Currently gaining audiences’ affections in the trending Netflix K-drama The King’s Affection, here’s what you need to know about Rowoon, who’s about to become very, very popular

He plays Jung Ji-un, a tutor to the Crown Prince, who becomes confused about his burgeoning feelings for his royal student. What’s definitely not confusing is the legion of fans Rowoon is gaining every day with his sensitive, funny, nuanced and charming portrayal of a man in love with a woman disguised as a prince (played to perfection by Do You Like Brahms?’s Park Eun-bin) in The King’s Affection. The Korean sageuk, or period drama, set in the Joseon era, starting airing on October 11, and has seen rising ratings, and nabbed the No. 1 spot on Netflix charts around the region.

Before the K-drama ends its run and its lead actor’s star explodes into the stratosphere, here’s what to know about 25-year-old Rowoon.

Read more: 5 Binge-Worthy Korean Dramas to Watch While Staying Home

1. Rowoon is his stage name — He was born Kim Seok-woo in Seoul

His real name, Seok-woo, was given by his grandfather, and part of it means “to help”, as he hoped his grandson would be someone who would help the world. When he made his showbiz debut, he adopted the stage name Rowoon. We’re not sure what it means, but Rowoon makes us Ro-swoon.

2. He kicked off his career as part of K-pop idol group SF9 in 2016

He’s the lead vocalist and “physical” and “centre” of the group, which means his talents are well-balanced, as he can sing and dance, along with having good physical looks. SF9 (aka Sensational Feeling 9) continues to be popular, even as some of its nine members have ventured out into acting. They will release their 10th EP, called Rumination, on November 22 this year.

Read more: 20 K-Pop Idols Turned K-Drama Stars, Including BTS’ V, Blackpink’s Jisoo and More

3. His first lead K-drama role was in the school fantasy drama 'Extraordinary You'

The 2019 romcom hit starred Rowoon, Kim Hye-yoon and Lee Jae-wook as students who discover they are characters in a fantasy comic book world. Rowoon’s role as Haru skyrocketed him to fame and popularity, and he won numerous awards for it, including Best New Actor and Best Couple Award at the MBC Drama Awards.

Don't miss: 9 Highest-Paid K-Drama Stars: Kim Soo-Hyun, Hyun Bin, Song Hye-Kyo and More

4. He’s tall, like really tall, standing at 1.9m

Apparently, Rowoon sometimes acts without shoes on, otherwise, he’d be so tall, his head would appear off-camera. He also regularly adopts what Koreans call “manner legs”, in which a very tall celeb would stand with his legs wide apart to appear shorter, especially when working with make-up artists or stylists, or posing or acting with shorter co-stars. Fun fact: His The King’s Affection co-star Park Eun-bin is pretty diminutive at 1.63m, so imagine all the manner-legging going on during filming.

Read more: 11 Korean Dramas With the Highest Ratings in 2021: Which Haven’t You Watched?

5. He’s a hardworking actor, often meticulously studying his scripts

Rowoon is known for diligently studying his scripts and doing research to understand the characters he plays. It’s obvious he does a lot of thinking and tries his best to bring something different to the table, like when he says of his role as royal tutor Jung Ji-un in The King’s Affection, a period drama: “I thought nothing is set in stone because no one living today has ever lived in that era. In that regard, the degree of freedom that I had in terms of portraying Ji-un gave me a good opportunity to try a new voice and new type of acting for the series.” And from what we can see of his performance so far, he has succeeded in his mission of bringing a certain modern and progressive charm to the Joseon era. He says of Ji-un: “He is a character that wants to send the message: live and feel today to the fullest.” Word.

6. The man can sing

Yes, he’s in an idol group, but not everyone in an idol group can seriously sing. Rowoon isn’t one of these. His singing performances are lauded and he appeared on the King of Mask Singer in 2018, impressing audiences.

Read more: BTS, Blackpink Rosé, and More: Korean Stars Who Can Sing in English

7. Before he became famous in 'Extraordinary You' and 'The King’s Affection', he had second lead and supporting roles in numerous K-dramas

If you’ve become a Rowoon stan and need to watch all his dramas, even the ones where he’s not the main lead or only cameos in, these are the ones to catch: School 2017, the 2017 instalment of the School franchise, where he plays a transfer student who’s also in a K-pop group; About Time, the 2018 series starring Lee Sang-yoon and Lee Sung-kyung, where he plays Lee Sung-kyung’s younger brother; Where Stars Land, the 2018 drama with Lee Je-hoon and Chae Soo-bin, where he has an unrequited crush on the female lead; last year’s Find Me in Your Memory, where he cameos as an idol caught up in a scandal with the female lead, played by Moon Ga-young; last year’s Was It Love?, where he appeared as part of SF9, who cameoed in the drama, and his other starring role, this year’s She Would Never Know, where he plays a marketer in a cosmetics company who falls in love with an older woman.

In case you missed it: 12 Best Korean Drama Cameos That Almost Stole The Show

8. He’s known for his positive energy and nice guy vibes

Rowoon is apparently a talkative, cheerful and touchy-feely guy, who’s often seen hugging his SF9 groupmates, especially the youngest member Chani, with who he has a special bond with (the duo even have a ship name, “Rochan”). In interviews and shoots, he has an easy chemistry with his The King’s Affection co-star Park Eun-bin, where they praise, tease and rib each other. Hmm, is this the start of the “Robin” ship? They’ve shared a few charged and extremely romantic scenes in the drama, and we can’t wait to see more. 

Read more: 10 Korean Celebrities Who Are Best Friends in Real Life

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.