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So Ji-sub (소지섭)

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Becoming a Hallyu superstar was the farthest thing from this former competitive swimmer’s mind when he started modelling jeans. All So Ji-sub was thinking of at that time, he has admitted, was hoping to pose with a famous hip-hop artist he admired and make some easy money.

Photo from and Channel Korea

Birthday: November 4, 1977

Of course, it’s only “easy” when you happen to be born looking like So Ji-sub. One wouldn’t exactly describe him as having classical good looks, but his palpable charm certainly makes everyone sit up and take notice whenever he shows up on screen. His attractive face can turn serious and somber in one moment, and then playful and flirty the next. His tall, lithe figure is as crushable as an action hero, a romantic lead, and a celebrity on the red carpet

Like everyone else in the industry, he started with small and supporting roles in dramas and films in the late 1990s to the early 2000s. It was only in 2003, when he nabbed his first leading role in the series Thousand Years of Love. Since then, he has been cementing his popularity in films such as Always (2011), A Company Man (2012), and Be With You (2018).

He is best loved for his role as the chaebol with the troubled past in the series Master’s Sun (2013), the fitness trainer who falls in love in Oh My Venus (2014-15), and the secret agent turned nanny in My Secret Terrius (2018). Among his many awards are a Baeksang Best Actor on TV for his work in the drama I’m Sorry, I Love You (2004) and a Baeksang Best New Actor for the film Rough Cut (2008).

Among his peers, So Ji-sub is known to be a considerate professional who shows up to film sets way ahead of time. It prompted a younger co-star to complain jokingly that he had to get on set 50 minutes ahead of time just to get there at the same time as the veteran actor.

With that kind of work ethic, it’s not surprising that this modern-day Renaissance Man has published a book, opened a successful café, released rap singles, set up a one-man entertainment agency, and continues to cement his dominance in Hallyu. In 2019, after 24 years of dodging romance rumors with different celebrities, he finally confirmed that he was dating a reporter. They eventually married in 2020.

He has literally left his permanent mark in his home country—a road is named after him in Gangwon province--just as he has certainly left his mark in the hearts of all his fans all over the world.

His latest drama Doctor Lawyer (2022) is out on MBC and Disney+ in some territories.

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