Moon Geun-young at the 2010 KBS Drama Awards
May 6, 1987 |
Gwangju, South Korea
|Revised Romanization||Mun Geun-yeong|
Moon Geun-young (born May 6, 1987) is a South Korean actress. Affectionately called "the nation's little sister," Moon began modeling at the age of 12, then made her acting debut in 1999 as a child actress. She first rose to stardom through her role as the young Eun-suh in the hugely popular television drama series Autumn in My Heart (2000), followed by a well-received turn in Kim Ji-woon's critically acclaimed horror film A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). Moon solidified her star status by headlining the box-office hits My Little Bride in 2004 and Innocent Steps in 2005. In 2008, she became the youngest recipient of a Grand Prize ("Daesang") which she won for the period drama Painter of the Wind.
Before her acting debut on a television drama series, Moon filmed several commercials and modeled for various magazines. She started modeling at the age of 12, and first appeared onscreen on the 1999 documentary drama On the Road directed by Choi Jae-eun. In 2000, Moon became the biggest teen star in the country at the age of 13 when she played a school girl in sentimental TV drama Autumn in My Heart. It was a hit in Korea and won over viewers in other parts of Asia. She won the Best Young Actor/Actress award at the 2000 KBS Drama Awards for her role, together with costar Choi Woo-hyuk.
Following her early success, she returned to the screen in 2001 as the young Empress Myeongseong (Lee Mi-yeon played the adult version) on the popular historical drama Empress Myeongseong. During that year, she also made a guest appearance in the SBS medical drama Medical Center.
She was launched as a major star with her role in Kim Ji-woon's critically acclaimed horror film A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), in which she played the younger sister Su-yeon. A Tale of Two Sisters ranks among the highest-grossing Korean horror films and was the first to be screened in American theaters.
In 2004, Moon headlined the romantic comedy film My Little Bride. It was the second most popular Korean film of the year, behind the blockbuster hit Taegukgi. In the film, Seo Bo-eun is an ordinary high school girl who worries about grades and has a crush on her school's baseball team ace, Jung-woo. One day, Bo-eun's grandfather orders her to marry Sang-min (Kim Rae-won) because of a pact he made with Sang-min's grandfather during the Korean War. Despite the grandchildren's opposition, they are forced to marry because it was Bo-eun's grandfather's wish to see them married before he died. So, Bo-eun's undercover married life begins: She pretends that she doesn't have a husband and starts dating Jung-woo. Boeun believes that she can manage both men and live a double life. Everything goes smoothly until Sang-min is assigned to work at Bo-eun's high school as a student teacher.
Following the release of My Little Bride, the press gave her the title "the nation's little sister" (Gukmin yeo-dong-saeng), brought on by her cute, girlish younger-than-her-age looks, sweet and innocent image, quality acting, exemplary school record, and charitable deeds.
In 2005, Moon starred in her subsequent film Innocent Steps where she played the role of Jang Chae-rin, an ethnic Korean living in China, who finds herself to be a complete fish out of water after moving to South Korea. When her sister bows out of a dummy marriage to a champion dance instructor, Chae-rin decides to travel to Seoul herself and impersonate her sister. Once in South Korea, she meets Na Young-sae (Park Gun-hyung), who has agreed to the sham marriage for the sole purpose of locating a new dance partner. But when Chae-rin's secret and her lack of dancing experience is revealed, Young-sae wants to send his new bride back. Eventually, however, he has second thoughts and decides that his only hope is to train this wide-eyed novice himself. Of course, the practices start off as purely professional, but as Chae-rin begins to dedicate herself to the art of dancing, a connection between the newlyweds begin to take shape. Chae-rin's youthful exuberance and folksy way of speaking eventually charms Young-sae's hardened heart.
Innocent Steps was a hit, and its success along with My Little Bride established Moon as a genuine box office draw. In 2005, Moon ranked first on the star power list among actresses in the Korean film industry, who can mobilize the greatest number of fans, and sell tickets on the sole basis of the actor's name alone. Moon and actor Jo Seung-woo also received the 2005 Good Model Award from the Korea Advertisers Association; 200 members voted for the winners based on how much they contributed to boosting the sales of products and enhancing the image of advertisers.
In 2006, Moon starred in the movie Love Me Not, a Korean big-screen remake of popular Japanese TV drama Ai nante iranee yo, natsu ("I Don't Need Love, Summer"), where she played the character of Ryu Min, a cold-hearted blind heiress. Min slowly opens up herself to Julian (played by Kim Joo-hyuk), a con artist pretending to be her long-lost brother, as he, too, falls for her. However, Julian owes his creditor millions of won in debt and Min's illness that took her eyesight as a child relapses, threatening her life. Later that year, Moon and veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki hosted the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), the biggest international film festival in South Korea.
In 2008, Moon returned to television in the period epic Painter of the Wind, in which she played the lead role of Shin Yun-bok, a painter who disguises herself as a man and becomes mentored by the master Kim Hong-do (played by Park Shin-yang). Shin was a real-life historical figure, a painter who lived during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and was known for his realistic and delicate depictions of daily life. Moon won acting acclaim for her performance, including Best Actress at the 2008 Grimae Awards (presented by the Korean Broadcasting Directors Association), Best TV Actress at the 2009 Baeksang Arts Awards, and the Daesang ("Grand Prize") at the 2008 SBS Drama Awards, making her the youngest recipient of a Daesang in the drama awards history of all three networks.
In 2010, Moon played a young woman running a makgeolli brewery in Cinderella's Sister, a modern fairy tale retelling of the contentious relationship between two stepsisters (opposite Seo Woo). Later in the year, she starred in the romantic comedy Mary Stayed Out All Night (also known as Marry Me, Mary!), in which she played Wi Mae-ri, a girl who enters into a fake marriage contract with a Hongdae indie rocker (played by Jang Keun-suk).
2010 also marked the year she made her theater debut, in the Korean staging of Patrick Marber's play Closer. She caused a stir as the strip dancing, promiscuous Alice, opposite Um Ki-joon's Dan.
She then played a struggling young designer who decides that success will more easily be attained if she seduces a second-generation chaebol (played by Park Si-hoo) into marriage, in the TV drama Cheongdam-dong Alice (2012).
In 2013, Moon starred in Goddess of Fire, in which she played Yoo Jung, a character based on Baek Pa-sun, the first female potter and porcelain artist of the Joseon Dynasty. This was her second time to do a historical drama (or sageuk), five years after Painter of the Wind.
Moon's grandfather is Ryu Nak-jin, a teacher-turned-political prisoner. Ryu was a pro-North Korea guerrilla fighter operating around Gwangju, a traditional progressive stronghold, before he was jailed at the end of the Korean War. He was released but imprisoned again on charges of spying for North Korea in 1971 when then authoritarian government of Park Chung-hee apprehended more than 150 such suspected spies. He was released on a special amnesty in 1999, and died of old age in 2005.
Moon graduated from Gwangju Gukje High School in February 2006. In March 2006, she entered Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul. Moon is known for being a diligent student and has a solid attendance record, a rarity among Korean celebrities in college. She is currently on her final semester majoring in Korean Language and Literature.
Their agencies confirmed that Moon dated her Goddess of Fire co-star Kim Bum for seven months, from October 2013 to April 2014. Not long after agencies of both actors confirmed the news stating: "They did break up not too long ago but have decided to remain good friends and supportive colleagues".
Moon donated close to ₩100 million to Morning Reading, a non-profit organization that promotes reading books. She gave ₩4.3 million in 2005, ₩4 million in 2006 and ₩70 million in 2007. Moon made the contributions secretly through her mother, Ryu Seon-young, but her good deeds became known when Morning Reading revealed its 2007 account information online.
Moon donated about ₩300 million in 2006 to a learning center for poor children in Haenam County, South Jeolla Province, near her hometown of Gwangju. Bae Yo-seop opened an after-school study room for children from poor or single-parent families to study there for free in 2002. The program was facing closure in October 2006 when the landlord told Bae that the house would be sold. A new building, equipped with library, computer room, bathhouse and dining room was built on the land. The ₩200 million expense was also covered by Moon. Moon also paid an unannounced visit to their classrooms.
Moon donated more than ₩850 million over the last ten years to the Community Chest of Korea, a nationwide network of 16 nonprofit fundraising organizations, becoming the biggest individual donor. Moon had wanted to remain an anonymous donor, but the organization was pressured by a media frenzy to identify her. Her donations were used to build children's libraries and subsidize hospital costs for children suffering from leukemia or cancer. Apart from the Community Chest of Korea, Moon has also given several hundred millions of won to scholarship foundations.
Because of her charitable activities, particularly for the Community Chest of Korea, Moon was selected among 100 people that "lit up the world" in 2008 in a survey conducted by the Korea Green Foundation.
Moon again showed her generosity by building a Korean library for young Korean expatriates in Australia. Working with the Lindfield Korean School in Sydney, the actress donated ₩100 million towards construction of a permanent Korean library (called the Hangeul Library) and also donated 10,000 books to over 40 Korean schools scattered across the city. Moon has been donating books with her own money since 2006, when she saw during a visit to her relatives in Australia how young Korean students there did not have enough books or places to learn Korean.
In April 2009, Moon donated the Haenam Children's Center to be used as a study room for poor students to the NGO group Good People, an international charity group of UN UCOSCO special consultative status aiming to improve self-sustainability and eradicate extreme poverty through restoration of self-esteem using the principles of human dignity and equality at a global level.
|1999||On The Way||Documentary film|
|2002||Lovers' Concerto||Lee Ji-yoon||On DVD and Blu-ray|
|2003||A Tale of Two Sisters||Bae Su-yeon||On DVD and Blu-ray|
|2004||My Little Bride||Seo Bo-eun||On DVD and Blu-ray|
|2005||Innocent Steps||Jang Chae-rin||On DVD and Blu-ray|
|2006||Love Me Not||Ryu Min||On DVD and Blu-ray|
|1999||Burnt Rice Teacher and Seven Potatoes||Han Mi-soo||KBS|
|2000||Autumn in My Heart||young Yoon/Choi Eun-suh||KBS2|
|Medical Center||dying young singer
(guest appearance, episode 15)
|2001||Empress Myeongseong||Min Ja-yeong
(young Empress Myeongseong)
|Life is Beautiful||young Yoo Hee-jung||KBS2|
|2008||Painter of the Wind||Shin Yun-bok||SBS|
|2010||Cinderella's Sister||Go Eun-jo/Song Eun-jo||KBS2|
|Mary Stayed Out All Night||Wi Mae-ri||KBS2|
|2012||Cheongdam-dong Alice||Han Se-kyung||SBS|
|2013||Goddess of Fire||Yoo Jung||MBC|
|Variety show appearances|
|1997||TV Brings Love||KBS||with Lee Min-woo, Park Jae-hong, Park Yong-woo|
|Gwangju Broadcasting Station Quiz Champ||KBC||Woo-san Junior High School episode|
|2000||Free Saturday||KBS||with Choi Woo-hyuk|
|Jung Euna's Good Morning||SBS|
|2001||Son Chang-min & Kim Won-hee's 3 Days of Love||iTV|
|2003||Fairytale World Dreams||KBS||MC|
|2004||Park Soo-hong & Yoon Jung-soo's Love House||MBC||Jinju Joong-ang High School episode|
|Golden Bell Challenge||KBS||Gwangju International High School episode|
|2005||Yashimanman||SBS||Interview with Jang Keun-suk|
|Yashimanman||SBS||with Park Gun-hyung|
|e-learning Championship Final||iTV||guest MC|
|2006||Yashimanman||SBS||with Kim Joo-hyuk|
|2009||SBS Drama Awards||SBS||Co-host|
|2010||Happy Together Season 3||KBS2||episodes 142-143 with Chun Jung-myung, Taecyeon, Seo Woo|
|2011||Hong Eun-hee's Music Town||Radio|
|2012||Running Man||SBS||episodes 114-115|
|2003||Gwangju Kimchi Festival||Ambassador|
|2003-2004||Gwangju International Film Festival||Ambassador|
|2004||Korean e-Learning Initiative||Ambassador|
|Young Voter's Campaign||Ambassador|
|National Election Commission||Ambassador|
|2007-2009||Pink Ribbon (Breast cancer awareness)||Ambassador|
|2009-2010||Love Tree Project||Ambassador|
|2010-2011||Basic House Korea and China||Spokesmodel||with Won Bin|
|Awards and nominations|
|1999||Edubox Kones Award||Won|
|2000||KBS Drama Awards||Best Young Actress||Autumn in My Heart||Won|
|2003||24th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actress||A Tale of Two Sisters||Nominated|
|2004||41st Grand Bell Awards||Popularity Award||My Little Bride||Won|
|Best New Actress||Won|
|12th Chunsa Film Art Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|25th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Popular Star Award||Won|
|3rd Korean Film Awards||Best New Actress||Nominated|
|2005||42nd Grand Bell Awards||Popularity Award||Innocent Steps||Won|
|2006||29th Golden Cinematography Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2007||44th Grand Bell Awards||Best Actress||Love Me Not||Nominated|
|2008||21st Grimae Awards||Best Actress||Painter of the Wind||Won|
|SBS Drama Awards||Best Couple Award with Moon Chae-won||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress||Nominated|
|Daesang (Grand Prize)||Won|
|2009||4th Seoul International Drama Awards||Popularity Award||Won|
|45th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (TV)||Won|
|2010||Golden Ticket Award||Closer||Won|
|Yahoo! Asia Buzz Awards||Female Buzz Star Award||Mary Stayed Out All Night||Won|
|KBS Drama Awards||Best Couple Award with Jang Keun-suk||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Chun Jung-myung||Cinderella's Sister||Nominated|
|Netizens' Award, Actress||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress||Won|
|2011||6th Seoul International Drama Awards||Outstanding Korean Actress||Mary Stayed Out All Night||Won|
|47th Baeksang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actress (TV)||Cinderella's Sister||Won|
|2013||SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Cheongdam-dong Alice||Nominated|
|MBC Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama||Goddess of Fire||Nominated|
|2014||9th Seoul International Drama Awards||Outstanding Korean Actress||Pending|