Kim Min-hee (actress, born 1982)

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Kim Min-hee
150917 Kim Min-hee vip cropped 1.jpg
Kim in 2015
Born (1982-03-01) March 1, 1982 (age 37)
EducationDankook University - B.A. and M.A. in Theater and Film Studies[1]
Years active1999–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Min-hui
McCune–ReischauerKim Minhŭi

Kim Min-hee (born March 1, 1982) is a South Korean actress and model.


Kim Min-hee began modeling when she was in middle school, and soon appeared as a cover girl in teen magazines. In 1999 she was cast in the campus drama School 2 as a rebellious high school girl, which launched her to stardom. She became a popular young star at barely 20 years old, appearing in TV dramas and movies. However, a string of poor acting performances brought her negative criticism. Critics and viewers disparagingly called her an "attractive but blank actress," more famous for being a fashion icon and actor Lee Jung-jae's then-girlfriend.[2]

In 2006, after reading the synopsis of TV series Goodbye Solo, Kim knew that she wanted the role of Mi-ri more than anything, saying "I was ready to do anything to play her." She begged renowned screenwriter Noh Hee-kyung to cast her, and though Noh turned her down five times, Kim would not give up, and her determination eventually convinced Noh to see her hidden potential. Vowing to start over from the bottom, Kim went through strict acting training which included basic vocal and respiratory exercises; she got a hold of the script before anyone else, and continued to analyze the role and practice every day. Kim said that until Goodbye Solo, she hadn't been sure what to do with the rest of her life, but the drama made her feel that acting was her true calling, like she'd "finally opened up the first page of the textbook." She received good reviews for her performance, and despite the drama's low ratings, the role transformed her career.[2]

Her succeeding movie roles helped solidify her career reinvention, beginning with 2008's Hellcats (also known by its Korean title I Like It Hot or Some Like It Hot), a light-hearted comedy that explored the lives and loves of three women at different stages of womanhood. Kim played an aspiring screenwriter in her twenties who's agonizing over her insecure career and shaky romance with a deadbeat musician boyfriend. Reviews praised her "compelling performance,"[3][4] and she later won Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards and the Busan Film Critics Awards.[5]

Kim then joined the all-star cast of Actresses (2009), a semi-improvisational mockumentary directed by E J-yong (whom she had previously worked with in Asako in Ruby Shoes). Set during a Vogue Korea photo shoot, Kim gets upset in the film over a remark by a staffer that men don't find skinny women like her attractive, as compared to her more voluptuous costar Kim Ok-bin.[6][7][8] A supporting turn as a reporter in conspiracy film Moby Dick followed in 2011.[9][10]

Kim further stretched the limits of her acting range in psychological thriller Helpless (2012), adapted from Miyabe Miyuki's novel All She Was Worth (in Japanese, "one-way train/fire chariot to hell"). She said she had absolute trust in director Byun Young-joo and never even checked the monitors,[11] and Byun was likewise complimentary, saying, "I ended up adding more scenes for her to act because she was just exceptional. She knew what she was doing, and knew she was able to pull it off. She was rarely nervous throughout the production. She's got no fear and is always confident."[12] Kim said the role gave her a chance to show what she was capable of as an actress, adding, "I feel differently about acting now. I often feel a tremendous sense of achievement and really enjoy doing this job."[13][14][15][16][17] Displaying a striking screen presence as a mysterious girl who disappears without a trace while her bewildered fiancé discovers a trail of falsified information, Kim received several acting nominations and won Best Actress at the Buil Film Awards.[18]

After her contract with Lee Byung-hun's agency BH Entertainment ended in late 2012, Kim signed with Management Soop, which also handles the career of her friend Gong Hyo-jin.[19]

In 2013, Kim again earned raves for her performance in Very Ordinary Couple. Unlike the typical romantic comedy, the relationship drama told a more realistic story of an on-and-off couple of three years.[20][21] During her acceptance speech as Best Actress at the 2013 Baeksang Arts Awards, Kim thanked her costar Lee Min-ki and director Roh Deok, who "helped shape (her) character Young on the screen."[22][23] Action-noir No Tears for the Dead followed in 2014, in which she played a grieving woman who becomes a hitman's target.

Kim next starred in Hong Sang-soo's critically acclaimed film Right Now, Wrong Then (2015), which won her Best Actress at the Busan Film Critics Awards.[24] Kim shot to international stardom for her performance in the award-winning film The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook's 2016 film adaptation of Fingersmith set in 1930s Korea.[25][26] Park called her "the most coveted a-list actress at the moment."[27]

In 2017, Kim became the first Korean actress to win the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival for her performance in the film On the Beach at Night Alone.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Hong Sang-soo and Kim Min-hee admitted to their affair at a press conference.

In June 2016, Kim was reported to be having an affair with Hong Sang-soo, the director of the film Right Now, Wrong Then, in which she starred as the lead actress in 2015.[29] At the Seoul premiere of On the Beach at Night Alone in March 2017, Kim and Hong openly admitted their affair.[30]



Year Title Role
2000 Asako in Ruby Shoes Mia
2002 Surprise Party Hwang Mi-ryung
2008 Hellcats Ami
2009 Actresses Kim Min-hee
2011 Moby Dick Sung Hyo-kwan
2012 Helpless Kang Sun-young
2013 Behind the Camera
Very Ordinary Couple Jang Young
2014 No Tears for the Dead Mo-kyung
2015 Right Now, Wrong Then Yoon Hee-jung
2016 The Handmaiden Lady Hideko
2017 On the Beach at Night Alone Young-hee
Claire's Camera Jeon Man-hee
The Day After Song Ah-reum
2018 Grass A-reum
2019 Hotel by the River A-reum
2020 The Woman Who Ran[31] Gam-hee

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1999 School 2 Shin Hye-won KBS1
2000 Look Back in Anger Lee Hye-jung KBS2
2000 Juliet's Man Bol Yeo-woo SBS
2002 Age of Innocence Ji-yoon
2004 My 19 Year Old Sister-in-Law Choi Soo-ji
2006 Goodbye Solo Choi Mi-ri KBS2
2008 Matchmaker's Lover Lee Kang-hyun

Variety show[edit]


Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1999 KBS Drama Awards Best Young Actress School Won
2000 SBS Drama Awards Best New Actress Juliet's Man Won
2002 Netizen Popularity Award Age of Innocence Won
2006 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Goodbye Solo Nominated
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards[5] Best Actress Hellcats Won
7th Korean Film Awards Nominated
9th Busan Film Critics Awards Won
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Helpless Nominated
21st Buil Film Awards[18] Won
33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Nominated
2013 4th KOFRA Film Awards Nominated
49th Baeksang Arts Awards[22] Very Ordinary Couple Won
22nd Buil Film Awards Nominated
14th Women in Film Korea Awards Won
34th Blue Dragon Film Awards[32] Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
2016 3rd Wildflower Film Awards Best Actress Right Now, Wrong Then Nominated
16th Busan Film Critics Awards[24] Won
21st Chunsa Film Art Awards Nominated
25th Buil Film Awards The Handmaiden Nominated
37th Blue Dragon Film Awards[33] Won
16th Director's Cut Awards[34] Won
Austin Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Cine 21 Awards Best Actress Won
2017 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Nominated
22nd Chunsa Film Art Awards Nominated
International Cinephile Society Awards[35] The Day After Won
67th Berlin International Film Festival[36] Best Actress On the Beach at Night Alone Won
55th Gijón International Film Festival[37] Best Actress Won
26th Buil Film Awards Nominated
2018 23rd Chunsa Film Art Awards Nominated
International Cinephile Society Awards Runner-up
12th Asian Film Awards Best Actress The Day After Nominated
2019 6th Wildflower Film Awards Best Actress Grass Nominated


  1. ^ "김민희" Archived 2012-02-25 at the Wayback Machine. Epg (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  2. ^ a b Shin, Hae-in (16 March 2006). "Actress Kim Min-hee enjoys limelight again". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  3. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (27 January 2008). "Hellcats Is Charmingly Off-Tune". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  4. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (8 January 2008). "Hellcats rejects men, holds girl-only party". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  5. ^ a b "The 44th PaekSang Arts Awards Sparkles with Stars". KBS World. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
  6. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (17 November 2009). "Actresses to Present Off-Screen Personas Onscreen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  7. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (23 November 2009). "Actresses is a miracle achieved, says Koh (Part 1)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  8. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (23 November 2009). "Actresses is a miracle achieved, says Koh (Part 2)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  9. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (2 June 2011). "Conspiracy flick is painstakingly real". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  10. ^ Hong, Lucia (24 May 2011). "Kim Min-hee cast as female lead in new thriller". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  11. ^ Lee, In-kyung (29 January 2012). "Kim Min Hee Brings the Mystery for Train". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-11-18.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Lee, Claire (8 March 2012). "Director explores financial, social horrors". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  13. ^ "Kim Min-hee Anything But Helpless in New Movie Role". The Chosun Ilbo. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  14. ^ Lee, Nancy (16 February 2012). "Kim Min Hee Thinks Happiness is Close By". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-11-18.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (10 March 2012). "Interview: Kim Min Hee was Always Confident about Her Acting". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-11-18.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (13 March 2012). "Kim Min Hee Opens Up About Love and Future". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-11-18.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Son, Hye-young (11 February 2013). "Kim Min Hee, The Cherry Blossom Girl". 1st Look Magazine via enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  18. ^ a b Hong, Jeong-won (5 October 2012). "최민식-김민희, 부일영화상 남녀주연상 수상 (BIFF)" [Choi Min-sik-Kim Min-hee, Best Actor and Actress at Buil Film Awards (BIFF)]. Newsen (in Korean).
  19. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (14 August 2012). "Kim Min-hee signs exclusive contract with Gong Yoo's agency". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  20. ^ An, So-hyoun (3 March 2013). "Kim Min Hee Says She's Honest in Love Relationships". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-03-04.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Han, Jae-hee (4 April 2013). "Kim stretches her acting chops". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  22. ^ a b Lee, Claire (10 May 2013). "Ryu Seung-ryong wins top prize at Paeksang". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
  23. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (10 May 2013). "On the Scene: 2013 Paeksang Arts Awards: He Said, She Said". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
  24. ^ a b "YOO Hae-jin and KIM Min-hee Take Acting Honors". Korean Film Council. 16 December 2015.
  25. ^ Kim, June (10 December 2014). "KIM Min-hee and KIM Tae-ri Confirmed for FINGERSMITH". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-12-12.
  26. ^ "Actress wearing 'invisible' scarlet letter". The Korea Times. 23 February 2017.
  27. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (3 May 2016). "The Handmaiden generates a buzz". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  28. ^ "Kim Min-hee wins best actress award in Berlin film festival". The Korea Times. 19 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Actress wearing 'invisible' scarlet letter". The Korea Times. 23 February 2017.
  30. ^ "Hong Sang-soo Speaks About Romance with Star". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Hong Sangsoo and KIM Min-Hee Return to Berlin Competition with THE WOMAN WHO RAN". Korean Film Biz Zone. January 31, 2020.
  32. ^ "HOPE Scores Best Film at 34th Blue Dragon Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. 25 November 2013.
  33. ^ "INSIDE MEN Deemed Best Film at 37th Blue Dragon Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  34. ^ "NA Hong-jin Nabs Best Director from Director's Cut Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  35. ^ "ICS Cannes Awards 2017 are revealed". 28 May 2017.
  36. ^ "Prizes of the International Jury". Berlinale. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  37. ^ "Kim Min-hee wins best actress at Gijon Int'l Film Fest". The Korea Herald. 27 November 2017.

External links[edit]