The 40-year-old actress bagged the coveted Best Actress in TV award for her unforgettable role in hit K-drama The Penthouse: War in Life

She’s a well-known name in South Korea who has captured audiences’ imaginations in various iconic roles over the years. At the recently-concluded 57th Baeksang Arts Awards, she beat fellow veteran actress Uhm Ji-won, who was nominated for Birthcare Center, and younger stars Seo Ye-ji, nominated for It's Okay To Not Be Okay, Shin Hye-sun (Mr. Queen) and Kim So-hyun (River Where the Moon Rises) to snag the coveted Best Actress in TV award for her role in The Penthouse: War in Life.

Kind of reminds us of last year, when The World of the Married’s Kim Hee-ae beat hot favourite Son Ye-jin of Crash Landing On You to take home the Best TV Actress prize. Intense dramas with lots of backstabbing and revenge yielding Best Actress winners two years in a row? Interesting. 

For now, here’s what you need to know about Kim So-yeon, the 40-year-old actress who’s enjoying some well-deserved time in the spotlight.

Related: Baeksang Arts Awards 2021: Full List of Winners




Her most iconic role was probably as a villainous anchorwoman in 2000 hit melodrama All About Eve

K-drama fans still remember her evil TV personality Heo Young-mi as one of the ultimate female villains of K-drama. Unfortunately for her, she was so good at playing bad that it affected her career negatively, and it would be a few years before she would see a resurgence in her popularity. 

She breaks bad again in The Penthouse: War in Life, 20 years after her memorable villainous role

In 2020’s ratings hit The Penthouse: War in Life, she plays a famous but cold-hearted soprano and musical school director, who will stop at nothing for fame, power and money. Kim likens her role as the scheming Cheon Seo-jin to her iconic villainess role in All About Eve, saying, “The goal for this drama is that when people think of a female villain, they think of Cheon Seo-jin, just like how Heo Young-mi was remembered.”

She’s a dedicated actress who would learn new skills for her roles

She picked up piano in two-and-a-half months for The Penthouse, and had an unforgettable scene where she played with blood on her hands. She also learned to speak Hungarian for her role in 2009 big-budget series Iris, where she played a North Korean spy. She also trained hard for her action scenes in the thriller. Such a professional! 

She’s married to fellow actor Lee Sang-woo

They met on the set of 2016 K-drama Happy Home, and married in 2017. He had a cameo in The Penthouse as a reporter, and apparently hates watching her kissing scenes in the hit series.  

Despite her baddie characters, she’s well-loved in the industry for being a really nice person.

She’s great at playing devious characters you love to hate, but actress Kim is often praised for being nice and thoughtful in real life, being equally kind to fellow actors, staff members and reporters. Suffice to say, she is nothing like the deranged diva she plays in The Penthouse!

Related: 7 K-Drama Actresses Who Look Like They Haven't Aged, and These Pictures Prove it

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