Meet K-drama actress who started as background vocalist for Younha, was known as little Kim Tae Hee and gained fame with soldier role

This star has reshaped her career more than once, before rising to become one of the top actresses working in the K-drama industry. From working as a background vocalist to becoming a household name, she has done it all!

Updated on Jun 05, 2024  |  08:42 PM IST |  99.7K
Image from actress' Instagram
Image from actress' Instagram

Today, we will have a closer look at the career and life of such a bright star who continues to showcase her versatile acting skills in each work. Her journey in the realm of the Korean film and TV industry is quite remarkable. Once a background vocalist, this actress is now a household name with her consistent hit K-dramas. So who is this hitmaker? Any guesses?

Who is this K-drama star?

If you couldn’t guess, that’s okay, because we will be discussing the journey of none other than Kim Ji Won. With her recent Queen of Tears lead role, she reached a new career high, setting an unprecedented standard of success. Most importantly, Kim Ji Won’s meticulous ability to synchronize with any role she attempts to sets her apart from her contemporaries. 

Meet the K-drama actress who appeared in Younha's music video

The star has started showing her on-screen confidence since childhood. But acting was barely in her dream journal then. In 2007, when she was still a teenager, an entertainment agency scouted her on the street. While preparing to debut as a K-pop idol, she rigorously trained for almost 3 years. 

During this timeline, she worked as a background vocalist and keyboardist for Younha and even made an appearance in the singer’s 2008 music video for Gossip Boy. 


Many sources say that there was also a plan to debut her as a soloist under the stage name JessicaK. Though, she was trained in singing, dancing, and acting, it’s safe to say she chose to become successful in the latter. 

This K-drama actress was known as little Kim Tae Hee

In 2010, Kim Ji Won officially debuted in the entertainment industry appearing in a TV commercial for LG Cyon’s Lollipop 2, alongside the popular K-pop boy band BIGBANG. After this appearance, she soon became a household name as the Lolipop Girl.

Her popularity in the entertainment industry grew further after she starred in another commercial for a carbonated drink brand. Here, she performed a catchy track and danced to the beats, quickly earning the name the Oran C Girl. 

As she gradually rose to popularity, many started calling her Little Kim Tae Hee for her resemblance to the actress.


Journey begins: Discover this actress' early acting career

In 2011, Kim Ji Won made her official acting debut with the film Romantic Heaven. In the same year, she also kickstarted her K-drama career bagging a pivotal role in High Kick: Revenge of the Short Legged. In this period, she starred in a bunch of films, TV shows, and musical dramas including What’s Up (2011), To the Beautiful You (2012), Horror Stories (2012), Horror Stories 2 (2013), and Waiting for Love (2013).

Breakthrough: Kim Ji Won garnered recognition with high-school drama

Kim Ji Won’s breakthrough came in 2013 when she bagged one of the main roles in the star-studded hit K-drama The Heirs. In this high school drama, she played a haughty Chaebol heiress, proving her potential alongside Lee Min Ho, Park Shin Hye, Park Hyung Sik, Kim Woo Bin, Krystal, and more stars.

For her stellar performance in this drama, she won the New Star at SBS Drama Awards.  She continued to advance in her career through an array of impeccable performances. 


Kim Ji Won rose to fame with soldier role in Descendants of the Sun

Her popularity surged further when she starred in a cameo role in the 2016 drama Descendants of the Sun, playing the character of first Lt. You Myeong Joo. The next year, she led the rom-com Fight for My Way, co-starring Park Seo Joon. This drama was also another hit, contributing to Kim Ji Won’s continuous success. 

In 2018, she made a cameo in the historical drama Mr. Sunshine starring Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Ri. In 2019, he reunited with this drama’s co-star Song Joong Ki in Arthdal Chronicles.  

Queen of Tears and previous works

Between 2019 and 2024, Kim Ji Won filled her portfolio with more successful dramas including Lovestruck in the City (2020), My Liberation Notes (2022), and Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramoon. Finally, in 2024, she shot to global fame with an outstanding performance as the lead of Queen of Tears, alongside Kim Soo Hyun

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An entertainment junkie and a big cinephile. She has a passion for cultivating compelling and impactful stories for her


Credits: Kim Ji Won's Instagram geewonii

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