Sick of the usual male boss and female employee romance in K-dramas? How about turning things around and letting women do the leading for once? For this week’s much needed dose of female empowerment, we round up five fierce Korean drama ladies who totally rule the screen as the brilliant, and kick-ass bosses of their own companies.
1. Yoon Se-ri in "Crash Landing on You"
After developing a hard outer shell due to her own family issues, Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye Jin) has grown to thrive as a confident, no-nonsense CEO of her fashion company. The gorgeous heiress is as passionate as she is determined, and the episode of her casually taking back her seat as the head of her company Se-ri’s Choice—after she’d been presumed dead—has got to be one of the most iconic power moves we’ve ever seen.
2. Jo Yi-seo in "Itaewon Class"
Portrayed as a brilliant high school prodigy, Jo Yi-seo (Kim Da Mi) convinces amature bar owner Park Saeroyi (Park Seo Joon) to take her in as the manager of his pub Dan Bam. With her knack for being a trendy insider, she aids the store into attracting more customers, which eventually leads to their success in the long-run. Though insensitive and bratty at the onset of the series, Yi-seo slowly learns the value of empathy, especially when it comes to her fellow employees.
3. Jang Man-wol in "Hote del Luna"
Of course, who could forget the stylish Jang Man-wol (IU), a.k.a. the resident CEO of the cursed Hotel del Luna. Although she comes off as distant, stoic, and entirely too materialistic for her own good, these exact traits have allowed her to endure her burdensome mandate for centuries.
4. Cha Soo-hyun in "Encounter"
As the daughter of a prominent political figure, the newly divorced Cha Soo-hyun (Song Hye Kyo) never could escape the celebrity life thrust upon her. That said, after being appointed as the CEO of Dong Hwa Hotel as her alimony, she soon makes a name for herself and proves her worth by building up the establishment to become the best in the game.
5. Bae Ta-mi in "Search: WWW"
Though seemingly reserved and aloof at the start, Search: WWW's Bae Ta-mi (Lim Soo Jung) oozes with a calm confidence that anyone would find intimidating. As a director of one of South Korea's biggest web portal companies, she harbors a competitive streak and isn't afraid to challenge even those of a higher position from her. Ta-mi's eventually fired by her company in the middle of episode two—for outing a sexual predator on live national TV, by the way—but she's immediately taken in by their rival company and named team leader in no time.
6. Oh Hye-won in "Secret Affair"
[Spoiler Alert] As the headstrong director for an elite art foundation, Oh Hye-won (Kim Hee Ae) is sophisticated, charismatic, and a definite inspiration for anyone in their 40s fueled with the drive to reinvent themselves. Her extra-marital affair with a much younger man aside, Hye-won uses her influence and know-how and wits to expose her corrupt boss despite the consequences that could fall on her.