeongdeungpo-gu of Seoul, South Korea. Her family consists of her father and an older sister by five years.[2][3] 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. A 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.[4] Vocally, though Yoona is not known to have a wide vocal range, she has been described by critics to have a "very sweet voice". 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.[5] She made her official debut as a member of Girls' Generation in August 2007, becoming the "center" of the group.[6][4][7] The group gained significant popularity with the release of their hit single "Gee" in 2009.[8]

2008–2016: Acting roles and overseas popularity[edit]

Apart from Girls' Generation's activities, Yoona has acted in several television dramas. Her acting career began in 2007 with a minor role in MBC's drama Two Outs in the Ninth Inning.[9] She then appeared in MBC's Woman of Matchless Beauty (2008), and was complimented by veteran actress Bae Jong-ok for her cameo performance.[10]

In May 2008, Yoona landed her first leading role in KBS's drama You Are My Destiny, playing the character Jang Sae-byuk. The drama achieved viewer ratings of up to 41.5%, and Yoona received wider public recognition.[4][11] She considered the role a turning point in her career,[12] and won two "Best New Actress" awards at the 2008 KBS Drama Awards[13] and 45th Baeksang Arts Awards.[14] In 2009, Yoona was cast in MBC's drama Cinderella Man along with Kwon Sang-woo.[15]

Filming Love Rain in September 2011

In March 2012, Yoona was cast in a lead role alongside Jang Geun Suk in KBS2's drama Love Rain, a fantasy drama about fate where the offspring of an ill-fated couple who met in the 1970s, meet and fall in love with each other in the modern era.[16] Yoona played two characters: Yun-hee of the 70s and Ha-na of modern times.[17][18] Although the drama scored low domestic viewership[19] and was criticized for its failure to relate to the viewers,[20] 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."[21] Choi In-kyung of Hankook Ilbo said her acting was continuously improving and "Yoona is completely immersed in her character and has now become 'Hana' herself."[22] The drama garnered much positive overseas interest[23][24] 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.[25]

In December 2013, Yoona starred alongside Lee Beom-soo in KBS2's romantic comedy drama Prime Minister & I. Loosely based on the musical film The Sound of Music,[26] 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's performance was praised[27][4] and she won an Excellence Award at the 2013 KBS Drama Awards for the role.[14]

In March 2016, Yoona released her first solo single “Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway”, a collaboration with the South Korean indie group 10cm, as part of SM Station.[28] The urban-pop song peaked at number 24 on Gaon Digital Chart.[29] Fuse described it as "breezy and easy-listening" and complimented how "lovely" Yoona delivered the song.[7]

In April 2016, Yoona was cast in her debut Chinese drama God of War, Zhao Yun, based on the Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.[30] She played dual roles–one falls in love with the male lead character but later finds out he killed her father while the other is skilled in martial arts. The drama's viewership ratings peaked at more than 2%, which was described to be "a huge success" relative to China's large population. It also recorded more than 10 billion hits through various online videos sites, reflecting Yoona's popularity in China.[31] Following the success, in August 2016, Yoona released a Chinese digital mini-album titled Blossom, which contains her renditions of well-known Mandarin songs.[32]

2016–present: The K2 and film debut[edit]

In September 2016, Yoona starred in tvN's action thriller The K2.[33][34] Tired of being typecast with a candy-like image and having always been burdened by the idol-actress prejudice, Yoona cast away the public perception and focused on the role as her "personal challenge".[35][36] Her effort gained positive viewers' recognition,[37] and earned her acting acclaim from critics.[38][39][40]

In January 2017, Yoona made her film debut in action film, Confidential Assignment. [41] She then starred in MBC's historical drama The King in Love, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Kim Yi-ryung.[42] In September 2017, Yoona released her second solo single "When The Wind Blows" as part of SM Station.[43]

In 2018, Yoona was cast in the disaster action film Exit alongside Jo Jung-suk.[44]

In May 2018, Yoona released her third solo single "To You". Composed by Lee Sang Soon, “To You” is an acoustic ballad with lyrics written by YoonA.

In April 2018, SM Entertainment announced that Yoona will be going on a fan meeting tour around Asia. Her first meet-and-greet will be in Seoul, South Korea on May 20, under the title of "So Wonderful Day #Story_1". She will head to Bangkok, Thailand, followed by Tokyo and Osaka, Japan in July, and Hong Kong in August.[45] In June 2018, it was revealed that YoonA becomes the first Korean female solo artist to sell out fan meeting at Thailand’s Thunder Dome. Shortly after tickets went on sale on June 9, all the tickets were completely sold out, making her the first-ever Korean female solo artist to sell out the venue for a fan meeting.[46]

Other ventures[edit]


At a promotional event for Innisfree in Shanghai in January 2015

Yoona has been called a "CF Queen" due to her several television commercial films, and has been a spokesperson for various brands.[47][48] CNN credited her as "one of the household names in the Asia-Pacific region" which has helped Korean beauty brands become popular in China.[49] In 2010, she became the first idol to endorse S-Oil, a large South Korean petroleum and refinery company.[50] 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.[51][52] In 2013, she became the first overseas endorser for Alcon Taiwan.[53][54] Since 2009, Yoona has been a long-term spokesperson for Amor Pacific's comestic brand Innisfree.[55] Other major endorsements included Crocs and Lee Jeans.[56][57] In 2016, Yoona was listed by Forbes magazine as one of Asia's "30 under 30" most influential celebrities in the entertainment and sports.[58]


In January 2015, she became a member of South Korea’s Honor Society as a recognition for her charitable donations.[14][59][60][61][62] In August of the same year, Yoona was among a group invited to lunch at Blue House by the then South Korean president Park Geun-hye to honor those who have contributed charitable and voluntary work to the society.[63]

In July 2018, she was once again invited to attend a luncheon held at the Blue House by the First Lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, spouse of Moon Jae-in, the current President of South Korea, due to her major contribution to the Community Chest of Korea. Along with her are the other donors of the Community Chest of Korea.[64][65]

Personal life[edit]

Yoona graduated from Daeyoung High School in 2009.[66] She went on to major in theater studies and 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.[67][68] She was also chosen as an ambassador for the university in 2014 along with Apink's Naeun and actress Park Ha-sun.[69]


Extended plays[edit]

Year Album Title Details Track listing
2016 Blossom [70]
  1. "Red Bean"
  2. "A Little Happiness"
  3. "The Moon Represents My Heart"


Title Year Peak chart

As lead artist
"Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway"
(덕수궁 돌담길의 봄)[73]
(featuring 10cm)
2016 24 7 SM Station Season 1
"When The Wind Blows"
(바람이 불면) (如果妳也想起我)
2017 N/A SM Station Season 2
"To You"
(with Lee Sang-soon)[75]
2018 N/A Non-album singles
Promotional singles
"Haptic Motion"[76]
(with Jessica, Tiffany, and TVXQ)
2008 N/A Non-album singles
"Innisfree Day"[77] 2010
Soundtrack appearances
"Amazing Grace" 2016 N/A The K2 OST
"—" denotes releases that did not chart



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2012 I AM. Herself Biographical film of SM Town [78]
2015 SMTown The Stage Documentary film of SM Town [79]
2017 Confidential Assignment Park Min-young [80]
2019 EXIT Eui-joo [44]

Television series[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes
2007 Two Outs in the Ninth Inning MBC Shin Joo-young
2008 Unstoppable Marriage KBS2 Bulgwang-dong's Seven Princesses Gang Cameo (EP 64)
Woman of Matchless Beauty, Park Jung-geum MBC Mi-ae Cameo (EP 19, 20, 23)
You Are My Destiny KBS1 Jang Sae-byuk
2009 Cinderella Man MBC Seo Yoo-jin
2012 Love Rain KBS2 Kim Yoon-hee / Jung Ha-na
2013 Prime Minister & I Nam Da-jung
2015 Because It's The First Time OnStyle Im Yoon-ah (Yoon Tae-oh's senior) Cameo (EP 1) [81]
2016 God of War, Zhao Yun Hunan Television Xiahou Qingyi / Ma Yurou Chinese drama
The K2 tvN Go An-na
2017 The King in Love MBC Eun San / So-hwa

Web series[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes
2015 Innisfree Summer Love Youtube Innisfree Channel, Insight TV Im Yoon-ah

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Role Ref.
2010 Family Outing 2 SBS Regular cast [82]
2018 Hyori's Homestay (Season 2) JTBC [83]


Year Title Network Notes Ref.
2009 KBS Entertainment Awards
With Lee Kyung-kyu & Lee Ji-ae
2010 World Cup Festival
With Kim Yong-man & Yoon Hyun-jin
Sharing Love Concert
With Jung Yong-hwa & Jo Kwon
2011 KBS Entertainment Awards
With Shin Dong-yup & Lee Ji-ae
SBS Gayo Daejeon
With Lee Seung-gi & Song Ji-hyo
2012 KBS Song Festival
With Sung Si-kyung & Jung Yong-hwa [84]
2013 KBS Drama Awards With Lee Mi-sook, Shin Hyun-joon & Joo Sang-wook
Korea-China Friendship Concert
With Ok Taec-yeon & Cho Kyuhyun (at Beijing, China)
2014 KBS Song Festival
With Lee Hwi-jae & Ok Taec-yeon [85]
2015 DMZ Peace Concert
With Kim Sung-joo
MBC Gayo Daejejeon
2016 Women in Film Awards
at ARTNINE in Seoul
MBC Gayo Daejejeon
With Kim Sung-joo
2017 22nd Busan International Film Festival
With Jang Dong-gun
2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics G-100 K-POP Concert
With Bae Sung-jae
MBC Gayo Daejejeon
With Suho and Cha Eunwoo

Fan meetings[edit]

Im Yoon-ah at fansigning event on August 13, 2017
Date Location Title Venue Ref.
July 26, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand
Prime Minister & I
"Yoona & I"
Siam Pavalai Royal Grand Hotel [86]
June 25, 2016
Beijing, China
1st Fanmeet in China
Beijing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium [87]
July 2, 2016
Guangzhou, China Guangzhou Gymnasium Hall 2
July 24, 2016
Chongqing, China Chongqing People's Auditorium
July 30, 2016
Shanghai, China International Gymnastic Center
January 13, 2017
Taipei, Taiwan
The K2
National Taiwan University Sports Center [88]
April 23, 2017
Tokyo, Japan Saitama Omiya Sonic City [89]
May 20, 2018
Seoul, South Korea
So Wonderful Day #Story_1
Sejong University Daeyang Hall [90]
July 7, 2018
Bangkok, Thailand Thunder Dome
July 13, 2018
Tokyo, Japan Nakano Sun Plaza Hall [91]
July 15, 2018
Osaka, Japan NHK Osaka Hall
August 4, 2018
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Asia World Expo Hall 11
September 28, 2018
Singapore, Singapore Zepp@BigBox

Awards and nominations[edit]


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