12 Sizzling male models-turned-actors who will melt your heart
You may know these awesome guys best from their movies and dramas, but you may not know them from their modeling days. From the runway to magazines, these hunky Korean actors got their start in the industry as models! Each one of them proved that they weren't only pretty faces and nice bodies — they are extremely talented actors who have all made a name for themselves in Dramaland.
1. So Ji Sub
Before he made his big break in the hit drama I’m Sorry, I Love You, So Ji Sub was a model for the jeans brand STORM way back in 1995. Interestingly enough, the Master’s Sun star was actually trained to be a professional swimmer but tried out modeling because he wanted to pose alongside his hip-hop idol Kim Sung Jae. He then went on to have some small roles in dramas and seemed destined to be a supporting actor until I’m Sorry, I Love You shot him to fame.
2. Kim Woo Bin
Kim Woo Bin’s first passion was modeling. He debuted as a runway model in 2009 at the age of 20 and had an extremely successful modeling career. Kim Woo Bin began taking acting classes as a way to improve his modeling abilities and quickly fell in love with it. He took a few supporting acting roles in dramas such as Gentleman’s Dignity and School 2013 before his big acting break came when he played bad boy Choi Young Do in the smash hit Heirs.
Daniel Henney’s modeling career started in 2001 in the United States and took him around the world to France, Italy, Hong Kong, and Taiwan before debuting in South Korea with Amore Pacific, the South Korean skincare giant. Henney’s big acting break came with the drama My Lovely Sam Soon despite not actually knowing Korean! He also starred in the drama Spring Waltz and a few Korean movies like Seducing Mr. Perfect before turning back to the US to star in many American television shows and blockbuster movies. Daniel Henney has definitely made a name for himself not only in Korea, but around the world.
Kang Dong Won was spotted on the street by a modeling agent when he was a first year university student and had an explosive modeling career, appearing on the catwalk in Paris for designers such as DKNY, Gucci, and Hugo Boss. After being cast in a music video, Kang decided to take some acting classes and soon realized that acting was his true passion. He quit modeling and made his acting debut in 2003 in One Percent of Anything. After a few television roles, Kang transitioned to movie roles and became popular across Asia because of his great acting skills.
Cha Seung Won began his career as an in-demand model in the 1990s. He even won many modeling awards, including the Korea Fashion Association's award for best male model in 1996. His modeling success paved the way for his illustrious acting career. He is an extremely popular action movie and drama star and has amassed a large international fan base. Cha’s most recent drama is the historical hit Hwajung.
6. Lee Jong Suk
Lee Jong Suk debuted as a runway model in 2005 at the young age of 15 and had a very successful high fashion modeling career before debuting as an actor in the 2010 with supporting roles in Prosecutor Princess and Secret Garden. Since then, Lee Jong Suk has been an unstoppable force in the industry, starring in such popular dramas as Doctor Stranger, I Hear Your Voice, and Pinocchio and winning many awards. Most recently he was voted the most popular TV actor at the 51st Baeksang Arts Awards.
During his successful modeling career, Kim Young Kwan walked the runways for world-renowned designers such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and Dior. In 2008, he was awarded the Best New Model award by the Korean Fashion Photographers Association. His most popular acting roles include dramas such as Love Rain and Pinocchio.
8. Lee Soo Hyuk
The beautiful Lee Soo Hyuk debuted as a model in designer Jung Wook-jun's Lone Costume fashion show in 2006. He has walked the runway for some of South Korea’s most famous fashion brands, including General Idea and Song Zio, and he has done cover shoots for several renowned fashion magazines such as GQ, Bazaar and Elle. His distinctive good looks have made him an internationally recognized face. His acting resume includes roles in dramas such as White Christmas, High School King of Savvy, and the upcoming Scholar Who Walks the Night.
9. Ahn Jae Hyun
The Blood star started his entertainment career in 2009 as a fashion model appearing in runway shows, magazine editorials, and commercials. In 2013, Ahn was cast in the uber-popular My Love From Another Star as Cheon Yoon Jae, the younger brother of Cheon Song Yi. He also had a supporting role in You Are All Surrounded before landing a starring role in 2015’s Blood. Ahn Jae Hyun certainly has a bright career ahead of him!
10. Lee Chun Hee
You may be surprised that longtime popular actor Lee Chun Hee actually began his career as a model. However, he has definitely had much more success as an actor! Lee Chun Hee is best known for dramas such as Smile, You and Gloria and most recently had a guest role in Master’s Sun and a cameo in Producer.
11. Kim Jae Wook
Unlike most of the sexy men on this list, Kim Jae Wook is technically an actor-turned-model-turned-actor (man, is that complicated). In 2002, Kim Jae Wook debuted in the MBC drama Ruler of Your Own World as a member of an indie band. However, after this small role, Kim decided to focus on his modeling career. In 2007 he returned to the acting world with a bang, starring as the handsome waffle guy in Coffee Prince. More recently he had roles in Mary Stayed Out All Night and Who Are You. Fun fact: Kim Jae Wook’s Japanese in Coffee Prince was no joke! Because he was raised in Japan, Kim Jae Wook fluently speaks Japanese, which, in my opinion, makes him even sexier.
12. Sung Joon
Interestingly enough, Sung Joon’s first foray into the acting world was as a male model extra in Personal Taste. This small role served as the perfect bridge between his modeling career and his acting career, and he quickly made a name for himself in Dramaland, landing roles in dramas such as Lie to Me, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, and Gu Family Book. Sung Joon stars in the upcoming High Society alongside Uee.
When a poor young woman poses as an heiress and meets a wealthy man, can she keep up the charade and survive in high society? Find out in the thrilling melodrama Mask:
Who is your favorite model-turned-actor? How happy are you that these talented men decided to try acting?