Ever since her modeling debut in 1998, Shin Min Ah has gone nowhere but up. From gracing the pages of famed magazines and becoming the face of high-end luxury brands, to climbing to the top of the acting world as a versatile actress, the 37-year-old is truly a force to be reckoned with. There’s no stopping her anytime soon either. Set to star alongside Start-Up’s Kim Seon Ho for the upcoming tvN romantic comedy Seashore Village ChaChaCha, it’s clear we’ll be seeing a lot more of Min Ah in the foreseeable future.
If you aren’t familiar with the actress yet, we’re here to catch you up! Below, we list down 10 fun facts any budding fan should know about Shin Min Ah.
1. She’s an Aries.
Born on April 5, 1984, Min Ah is an Aries and was raised in the city of Seongnam, South Korea.
2. She started out as a model.
Before catching the acting bug, Min Ah first entered the industry as a teenage model way back in 1998. She quickly flourished in the field, too, as she was eventually hired to model for top brands such as Giordano, and LG alongside Hyun Bin. She’s even shot a Calvin Klein spread with Hollywood actor Jamie Dornan for Elle Korea in 2009. Min Ah is currently the Korean amabassador of French fashion label Roger Vivier.
3. She’s appeared in several music videos.
Min Ah slowly slipped into the acting world by first appearing in music videos for Korean musicians, the most of which was for the MVs of the boyband g.o.d. Other artists whose music videos she’s acted for include Cha Tae Hyun, Brown Eyes, Lee Seung Hwan, and Yoo Hee Yeol.
4. She made her acting debut in 2001.
Then 17 years old, Min Ah finally started her official transition from modeling to acting in 2001 by making her debut with a support role in the melodrama Beautiful Days. It didn’t take long before she landed main roles in films such as Volcano High (2001) and Madelaine (2003). As for TV, her first big break came in the form of the 2005 melodrama A Love to Kill, in which she starred alongside actor and K-pop star Rain.
5. She rose to prominence in “My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho.”
The actress truly made her mark in the business with her role as a centuries-old gumiho in the 2010 fantasy romance My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. She and her onscreen partner, Lee Seung Gi, were even hailed as Best Couple at the SBS Drama Awards for that year. Other TV dramas she’s spearheaded as a lead actress include Oh My Venus, Tomorrow with You, and Chief of Staff.
6. She’s dating fellow actor Kim Woo Bin.
Min Ah has been in a stable relationship with actor Kim Woo Bin for almost six years now. Their relationship was made public by Dispatch in 2015 after the two got close during their endorsement activities for Giordano. Min Ah stayed steadfast by her boyfriend’s side when the Uncontrollably Fond actor suffered from cancer in 2017. Luckily, he’s since recovered and has even signed a new contract with Min Ah’s agency, AM Entertainment.
“Since we have the same career and we support each other, we say, ‘Hwaiting!’ to each other. I also hope Kim Woo Bin does well since he’s making his return,” she shared during an online interview for her 2020 film Diva. “We’re cheering each other on.”
7. She can sing!
Joining the league of actors with singing chops to match, Min Ah has lent her soft and angelic voice to the soundtracks of dramas she’s starred in, including My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, Arang and the Magistrate, Punch, and The Naked Kitchen.
8. She has a generous heart.
As much as luck has favored her steady career, she also hasn’t forgotten to express her gratitude by giving back in any way she can. As revealed in 2019, Min Ah makes annual donations of 100 million won to the Hallym Burn Foundation, a habit she started in 2015. According to an article by Soompi, Min Ah opted to donate to the aforementioned group after finding out that they’re often overlooked by donors.
“Patients with burn injuries in our country have received a great amount of courage and hope through Shin Min Ah, who has actively supported patients with burn injuries for a long time,” Hallym Burn Foundation’s chairperson Yoon Hyun Sook revealed in a statement. As of 2020, Min Ah has helped a total 114 burn patients.
9. She took diving lessons for her role in “Diva.”
Min Ah underwent extensive diving training to embody her role as a competitive diver in the 2020 thriller film Diva. Hours of training eventually led her to developing the “body of a swimmer,” as revealed in an interview with Marie Claire Korea. She shared: “Since my body had to remember the techniques, training didn’t end once we began filming. I could get injured if my body forgot a movement, so I was always practicing at the pool whenever I was off filming.”
Other skills she’s learned over the years thanks to the characters she’s taken on include boxing, playing the cello, and dancing. She even once fainted for five seconds while in the middle of boxing training for the 2003 drama Punch.
10. Her Instagram handle is @illusomina.
Already fallen for Min Ah? You can always get a closer peek at her life by following her on Instagram at @illusomina.