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10 Things You Need to Know About Korean Icon Uhm Jung Hwa

Before “Doctor Cha” came along, she was already dubbed the “Korean Madonna.”
10 Things You Need to Know About Korean Icon Uhm Jung Hwa
IMAGE (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/umaizing, Doctor Cha/JTBC
Before “Doctor Cha” came along, she was already dubbed the “Korean Madonna.”

In the Hallyu scene, no name might ring better than Uhm Jung Hwa. Since making her debut in the late '80s, the 53-year-old star has made her mark as one of Korea’s most influential celebrities. From her dynamic music career to her widely acclaimed stint as the titular Doctor Cha, Jung Hwa is a definite industry fixture–but for those who just got acquainted, here’s the essential info on this illustrious personality.

PHOTO BY Instagram/umaizing

1. Uhm Jung Hwa is a Leo.

The entertainer was born on August 17, 1969 in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea.

PHOTO BY Instagram/umaizing

2. Uhm Jung Hwa is called the “Korean Madonna.”

Dubbed the "Korean Madonna" due to her ever-evolving career, Jung Hwa has left an indelible mark on the Korean music scene as one of its most prominent figures.

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Known for her daring performances and unique fashion sense that push boundaries just like the American icon, Jung Hwa’s now-monumental music career began in 1989 as a chorus member for the Korean network MBC.

Years later, she turned to dance music with her 1996 track Sad Expectation and Rose of Betrayal. Her signature songs include the hit singles like Poison, Invitation, and I Don’t Know.

PHOTO BY Instagram/umaizing

3. Uhm Jung Hwa is part of a K-pop supergroup.

In 2020, Jung Hwa teamed up with K-pop stars Lee Hyori, Jessi, and MAMAMOO’s Hwasa to form the sensational supergroup called Refund Sisters. The concept was initially pitched by Hyori in the show How Do You Play?, which came to reality months later.

Formed on the variety show Hangout with You, the powerhouse collaboration of headstrong gals resulted in a musical feast, with the release of their debut single Don’t Touch Me. As expected, the song was a success and topped local music charts. 

PHOTO BY Hangout with Yoo/MBC

4. Uhm Jung Hwa is a multiple award-winning actress.

Jung Hwa's talent doesn't stop at music. Much like her musical persona, the entertainer is a force to be reckoned with in the acting world, having received numerous accolades for her outstanding performances in movies and TV dramas. Her trophy cabinet boasts prestigious awards like the Baeksang Arts Award Best Actress award for Marriage Is a Crazy Thing and Dancing Queen.

She made her small screen comeback in 2022’s Our Blues alongside the likes of Lee Byung Hun and Shin Min Ah. Her 2023 stint as Doctor Cha proved to be explosive, as the show quickly made its way up on the list of the all-time highest-rated K-dramas.


5. Uhm Jung Hwa’s brother is also an actor.

Talent runs in the family as Jung Hwa's brother, Uhm Tae Woong, is also a well-known actor in Korea. Like his sister, he has made a name for himself through his performances, most notably in 2005 series Resurrection, which earned him a nod at the KBS Drama Awards and 42nd Baeksang Arts Awards.

PHOTO BY Wikimedia Commons

6. Uhm Jung Hwa is a cancer survivor.

Jung Hwa faced a challenging battle with thyroid cancer in 2010, which was only revealed by her agency after the surgery. This was discovered during an early stage and the entertainer soon recovered. However, the operation had paralyzed a part of her vocal chords, causing an inability to talk and sing for eight months.

“I had heard that I would never be able to sing again. But I thought that if I didn’t overcome this, my life would be sad and I would be missing out,” she recounted during a previous interview, where she promoted her first album after eight years. “Wouldn’t it be awesome if I was able to overcome it? It’s like a movie. I wanted to win through it. I worked really hard.”

7. Uhm Jung Hwa is an influential star to many Korean celebrities.

As a shining figure in the industry, many notable actors and artists look up to her as an influential figure who has paved the way for future generations. Among those who cited her as a role model include Hallyu stars BoA, fellow Refund Sister Lee Hyori, Tiffany Young, Baek Ji Young, and Sandara Park, who called the star an “all-around entertainer.”


8. Uhm Jung Hwa has a YouTube channel.

Jung Hwa also launched her own YouTube channel called “Umaizing,” offering fans an intimate look into her life. Curious viewers can peek into her room tours, trips to Bali, and a glimpse at her wide-ranging closet filled with designer wear and lavish classics.

9. Uhm Jung Hwa is a fashion designer.

With her innate sense of style, Jung Hwa has also ventured into the fashion world. Back in 2007, the star created her own lingerie line with online and offline iterations. Labeled Zhum in New York and Corner Suite, Jung Hwa endeavored to make her wearer feel “luxuriously feminine” that exuded confidence.

10. You can follow Uhm Jung Hwa on Instagram.

To keep up with Jung Hwa's latest adventures and get a glimpse into her day-to-day life, tap “follow” on her Instagram page.

PHOTO BY Instagram/umaizing
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