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K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye

Updated: Apr 29

In a world where fame is often fleeting, South Korean actress Park Shin-hye has managed to carve out a lasting career filled with remarkable roles, unforgettable performances, and a plethora of awards. Once bearing the moniker of South Korea’s “Nation’s Little’s Sister,” Park Shin-hye has amassed a large following throughout Asia since her teenage years playing the young version of Kim Ji-woo in Stairway to Heaven.

park shin hye netflix kdrama

Born on February 18, 1990, in Gwangju, Park Shin-hye ventured into the entertainment world at a young age. She made her acting debut in 2003 with the drama Stairway to Heaven, where she played the younger version of Choi Ji-woo's character.

See her profile.

You’re Beautiful (2009)

Available on iQIYI, Netflix, Viki

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye in "You're Beautiful"

Park Shin-hye’s break-out K-drama role was in the cult-classic drama You're Beautiful. She played the charming Go Mi-nyeo who masquerades as her twin brother to join a boy band. The show became a massive hit, not just in South Korea but across Asia, turning Park into a bona fide Hallyu star.

After the runaway success of You're Beautiful, Park starred opposite her previous co-star, Jung Yong-hwa, in the 2011 romantic drama Heartstrings. Though the drama received a tepid response initially, it later gained a cult following, particularly among the youth, for its light-hearted storytelling and palpable chemistry between the leads.

The Heirs / The Inheritors (2013)

Available on AppleTV, iQIYI, Netflix, Prime Video, Viki

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye in "The Heirs"

Then in 2013, Park Shin-hye's career really took off when she played the role of Cha Eun-sang in the star-studded drama The Heirs, alongside Lee Min-ho and Kim Woo-bin. The series was a blockbuster success, strengthening Park's already flourishing career.

This popular youth drama by hitmaker Kim Eun-sook revolves around the lives of wealthy high school students attending an elite academy. Park Shin-hye played Cha Eun-sang, a bright, hardworking and kind-hearted girl from a poor background who captures the heart of poor little rich boy Kim Tan (Lee Min-ho). The series was a huge pan-Asian hit, with most of its cast, including Kim Woo-bin, Park Hyung-sik, Kang Ha-neul, Kim Ji-won, and Crystal Jung, moving on to successful careers as lead actors.

Park also ventured into the world of cinema with projects like Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013), where she played the adult version of Ye-seung, who fights to clear her wrongfully accused father. The film was not only a commercial success but also highly acclaimed, marking Park's successful transition from TV dramas to movies.

Pinocchio (2014)

Available on AppleTV, iQIYI, Netflix, Viki

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye in "Pinocchio" (photo of Lee Jong-suk and Park Shin-hye)

In this 2014 drama, Park Shin-hye stars as Choi In-ha, a young woman with the "Pinocchio syndrome," a condition that causes her to hiccup whenever she tells a lie. Alongside her co-star Lee Jong-suk, who plays Choi Dal-po, the two portray aspiring journalists who uncover corruption and pursue truth in the media industry. Their chemistry adds a layer of charm and authenticity to their characters' relationship.

Doctors (2016)

Available on AppleTV, Netflix, Prime Video, Viki, Viu

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye in "Doctors" (photo of Park Shin-hye and Kim Rae-won)

Park Shin-hye starred opposite Kim Rae-won in this 2016 medical romance drama. Taking on the role of Yoo Hye-jung, a tough and rebellious high school student who transforms into a skilled and compassionate neurosurgeon, she skillfully portrayed the character's journey from a troubled youth to a respected doctor. The series followed Yoo Hye-jung as she navigates the challenges of her personal and professional life, including her complicated relationship with her estranged grandmother and her romantic involvement with her mentor, Hong Ji-hong, played by Kim.

Memories of the Alhambra (2019)

Available on Netflix

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye in "Memories of the Alhambra" (photo of Park Shin-hye and Hyun Bin)

This fantasy thriller romance is about Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin), the CEO of an investment company who travels to Spain and stays at an old hostel in Granada, where he becomes entangled in a series of mysterious incidents surrounding an augmented reality (AR) game. The drama explores themes of love, friendship, and the boundaries between the virtual world and reality. Park Shin-hye plays former guitarist Jung Hee-joo who owns the Hostel Bonita where Yoo stays.

In 2020, she joined the zombie zeitgeist in Alive, and then in 2022, she entered the action foray in the expensive Sisyphus: The Myth.

Doctor Slump (2024)

Available on Netflix

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park Shin-hye in "Doctor Slump"

In this healing drama, Park Shin-hye portrays Nam Ha-neul, a brilliant and hardworking anesthesiology fellow who hits a slump in her career due to intense pressure, a toxic work environment, and a diagnosis of depression. The series reunites her with The Heirs co-star Park Hyung-sik who plays celebrity plastic surgeon Yeo Joong-woo, Ha-neul’s high school rival, who is also going through a crisis of his own after a high-profile patient dies on his operating table. More than simply serving up a cute enemies-to-lovers story, Doctor Slump tackles mental health with great care and sensitivity, and is populated with relatable and lovable characters.

Throughout her career, Park Shin-hye has been recognized for her excellence with numerous awards. She won the SBS Drama Award for Excellence in Acting for her role in You're Beautiful and the Popular Star Award at the 33rd Film Critics Association Awards for A Heart Blackened (2017). These make up just the tip of the iceberg, as her list of accolades continues to grow each year. Apart from her acting commitments, Park has also been active in social work and charity, often contributing to causes close to her heart. This multi-dimensional approach to her career makes her a true role model for young aspiring actors and her fans alike.

From her humble beginnings in Stairway to Heaven to her blockbuster hits like The Heirs and Doctors, Park has demonstrated an incredible range as an actress. Her success is adorned with numerous awards and a growing international fanbase. As she continues to evolve and take on new challenges, it's evident that her star will continue to shine brightly for years to come.

Park Shin-hye has gone on a quick hiatus to enjoy married life and motherhood. She has just recently returned to K-drama in Netflix's Doctor Slump in 2024.

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