[PICK] Female Actors Who Showed Their “Best Performances” with Their First Lead Role

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun


In a frozen movie industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Innocence is cruising, surpassing 500,000 viewers in just 11 days after its release. Innocence is about a daughter who is also a lawyer, struggling to exonerate her mother. It also drew attention as Shin Hye Sun’s first lead role in a film. Shin Hye Sun’s debut on the big screen is considered a success as she shook off the burden and presented clever acting throughout the film. However, Shin Hye Sun is not the only one who has made a valuable achievement in her first major film. Let’s take a look at the actors who have shown flawless acting even in their debut film or who have built up their careers in various works.


The Handmaiden ” Kim Tae Ri

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Kim Tae Ri dreamed of becoming an actor in a theater club when she was in college. While gaining experience at the theater after graduation, she challenged the audition for The Handmaiden and came through a competition of 1500 to 1 to play the leading role. In The Handmaiden, Kim Tae Ri led the work by showing off her strong presence even among veteran actors, including Ha Jung Woo, Jo Jin Woong, and Kim Min Hee, with her bold performances. Thanks to her performance, The Handmaiden attracted 4.28 million viewers and won the Best Foreign Language Film Award at BAFTA Awards for the first time in the history of Korean films. Kim Tae Ri also emerged as a rising star at the awards ceremony that year, sweeping most of the Best New Actress awards. In the second half of this year, she will meet the audience with the Korean SF blockbuster Space Sweepers.


The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion ” Kim Da Mi

Credit: Warner Bros. Korea

Kim Da mi, who dreamed of becoming an actor since she was a young girl, starred in The Witch for the first time. Director Park Hoon Jung auditioned for six months to find a new face to match the role of Ja Yoon, the main character of The Witch, and as soon as he saw Kim Da Mi, he decided to cast her since she perfectly suited the image he dreamed of. In The Witch, she perfectly portrayed Ja Yoon, a high school student and a cold-blooded psychic. That year, she swept multiple Best New Actress awards, signaling the birth of a new star. Earlier this year, she also made a successful debut on the small screen with Itaewon Class and recently chose the remake film of Soul Mate as her next work.


Scandal Makers ” Park Bo Young

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Park Bo Young first played the lead role in the 2008 film Scandal Makers. Previously, she mostly played the child role of the main characters, but in Scandal Makers, she flawlessly led the film to the end. At the time of the release, the movie had low expectations due to its rustic title and absurd story, but it hit the jackpot by attracting 8 million viewers thanks to Park Bo Young’s shrewd acting and active promotional activities. Park Bo Young, who rose to stardom with Scandal Makers, continued to make back-to-back hits with A Werewolf Boy, Oh My Ghostess, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, and On Your Wedding Day. Recently, she settled in a new label BH Entertainment.


Hospital Playlist ” Jeon Mi Do

Credit: tvN

Jeon Mi Do, a talented musical actor, made her first appearance in a TV series with Hospital Playlist. She showed such solid performance that it was hard to believe that it was her first drama. She delicately portrayed a warm-hearted doctor Chae Song Hwa. And her collaboration with Jo Jung Suk, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jung Kyung Ho, and Kim Dae Myung, who starred together, was also absolutely wonderful. Jeon Mi Do, who made a successful TV drama debut with Hospital Playlist, is scheduled to meet the audience with the musical Maybe Happy Ending.


Eungyo ” Kim Go Eun

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

Kim Go Eun was chosen after she happened to audition when she only went to see her friend who worked as a staff of film Eungyo. At the time of its release, attention was drawn to its unconventional setting and nude scenes, but as it turns out, the movie was more like an elegant drama of desire mixed with respect, compassion, longing, and jealousy. Despite the bold nude scenes, Kim Go Eun perfectly expressed Eungyo in the novel as she went back and forth between child-like innocence and sensuality. After leaving a deep impression with her debut film, she continued her career with Cheese in the Trap, Goblin, Coin Locker Girl, Tune in for Love, and The King: Eternal Monarch, which recently ended. In the second half of this year, she will meet the audience with the musical film Hero.

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