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K-rush of the Week: Im Yoon-ah / Yoona

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Im Yoon-ah (also known mononymously as Yoona), has already mastered the art of playing dual roles. In the 15 years since she debuted as a member of Girls' Generation/SNSD, one of the most successful Korean girl groups both domestically and abroad, she has carefully balanced her career as an idol-actress, achieving considerable success at both.

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week (Actor Profile): Im Yoon-ah / Yoona (Actor Profile)

On screen, she has portrayed dual roles not just once but three times: in the romance Love Rain (2012), the Chinese drama God of War, Zhao Yun (2016), and the historical drama The King in Love (2017). Her breakout role as an actress was in 2008’s hit drama You Are My Destiny, which hit peak ratings of 41.8% and earned for her the Baeksang Arts Award for Best New Actress.


The King in Love / The King Loves (2017)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Yoona in "The King Loves"

Based on the eponymous novel, the 2017 period fantasy drama The King in Love / The King Loves stars Yoona as the princess Eun-San, an intelligent young Goryeo woman. She soon becomes the center of a love triangle between the ambitious king Won (Im Si-wan) and the marquess Wang Rin. For her role, Yoona was nominated at the Korea Drama Awards for both the Best Actress award and the popularity award.


The K2 (2016)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Yoona in "The K2" (photo of Yoona and Ji Chang-wook)

In The K2 (2016), Yoona stars as Go An-na, the reclusive daughter of a chaebol who has been hidden away to protect her from her stepmother, Yoo-jin.


Soon, a hardened ex-mercenary Kim Je-ha (Ji Chang-wook) is hired as her bodyguard. In time, the frail An-na starts to open up and trust Je-ha—presumably after she dances with a ramen packet—and he eventually falls in love with her. But can their gentle love survive the nefarious plans of An-na’s parents and the power of the JSS Security Company?


Confidential Assignment 1 and 2 (2017 and 2019), film

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Yoona in "Confidential Assignment" (photo of Hyun Bin and Yoona)

Some girls get all the luck, and Yoona is luckier than most. In the first Confidential Assignment film, she stars as the sister-in-law of a South Korean detective (Yoo Hae-jin) who has to work with his impossibly gorgeous North Korean counterpart (Hyun Bin). In the film’s 2022 sequel, she reprises her role and becomes the love interest of both Im Cheol-ryung (Hyun Bin) and Jack (Daniel Henney). Yoona even won the Baeksang in 2017 as Most Popular Actress for her role.


We tell you, some girls do get all the luck.


Exit (2019), film

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Yoona in "Exit"

Yoona trades her delicate and demure pigeonhole and goes for something way more active in the 2019 action-comedy blockbuster Exit. In her first leading role in the movie, she stars as Eui-joo, the childhood crush of Lee Yong-nam (Jo Jung-suk) who runs into him at a family party.


One night, a dangerous gas is released in Seoul, and people have to climb up buildings to stay alive. Being rock climbers, Yong-nam and Eui-joo find themselves having to help everyone get to the rooftops and eventually, to safety. They’re able to do this for a time until they realize that both of them are now in danger, and that while saving other people is a noble thing, there comes a time when you really just have to save yourselves.


Read our review of Exit.


Big Mouth (2022)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Yoona in "Big Mouth"

Yoona stars in this 2022 kdrama thriller as Ko Mi-ho, the supportive and assertive wife to third-rate lawyer Park Chang-ho (Lee Jong-suk). When Chang-ho gets wrongfully arrested and accused of being a big-time criminal leader, he fights to stay alive inside the prison walls as Mi-ho works tirelessly outside to gather evidence that would exonerate him.


The drama was a banger and rated well up until….well, IYKYK. We don’t want to spoil anything, but we just hope Yoona’s character in King the Land gets a better fate.


King the Land (2023)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Yoona in "King the Land" (photo of Yoona and Lee Jun-ho)

In this ongoing JTBC rom-com, Yoona plays Cheon Sa-rang, an employee at the luxurious King Hotel who, despite having only graduated from a two-year college, keeps rising through the ranks thanks to her hard work and bright personality. She catches the eye of chaebol heir Gu Won (2PM’s Lee Jun-ho), the hotel’s general manager who is locked in an inheritance battle with his half-sister, and is investigating the disappearance of his mother. Reminiscent of classic K-drama romcoms, King the Land is currently enjoying high viewership ratings.


- lousycapitalistheart and TrashPanda

 

Which of her roles is your favorite?

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