The dreamy actors we usually see in our favorite K-dramas resemble the ideal prince charming we all pictured in our heads back when we were young: tall, handsome, and fit as a fiddle. With their modelesque builts and sharp yet flawless facial features, they look like they came straight off the runway—but guess what? Some of them actually did. Below are five of the most in-demand leading men in South Korea who started out as models before they became famous actors.
Ahn Jae Hyun
The Cinderella and Four Knights star began as a model in 2009. He walked for runway shows, did commercials, and appeared in magazine editorials before landing a supporting role in the hit TV drama series My Love from Another Star. It later translated into more acting offers, eventually leading him to his first starring role as a vampire doctor in Blood.
So Ji Sub
This heartthrob of a coach from Oh My Venus started out as a model for the jeans brand STORM back in 1995. He was never really interested in becoming a celebrity and only ventured into modeling because it was a good and easy way to earn money. After making his acting debut on the sitcom Three Guys and Three Girls, he continued doing small roles in TV dramas and eventually rose to fame portraying the lead character for I’m Sorry, I Love You.
Kim Woo Bin
Unlike So Ji Sub, Kim Woo Bin really wanted to pursue a modeling career. He was 20 years old when he began walking for Seoul Fashion Week. Soon after, he started doing commercials, which required basic acting skills. He took acting lessons and fell in love with the craft, and it was 2011 when he made his acting debut in the mystery drama, White Christmas.
Lee Soo Hyuk
Lee Soo Hyuk’s promising modeling career began with designer Jung Wook Jun's Lone Costume fashion show in 2006. Apart from walking for famous Korean fashion brands like General Idea and Song Zio, he was also kept busy doing cover shoots for magazines such as GQ, Bazaar, and Elle. It was 2011 when he decided to add “actor” to his resume, joining the cast of KBS2’s White Christmas.
Lee Jong Suk
The Pinocchio star started early on and began his modeling career at 15, making him the youngest to debut at the Seoul Collection program for Seoul Fashion Week. He was already a successful model who walked for the biggest runway shows before he decided to hop into the world of acting. He made his official debut as an actor in the 2010 romantic comedy series Prosecutor Princess where he played a supporting role.