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K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun / Shin Hae-sun

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Shin Hye-sun usually says she’s been “lucky”, but in fact, hers is an old-fashioned tale of how hard work and perseverance can take a girl with a dream to the halls of Hallyu fame.

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun

In 2012, to audition for a small role in the k-drama School 2013, she cut her hair short to stand out among other hopefuls. It paid off, and she achieved the dream she had since she watched Autumn in My Heart (2000) as a young girl—to debut as an actress. Yet, instant success was not in her cards. Having gone to a performing arts high school and having majored in film in college, she saw classmates like Lee Jong-suk and Kang Ha-neul get major or leading roles when she was still starting out. In her early days without an agency, she would drive herself to film locations in the countryside, wait for hours to shoot her scenes, drive herself back home late at night, and do it again the next day.

Finally, after years of playing supporting roles in dramas like Oh My Ghost, She Was Pretty, and The Legend of the Blue Sea, she is finally recognized as the talented and bankable leading lady that she is. With hits like Mr. Queen and the ongoing See You in My 19th Life, it seems there's no stopping Hye-sun now!

Stranger (2017)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "Stranger"

Shin Hye-sun stars as Young Eun-soo, the rather naive rookie “mentee” of the unfeeling prosecutor Hwang Si-mok (Cho Seung-woo) in the 2017 legal thriller Stranger. As Eun-soo, Shin lends a vulnerability and unabashed idealism to her role. Not only are we interested in the case that Si-mok is handling, but we are also drawn to why Eun-soo is so adamant about remaining Si-mok’s apprentice despite his obvious disdain, and why the case matters so much to her.

My Golden Life (2017)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "My Golden Life"

After starring in the Baeksang Daesang-winning drama Stranger, Shin Hye-sun finally landed her first leading role. In My Golden Life (2017), the popular 52-episode weekend family drama, she plays Seo Ji-an, a struggling working-class office worker whose fortunes are seemingly reversed when she finds out she's the long-lost daughter of a chaebol family. She didn’t waste the opportunity and delivered a performance worthy of multiple nominations and awards, including the best actress nod from the 2017 KBS Drama Awards.

Still 17 / 30 But 17 (2018)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "Still 17" / "30 But 17" (photos of Shin Hye-sun and Yang Se-jong)

Shin Hye-sun delivers a heartbreaking performance as Woo Seo-ri, a 17-year-old violinist who falls into a coma and wakes up 13 years later. To make matters worse, her family is nowhere to be found. Now, Seo-ri has to deal with the challenges of a 30-year-old life with a teenager's mentality and attitude. But thankfully, she won't be alone as she embarks on her rather unique journey supported by her new housemates Gong Woo-jin (Yang Se-jong) and Yoo Chan (Ahn Hye-seop).

For her performance in Still 17, Shin Hye-sun was named best actress by SBS.

Angel's Last Mission: Love (2019)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "Angel's Last Mission: Love"

Shin Hye-sun went through six months of intense ballet lessons to prepare for her role as Lee Yeon-seo, a former ballerina who loses her sight in Angel’s Last Mission: Love (2019). As usual, Shin Hye-sun manages to give her thorny and arrogant ballerina a range of feelings, resulting in a supernatural drama that delivers both romance and comedy.

Mr. Queen (2020)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "Mr. Queen"

In this hilarious soul AND gender swapping historical rom-com, Shin Hye-sun delivers a career-defining performance as Jang Bong-hwan, a modern man trapped in Joseon Queen Kim So-yong’s body. For her incredibly entertaining performance, she rightfully earned a Baeksang nomination that year.

See You in My 19th Life (2023)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "See You in My 19th Life" (photos of Shin Hye-sun and Ahn Bo-hyun)

In this webtoon adaptation, Shin plays Ban Ji-eum, an old soul who remembers her previous lives. In this life, she is intent on pursuing Moon So-ha (Ahn Bo-hyun), a man who has made an impression on her that has lasted through her former lives. The problem is, So-ha doesn’t remember his past lives as she can, and so her challenge of making him remember her begins.

Welcome to Samdal-ri (2023)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Shin Hye-sun in "Welcome to Samdal-ri" (photos of Shin Hye-sun and Ji Chang-wook)

Ji Chang-wook (The Worst of Evil, Lovestruck in the City) lives a bucolic life on Jeju Island. His childhood friend, played by Shin Hye-sun (Mr. Queen), returns after pursuing a career in the big city. Will the simple life and the possibility of romance be enough of a reason for her to stay or will this show pull a K-drama twist on us and break our hearts?

She will star as an unlikely action hero in Brave Citizen.

- TrashPanda and lousycapitalistheart


Tell us in the comments your favorite among Shin Hye-sun's roles!

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