VERY FEW models transition to a successful acting career in the Korean entertainment industry. Nam Joo Hyuk is definitely one of the most successful ones – both in his modelling career and his acting projects.
Born in Busan, South Korea, he originally wanted to become a professional basketball player. Given his height, an impressive 6’2’’, this is highly possible. This dream came to a halt when he was injured and had to undergo surgery, making his professional baller dreams come to an end.
Searching for a new dream, he auditioned to contests after moving to Seoul. His efforts paid off when he won the Top Model competition, as sponsored by the modelling agency K-Plus. He signed a contract with them, and the rest, they say, is history.
He debuted as a model in 2013 for the 2014 Songzio Homme Spring/Summer collection. Songzio is a privately held high fashion house which produces high-end menswear, accessories and ready to wear clothing lines. The same year, he debuted in the Seoul Fashion Week, booking 10 shows, an impressive feat for a newly minted model.
From there, he solidified his status as a high-caliber model in the industry. Among his many impressive campaigns are with Dior and Dolce and Gabbana. He is currently managed by YGKPlus, a subsidiary of YG Entertainment.
Music Video and Television Appearances
His impressive visuals led him to appear in music videos. He appeared in the 2013 music video of “200%” and “Give Love” of the sibling-duo artist Akdong Musician, under YG Entertainment.
He got his first main lead role in the KBS drama “Who Are You: School 2015” where he played the role of Han Yi-An, the poor boy but still the star swimmer of the high school he attends at.
His role in this drama led him to win numerous awards which includes Best New Actor (from the 4th APAN Star Awards), Breakout Actor Award (from the 11th Soompi Awards) and Popularity Award for an Actor (from the 29th KBS Drama Awards).
Leading Man Roles
He landed his first lead role in 2016, in the youth oriented sports drama “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo”. Playing the role of a talented swimmer, Jung Joon-hyun was reunited with his childhood friend Kim Bok-Joo (played by fellow model/actress Lee Sung-Kyung). This was the project that was rumoured to spark the relationship of both stars, making it from reel to real.
In 2017, he again played the male lead in the TVN fantasy drama “The Bride of Habaek”. The plot revolves around a self-involved water god Habaek (the role he played) and the destined bride from the human world So-ah (played by Shin Se-kyung). The drama was a live action adaptation of the manhwa written by Jung Yoon-jung
His popularity as a lead actor was proven by the number of projects he does. Currently, two of his dramas are being aired simultaneously.
His drama, “The School Nurse Files” is a real life adaptation of the award-winning novel “School Nurse Ahn Eun-young” written by Chung Serang. He plays the role of Hong In-pyo, a teacher that possesses an energy field that protects him from jellies. This series, with a total of six episodes, could be watched in Netflix.
“The Start Up” is one of his currently airing drama where he plays the role of Nam Do San, the genius founder of a technology firm, with the aim to prove himself to the aspiring entrepreneur Seo Dal-mi, played by former Miss A member, Bae Suzy.
As a fan even prior to his leading roles, I am so happy for the milestones that he had achieved in both of his modelling and acting career. May he continue to be the humble and hard working person that he is. His fans and supporters are treated with project upon project this year, which makes the quarantine ordeal less boring.