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Lee Min-ho (이민호)

In the landmark television adaptation of Min Jin Lee's best selling novel, Pachinko, Lee Min-ho is every bit the mysterious and powerful "Hansu" the book envisioned and more. More than just a love interest, Lee Min-ho worked hard to bring the flawed character to life, even learning to speak three languages and getting himself filthy to do justice to key scenes. "He had to really try hard to survive," Lee remarks of Hansu, and he would know about survival. After all, this man has been in the Hallyu limelight for quite a long time now.

GwenchaNoona | Actor's Profile: Lee Min-ho

Photo from Harper's BAZAAR/HanCinema

Birthday: June 22, 1987

Instagram: @actorleeminho

As a go-to leading man, many are surprised to know that Lee actually had to audition for the role in Pachinko, and that it was his first time to play a villain in his entire career. As the frosty and dangerous Hansu, Lee marked a departure from his usual romantic lead roles that take advantage of his incredible handsomeness. This time, he still used his famous face and imposing height, but now for something much darker than his fans are used to.

In 2009, the then-unknown Lee got his big break after he beat out the stiff competition to be cast in Boys over Flowers, which became a huge hit in Korea and ushered another Korean wave in Asia. Since then, the lead roles never stopped coming. His most famous roles in k-drama series include Personal Taste (2010), City Hunter (2011), The Heirs (2013), The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016), and The King: Eternal Monarch (2020).

In k-dramaland, Lee Min-ho has always been THE Prince Charming. He is the gateway to the happily-ever-after world of k-drama fantasy. His looks are still an impossible standard and his aura makes his appeal wide and unmistakable. Women of all ages, from high school students to your neighbor’s grandmother gravitate toward him and the characters he plays. Yet even as he goes from Prince Charming to Pachinko's dark prince, Lee Min-ho will always be treated like royalty by his loyal fandom, making him one of the most admired and followed Korean stars on social media, and one of the most internationally known Hallyu stars.

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