Soo Ae

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Soo Ae
160804 국가대표2 무비토크 수애.png
Soo Ae in 2016
Born Park Soo-ae
(1979-09-16) September 16, 1979 (age 38)
Busan, South Korea
Other names Su Ae
Education Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies - English
Occupation Actress
Years active 1999–present
Agent Star J Entertainment
Korean name
Revised Romanization Bak Su-ae
McCune–Reischauer Pak Suae

Park Soo-ae (born September 16, 1979), known mononymously as Soo Ae, is a South Korean actress. Soo Ae began her career on television, but after her breakout role in A Family (2004), she became best known as a leading actress in film, notably in Sunny (2008) and Midnight FM (2010). She also appeared in the popular television melodramas Emperor of the Sea (2004), A Thousand Days' Promise (2011), Queen of Ambition (2013) and Mask (2015). In 2016, she made her romantic-comedy drama comeback in KBS2's Sweet Stranger and Me.



Soo Ae nearly became a member of a K-pop idol group. Fresh out of high school, a record agent approached the young stunner on the street in the trendy Apgujeong area. She spent six months in grueling practice, but in the end had no album to put out. She reminisced in an interview, "I didn't sing well, but the six months I spent with the team was so fun. I was lucky to get into acting."[1]


Soo Ae made her small screen debut in 2002 in a one-act drama on MBC, then went on to star in Love Letter, Merry Go Round and April Kiss. She rose to fame after starring in 2004 hit historical drama Emperor of the Sea, which was exported to other Asian countries, South America and the Middle East, introducing Soo Ae to a wider international audience.[2][3]

With her classical beauty and pure, graceful image, Soo Ae gained the moniker "queen of tears" for her well-received takes in melodramas. But she revamped that image in the 2007 romantic comedy Two Outs in the Ninth Inning opposite Lee Jung-jin, playing a 30-year-old foul-mouthed, disheveled and jaded single woman struggling with life and love. Soo Ae in reality was known for her a husky, neutral voice, which helped her tomboyish performance feel so natural. But her voice wasn't always a plus. She said, "I've been told many times that my voice would be a detriment to my career. When I first got started, a lot of viewers posted comments online that they changed the channel because of the way I talk. [...] It was odd because I thought of my husky voice as my biggest asset. So I would tell people, "Keep on listening, you'll get to like it."[1][4]

After a successful big screen debut in A Family,[5] Soo Ae starred opposite Jung Jae-young in the comedy Wedding Campaign, and Lee Byung-hun in the melodrama Once in a Summer.

In 2008, she was cast as the titular Sunny in a film about an ordinary housewife who becomes a "consolatory band" singer in order to search for her husband who has been dispatched to fight alongside American troops in the Vietnam War. Director Lee Joon-ik sought to tell a war story from a female-centric point of view, saying the film grazes upon a broader sense of love and humanitarian concern as it depicts a long voyage of self-discovery.[6] In a scene where she drinks heavily at a U.S. army base, Soo Ae revealed that she drank more than half a bottle of whisky at the director’s criticism that she didn't look convincing enough. As a result of drinking so much alcohol, she became really drunk, adding reality to the scene where she throws up in the toilet and blacks out.[7] Her commitment to the film paid off, and Soo Ae received multiple Best Actress awards for her performance.


Her 2009 film The Sword with No Name depicted a desperate romance between the last queen of the Joseon Dynasty and her bodyguard. Empress Myeongseong, a forward-thinking advocate of modernity, wields her political influence to further her ideals, but is often at odds with her orthodox father-in-law, regent Daewon-gun. The movie is loosely based on history, with clearly fictional elements.[8] Soo Ae said the role "was something I had always wanted to do from the moment I started my acting career. When I got the screenplay, I said yes without a moment's hesitation.[9] [...] Playing Empress Myeongseong was not easy, because in addition to the mother of the nation, I had to show her womanly and human side, the joy and anguish she felt at being in love." Having to wear heavy wigs and layers of Korean traditional costumes in the steamy hot summer made the job even more difficult. The fact that she had to appear in almost every scene was another challenge.[10] Describing herself as "timid" and "too introverted," Soo Ae credits her co-star Jo Seung-woo for making it easier for her to fully absorb herself in the love aspect of her role, such that it felt "like [they] were actually in a relationship during the shoot."[8][9]

Frustrated by usually receiving melodrama scripts and wanting to take on roles in different genres, Soo Ae next starred in the 2010 suspense thriller Midnight FM. She said she decided to challenge herself by choosing the role of a strong female character fighting against a villain. She talked about the heightened fear she felt in a confined studio as her radio DJ character receives threatening phone calls from a kidnapper (played by Yoo Ji-tae), as well as the physical difficulty of filming chase and fight scenes in high heels.[11][12] She tied with Yoon Jeong-hee (Poetry) for Best Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.[13]

In her return to television, Soo Ae played a cold-blooded double agent in Athena: Goddess of War, undergoing martial arts training to perform her intense action scenes in the spy series.[14]

Then in the miniseries A Thousand Days' Promise by famed drama writer Kim Soo-hyun, Soo Ae impressed critics and audiences with her unsentimental portrayal of a woman who is slowly losing her memory due to Alzheimer's disease.[15][16]


In 2013, she played an amorally ambitious woman who wants to become the First Lady of Korea in Yawang ("Queen of Ambition"), from the same manhwa artist as Daemul.[17] This was followed by disaster outbreak film The Flu, in which she said she played her most flawed character yet, a doctor and single mother who searches for a cure after her daughter is infected. Soo Ae said she is attracted to roles with an oeyunaegang quality, which literally translates to "iron fist in a velvet glove," meaning those who appear gentle but are determined and strong.[18][19][20]

In September 2013, Soo Ae left Star J Entertainment, her agency of 12 years,[21] and joined Management Soop.[22][23] She returned to Star J Entertainment in January 2015. Soo Ae next played dual roles in Mask, about a debt-ridden department store clerk who takes on an heiress's identity and marries into a chaebol family.[24] Her performance won her Best Actress at the 28th Grimae Award, an honorable award chosen by directors in every broadcasting station in Korea. She was then cast as a North Korean defector who becomes part of the first South Korean women's national ice hockey team in Take Off 2, the sequel to the 2009 hit sports drama.[25]

Nine years after her last romantic-comedy drama Two Outs in the Ninth Inning, Soo Ae starred in KBS2's romantic-comedy Sweet Stranger and Me in 2016.[26]

In 2017, she was cast in the film High Society by BYUN Daniel H.[27]



Year Title Role
2004 A Family Lee Jeong-eun
2005 Wedding Campaign Kim Lara
2006 Once in a Summer Seo Jung-in
2008 Sunny Soon-yi / Sunny
2009 The Sword with No Name Min Ja-young, later Empress Myeongseong
2010 Midnight FM Ko Sun-young
2013 The Flu Kim In-hae
2016 Take Off 2 Ji-won
2018 High Society

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1999 School 2 guest appearance KBS1
2002 MBC Best Theater: One Sided Love MBC
The Maengs' Golden Era Heo Joo-yeon MBC
2003 Love Letter Jo Eun-ha MBC
Merry Go Round Seong Jin-kyo MBC
2004 April Kiss Song Chae-won KBS2
Emperor of the Sea Lady Jung-hwa KBS2
2007 Two Outs in the Ninth Inning Hong Nan-hee MBC
2010 Athena: Goddess of War Yoon Hye-in SBS
2011 A Thousand Days' Promise Lee Seo-yeon SBS
2012 Love For Everyone: The Plan Herself MBC Every 1
2013 Queen of Ambition Joo Da-hae SBS
2015 Mask Byun Ji-sook/Seo Eun-ha SBS
2016 Sweet Stranger and Me Hong Na-ri KBS2

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2003 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actress Love Letter, Merry Go Round Won
2004 25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress A Family Won
3rd Korean Film Awards Best New Actress Won
7th Director's Cut Awards Best New Actress Won
2005 2nd Max Movie Awards Best Actress Won
41st Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (Film) Won
42nd Grand Bell Awards Best New Actress Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Best Couple Award with Song Il-gook Emperor of the Sea Won
Excellence Award, Actress Won
2007 Korea TV Advertising Festival Best Couple Award with Jang Dong-gun Maxim CF Won
2008 4th Premiere Rising Star Awards Rising Star Award Sunny Won
17th Buil Film Awards Best Actress Won
28th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Won
28th Arts Council Korea Best Artist of the Year in Film Won
31st Golden Cinematography Awards Most Popular Actress Won
29th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
2009 45th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (Film) Nominated
46th Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Won
17th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards Best Actress in a Film Won
2010 47th Savings Day Prime Minister's commendation N/A Won
31st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Midnight FM Won
6th University Film Festival of Korea Best Actress Won
2011 47th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (Film) Nominated
15th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Actor's Award N/A Won
27th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards Best Dressed, Movie actress category N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars A Thousand Days' Promise Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama Athena: Goddess of War Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama A Thousand Days' Promise Won
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
5th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
2013 7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards 20's Drama Star - Female Queen of Ambition Nominated
8th Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Drama Actress Nominated
6th Korea Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
2nd APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Nominated
2015 4th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Mask Nominated
Grimae Awards Best Actress Won
SBS Drama Awards Netizen Popularity Award Nominated
Best Couple Award with Ju Ji-hoon Nominated
2016 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Sweet Stranger and Me Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Soo Ae Sheds Refined Image for Boorish New Role". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 August 2007.
  2. ^ "Su Ae Picked Best Actress of 2004 by Internet Users". KBS Global. 28 January 2005.
  3. ^ "Emperor of the Sea Drawing Attention of International TV Market". The Chosun Ilbo. 15 April 2005.
  4. ^ Jeon, Su-mi (4 August 2013). "Soo Ae Talks About Trust and Being an Actress". enewsWorld. 
  5. ^ Kim, Gab-sik (25 August 2004). "Suae Sounds Off on Her Role in Family". The Dong-a Ilbo.
  6. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (1 July 2008). "Sunny to Bring New Light to Vietnam War". The Korea Times.
  7. ^ "Su-ae Admits to Passing Out in Film". KBS World. 8 August 2008.
  8. ^ a b Yang, Sung-hee (1 October 2009). "Sword presents the softer side of actress Soo-ae". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  9. ^ a b Park, Sun-young (27 August 2009). "Another side to Empress Myeongseong". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  10. ^ "Su-ae on Playing Empress Myeongseong". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Soo Ae: 'I Want to Show a Strong Image'". KBS Global. 15 October 2010.
  12. ^ "Soo Ae: 'I Felt Relieved After Filming Scenes Heaping Insults'". KBS Global. 20 September 2010.
  13. ^ "Today's Photo: November 27, 2010". The Chosun Ilbo. 27 November 2010.
  14. ^ Chung, Ah-young (9 April 2010). "Su Ae Cast in Sequel to Hit Drama Iris". The Korea Times.
  15. ^ Oh, Jean (12 October 2011). "Kim Rae-won returns in melodramatic sob fest". The Korea Herald.
  16. ^ "Fear No Barrier for Actress Su-ae After All". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 January 2012.
  17. ^ An, So-hyoun (11 January 2013). "Soo Ae Says She's Pressured about Having to Act as a Young First Lady on Yawang". enewsWorld. 
  18. ^ Lee, Claire (19 August 2013). "Soo Ae: Best characters have iron fist in a velvet glove". The Korea Herald. 
  19. ^ Son, Bo-kyung (23 August 2013). "Interview: Soo Ae Praises The Flu, Jang Hyuk and Kim Sung Soo". enewsWorld. 
  20. ^ Lim, Hyun-dong (12 September 2013). "Soo Ae ready for a little romance". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  21. ^ "Agency announces Soo Ae's departure". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  22. ^ "Soo Ae Changes Agencies and Joins Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo Jin at Soop Entertainment". Soompi. 15 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Su Ae". Management Soop. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Doo, Rumy (20 May 2015). "Two sides of Soo Ae". The Korea Herald. 
  25. ^ Jin, Min-ji (31 July 2015). "Soo Ae gets top role in first hockey flick". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  26. ^ "'Sweet Stranger and Me,' a rom-com with suspense". Yonhap. 
  27. ^ "Film Marks Return of Award Winning Director BYUN Daniel H". Korean Film Biz Zone. 9 November 2017. 

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