Kim Ji Won stars in the six-episode drama, My Liberation Notes, alongside Lee Min Ki and Lee El to play siblings. Currently airing on JTBC and Netflix, this series revolves around the social pressures faced by young adults in South Korea. As we enjoy her performance for the entire month of May, here are some of her past works that are also worth watching. Read on and take your pick among these eight shortlisted series.
Admit it, sometimes we catch ourselves fascinated with the lives of the rich and famous. As the Hallyu wave caught on, one of the most memorable chaebol characters was Rachel Yoo, played by then a 21-year-old Kim Ji Won. In an interview, Ji Won revealed that her character was inspired by Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf.
While almost every cast member went on to become superstars, Kim Ji Won also carved a notable acting career. But before she gained the notoriety she enjoys today, she was Rachel Yoo, the rich heir who was engaged to the show’s main protagonist, Kim Tan, played by Lee Min Ho. Unfortunately, Kim Tan was sent to the US when his scheming half-brother thought of him as a threat as he was also the heir to their father’s company. Due to his love and respect for his brother, he agrees to the plan. This plan led him to cross paths with a girl named Cha Eun Sang, a young woman who was in the US to meet her older sister. Due to some twist of fate, she was forced to stay at Kim Tan’s home where they both grew fond of each other. When they returned to South Korea, whatever romance that blossomed abroad was met with strong resistance from Rachel. She was willing to do anything to keep Kim Tan.
While this was not one of the most pleasant characters Kim Ji Won played, it put her on the map! She transformed into someone you would love to hate as she played her antagonistic role so well!
To The Beautiful You
This 2012 rom-com may be another throwback but it’s still a good series to get lost in. This drama is inspired by a Japanese manga and it centres around a Korean girl named Jae Hee, who was living in the US. She was relentlessly bullied at her school because of the way she looks, so she decided to drop out. It was then that she saw Kang Tae Joon on TV who then won a medal as a high jump athlete. This inspired Jae Hee to become an athlete too.
She goes to South Korea to enrol in the same school as Tae Joon. Jae Hee’s determination never wavered even after she learned that he goes to an all-boys school. To get around this setback, she cuts her hair short to look like a boy and gets admitted to her intended school. Unfortunately, Tae Joon had a major injury which forced him to retire. Tae Joon, however, finds comfort in his childhood friend, played by Kim Ji Won. She plays another insolent and spoiled rich kid who also harbours deep feelings for him.
One Sunny Day
If you fancy the concept of serendipity condensed into one short drama, One Sunny Day is a web series that should keep you entertained. Hally heartthrob, So Ji Sub, stars as Kim Ji Ho, a brokenhearted man who wound up on Jeju Island to look for work. However, he keeps running into the same woman (Kim Ji Won). A robbery that involved both of them forced the two strangers to spend the night in the same guest house where they started to get to know each other more.
This role veers away from the usual haughty rich kid persona that Kim Ji Won often plays. The story is laid back and simple, a perfect drama if you just want lighthearted entertainment.
Gap Dong is a 2014 drama where Kim Ji Won played a 17-year-old high school student named Ma Ji Wool. The story revolved around Moo Yeom, a former Buddhist monk, who got involved with a man named Gap Dong, who is actually a killer. He decides to cut ties with this ruthless criminal and decides to become a detective in the violent crimes unit of the Police Department as revenge on the guy who screwed him over. However, after two decades have passed, Gap Dong reappears and this time Moo Yeom is determined to get him behind bars.
Ma Ji Wool plays a crucial role in all this because the webtoon she creates was able to foretell crimes. She ends up becoming the next target for the killer. This drama was loosely based on the real-life Hwaseong Murders. It’s a thriller-mystery drama that aged well, so it still truly entertains even after eight years!
Fight for My Way
If there is one drama that solidified Kim Ji Won as a remarkable actress, this series gives us an entertaining revelation. She plays Choi Ae Ra, a young woman who is trying to find her place in the world but is also barely getting by. But despite her setbacks, she was fortunate enough to have the support of friends, especially Ko Dong Man (Park Seo Joon). He is a skilled taekwondo athlete who was forced to give up on his dream due to a scandal, so he settles for a mundane and unfulfilling job. Along with their other two close friends, Kim Joo Man and Baek Seol Hee, they are each other’s shoulders to lean on.
Rom-com fans should find the blossoming romance between Choi Ae Ra and Ko Dong Man heartwarming. Ji Won and Seo Joon were perfect for their characters. From bickering friends who saw each other as brother and sister, it was adorable seeing how they struggled with their feelings when they realised that they are attracted to each other!
What’s so interesting about Dong Man’s storyline is it’s based on the life of the mixed martial artist Choo Sung Hoon and his wife, Yano Shiho.
Descendants of the Sun
This k-drama brought Kim Ji Won’s name to greater heights even though she played the second lead role. Starring alongside Hallyu bigwigs, Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo, Ji Won’s performance elevated her popularity to international levels as hoards of viewers fell in love with this show.
People loved her portrayal of Yoon Myung Ju, a fierce young woman who followed her father’s footsteps as an army doctor. However, she falls in his bad graces when she falls in love with Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo), a non-commissioned officer. Together in a time of war, these two bond and overcome the odds that were stacked against them. Despite the star power of the Song-Song couple, Ji Won and Jin Goo showed an amazing performance which helped the young actress to bag the Excellence Award for an Actress in a Miniseries and the Best New Actress Award at the 30th KBS Drama Awards. She even got a nomination for the Most Popular Female in Television at the Baeksang Art Awards!
Arthdal Chronicles was thought to be the Korean interpretation of HBO’s Game of Thrones. But this is just a common misconception because the storyline is different. This 2019 series, which is lauded as the first Korean ancient fantasy series, is set in the Bronze age. Eun Seom, the show’s protagonist, is fated to bring destruction to Arthdal, which is his homeland. To avoid this tragedy, he decided to leave, and face a difficult life far away. However, wherever he goes, he often finds himself treated differently by the land’s natives.
Kim Ji Won plays the lead female character, Tan Ya. She is slated to be the next great mother of the Wahan Tribe. After so many hardships, she realised that she is made for greater things. Having lived under the highest honor, she dreamt of becoming a politician. Through her, the evading Eun Seom also learned about love and also started to rediscover himself.
Lovestruck in the City
This drama is about six young people who shared their love life in an interview. Kim Ji Won plays the role of Lee Eun Oh, a simple girl who decided to reinvent herself. From being timid, she transformed into someone who is free-spirited and spontaneous. She even changed her name to Yun Seon Ah, to go with this drastic change. A chance encounter with Park Jae Won was all it takes to change their lives.
This drama earned a good following because it showed a realistic image of young ambitious individuals who are living in a complex city environment. We see their relatable struggles of finding true love in their busy and competitive surroundings.