When female K-pop idols become K-drama actresses: first lead roles vs latest roles 

Did these female Kpop idols show improvements after a long time of acting? 

Even original actresses will show vast differences between their first and latest roles, so it’s no wonder that these female Kpop idols changed noticeably. Below is a summary of how certain idol-actresses improve in the acting scene.


Former After School member UEE made first noticeable appearance in the acting scene in 2011 with a lead role in the sports drama “Birdie Buddy”. Here, the idol-actress delivered a decent performance that was fitting of her character image, and was considered a promising rookie in the field. 


11 years later, UEE starred in the medical series “Ghost Doctor”, but netizens found her visuals to be downgraded. In addition, despite UEE’s nice acting chops, her role was largely overshadowed as “Ghost Doctor” focused more on the 2 male leads. Overall, her latest appearance was not outstanding, but acceptable nevertheless.

Seo Hyun Jin 

Seo Hyun Jin’s first lead role and latest role are both within public channel K-dramas, namely in the 2014 MBC series “The King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang”, and the 2022 SBS series “Why Her?”. As it has been 8 years, the idol-actress has shown major improvements. 

seo hyun jin

In fact, Seo Hyun Jin has become so good at acting, she won Best Actress at the 2017 Baeksang Arts Awards, and is considered a “romcom queen” in Korea. Her latest project, “Why Her?”, showed remarkable ratings in the first half, and minor declines in the second half as netizens complained about the “forced loveline” and “fragmented writing”. Still, “Why Her?” is a remarkable female-centric K-drama, and Seo Hyun Jin’s performance within this series is as excellent as always. 


In the case of Suzy, the idol-actress is hailed to have come a long way since her first lead role in the 2011 K-drama “Dream High”, both in terms of visuals and acting skill. 


In particular, in “Dream High”, while Suzy made for a decent female lead, there were some particular scenes where she was regarded as “stiff” and “unnatural”. However, 11 years later in the web-drama “Anna”, the idol-actress has shown dramatic improvements, and can express two completely different aspects of a character with minute changes in expressions. 

Kim Se Jeong

Earlier this year, Kim Se Jeong generated much buzz with her lead role in “Business Proposal”. She is currently appearing in “Today’s Webtoon”, a remake of a manga-based Japanese series. However, compared to the successful performance of her previous work, Kim Se Jeong’s comeback drama “Today’s Webtoon” is not recording outstanding ratings nor creating much buzz online. 

kim se jeong

Kim Se Jeong’s character styling and personality in “Today’s Webtoon” even remind viewers of her first lead role in “School 2017”. Given her great potential, this is deemed disappointing by those who were looking forward to seeing Kim Se Jeong’s new on-screen transformation.


Both Yoona’s first and current lead roles draw positive responses despite the fact that she is not the most highly appreciated name when it comes to acting among idol-turned actresses. Yoona first landed a lead role in the family drama “You Are My Destiny”, which was a huge hit with the highest rating of 41.6%. Yoona was still a rookie actress back in the day, but her natural acting in “You Are My Destiny” drew much praise. She took home the “Best New Actress in TV” award at the 2009 Baeksang Arts Awards. 


Yoona is currently starring in “Big Mouth” alongside Lee Jong Suk. Although the drama has premiered for only a few episodes, viewers are already falling in love with Yoona’s mature visuals and improved acting skills. “Big Mouth” is also seeing promising ratings, ranking No.1 across all dramas in its time slot. This promises to be another hit drama of Yoona throughout her career. 

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