The 28-year-old K-drama actor is having a stellar year, starring in ratings hit My Roommate is a Gumiho, Netflix movie Sweet & Sour and upcoming Song Hye-kyo drama Now, We Are Breaking Up
Jang Ki-yong, the strapping model-turned-actor thrilling audiences as a 999-year-old nine-tailed fox in the currently-showing My Roommate is a Gumiho, is about to shoot into the big time, if he isn’t already sort of there. Armed with a Best New Actor trophy from the 2019 Baeksang Arts Awards for his star-making turn in Come and Hug Me, a face so handsome it makes teenage girls and aunties alike weak in the knees, and a towering 1.87m-tall presence, we’re probably stating the obvious when we say Jang Ki-yong is the next big idol Korean drama actor to look out for. And is it just us, or does he look like a younger Hyun Bin?
Here are seven things to know about Jang Ki-yong.
There are rumours of him dating his co-star Hyeri thanks to their on-screen chemistry
The only problem is, Hyeri has been in a long-term relationship with her Reply 1988 co-star Ryu Jun-yeol since 2017, and although they are rarely seen in public together, they are supposedly still an item. Not that that’s stopping Ki-yong/Hyeri shippers, who point to not only the couple’s on-screen chemistry in Gumiho, but their closeness off-screen, as they smoulder together in photoshoots and goof around on interviews and radio shows. Are they or aren’t they? Hmm...
He can do slice-of-life and realistic characters
In the Netflix movie Sweet & Sour, he plays one half of a couple who experiences the sweetness and sourness of life, adulting and being in a relationship. Jang puts on a charmingly understated performance and cements his leading man status.
He will romance Song Hye-kyo in the highly-anticipated 'Now, We Are Breaking Up'
Talk about a meteoric rise. As a relative newbie, Jang gets to cosy up to Song Hye-Kyo, one of South Korea’s most famous and beloved actresses, which shows how much confidence the K-entertainment powers that be have in the 28-year-old. In Now, We Are Breaking Up, He plays a rich and hotshot freelance photographer with style and substance, who meets Song’s trendy fashion company design manager. It all sounds super stylish and cool, and we’re expecting lots of high fashion, amazing clothes and accessories and charged scenes between Jang and Song’s characters. It drops in the coming few months, and we can’t wait.
He’s an award-winning fashion model
He started out as a model in 2012 and won the Fashion Model Award at the 2014 Asian Model Awards, and has strutted the runways for top designer labels. He apparently also inspired Start-Up actor Nam Joo-hyuk to become a model. Jang wants to break the stereotype that models can’t act. Looking at him and Nam Joo-hyuk, we think they’ve definitely smashed that cliche.
He’s an introvert
With that face, height and easy charm, you’d think Jang Ki-yong is Mr Popular and has never had problems endearing himself to people. But he’s said that he used to be timid and feared talking in front of others, and that doing an interview and talking alone to someone would be previously unimaginable. But modelling and acting slowly changed his personality and he became less reserved. Awww… who can resist a shy guy?
He can sing and rap
Jang has quite the voice, and has sung on the soundtracks for his dramas The Liar and His Lover and Come and Hug Me, and showed off his singing and rapping skills on variety shows. He apparently hones his vocals at coin-operated karaoke rooms. On the topic of music, he’s also starred in two of IU’s music videos, Red Shoes and Friday, where they’re so cute together, you wonder why fans don’t ship them instead.
He’s known as “The Perfect Boyfriend” who could also be good husband material
Thanks to his romantic lead roles and clean-cut charm, he’s been called the perfect boyfriend. He’s also said, “I want to become a good actor. I don’t exactly know what being a good actor means, but I would like to become one. I also want to become a good father.” Cue screams and women lining up to help him become a good father.
And winning that Baeksang Award for Best New Actor for Come and Hug Me, where he played a police officer with a psychopathic killer dad, was only the start of his ascension to hallyu star status. He’s since bagged a legion of new fans, been named the face of skincare brand Lab Series in Korea, and of course, nabbed that leading man role opposite Song Hye-kyo. We’ll be seeing a lot more of this hottie, and we can’t wait.