That famous bedimpled smile seems devoid of everything but joy. So youthful and captivating are Shin Min-a's looks and demeanor that it's hard to believe that it's already been over 20 years since she began working as a model and actress.
Born Yang Min-a, she began modeling for teen magazines at 14. After graduating from Dongguk University with a degree in Performing Arts, she ventured into acting in the melodrama "Beautiful Days" (2001) with Lee Byung-hun, with who she would reunite later in the gangster classic "A Bittersweet Life" (2005).
Since then, she has made quite a name for herself on both the small and large screen. Her versatility has earned her a loyal fan following, especially after starring in hit dramas like "My Girlfriend is a Gumiho" (2010), "Oh My Venus" (2015), and "Tomorrow, With You" (2017).
Her last k-drama romcom, "Hometown Cha-cha-cha," where she played a snobby dentist who falls for a handsome handyman, is still one of Netflix's most popular titles despite it being released a couple of years ago. After its success, Min-a then flipped the switch and starred as a troubled, depressed mother trying to make sense of her life in "Our Blues," where she reunited with Lee Byung-hun once again.
Not one to be afraid of demanding roles, she practiced the cello nonstop for "A Bittersweet Life," learned to dance for "Go Go 70s," and even fainted during boxing training for "Punch." For her last movie "Diva," (2020) she trained for months, putting herself through nearly seven hours of training a day, including hours of intense workouts and swimming to play a competitive diver to perfection.
When she isn't acting, she lends that trademark smile as one of Korea's most sought-after and highly-paid commercial and fashion models. Interestingly, she was the first Korean to grace the cover of Allure Korea. She also met her longtime boyfriend Kim Woo-bin at a Giordano shoot, and the two have remained a couple ever since.
Style icon, award-winning actress, and a huge philanthropist. So is there anything out there that can stop this woman from smiling?
Once, after shooting a physically demanding scene multiple times, she finally declared that the scene was perfect. How did she know? "Because," she replied, "I could smile with blood on me."
Clearly, this woman is something else.