If you’ve been following Son Ye Jin’s drama Thirty Nine, where she plays a dermatologist named Cha Mi-jo, then you’ve probably been enraptured by her sweet and warm-hearted love interest, Kim Seun-woo. He’s the man of everyone’s K-Drama dreams and even the leading lady herself can attest to this! In an online press conference for JTBC, Son Ye Jin described the character of Seun-woo as “an unbelievable romantic straight out of a fairy tale.” And this dreamy effect is undoubtedly due to the incredible actor that has brought him to our screens—Yeon Woo Jin. With his talent of making your heart flutter, you might be eager to know more about the leading man. Fret not, we’ve got you covered!
Here are 10 interesting facts you need to know about Yeon Woo Jin:
1. He's a Cancer
Woo Jin was born on July 5, 1984, with the name Kim Bong Hwe.
2. He has a degree in Civil Engineering
This actor is definitely brimming with talent! For college, Woo Jin went to Sejong University, one of South Korea’s most distinguished institutions. Although he was taking up Civil Engineering, during this time, he was already thinking about pursuing an acting career. He told Marie Claire Korea in 2018, “I was a young man who liked movies, and everything around me didn’t match up.” While it was a confusing time for him, looking back, he said that he was proud of himself for being bold enough to pursue his passion for acting.
3. He was an honor guard
With his 6’1 height, there’s no denying that Woo Jin is of good build and stature. In fact, when he did his mandatory military service, he was an honor guard! As we’ve learned from The JoongAng, honor guards represent the country, and they even attend important or diplomatic events. Because of this, they have strict criteria that involve fine appearance, superior skills, and a pleasing personality, all of which Woo Jin clearly has!
4. He started out as a model
Speaking of his physique, when Woo Jin started making his way through the industry, he first tried out modeling. But he used a different stage name and nope, it wasn’t his birth name either! The actor, at the time, introduced himself as Seo Ji Hoo. This was the name he was also called when he debuted as an actor for his first film, before his agency eventually changed his name to Yeon Woo Jin.
5. He starred in a gay short film for his acting debut
For Woo Jin's acting debut, he top billed the queer short film Just Friends?. Here, he portrayed a gay soldier in a relationship with his friend. While the movie was a bold choice, especially for a debut actor, it’s also quite significant since it was released during a time when most Korean audiences saw LGBTQ+ representation as taboo. These kinds of films help society progress towards being more inclusive and, at the same time, Woo Jin was also able to grow as an actor.
6. He once played the role of an exorcist
While his roles in romantic dramas have us and our hearts swooning, Woo Jin strives to not let himself be limited to such a mold. In fact, his range as an actor is pretty impressive. He once played an exorcist for the drama series Priest (2018), an introspective novelist in the movie Shades of the Heart (2019), and a model soldier in a love affair with the wife of his officer in his new film Serve The People (2022).
7. He’s thoughtful towards his co-actors
If you’re an avid #RiRi shipper, you’ll love Woo Jin! When the engagement of his Thirty-Nine co-star Son Ye Jin and her now-fiance Hyun Bin was announced, he immediately gave them his well wishes. He even shared in an interview with The Korea Herald, “I am looking forward to witnessing the next chapter in her life and career.”
His support for his co-actors can also be seen whenever he's performing. In 2018, he shared to Marie Claire Korea that when he does ad-libs, he asks for the consent of the actors or the director first. In an earlier interview, he even told the magazine that he would get his strength from his co-stars, stating, “I know that acting is something we have to do together, and that work is a beautiful art that we create together with responsibility.”
8. He’s an ISFP-A
During a recent live chat with his fans, Woo Jin took the MBTI test that gauges what kind of personality someone has. The result? ISFP-A! This means that he has personality traits that are “Introverted, Observant, Feeling, and Prospecting”. In other words, he has an open mind and a warm heart. ISFPs are also called “Adventurers” as they are constantly up for new experiences and the idea of always evolving. And with what we’ve learned about him so far, it seems that truer words have never been spoken!
9. He’s not one to make the first move
This might come as a shock, but Woo Jin didn’t consider himself as a charmer when he was younger! In a recent guest appearance on an SBS reality show, he said that during his school days, he got teased for his looks. Because of this, he has since been cautious in showing his feelings, even if he likes someone.
Despite his shyness, however, he plans to be more spontaneous, especially now that he is, according to the South Korean age system, almost thirty-nine—quite a coincidence to his current drama!
10. He plays golf
In his conversation with Marie Claire Korea, he also shared that he enjoys golf, especially since it’s a good activity to enhance his focus and concentration. While he’s no expert, he added that it bodes well for his gentle personality. Plus, it’s something that he can do with his family, which is an aspect in his life that Woo Jin truly values. In a recent interview with Arena, he said, “I tend to separate my work and private life. I think it’s a driving force to move forward because I put my energy into both my work and daily life equally.”
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