35 Fabulous Korean actresses over 35 who command the screen
K-drama viewers love the up-and-coming young talent in Korea, but that doesn't mean we've forgotten about the stunning actors and actresses who made us fall in love with dramas in the first place. We've shared two lists of the actors over 40 who still make our heart pound, but what about the women? With three big dramas premiering in August alone that are headlined by actresses over 35 (Yong Pal, Mrs. Cop, and Twenty Again), it's time to celebrate 35 the fabulous actresses over 35 who have grown out of the teeny bopper phase and still captivate us with their immense talent and beauty.
1. Ha Ji Won (36)
Action, comedy, romance — Ha Ji Won has done it all. As she's currently leading the drama The Time That I Loved You, 7000 Days, she doesn't show any intention of being pigeonholed into ahjumma roles any time in the near future.
2. Choi Ji Woo (40)
Choi Ji Woo's classic melodrama Winter Sonata sparked the Hallyu wave overseas. In recent years, the popular actress has branched out into different types of roles, like her upcoming part in the tvN romantic comedy Twenty Again, where she will play a wife and mother who decides to head back to school. She looks absolutely radiant in the teasers and posters for the series!
3. Kim Sun Ah (39)
4. Lee Bo Young (36)
Lee Bo Young started out as a beauty queen, but she quickly proved her abilities as an actress with a variety of roles. She has been taking a break from acting after having her first child with husband Ji Sung, but I'm sure her comeback project will be fantastic.
5. Kim Hee Ae (48)
If anyone ever questioned whether women over 40 can still be sexy, all they need to do is watch Kim Hee Ae in Secret Love Affair, where she romanced Yoo Ah In, an actor 20 years her junior. She's now headlining a new drama, Mrs. Cop, where she plays a single mother and police officer whose personal and professional lives collide.
6. Kim Nam Joo (44)
If you want to see Kim Nam Joo at her finest, look no further than the delightful office romance Queen of Reversals. Her last series, the 2012 drama My Husband Got a Family, was the #1 rated show in Korea for the entire year. Let's get her into another drama fast!
7. Kim Hee Sun (38)
Kim Hee Sun's latest project, Angry Mom, sounded like nonsense on paper. How could a 38-year-old actress convince anyone that she could get away with pretending to be a high school student? Well, if you're Kim Hee Sun, it's easy. Even if she couldn't quite pass for 18, she owned her role as a mother who goes undercover as a student to protect her daughter.
8. Gong Hyo Jin (35)
Gong Hyo Jin just made the cut for this list, turning 35 in April. Still, as one of Korea's most in-demand actresses, it wouldn't be surprising if she continues to capture leading roles for many years to come.
9. Im Soo Jung (35)
I refuse to believe that Im Soo Jung could actually be a day over 25, but the numbers don't lie. You can see the fresh-faced actress opposite Rain in the movie I'm a Cyborg, but that's Okay, which just premiered on DramaFever last weekend!
10. Kim Mi Kyung (51)
Unlike many of the actresses on this list, Kim Mi Kyung doesn't spend much time modeling or doing CFs, but her scene-stealing performances in dramas like Healer consistently remind us why we will watch her in just about anything.
11. Kim Sung Ryung (48)
Speaking of scene-stealing performances, the combination of Km Mi Kyung and Kim Sung Ryung was easily one of the best things about Heirs. I would 100% watch a spinoff show that was just about these two characters. Drama writers, make this happen!
12. Kim Tae Hee (35)
Kim Tae Hee's new series Yong Pal started with a bang, earning the highest premiere ratings so far this year in Korea and proving that she and Joo Won are a winning combination. She has consistently topped Korean surveys of who netizens consider to be the most beautiful Korean actress, ranking ahead of younger starlets.
13. Chae Jung Ahn (37)
14. Soo Ae (35)
Soo Ae was the driving force behind the popular series Mask, and she carried the emotional role incredibly well. Watching her development as the meek Byun Ji Sook made the series satisfying.
15. Kim Hee Jung (44)
I have to admit that I wasn't very familiar with Kim Hee Jung until her recent role in Jeju Island Gatsby, but now I'm a fan! Her romance with the older brother was one of the major highlights of the show.
16. Jin Kyung (43)
17. Choi Kang Hee (38)
Choi Kang Hee always has a quirky and unique onscreen presence that is charming. I particularly enjoyed her in Protect the Boss.
18. Yoon Yoo Sun (46)
Yoon Yoo Sun sometimes gets stuck in motherly roles, but in roles that give her a chance to shine (like My Girlfriend is a Gumiho), she always rises to the occasion.
19. Bae Doona (35)
For the last few years, Bae Doona has been focusing on Hollywood projects with several roles in productions from the Wachowskis. Her most recent collaboration with them was the Netflix original series Sense 8.
20. Go Hyun Jung (44)
Former Miss Korea contestant Go Hyun Jung rose to fame with her role in the massive 1995 hit Sandglass. 20 years later, she's still going strong. She was recently in talks for the lead role n Twenty Again, but she declined and Choi Ji Woo eventually took the part.
21. Uhm Jung Hwa (43)
One of the most influential female performers in Korea, Uhm Jung Hwa's latest project was the cute noona romance Witch's Romance opposite Park Seo Joon.
22. Shin Eun Kyung (42)
Shin Eun Kyung built a successful careers with melodramas, but she's winning over new fans with her more comical role as the single mother in Oh My Ghostess.
23. Park Si Yeon (36)
Park Si Yeon's comeback drama after a two-year hiatus was Greatest Marriage. Even if the drama was a total crazy train, she was fantastic, and we can only hope she picks up a new (slightly less crazy) drama soon.
24. Lee Yo Won (35)
Lee Yo Won won the SBS Award for Best Actress for her last performance in the drama The Golden Empire. How will she follow up her memorable performance?
25. Kim Sa Rang (37)
Kim Sa Rang has been critiqued for her acting abilities in the past, but fans were raving about her latest series, My Love Eun Dong, and her career prospects have never looked better.
26. Lee Il Hwa (44)
I still find it absurd and insulting that Lee Il Hwa played a mother figure to Song Jong Ho in Answer Me 1997 when she's only 5 years older than he is. Interestingly enough, they then played spouses in Orange Marmalade. She's gorgeous and wonderful, and I love her.
27. Lee Mi Sook (55)
Two words: Miss Korea. Just watch it and then come back and tell me if you don't kind of wish this veteran actress appeared in every drama ever. Go ahead. I'll wait.
28. Lee Young Ae (44)
In what might just be the most highly anticipated drama comeback of all time, Lee Young Ae has been cast in the upcoming historical series Saimdong: The Herstory opposite Song Seung Hun. It's her first drama role since the iconic Jewel in the Palace twelve years ago!
29. Chae Rim (36)
I debated putting Chae Rim on this list because she hasn't taken a role since 2010, but we can always hope, right? Chae Rim, come back! We miss you!
30. Kim Hye Soo (43)
Kim Hye Soo has had an award-laden career in both television and film. She most recently took home an APN Award for her role as a ruthless mob boss in the 2015 film Coin Locker Girl.
31. Song Yoon Ah (41)
32. Yum Jung Ah (43)
In recent years, Yum Jung Ah has focused more heavily on film roles rather than dramas, like last year's Cart.
33. Do Ji Won (49)
34. Chae Si Ra (47)
Unkind Women was a wonderful example of a multi-generational show focused around talented actresses of varying ages. Chae Si Ra played Do Ji Won's older sister and the mother to Lee Ha Na's character.
35.Oh Yeon Soo (43)
Oh Yeon Soo built a name for herself with historical dramas, but in recent years, her focus has been melodramas, like last year's Triangle.
It's wonderful to see that many of the actresses on this list have leading roles in currently airing dramas. Does this mean that in the future there will be a broader variety of roles available to actresses in their 30s, 40s, and beyond? We would love to see this trend continue, especially when many of these actresses are taking risks and playing against type. Who's your favorite on the list? Did we miss any favorites? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Check out the cute teaser for Choi Ji Woo's upcoming series Twenty Again, which will be airing August 28 on DramaFever, following the conclusion of Oh My Ghostess. Sign up for new episode alerts HERE!
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