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4 Korean actresses who won beauty pageant titles: Lee Bo Young, Honey Lee, and more

Many female stars were actually crowned Miss Korea before they pursued acting, but not everyone can achieve much success in the film and TV industry. 

1. Lee Bo Young

In 2000, Lee Bo Young won the Miss Korea beauty pageant in Daejeon and the surrounding South Chungcheong Province. After being crowned, Lee Bo Young pursued her dream of becoming a news presenter but eventually turned to acting by starring in the family drama “People Of Water Flower Village”. Lee Bo Young shot to fame as an actress thanks to her role in the series “Save The Last Dance For Me”, where she first met her current husband Ji Sung. Known for her top-notch beauty and natural acting, until now, Lee Bo Young still surprises many viewers by the fact that she started off as a beauty pageant contestant. 

Lee Bo Young
Lee Bo Young

2. Honey Lee

Possessing a unique beauty, straying from Korean standards, Honey Lee was crowned Miss Korea in 2006 and won 3rd runner-up when attending Miss Universe 2007 as a representative of Korea. She then pursued a career in music and gradually turned to acting. Unlike many other actresses starting out as beauty queens that received much support, Honey Lee’s decision to embark on this path used to be considered a mistake by many netizens. She struggled in the industry without a breakout role because her “wild” beauty and physique were not favored by most directors. However, thanks to her persistent efforts, she has gradually earned a solid position in the industry and achieved much success with her acting career. 

Honey Lee
Honey Lee

3. Kim Yu Mi

Kim Yu Mi once surpassed 53 other contestants to be crowned Miss Korea at the beauty pageant in 2012. Two years later, Kim Yu Mi decided to start an acting journey with a supporting role in the drama Naeil’s Cantabile. However, as the series unfortunately flopped, she could not make a name for herself on the screen. 

Kim Yu Mi

Not giving up, she continued to accept small roles in dramas such as Delicious Love or The Dearest Lady, but still failed to attract the viewers’ attention. Her career fell apart when she underwent plastic surgery in the midst of a time when the Korean public aggressively sought and exposed beauty pageant contestants who altered their natural appearance. After getting plastic surgery, Kim Yu Mi’s face was claimed to significantly resemble the famous actress Park Min Young, which even worsened her acting career. 

4. Park Shi Yeon

Hailed as the second runner-up of Miss Korea in 2000, Park Shi Yeon quickly used this title as a springboard to step into acting. She received her first lead role in the romance drama My Girl (2005). Although her acting was not appreciated, she was determined to pursue this path. Unable to become an A-list actress like Lee Bo Young, Park Shi Yeon still gradually managed to become a familiar face to the viewers. However, when she started to earn a place in the industry, Park Shi Yeon was found guilty of drug abuse and sentenced to eight months of prison. In 2013, Park Shi Yeon made a comeback and continued to achieve new successes in her acting career.

Park Shi Yeon

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