Cover Song Hye-kyo is known for far more than just her looks (Photo: Getty Images)

On her birthday, we look at five reasons why fans can’t get enough of this K-drama icon

Song Hye-kyo’s rise to stardom has been meteoric. Since her breakout role in the hit drama series Autumn in My Heart (2000), she has wowed audiences and critics alike with her acting prowess and oeuvre of work that extends to Chinese movies, and even to Hollywood with the thriller Make Yourself at Home (2008).

One of the highest-paid actresses in K-biz and a household name, Song is adored by brands, the media and fans alike. To celebrate this beloved entertainer’s 41st birthday, here are five reasons why everyone’s so crazy about her.

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1. She is passionate about fitness

Given the hectic schedule of showbiz, it may be tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but Song is known to stay committed to taking care of her health and wellness. Her flawless on-screen presence and undeniable beauty no doubt draw adulation, but behind it is a rigorous routine. Song works out at least four days a week doing yoga, Pilates, spinning and kickboxing. She also walks whenever possible, drinks unsweetened lemonade and often substitutes rice with tofu, which she says helps her feel satiated but not too full.

2. She is the only Korean featured in Karl Lagerfeld’s Little Black Jacket

Song started her career as a model at the age of 14 before transitioning into acting. Since then, the Full House (2004) star has become the face of numerous luxury brands such as Chanel, Fendi, Chaumet, Bottega Veneta and Sulwhasoo. She is also the only Korean to have featured in the late Karl Lagerfeld’s 2012 photo exhibition, Little Black Jacket, which celebrated the eponymous outfit from Chanel.

3. She is an accomplished actress who works hard on her skills

Song has an enviable list of credits from successful movies, which showcases her acting prowess across genres and has contributed to propelling the “Korean Wave” abroad. From playing a leukaemia patient in Autumn in My Heart (2000) to a courageous doctor in Descendants of the Sun (2016), she has transitioned from character to character with chameleon-like ease, picking up prestigious awards including the KBS Drama Award (Grand Prize) in 2016, and the SBS Drama Award for Top Excellence Award (Actress) in 2013 and many more.

4. She is driven and has many talents outside of acting

Fans are often delighted to discover that, besides acting, Song wears many hats. She once dreamt of becoming an award-winning athlete and had even trained as a figure skater. She also speaks four languages fluently: Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese.

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5. She supports several charitable causes

The Encounter (2018-2019) actress is also known for making large donations to various meaningful causes. For example, she once modelled for free to raise funds for charity; reportedly donated 10,000 guidebooks to the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles to spread awareness of Korean culture; and has supported victims of a forest fire in South Korea.

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