In June 2016
May 30, 1990 |
Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul, South Korea
|Other names||Im Yoon-a|
|Alma mater||Dongguk University|
|Revised Romanization||Im Yun-a|
Im Yoon-ah (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 would later go on to be 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) which was a ratings success, marking her career breakthrough, and Prime Minister and I (2013) for which she won an Excellence Award at the 2013 KBS Drama Awards. Following the ratings success of her Chinese television debut, God of War, Zhao Yun (2016), she also gained recognition for taking on a challenging role in Korean television drama The K2 (2016).
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Public image
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Discography
- 5 Filmography
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Life and career
1990–2007: Early life and career beginnings
Yoona was born on May 30, 1990 in Seoul, South Korea. Her family consists of her father and an older sister by five years. 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. Vocally, though Yoona is not known to have a wide vocal range, she has often 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. She made her official debut as a member of Girls' Generation in August 2007, becoming the "center" of the group. The group gained significant popularity with the release of their hit single "Gee" in 2009.
2008–2016: Acting roles and first solo song
Aside 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. She then appeared in MBC's Woman of Matchless Beauty (2008), and was complimented by veteran actress Bae Jong-ok for her cameo performance.
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 became known for her character. She considered the role a turning point in her career, and won two "Best New Actress" awards at the 2008 KBS Drama Awards and 45th Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2009, Yoona was cast in MBC's drama Cinderella Man along with Kwon Sang-woo.
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, met and fell in love with each other in the modern era. Yoona played two characters: Yun-hee of the 70s and Ha-na of modern times. Although the drama lacked in domestic viewership and was criticized for its failure to relate to the viewers, 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." 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." The drama garnered much positive overseas interest 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.
In December 2013, Yoona starred alongside Lee Beom-soo in KBS2's romantic comedy drama Prime Minister and I. Loosely based on the musical film The Sound of Music, 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 was still noted for her acting ability. Lee Beom-soo praised her, saying "Acting has to go by logic, only when one understands can the audience understand too, Yoona is smart and did very well. I am anticipating her path down as an actress; at the same time, I want to give her applause". She won an Excellence Award at the 2013 KBS Drama Awards for the role.
In November 2015, Yoona was announced to join Hyun Bin in action film Cooperation. The movie marked Yoona's first big-screen acting project and currently in its post-filming process. In March 2016, Yoona released her first solo single “Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway”, a collaboration with the South Korean indie group 10cm. The urban-pop song peaked at number 24 on Gaon Digital Chart and received favorable review. Fuse described it as "breezy and easy-listening" and complimented how "lovely" Yoona delivered the song.
2016–present: Popularity in China and acting breakthrough
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. She played a character named Xiahou Qing Yi, who falls in love with the male lead character but later finds out he killed her father. The drama reached viewership ratings as high as 2%, which was described to be "a huge success in a country of 1.3 billion", and recorded more than 10 billion hits through various Chinese online videos sites, reflecting Yoona's popularity in China. Following its success, in August 2016, Yoona released a Chinese digital mini-album titled Blossom, which contains her renditions of well-known Mandarin songs.
In September 2016, Yoona returned to Korean television after three years, starring in tvN's action thriller The K2. She portrayed Go An-na, a recluse character who is troubled by her childhood trauma–a departure from her prior bright and bubbly acting roles. Tired of being typecast with a candy-like image and having always been burdened by the idol-actress prejudice, Yoona revealed "Instead of focusing on how people would perceive me. I mean, it would be nice if people looked kindly upon me; but my focus as to see this [role] as a personal challenge and to try something new." Her determination translated into positive recognition. Seon Mi-gyeong from OSEN expressed that the drama became Yoona’s representative work, saying that despite the complexity of the character, the actress was able to carry out her emotional acting and "wonderfully worked out the role who is shaky yet so lovely". No Han-sol from TopStarNews indicated that Yoona’s acting "continuously tug audience’s heartstrings" and that she was able to "reach out to the audience effectively" not by using words, but expressions to convey her emotions. In an interview, Yoona believed the character helped to shed the public perception of her onscreen image, marking it “a leap forward and opened a new chapter in her acting career”. In December 2016, she will be filming for an upcoming historical melodrama The King Loves, which is planned for a 2017 broadcast.
I wish people will see me as an actress when I am acting and see me as a Girls' Generation member when I am on stage...I don’t want to purposely try to break away from that [idol] label. I want to be seen as an actress naturally, and I will continue to do my best and not be scared.— Yoona spoke of her concerns being perceived as an idol-actress in the public eye.
Yoona has been called a "CF Queen" due to her several television commercial films, and has been a spokesperson for various brands. CNN credited her as "one of the household names in the Asia-Pacific region" which has helped Korean beauty brands become popular in China. In 2010, she became the first idol to endorse S-Oil, a large South Korean petroleum and refinery company. 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. In 2013, she became the first overseas endorser for Alcon Taiwan. Since 2009, Yoona has been a long-term spokesperson for Amor Pacific's comestic brand Innisfree. In 2016, Yoona was listed by Forbes magazine as one of Asia's "30 under 30" most influential celebrities in the entertainment and sports.
In January 2015, she became a member of South Korea’s Honor Society as a recognition for her charitable donations. In August of the same year, Yoona was among a group invited to lunch at Blue House by South Korean president Park Geun-hye to honor those who have contributed charitable and voluntary work to the society.
Yoona graduated from Daeyoung High School in 2009. 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.
|As lead artist|
|"Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway"
(덕수궁 돌담길의 봄)
(with Jessica, Tiffany, and TVXQ)
|"Innisfree Day"||2010||—||N/A||Non-album single|
|"Amazing Grace"||2016||—||N/A||The K2 OST|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|I AM.||2012||Herself||Biographical film of SM Town|||
|SMTown The Stage||2015||Herself||Documentary film of SM Town|||
|Cooperation||2016||Park Min-young||Supporting role|||
|Two Outs in the Ninth Inning||2007||MBC||Shin Joo-young||Supporting role|
|Unstoppable Marriage||2008||KBS2||Bulgwang-dong's Seven Princesses Gang||Cameo|
|Woman of Matchless Beauty, Park Jung-geum||MBC||Mi-ae||Cameo|
|You Are My Destiny||KBS1||Jang Sae-byuk||Lead role|
|Cinderella Man||2009||MBC||Seo Yoo-jin||Lead role|
|Love Rain||2012||KBS2||Kim Yoon-hee / Jung Ha-na||Lead role|
|Prime Minister and I||2013||KBS2||Nam Da-jung||Lead role|
|Because It's The First Time||2015||OnStyle||Herself||Cameo|
|God of War, Zhao Yun||2016||Hunan Television||Xiahou Qing Yi / Ma Yu Rou||Lead role; Chinese drama|
|The K2||tvN||Go Anna||Lead role|
|The King Loves||2017||MBC||Wang San||Lead role|
|Family Outing 2||2010||SBS||Regular Cast|
Awards and nominations
|2008||2nd Korea Drama Awards||Netizen Popularity Award||You Are My Destiny||Won|||
|KBS Drama Awards||Best New Actress||Won|||
|2009||45th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actress (TV)||Won|||
|Most Popular Actress (TV)||Won|
|2010||46th Baeksang Arts Awards||Cinderella Man||Won|
|2012||6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards||20's Female Drama Star||Love Rain||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Nominated|
|2013||49th Baeksang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Prime Minister and I||Won|||
|Best Couple Award with Lee Beom-soo||Won|||
|2014||50th Baeksang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|16th Seoul International Youth Film Festival||Best Young Actress||Nominated|
|2015||Global Luxury Award||Global Tourism Industry Congress Fusion Seminars with Lin GengXin||God of War, Zhao Yun||Won|||
|National Tax Service of South Korea||Best Public Tax Payer Award||Herself||Won|||
|2016||1st Asia Artist Awards||Asia Star Award, Actress||The K2||Won|||
|Popularity Award, Actress||Herself||Won|
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