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Choi Ji-woo (최미향)

These days, hundreds of Korean celebrities enjoy global popularity thanks to streaming and social media. But long before the likes of Netflix and Facebook existed, Choi Ji-woo was among an elite number of Korean actors to enjoy Pan-Asian stardom. Credited as one of the early driving forces behind the Hallyu wave, Choi Ji-woo’s legendary beauty and empathetic acting in the melodramas Beautiful Days (2001), Winter Sonata (2002), and Stairway to Heaven (2003) captivated fans throughout the region and beyond.

GwenchaNoona | Actor's Profile: Choi Ji-woo

Photo from COSMOPOLITAN/HanCinema

Birthday: June 11, 1975

Instagram: @choijivvoo

Winter Sonata, in particular, launched her and co-star Bae Yong-joon’s popularity to stratospheric levels. The drama is so iconic that its filming location, Nami Island, has become a popular tourist destination and pilgrimage site for k-drama fans who come to have their photos taken by the statue of the two stars.

Choi Ji-woo’s early Pan-Asian success led her to acting projects in both China (101st Proposal) and Japan (Rondo), requiring her to reside abroad for several years. Upon her return to Korea, she continued to actively appear in films, dramas (Suspicious Housekeeper, 2013; Temptation, 2014) and eventually even expand to variety programs (Grandpas over Flowers, 2015; Coffee Friends, 2019), all the while receiving love from her loyal, adoring audiences.

While her latest role as a real-life mom to an adorable toddler has been keeping her busy lately, Choi Ji-woo still finds time to grace the small screen with her timeless beauty. After making a hilarious cameo as herself in Crash Landing on You, a nod to her Stairway to Heaven character, she also made a special appearance as a legendary Korean actress in the rom-com Sh**ting Stars.

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