The Daily Dose: Daily Oppas (Part 1)
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
As our Valentine's gift to all our followers, each day in February, an actor who is either the next big thing, or an established heartthrob whom we all love, is featured.
Choi Woo-shik | Gong Yoo | Jung Hae-in | Park Seo-joon | Lee Jong-suk | Hyun Bin | Ok Taecyeon | Park Bo-gum | Im Siwan | Yoo Yeon-seok | Lee Joon | Kim Seon-ho | Kim Woo-bin | Rowoon
February 1: Choi Woo-shik (최우식), Our Beloved Boy Next Door
If you’ve only just started on your k-drama/movie journey, you might know him primarily from his role in the Academy Award-winning movie “Parasite.” It was as this enterprising (albeit morally suspect) son that the Seoul-born, Canada-raised actor bagged a Screen Actors Guild award in 2020. But Choi Woo-shik was flexing his acting chops well before the 2019 sleeper hit that changed the face of the international moviemaking world.
In 2011, after a decade of living abroad, Choi Woo-shik took a shot at acting by auditioning for the Korean entertainment industry. He debuted that same year in “Duo,” a period drama. This was followed by supporting roles for the next few years, as he slowly but steadily built his reputation as an actor with a wide range and strong work ethic. The 2014 coming-of-age film “Set Me Free” saw him take on a lead role for the first time. It was, in a way, a coming-of-age for the actor too, as critics began to sit up and take notice of his talent.
The role would eventually land him the “Actor of the Year” award at the Busan Film Festival, as well as several other nominations (and wins). Ironically, it was during filming this movie that the actor was starting to feel that maybe he should quit acting and move back to Canada.
It is a gift to the industry that he decided to stay the course. He has worked steadily since that major big-screen debut, both on the big screen as well as on television. Most notable are his roles in 2016’s “Train to Busan” and a smaller but quite memorable role in “Okja” the next year. Fans are quick to mention his appearances in k-pop band Day 6’s music videos “Congratulations” and “You Were Beautiful,” the 2017 series “Fight For My Way,” and his most recent role, playing his lovable self on the reality series “Youn’s Stay.”
He recently starred opposite Kim Da-mi in the charming romantic comedy drama from Studio N “Our Beloved Summer” which aired on Netflix. He was also in the film “The Policeman’s Lineage” which dropped in Korean theaters in early January, and is set to star in a South Korean sci-fi fantasy movie “Wonderland.”
Immediately likable, amiable, and hardworking, Choi Woo-shik's s star can only glow brighter. We wish him all the success in the world.
February 2: Gong Yoo (공유), The Silent Stunner
When a mysterious, six-foot-tall salesman accosts a loveable loser in the first episode of "Squid Game" and starts slapping him—yes, slapping him hard—for losing out on the "ddakji" game, one could hear a collective gasp from the awestruck populace. Was it the amused eyes? The sultry baritone? The faintly sadistic expression? Or was it the cracking sound of the numerous slaps he landed on poor Seong Gi-hun's face that made millions of women (and men!) arch their eyebrows, bite their lower lips, and admit that they, too, wanted to know who this ridiculously attractive man in an immaculate suit was? Whatever it was, it only took three minutes of screen time in the biggest Netflix show on the planet to turn unsuspecting viewers into legions of new (and quite thirsty) Gong Yoo fans.
Despite the uneventful food posts on his brand-new IG account and his rather low profile for a Korean superstar, one has to wonder if Gong Yoo is truly unaware of his charisma and incredible sex appeal. He may be soft-spoken and wise in interviews—self-deprecating, even—but nothing can distract from the sheer masculinity and raw intensity that seems to ooze out of every tanned pore. Yet to his credit, the man refuses to simply be an object of desire: Gong Yoo also has the acting talent to match, and a keen eye for projects that go beyond winning at the box office. His "Coffee Prince" (2007) broke barriers in LGBTQ and gender stigmas way before it was considered popular to do so. His "Silenced" (2011) literally changed Korean laws. His "Goblin" ushered in the great k-drama renaissance of 2016, his "Train to Busan" put Korea solidly on the genre cinema map, and even his turns in "Seo Bok" and in "The Silent Sea" were his conscious contributions to pushing Korean sci-fi. He is no mere actor; Gong Yoo is every bit a political force as he is a celebrity, and a refreshingly responsible one at that.
As we have insisted before, Gong Yoo is very fine wine on the tongue: inhaled in order to appreciate the details of his perpetually tousled hair, the kind eyes, and the buttery voice… and then exhaled so we can step back to study the merits of his talent and body of work. It is a tricky thing to pull off—striking a balance between the commercial and the artistic—but Gong Yoo is the rare actor that has done this substantially and successfully for over a decade. And like fine wine, he will just gloriously better with age.
February 3: Jung Hae-in (정해인), The Noona Killer
“His face is [for] romance; his body is [for] action” is quite the apt description of Jung Hae-in by his fans.
A boyish smile, perfect white teeth, and glass skin—Jung Hae-in has the face of a quintessential k-drama romantic male lead. Even his genes are impressive: he's the great-grandson of Jeong Yakyong, one of the greatest Joseon-era thinkers. If this pedigree wasn't enough, he was also born to affluent doctor parents.
To attribute his success solely to his family, however, is unfair. Once he realized his love for acting while in the military, he decided to pursue it, even if it meant debuting at the late age of 26. A black belt, he made full use of his taekwondo skills in his action scenes for the “sageuks” (historical shows) “The Three Musketeers” (2014) and “The Age of Blood” (2017). He even trained in boxing for three months for Netflix’s military drama “D.P.” He also became the most searched on the Korean portal Naver as “While You Were Sleeping” (2017) was airing. He launched his "noona killer" status when he charmed Son Ye-jin's character in “Something in the Rain” (2018) and cemented it again in "One Spring Night" (2019). Most recently, he broke hearts when he played a North Korean spy in the historical drama “Snowdrop,” opposite Blackpink’s Kim Ji-soo.
A versatile actor who can cook and clean, is kind to the cast and crew, but doesn’t fully grasp how endearing he is—the introvert Jung Hae-in possesses charms that are truly lethal to all "noonas" and non-"noonas" alike.
February 4: Park Seo-joon (박용규), The Marvel
Dreamy yet down-to-earth. Endearingly boyish but manly at the same time. He is equally believable as a rugged, everyday man and as a snobby, conglomerate heir. Park Seo-joon is a study in contrasts, with a legion of fans ready to become scholars.
Park Seo-joon has been charming audiences both at home and overseas since his first television drama "Dream High 2" (2012). And it’s not hard to see why he is called the “master of romantic comedy” with his swoon-worthy good looks, dazzling smile, and believable chemistry with all of his leading ladies. (Admit it, you’ve rewound a few of those confession scenes. We don’t judge you.)
This hardworking actor spends as much time preparing for his roles as he does keeping fit. The result is hard to miss. His finely sculpted figure is the stuff of women’s dreams and men’s fitness goals. You simply cannot fake this gold standard of palpable sexiness and raw masculinity.
Off-screen, he has built a reputation for being gallant towards co-stars and fostering genuine friendships with his fellow celebrities.
His real life shy and sometimes introspective persona is just as appealing as his dashing on-screen characters. The combination of sincerity and sexy has given him massive global appeal, and has likely launched the imaginations and creations of many a fanfic writer worldwide.
February 5: Lee Jong-suk (이종석), The Romantic
It’s somewhat of a mystery, really, how Lee Jong-suk somehow has chemistry with every actress he works with, and manages to make viewers fall in love in every romantic drama he appears in.
It could all be in his eyes, which can portray a wide range of emotions with such fierce intensity that no words are even needed, and yet turn naïve or innocent or playful in a split second. Or it could be because of his unusually striking visuals, which made his runway debut at 15 years old a phenomenon never before seen in the modeling world.
Or, perhaps, he really is just that gifted an actor, helping propel whatever project he picks—from his breakthrough performance in “School 2013” (2012) to “I Can Hear Your Voice” (2013), “Pinocchio“ (2014), “W: Two Worlds Apart” (2016), “While You Were Sleeping” (2017), and “Romance Is a Bonus Book” (2019)—into timeless hits. The acting awards that followed almost all these projects is testament to his talent.
But it’s not just these innate gifts. His devotion to his craft and intense work ethic is well known in the industry. Amid all his on-screen projects, in fact, he managed to graduate from Konkuk University in 2016 with a degree in Professional Motion Pictures and Art.
After being away for two years for his mandatory military service, Lee Jong-suk is making his highly anticipated comeback this year in the action thriller “Decibel”, where he plays a navy captain racing to stop a terrorist attack, and the tvN drama “Big Mouse”, where he will take on the role of a third-rate lawyer mistaken to be a genius swindler.
February 6: Hyun Bin (김태평), The Captain
Tall, handsome oppas seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but only time can tell who among today’s crop of rising stars have the power to stay. More than 18 years since his debut in the drama “Bodyguard,” Hyun Bin has proven several times over that he is in a league of Hallyu celebrities that can withstand the whims of a public obsessed with finding the next big thing.
Although there’s no denying that his majestically good looks—impossibly broad shoulders, impeccable bone structure, and killer dimples—have won the hearts of fans around the world, his longevity may be attributed to his range as an actor, the intelligence with which he has navigated his career, as well as his quiet and dignified mystique.
He has taken on roles as varied as a young mathematical genius ("Snow Queen," 2006), a psychiatric patient ("I am Happy," 2009), a suave gigolo in Seattle ("Late Autumn," 2011), a chaebol with a dissociative identity (previously known as split personality) disorder ("Hyde, Jekyll, Me," 2015), and a devilish hostage taker ("The Negotiation," 2017). His most iconic roles—as an arrogant chaebol who occasionally swaps bodies with a poor stuntwoman ("Secret Garden," 2010) and as an upright yet inner softie North Korean soldier ("Crash Landing on You," 2019)—earned him not just international adulation but two "Daesang" (Grand Prize) Awards.
On top of being one of Korea’s most highly-paid actors and commercial endorsers, Hyun Bin is a successful businessman who established his own agency, actively invests in real estate, and gives generously to charitable causes. These days he plays a lot of golf and has been spotted going on food trips with his equally famous girlfriend Son Ye-jin.
Watch out for his devastating visuals in the upcoming films “The Point Men” with Hwang Jung-min, based on the 2007 South Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan, and the sequel to “Confidential Assignment 2.”
February 7: Ok Taecyeon (옥택연), The Beast
The impossibly ripped muscles never fail to draw incredulous stares. From being a “jimseung-dol” or “beast idol” along with other members of 2PM, to his being dubbed “Captain Korea” during his time in the military, Ok Taecyeon possesses one of the most admired and desired bodies in the Korean entertainment industry.
But the most attractive aspect of this idol-turned-actor is what’s inside his perfectly chiseled physique.
“I hope I can become the ‘Happy Virus.’ Doesn’t matter where I go, I want to give happiness to many people,” he said in an interview last year. “As a singer who is acting, if you watch me act and you can feel the comfort and happiness from my heart that would be great.”
That’s exactly what the multifaceted, multilingual US-raised Korean has been doing since 2008, when he joined the reality show “Hot Blood Men” to eventually debut as a rapper for the boyband 2PM. His success as an idol brought him to the world of acting, not just in Korea but also in Japan. After debuting in the k-drama “Cinderella’s Sister” in 2010, he joined fellow idols in the hit show “Dream High” in 2011. That same year, he debuted on Japanese TV, bagging a role in the Sunday drama “Boku to Star no 99 Nichi”. He even became a variety show mainstay, showcasing his easygoing personality on the popular “Three Meals a Day” for two seasons.
Off-screen, he has also earned praise for his determination to serve his country. First, he gave up his US permanent residence visa. Second, after failing the medical exam in 2008, he retook it in 2013 after two operations on his spinal discs in order to be cleared for active duty. In 2017, he finally began his service, earning distinctions from the military, the “Model Soldier” award from the Ministry of National Defense.
After he was discharged, he gave us arguably his most iconic role to date—the intern-turned-cold-blooded-villain in “Vincenzo” (2021)—one that he said appealed to him because it allowed him to show many sides. And he followed that by showing yet another side of him in the romantic comedy "sageuk" (historical show) “Secret Royal Inspector Joy” (2021). He’ll be back on screen later this year in a completely different role, this time as a police detective out to punish evil in the OCN drama “Blind”.
Clearly, Ok Taecyeon has already been spreading a lot of joy. But can somebody please tell him more shirtless scenes will make us extremely happy, too?
February 8: Park Bo-gum (박보검), The Crown Prince
"Handsome" is an adjective too shallow, too weak for someone as striking as Park Bo-gum. The insane symmetry of his features and his ridiculous charm demand a word that is leagues above mere handsomeness. Stare at those kind eyes and well-defined jawline long enough, and you know the most appropriate word to describe him would be "beautiful." Yes, Park Bo-gum is a beautiful, beautiful man.
And if that wasn't enough, he’s also an accomplished working actor, a successful model, a musical theater graduate, and a devoted son. Yet it is what lies beyond his refined features that makes him truly fascinating. His calm personality, effusive warmth, and enviable friendliness all converge to create a squeaky-clean image that in the hands of other celebrities would simply be disingenuous and inauthentic. At a time where Insta-celebs and lesser actors try to go viral by inciting one scandalous gig after another, Gummy has remained true to his wholesome, boy-next-door charm without struggle or compromise, and has succeeded wildly because of it.
Yet his beginnings in k-dramaland could not be more different. Taking on interesting starter roles such as a cello prodigy in “Naeil’s Cantabile” (2014), and a teenage psychopath in “Hello Monster” (2015) has set him up to be the kind of actor that can go beyond being pretty. His early work in the movies—as a youth enmeshed in war (“The Admiral”) and as a boy caught in a gang vendetta (“Coin Locker Girl”)—have also taught him to pay the difficult dues demanded from an actor. In 2015, he became a household name when he played the genius Go player Choi Taek in “Reply 1988,” which earned him the moniker of “Nation’s Little Brother.” He then quickly moved on to become the “Nation’s Crown Prince” when he starred in the runaway historical hit “Love in the Moonlight” in 2016. Since then, the accolades have never stopped coming.
Yet among his many labels, it is the title of a real “good guy” that he is proudest of, bestowed on him by his closest friends (most notably BTS’ V and the gang from “Reply 1988”). Despite the ever-growing glare of the spotlight and the screaming legions of fans, he still remains true to form: eternally unbothered, always amiable, and incredibly polite. Gummy is indeed precious proof that good guys don’t finish last. The good guys actually win, and win beautifully.