Kim Nam-joo (actress)

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Kim Nam-joo
Kim Nam-joo (South Korean actress, born 1971).jpg
Kim in 2009
Born (1971-05-10) May 10, 1971 (age 48)
Pyeongtaek, South Korea
EducationSuwon Women's College - Dance
Kyung Hee University - Theater and Film
Years active1994-present
AgentThe Queen
Kim Seung-woo (m. 2005)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Nam-ju
McCune–ReischauerKim Namju

Kim Nam-joo (born May 10, 1971) is a South Korean actress. Kim rose to stardom in the 1990s in television series such as Model, The Boss and Her House. After 2001, Kim went into semi-retirement, only appearing in commercials, particularly after she married actor Kim Seung-woo in 2005 and they started a family. Then in 2009, she made her comeback with Queen of Housewives, written by Park Ji-eun. Housewives was a ratings hit, and Kim went on to collaborate with Park on Queen of Reversals (2010) and top-rated series My Husband Got a Family, which established Kim's continuing star status. In 2018, Kim received critical acclaim for her role in the series Misty.

Early life[edit]

Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea. When she was two years old, her father's business failed, which resulted in the family moving to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where Kim spent her childhood and adolescence. After graduating from high school, she enrolled as a Dance major at Suwon Women's College. When she was a sophomore, Kim joined the Miss Korea pageant, and the experience led her to quit school to pursue modeling in September 1992.


Kim won fourth place in a talent search by broadcaster SBS in 1994, and quickly became a popular television star in her twenties. Her characters in the hit TV series City Men and Women (1996), Model (1997), The Boss (1999) and Her House (2001), made her the epitome of a sophisticated, urban career woman in 1990s Korea.[1] But after Her House, Kim went into semi-retirement, only appearing in lucrative commercials, mostly for cosmetics and luxury goods.[2][3] She married actor Kim Seung-woo in 2005,[4] and for several years she lived as a full-time housewife and mother.

In 2007, she stretched some acting muscle opposite Sol Kyung-gu in Voice of a Murderer, about the tormenting and ultimately unsuccessful attempts of two parents to bring their kidnapped son back home. Based on the true story of a nine-year-old child found dead in 1991, the film faithfully follows the harrowing 44-day quest to find the missing boy.[5][6]

Kim made a successful television comeback in Queen of Housewives (also known as My Wife is a Superwoman) in 2009. A comedy drama that depicts the life of housewives who devote their entire lives to their husbands' success, it became one of the most-watched shows during its run, topping Korea's TV ratings charts for three consecutive weeks.[1] It also created new trends among married women in terms of confidence, fashion and makeup. Kim's character Chun Ji-ae was once the most popular girl in high school, and she's determined to help her smart but clueless husband climb the corporate ladder once she realizes that he is an underperformer at work. Chun meets her match, however, when she discovers that his boss is the husband of her high school frenemy.[7] Her portrayal of a modern Korean housewife won Kim numerous accolades.[8][9][10][11][12]

Kim reunited with Queen of Housewives writer Park Ji-eun in another workplace romantic dramedy, 2010's Queen of Reversals. This time Kim played a strong and decisive career woman trying to balance work and married life. Her character Hwang Tae-hee experiences the many ups, downs, and reversals of work, family, and romance as she falls in and out of love and marriage.[13][14] Ratings-wise Queen of Reversals was less successful than its predecessor, though Kim was awarded the highest award (Daesang or "Grand Prize") at MBC's year-end drama awards ceremony.[15]

She also released her book that year, called Kim Nam-joo's House. The collection of essays and photographs is a candid discussion of her family life and home.[16]

Kim then led the 2012 weekend family drama My Husband Got a Family (also known as You Who Rolled in Unexpectedly and Unexpected You), which took a comedic and serious approach to the trials and tribulations of a TV director dealing with her in-laws when her husband reunites with his biological parents.[17][18] Kim and Park's third collaboration was a big hit with audiences, it was number one on the 2012 yearly TV ratings chart with average ratings of 33.1 percent and a ratings peak of 52.3 percent,[19] and Kim won another Daesang at the KBS Drama Awards.[20]

Kim returned to television after a six-year hiatus, starring in the romance thriller, Misty.[21][22] The drama was both a ratings and critical success and Kim earned praise for her portrayal of a controversial character.[23][24]

The popularity of TV dramas that portray the lives of working women in their 30s and 40s represents a larger trend in Korean culture, mainly a reflection of women marrying at a later age and working more in their 20s. Kim is now considered one of the few established Korean actresses in their 30s, 40s and even 50s who have held on to the spotlight, reversing an ageist trend that dictated casting for decades.[25]


Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1993 Dinosaur Teacher SBS
1994 Hero's Diary Ma Cheong-mi SBS
1995 Mystery of Inside the Mirror Na Eun-ah SBS
Hymn of Love Kim Jae-kyung SBS
1996 City Men and Women Na Min-joo SBS
Man's Great Exploration Oh Jin-joo SBS
1997 Model Song Kyung-rin SBS
1998 Fascinate My Heart Han Ye-rin SBS
A Very Special Trip Soo-jung SBS
Victory Seo Hee-jung SBS
1999 My Love Han Ji-soon Han Ji-soon SBS
The Boss Min-jae MBC
Crystal Kim Eun-hye SBS
2001 Her House Kim Young-wook MBC
2009 Queen of Housewives Chun Ji-ae MBC
2010 Queen of Reversals Hwang Tae-hee MBC
2012 My Husband Got a Family Cha Yoon-hee KBS2
2018 Misty Go Hye-ran JTBC


Year Title Role
2001 I Love You Hyun-soo
2007 Voice of Murderer Oh Ji-sun

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
1996 Popular Music Best 50 MBC MC
1997 SBS Gayo Daejeon SBS
1998 Beautiful TV - Star Monologues
with Park Sang-won
2000-2001 Entertainment Weekly KBS MC
2009 Oh My Lifestyle O'live TV
2010 Miracle of Christmas MBC Documentary narration


Year Title Publisher ISBN
2010 Kim Nam-joo's House That Book ISBN 9788994040110

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1992 Miss Match Jeans N/A N/A Won
1996 4th SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress City Men and Women Won
1998 6th SBS Drama Awards Popularity Award Model Won
2001 20th MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Her House Won
2009 17th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards[26] Queen of Housewives Won
28th MBC Drama Awards[27] Won
2nd Style Icon Awards[28] Style Icon, TV Star category Won
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism[29] Actress of the Year Won
2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards[30] Best Actress (TV) Won
CETV Awards[31][32] Grand Prize Won
Top 10 Asian Stars Won
29th MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Queen of Reversals Nominated
Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
2012 5th Korea Drama Awards[33] My Husband Got a Family Won
20th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards[34] Won
26th KBS Drama Awards Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama Nominated
Best Couple Award with Yoo Jun-sang Won
1st K-Drama Star Awards[35] Top Excellence Award, Actress Won
25th Grimae Awards[36] Best Actress Won
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
2018 54th Baeksang Arts Awards[37] Misty Won
6th APAN Star Awards[38] Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
2nd The Seoul Awards[39] Best Actress (Drama) Won
24th Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards[40] Presidential Commendation N/A Won
2019 23rd Asian Television Awards[41] Best Actress in a Leading Role Misty Won


  1. ^ a b "Kim Nam-joo Still in Shape After 8-Year Hiatus". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  2. ^ "Pricey Spokespersons, Pricey Homes?". The Dong-a Ilbo. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  3. ^ Kim, Hoo-ran (10 September 2010). "A Pop Culture Wave Rolls On". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  4. ^ "Kim Seung-woo, Kim Nam-ju to Tie the Knot in May". KBS Global. 25 April 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  5. ^ Jeong, Hae-gun (8 January 2007). "Stars of His Voice found roles with meaning". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  6. ^ "Being Mom". The Dong-a Ilbo. 18 January 2007. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  7. ^ Han, Sang-hee (10 March 2009). "New Types of Husbands to Sneak Onto TV Screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  8. ^ Kim, Lynn (23 December 2009). "Government names Kim Nam-joo top actor of 2009". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  9. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (31 December 2009). "Ko Hyun-jung Wins Top Drama Award". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  10. ^ Han, Sang-hee (3 January 2010). "2009 Drama Awards Wrap Up With No Surprises". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  11. ^ "Kim Nam-joo Wins Top Acting Award in China". The Chosun Ilbo. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  12. ^ Kim, Jessica (21 June 2010). "Kim Nam-joo wins grand prize at award ceremony in China". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  13. ^ Han, Sang-hee (12 October 2010). "Superwoman returns to voice working mom woes". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  14. ^ Lee, Seung-han (21 October 2010). "PREVIEW: MBC TV series Queen of Reversal". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  15. ^ Hong, Lucia (31 December 2010). "Kim Nam-joo, Han Hyo-joo win grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  16. ^ "김남주, '김남주의 집' 발간…그림같은 저택 공개" [Kim Nam-joo writes about her marriage and home]. Hankyung. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  17. ^ Hong, Lucia (3 January 2012). "Kim Nam-joo tapped as leading lady in new KBS TV series". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  18. ^ Oh, Jean (22 February 2012). "Kim Nam-joo's new work promises to resonate with modern-day women". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  19. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (18 December 2012). "KBS Drama My Husband Wears Throne on 2012 TV Chart". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  20. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (1 January 2013). "Big Winners of 2012 Announced at Drama Awards Ceremonies of Major Broadcasters". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-01-01.
  21. ^ "Romance thriller 'Misty,' enthralling story of success, unpretentious love". Yonhap News Agency. 31 January 2018.
  22. ^ "'Misty' actress Kim Nam-joo explains how she shaped character". Kpop Herald. March 2, 2018.
  23. ^ "Kim Nam Joo's Successful Return with 'Misty'". Star News. 4 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Ratings Queen Kim Nam-joo strikes again with 'Misty'". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 April 2018.
  25. ^ Kim, Hyo-eun (18 April 2012). "In with the old, out with the new". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  26. ^ "소녀시대·송승헌·설경구 문화연예대상 대상". Star News (in Korean). 30 November 2009.
  27. ^ Park, So-yeon (31 December 2009). "Ko Hyun-joung wins grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  28. ^ "Style Icon Awards shines 2009 with edginess". 10Asia. 13 November 2009.
  29. ^ "Government names Kim Nam-joo top actor of 2009". 10Asia. 23 November 2009.
  30. ^ Kim, Lynn (29 March 2010). "Ko Hyun-jung, Haeundae win grand prize at PaekSang Arts Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  31. ^ "Kim Nam-joo voted top ten Asian actors in China". 10Asia. 17 June 2010.
  32. ^ "Kim Nam-joo wins grand prize at award ceremony in China". 10Asia. 21 June 2010.
  33. ^ ""My Husband Got a Family" Dominates At Korea Drama Awards". Hancinema. KBS World. 4 October 2012.
  34. ^ "The 20th Korea Culture Entertainment Grand Prize Winners List". Korea Culture Entertainment Awards (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2013-04-13.
  35. ^ "제1회 '케이 드라마 스타 어워즈' 대상 손현주". Yonhap News Agency (in Korean). 9 December 2012.
  36. ^ "[포토엔]이성민-김남주, 최우수 남녀 연기자상 수상 '2012 그리메상'". Newsen (in Korean). 14 December 2012.
  37. ^ "Baeksang Arts Awards recognize 'Stranger,' '1987'". The Korea Herald. 4 May 2018.
  38. ^ "이병헌·손예진·아이유 APAN스타어워즈 노미네이트". Star News (in Korean). 27 September 2018.
  39. ^ "Seoul Awards honor the year's best". Korea JoongAng Daily. 29 October 2018.
  40. ^ "Actress Kim Nam-joo to Receive Presidential Honor". The Chosun Ilbo. 23 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Kim Nam-joo takes home award". Korea JoongAng Daily. 14 January 2019.

External links[edit]