Kim Hyun-joo

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Kim Hyun-joo
Born (1977-04-24) April 24, 1977 (age 42)
EducationDankook University – Theater and Film
Years active1996–present
AgentYNK Entertainment[1]
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Hyeon-ju
McCune–ReischauerKim Hyŏnju

Kim Hyun-joo (born April 24, 1977)[2] is a South Korean actress. She is best known for starring in the television dramas Glass Slippers (2002), Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest (2004), The Land (2004), Twinkle Twinkle (2011), What's With This Family (2014), I Have a Lover (2015) and Fantastic (2016).


Kim Hyun-joo began modeling in teen magazines when she was in third year high school. In 1996, she made her entertainment debut when she starred in the music video for Kim Hyun-chul's "One's Lifetime."[3] Kim launched her acting career in 1997 in the television drama The Reason I Live (1997). Despite being a newcomer, she was cast in the leading role in the film If It Snows on Christmas (1998) with Park Yong-ha, followed by Calla (1999) with Song Seung-heon.

After doing a few sitcoms, Kim built her resume further by playing supporting roles on television. In 1999, she appeared in the Jang Dong-gun starrer Springtime (also known as Youth), which received low ratings. But the popular Into the Sunlight later that year boosted Kim's career, along with costars Cha Tae-hyun, Jang Hyuk and Kim Ha-neul. In early 2000, she appeared in episode 7 of Song Ji-na's omnibus drama Love Story, titled "Insomnia, Manual and Orange Juice." Kim then landed her first TV leading role in Virtue (Deok-yi), followed by more supporting roles in 2001 with Her House (headlined by Kim Nam-joo) and the historical drama Sangdo (based on Choi In-ho's novel about Joseon merchant Im Sang-ok).

Kim achieved mainstream stardom in 2002, with her Cinderella-esque leading role in Glass Slippers, about two sisters who were separated as children and unknowingly encounter each other as adults. Also starring Kim Ji-ho, Han Jae-suk and So Ji-sub, the drama was a hit with ratings of over 30%, and Kim received acting and popularity awards at the SBS Drama Awards.[4] Glass Slippers was also successful in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam and with Kim's new pan-Asian popularity, she starred opposite Taiwanese actor/singer Vanness Wu in the martial arts movie Star Runner (2003).

For Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest (also known as Miss Kim's One Billion Won Project and Miss Kim's Adventures in Making a Million), she and Ji Jin-hee displayed their comedic chops as a girl left at the altar and a bankrupt playboy, respectively, who join forces in a moneymaking scheme. Kim's next role was as Lee Sung-jae's love interest in the body swapping comedy film Shinsukki Blues.

From late 2004 to 2005, Kim played the heroine Choi Seo-hee in a television adaptation of Park Kyung-ni's celebrated novel Toji ("The Land"), which portrayed the lives and loves of peasants and the nobility ("yangban") in Korea at the turn of the 20th century, spanning from Japan's colonial rule to the division of the peninsula.[5] The big-budget production was a hit, and Kim received a Best TV Actress nomination at the 2006 Baeksang Arts Awards.

Inspired by the American TV show Joe Millionaire, Marrying a Millionaire (2005) was about an average guy (Go Soo) pretending to be rich as the concept for a dating reality show, who then genuinely falls for one of the contestants (Kim), the only girl who knows the truth. After Marrying a Millionaire, Kim went on a two-year hiatus. She later said she took a break because she hated being typecast in roles with a gentle and innocent image. But as time passed, she said she regretted her decision and should've worked harder instead to overcome her career slump.

Kim returned to television in 2007 with In-soon Is Pretty, playing the titular character who went to prison for unintentionally killing someone in high school, and after serving her time, must face prejudice as an ex-con while rebuilding her life.[6] Despite the drama's low ratings, Kim was praised for her acting and received a Top Excellence Award at the KBS Drama Awards.[7]

In 2009, she was cast in a small supporting role (or extended cameo) as the hero's tough-but-stylish older sister in the highly popular Boys Over Flowers, adapted from the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango.[8] Then in the legal drama Partner, Kim played a widow-turned-lawyer whose passionate idealism clashes with her colleague's (Lee Dong-wook) cool cynicism.[9][10]

Kim then spent ten days in Vancouver, Whistler, and Victoria to film the documentary ECO Canada by Kim Hyun-joo, which aired on MBC Life. Also featured as a photo spread in Sure magazine, the shoot promoted environmental awareness by emphasizing Canada's natural backdrops, and showing Kim's green practices such as using fabric bags instead of plastic and unplugging unused electrical appliances.

Her book Hyun-joo's Handcrafted Story was published on December 23, 2009, featuring personal essays and photos about her needlework and knitting.[4][11]

2010 was a difficult year for Kim, with the deaths of three of her loved ones in close succession: her friend, actor Park Yong-ha committed suicide on June 30,[12] the production company executive who'd cast her in The Land committed suicide on July 1 because of financial difficulties, and her father Kim Tae-beom died on July 7 after a long illness. She spent the rest of the year traveling to Bangladesh and the Philippines for her volunteer work as the goodwill ambassador for Good Neighbors, a humanitarian NGO. She donated the condolence money collected for her father's funeral and a portion of her book sales to Good Neighbors, which was used to build libraries in 11 orphanages in slum areas of Dhaka. Kim said, "I literally fled to Bangladesh after a series of personal tragedies, but I was consoled by the smiles of children who are living in these dire conditions. The act of sharing has given me strength to live." She currently works as an instructor for several classes organized by Good Neighbors, teaching Korean elementary schoolchildren about poverty around the world.[13]

Kim resumed her acting activities in 2011, playing the daughter from a wealthy publishing company whose life is turned upside down when she learns that she was switched at birth with another baby in Twinkle Twinkle.[3] Her performance garnered a Top Excellence Award from the MBC Drama Awards.[14] She also starred in Kim Dae-seung's short film Q&A, which was included in If You Were Me 5, an omnibus film commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.[15] Then in Dummy Mommy (2012), she played a fashion magazine editor with genius-level IQ who feels embarrassed by her developmentally disabled mother (Ha Hee-ra).[16]

In a departure from her usual characters, Kim played one of the legendary femme fatales of the Joseon Dynasty, Lady Jo (or Jo Gwi-in), in the period drama Blooded Palace: The War of Flowers (2013). She said she was "more than delighted to have been given the opportunity to try something new," adding that, "This role will be a new life story for my acting career. I personally think it will be more interesting for an actress with an innocent image like myself to take up this wicked role." Critics praised Kim's versatility, as Lady Jo transforms from a naive young girl into an ambitious royal concubine who uses her beauty and wiles on King Injo in her thirst for power.[17]

In early 2014, Kim began hosting Musical Journey to Yesterday, a music program in which a mix of current idol singers and industry veterans perform live hit songs from the 1970s to 1990s.[18] Later that year, she starred in the weekend drama What Happens to My Family?, which had over 40% ratings.[19] Her performance garnered the Top Excellence award at the KBS Drama Awards.[20]

In 2015, she played dual roles in the melodrama, I Have a Lover.[21] She won the Top Excellence Top Excellence Award from the APAN Star Awards and SBS Drama Awards.[22][23] Kim then starred in Fantastic, playing a drama screenwriter suffering from a terminal illness.[24] In 2018, she starred in the fantasy melodrama Miracle That We Met.[25]


Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1997 The Reason I Love MBC
One of a Pair
Ready Go! Na Min-jung
1998 Three Guys and Three Girls
I Love You! I Love You! Lee Joo-hee
I Don't Know Anything But Love
MBC Best Theater "Jeondeungsa"
1999 Springtime Won-young
Into the Sunlight Lee Yun-hee
2000 Love Story "Insomnia, Manual and Orange Juice" Seo-young SBS
Virtue Jung Kwi-duk
Medical Center guest appearance, ep 29
2001 Her House Park Young-chae MBC
Sangdo Park Da-nyung
2002 Glass Slippers Kim Yoon-hee/Lee Sun-woo SBS
2004 Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest Kim Eun-jae
The Land Choi Seo-hee
2005 Marrying a Millionaire Han Eun-young
2007 In-soon Is Pretty Park In-soon KBS2
2009 Boys Over Flowers Gu Jun-hee
Partner Kang Eun-ho
2011 Twinkle Twinkle Han/Hwang Jung-won MBC
2012 Dummy Mommy Kim Young-joo SBS
2013 Blooded Palace: The War of Flowers Yamjeon/Lady Jo jTBC
2014 Can We Fall in Love, Again? cameo, ep 13–14
What's With This Family Cha Kang-shim KBS2
2015 I Have a Lover Do Hae-kang/Dokgo Yong-gi SBS
2016 Fantastic Lee So Hye jTBC
2018 Miracle That We Met Sun Hye-jin KBS2
2019 Watcher Han Tae-joo OCN[26]


Year Title Role Notes
1998 If It Snows on Christmas
1999 Calla
2003 Star Runner
2004 Shinsukki Blues
2008 Talk (short film)
2011 Q&A (short film)

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Title Artist
1996 "One's Lifetime" Kim Hyun-chul
"Entreaty" Lee Seung-hwan
"One's Lifetime" Kim Hyun-chul
1998 "Now" Yuno
1999 "To the Bride" Yurisangja
2001 "Already One Year" Brown Eyes
2002 "Little By Little" Brown Eyes
2004 "Parting Was Far Away" Han Kyung-il

Variety/Radio show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
1997 Scoop! Entertainment City MBC VJ
Popular Song Best 50
Saturday Power Start KBS MC
Gwangjang Music with Gung Sun-young KBS 2FM Panelist in "I Don't Know Anything But Love" segment
1998 Super TV Enjoy Sunday KBS MC
1999 Sunday Sunday Night MBC
FM Dating with Kim Hyun-joo MBC FM DJ
2000 Mnet KM Music Festival Mnet MC
And e-Wonderful World MBC
2001 Section TV Entertainment
2009 Music Village with Kim Hyun-joo MBC FM DJ
ECO Canada by Kim Hyun-joo MBC
2013 Road for Hope episode 3 KBS Volunteer
2014 Musical Journey to Yesterday MBC MC
2015 Lady Action KBS2 Cast member[27]


  • Hyun-joo's Handcrafted Story (2009)


  • Kim Hyun-joo – "Promise" (track from Partner OST, 2009)
  • Kim Hyun-joo feat. PK Heman – "Forgetfulness" (single, 2012)


Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1998 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actress I Love You! I Love You! Won
2000 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Virtue Won
Best Actress Love Story: Insomnia, Manual and Orange Juice Won
2001 MBC Drama Awards Her House Won
2002 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama Glass Slippers Won
Top 10 Stars Award Won
SBSi Award Won
2004 Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Miss Kim's Million Dollar Quest Won
Top 10 Stars Award Won
2005 Netizen Popularity Award The Land Won
Top 10 Stars Award Won
2006 42nd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
2007 2007 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress In-soon Is Pretty Won
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
2011 2011 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Twinkle Twinkle Won
Popularity Award, Actress Nominated
Best Couple Award with Kim Suk-hoon Nominated
4th Korea Drama Awards Best Actress Nominated
48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
2012 5th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Dummy Mommy Nominated
2013 2nd APAN Star Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Blooded Palace: The War of Flowers Nominated
2014 2014 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress What's With This Family Won
Best Couple Award with Kim Sang Kyung Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Nominated
3rd APAN Star Awards Nominated
2015 4th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama I Have a Lover Won
SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Won
Netizen Popularity Award Won
Top 10 Stars Award Won
Best Couple Award with Ji Jin-hee Won
2016 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
9th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
2018 KBS Drama Awards The Miracle We Met Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Nominated


  1. ^ "김현주, YNK 이적 확정..임수정·신혜선 한식구 됐다". Star News (in Korean). 21 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  2. ^ 룸메이트 김현주, 실제 1977년생인데 78년생으로 활동…나이는?. Zum News (in Korean). 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Kang, Seung-hun (24 December 2010). "Actress Kim Hyun-joo cast in new MBC drama". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  4. ^ a b "All That Star: Bubbly Actress Kim Hyun-joo who makes those around her happy with her pleasant smile is back as a writer". Arirang News. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  5. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (5 May 2008). "Park Kyung-ni's Works Translated Onscreen". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2013-08-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Chun, Su-jin. "TV review: Could have been called Sujiney is Pretty". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  7. ^ "2007 Year-end Korean drama awards round-up". Hancinema. 7 January 2008. Retrieved 2014-09-11.
  8. ^ "Kim Hyun-joo in "Boys over Flowers"". Hancinema. Cyworld. 19 January 2009.
  9. ^ Han, Sang-hee (23 June 2009). "Friends, Lawyers to Hit Small Screen". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2013-08-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Oh, Jean (24 June 2009). "Legal wars and blood brothers hit TV". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  11. ^ (작가와의 만남) 연기와 일상을 꼼꼼히 바느질하는 아름다운 그녀 – 『현주의 손으로 짓는 이야기』 김현주 (in Korean). 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  12. ^ Park, Kun-ouc (2 July 2010). "Singer and actor Park Yong-ha laid to rest". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  13. ^ "Kim Hyun-joo Finds Relief from Personal Grief in Charity". The Chosun Ilbo. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  14. ^ Hong, Lucia (2 January 2012). "The Greatest Love snags 7 honors at 2011 MBC Drama Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  15. ^ "If You Were Me 5 (2010)". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  16. ^ "Kim Hyun-joo cast for new SBS weekend drama "Dummy Mommy"". Hancinema. Nate. 30 January 2012.
  17. ^ Yang, Sung-hee (22 March 2013). "In drama, concubines compete for royal love". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. ^ Lee, Sun-min (9 January 2014). "MBC adds different music program". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  19. ^ "[Interview] The Girl Within: Actress Kim Hyun-joo". Hancinema. Nocutnews. 23 March 2015.
  20. ^ "KBS Drama Awards 2014 Winners". Hancinema. 31 December 2014.
  21. ^ "'This is Family' actress Kim Hyun-joo is back to play duel roles in SBS' new weekend drama 'I Have a Lover'". Hancinema. TV Report. 16 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Kim Soo-hyun wins grand prize at APAN Star Awards". Kpop Herald. 29 November 2015.
  23. ^ "SBS Drama Awards 2015 Winners". Hancinema. 31 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Kim Hyun-joo confirmed for 'Fantastic'". Korea JoongAng Daily. 26 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Kim Myung-min, Kim Hyun-joo, and Ra Mi-ran's "Miracle That We Met"". Hancinema. Newsen. 22 January 2018.
  26. ^ ‘왓쳐’ 한석규-서강준-김현주 출연확정, 막강 라인업 완성(공식입장). Newsen (in Korean). April 8, 2019.
  27. ^ Ghim, Sora (31 March 2015). "Kim Hyun Joo Joins Upcoming Variety Show Lady Action". BNTNews. Retrieved 2015-08-11.

External links[edit]