Happy Women’s Day: 5 ‘Ajummas or Halmeonis’ that are the backbone of your favourite K-Dramas

Let’s take a look at some of the veteran Korean actresses that carry the drama with their amazing acting skills.

Anoushka Mathew
Written by Anoushka Mathew , Writer (K-pop, K-drama)
Updated on May 07, 2024 | 11:33 AM IST | 872.4K
Kim Mi Kyung
Kim Mi Kyung; Picture Courtesy: News1

Ajumma, sometimes spelled ajoomma, is a Korean word for a married, or middle-aged woman. It comes from the Korean word ‘Ajumeoni’. Although it is sometimes translated ‘aunt’, it does not actually refer to a close family relationship. It is most often used to refer to middle-aged or older women since referring to an elder by name without a title in Korea is not socially acceptable. The word for a Korean grandmother is halmeoni.

Every K-Drama has an ‘Ajumma’ or a ‘Halmeoni’ that are usually in the background but truly carry the drama with their beautiful acting skills and sweet personalities so let’s take a look at the amazing veteran actresses that shone in your favourite dramas:- 

Kim Mi Kyung (‘The Heirs’, ‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay’, ‘Hi Bye Mama!’) 

She made her film debut and her television drama debut soon followed. One of the most recognized actresses in Korean television, she has garnered fans the world over. You can find her making appearances in numerous films and television dramas including, ‘The Master's Sun’ (2013), ‘Healer’ (2014), ‘Another Oh Hae Young’ (2016), and ‘Her Private Life’ (2019).  Known to take up the encouraging and loving mother roles, she has always knocked it out of the park! Especially in ‘The Heirs’ and ‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay’, she displayed her acting skills in the best way possible, making us fall for her sweet gestures and even sweeter expressions! 


Kim Young Ok (‘Squid Game’, ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’, ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’)

Known as the adorable halmeoni from ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’, Kim Young Ok has been dubbed ‘National Grandmother’ for her portrayals as a grandmother in various K-Dramas as well as Korean films. She was the head maid in ‘Boys Over Flowers’, the hardworking mother of Sung Gi Hun in ‘Squid Game’ and many more! She has also done negative roles previously but her cute antics as an onscreen ‘halmeoni’ or ‘ajumma’ has more impact. In her 65 year long acting career, respect for her has only increased as she still provides the world with warmth and love through characters. 

Lee Il Hwa (‘Reply’ Series, ‘Lie after Lie’, ‘Young Lady and Gentleman’) 

Lee Il Hwa is a South Korean actress. She made her acting debut in 1991, and has since appeared in numerous television dramas, notably ‘Reply 1997’ and ‘Reply 1994’. Known as the ajumma who makes an exorbitant amount of food on the ‘Reply’ series, Lee Il Hwa has been loved for her encouraging and soft character. She has also done a great job as a negative character on ‘Lie after Lie’, leaving us in awe of her versatile acting skills. As an ‘Ajumma’ she has absolutely knocked it out of the park and we cannot wait to see her in many more dramas soon! 


Kim Sun Young (‘Reply 1988’, ‘Crash Landing on You’, ‘Backstreet Rookie’) 

Kim Sun Young has performed in a variety of popular dramas, including ‘Reply 1988’ (2015), ‘Because This is My First Life’ (2018), ‘Romance is a Bonus Book’ (2019), ‘When the Camellia Blooms’ (2019), ‘Vagabond’ (2019), and ‘Crash Landing On You’ (2019). Kim Sun Young has received the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards for her role in ‘Crash Landing On You’. Known for her strong-headed and dependable characters, Kim Sun Young has always taken over every drama she has ever acted in. 

Kim Hae Sook (‘Hospital Playlist’, ‘Start Up’, ‘My Father is Strange’)

Kim Hae Sook is a South Korean actress. Her acting debut was in MBC's Chief Inspector in 1974. Since then she has won over 10 awards, she also did over 30 movies. Also, she has a book published called ‘Mother of Hallyu Stars: Kim Hae-sook's Story’. As her book title suggests, she acted as a mother in many dramas but her stand out role was in ‘Start Up’ as Kim Seon Ho’s ‘halmeoni’ and the fans fell in love with their relationship. She was loved in ‘Hospital Playlist’ as Jung Ro Sa, a loving mother and a great friend. Her quips and jabs always cracked us up! 


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Which other ‘ajumma’ or ‘halmeoni’ would you add? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About The Author
Anoushka Mathew
Anoushka Mathew
Writer (K-pop, K-drama)

A BMM graduate, Anoushka has been writing professionally for over 2 years. K-Pop and K-Dramas consume her day and she


Credits: News1

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