Whether you fisrt met Kim Ji Won as a snobby, rich kid in The Heirs, or you swooned over her chemistry with Park Seo Joon in Fight for My Way, there’s no denying this K-drama actress’ charm and star power onscreen. This December, she is out to win over hearts once again in the romantic drama Lovestruck in the City alongside Hallyu actor Ji Chang Wook.
Now, before you fall even deeper in love with Ji Won this month, below, we round up 10 basic facts every fan should know about her.
1. Kim Ji Won is a Libra.
Ji Won was born in Seoul, South Korea on October 19, 1992, making her a Libra. She also has an elder sister who’s two years older than her.
2. Kim Ji Won took up Theater in college .
After finishing her secondary education in Paekahm High School, Ji Won entered Dongguk University’s theater department. Despite graduating, she continues to support the school’s drama program and even attends the student-led plays on occasion.
3. Kim Ji Won first rose to fame for her role in The Heirs.
Prior to 2013, Ji Won earned her fair share of major roles in lesser known movies and TV series such as the musical drama What’s Up, and the short thriller anthology Horror Stories. It wasn’t until she co-starred in The Heirs as the wealthy yet haughty Rachel Yoo that she saw her star rise amongst Korea’s general public. Her next memorable drama came three years later with a main role on the international hit series Descendants of the Sun.
4. Kim Ji Won cemented herself as a leading lady in the 2017 drama Fight for My Way.
Ji Won finally earned leading lady status after starring as Choi Ae-ra on Fight for My Way alongside Park Seo Joon. In an interview back in 2017, she mentioned that the TV series allowed her to show a different side of herself to the general public. “Before, people thought of me as smart and somewhat unapproachable,” she explained. “I’m not as outspoken as she is, so it was a huge release playing her.”
5. Kim Ji Won almost pursued singing instead of acting.
Before falling into the acting hole, she originally planned to debut as an idol under the stage name JessicaK. Having been in the same company as singer and songwriter Younha, a young Ji Won even appeared in one of her music videos titled Gossip Boy. That said, she holds no regrets after switching careers as stated in a 2018 interview. "I thought that I had to give up singing. I thought it's better to give the chance to those who are talented in singing. Fortunately, I am now focusing on my acting career and I just want to focus on this."
6. If she didn't become an actress, Kim Ji Won would have become a kindergarten teacher.
Asked two years ago what her career would have been if she weren’t an actress, Ji Won revealed that she would have become a kindergarten teacher. “I like little kids. I want to spend time with them and receive their good energy,” she said.
7. Kim Ji Won prefers not to be active on social media.
While shooting for her movie Detective K: Secret of the Living Dead in 2018, Ji Won explained in an interview why she prefers to stay off of social media. “I’m the type to separate my personal life from my work. When I appear in a drama, I’d like people to focus on that character only.” In fact, when it comes to real life, she even mentioned that she’d prefer to be called by the name of one of her characters instead of her actual name.
8. Kim Ji Won used to be called “little Kim Tae Hee.”
During her teenage years, Ji Won received the nickname “little Kim Tae Hee” seeing as she used to resemble the Hi Bye, Mama actress. According to comments from the public, she has “big eyes, a tiny face” and “doll-like beauty” similar to Tae Hee.
9. Kim Ji Won reunited with DoTS co-star Song Joong Ki in Arthdal Chronicles.
Ji Won and Joong Ki first starred alongside each other in Descendants of the Sun. They eventually reunited three years later for the tvN fantasy drama Arthdal Chronicles where she played Tan-ya, a.k.a. Joong Ki’s main love interest. On casting Ji Won for the role, the show’s writers recalled, “We had drawn concept art for the character Tan Ya. Since this was before the cast had been decided, we just drew it based on the character’s vibe, but I remember asking, ‘Doesn’t this look like Kim Ji Won?’ The picture and Kim Ji Won matched really well.”
10. Kim Ji Won is handled by SALT Entertainment.
Last February 2020, SALT Entertainment revealed that Ji Won had joined their company as one of their new artists. “We are thankful to newly establish a connection with Kim Ji Won, who is receiving love from many with her irreplaceable charms. We think we are very lucky to be able to work with her,” they said in a statement. Apart from Ji Won, the agency also handles other established actors such as Park Shin Hye, Kim Jung Hwa, and rising star Kim Seon Ho.