Do you prefer flower boys or manly men as your K-drama leads? It's a tough choice, and one that created quite the discussion on our DramaFever forums. I say, why do you have to choose? Some actors purposely move away from the pretty boy look as they progress in their careers, giving you the benefit of both ends of the spectrum! Here are 9 Korean actors who shed their flower boy image:

1. Won Bin

Before: Oh, Won Bin, why so pretty? With his breakout role in the 2000 series Autumn in My Heart, he gave everyone a massive case of second lead syndrome.

After: Instead of sticking to romance dramas, Won Bin decided to carve out his own path as an actor with a variety of roles. His 2010 film Man from Nowhere perfectly showcased just how far he's come since his Autumn in My Heart days. 


2. Kim Bum

Before: Who could forget the F4's adorable little playboy? I just want to squish his round little cheeks!

After: I did a double take when I saw the first stills for this series! Kim Bum lost 30 lbs and cut his hair to prepare for his role as an undercover officer in the action thriller Hidden Identity. Our little flower boy has definitely grown up to be a man!


3. Lee Joon Ki

Before: Lee Joon Ki's big break came in The King and the Clown, where he is so insanely beautiful that the king falls in love with him. Joon Ki is sometimes credited with really popularizing the "flower boy" trend in Korea.

After: He may be one of the best flower boys, but that's not all there is to Lee Joon Ki! Following his military service, he has made a concerted effort to stay away from flower boy roles, going the action route instead with dramas like Two Weeks


4. Hyun Bin

Before: Remember how cute Hyun Bin was in My Lovely Sam Soon? I look back on those days with fondness.

After: This is one of the clearest cases of military service doing a body good. Hyun Bin enlisted as a Marine, and his hard work showed in his first post-military project, The Fatal Encounter.


5. Joo Ji Hoon

Before: With his shaggy hair and boyish grin, Joo Ji Hoon was the perfect flower boy prince in Goong.

After: When I saw the first episode of Mask, I was like "Joo Ji WHO?" He had to take a few years off after a drug scandal, and in that time, he matured a lot. At this point, I'm convinced the writers are just making up excuses for him to be shirtless in every episode...


6. Lee Min Ho

Before: Ah, Lee Min Ho as Goo Jun Pyo, the flower boy to end all flower boys...

After: Lee Min Ho still has some of that flower boy vibe going for him in real life, but there was nothing flowery about his look for Gangnam Blues.


7. Kim Hyun Joong

Before: How could we mention Jun Pyo without his golden-locked counterpart Ji Hoo?

After: Say what you will about his personal life, but this is one of the most drastic on-screen transformations. His brawling character in Inspiring Generation doesn't strike me as the type to wear white suits and play the violin.


8. Song Jae Rim

Before: Lest we forget, Song Jae Rim was once part of Jung Il Woo's flower boy posse in Flower Boy Ramen Shop. Good times.

After: Now I have lost track of how many times I've watched Song Jae rim playing a cold-hearted hit man. Nothing like trying to stab people in the face to get rid of that flower boy vibe!


9. Gong Yoo

Before: I've always considered Gong Yoo pretty manly, but there's a definite shift over time from his cute Coffee Prince days:

After: ...to his much more rugged look in the 2013 movie The Suspect.



Do you prefer your K-drama leads with the flower boy look, or do you like the rugged change? Who looks the most different to you? Are there other favorites who have made the transformation? Share your thoughts in the comments! And if you want to see all of your favorite handsome actors in one place, you can follow DramaFever's Asian Hotties Pinterest board!



Don't forget to check out Kim Bum's transformation in the thrilling premiere of Hidden Identity, now available on DramaFever:



Vivi is an unapologetic Korean drama addict and blogger. She blogs with her K-drama best friend Coco at Kdrama Fighting! In her free time, she likes to bring her commentary to the DramaFever crowd.

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