Park Ji-hoon, iKON’s Chanwoo, and Other K-Pop Idols Who Started Their Careers as Actors!

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Actors Before Idols, Debuting on The Silver Screen!

Nowadays, idols are debuting younger than ever, with ages ranging from as young as 15 – 16 years old. But do you know there are some idols who debuted young but with another path in mind, perhaps a path into acting? There are definitely more than a handful of idols who may have escaped your notice at first as they took part in dramas and movies as a mere cameo or a child actor to one of the stars. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous idols and their roles in famous dramas and movies!

Park Ji-hoon

Park Ji-hoon debuted as a child actor, participating in musicals Peter Pan (2007–2009), The Harmonium in My Memory (2010), and Radio Star (2010–2011). Yet he is most known for his roles in the television dramas Jumong (2006-2007), The King and I (2007–2008), Kimchi Cheese Smile (2007–2008), and Iljimae (2008). Park Ji-hoon also previously appeared in SS501’s reality show SS501 SOS (2006), although his face was blurred out throughout the episodes, and KM Idol War With Big Bang, adding to his massive repertoire in various media.

iKON’s Chanwoo

Chanwoo has been featured in various projects, including music videos, dramas, films, as well as commercial films. His earlier works were as Lee Min-ho’s character, Gu Jun-pyo in the famous Boys Before Flowers series. Not only that, but he followed up the role with another one playing Lee Min-ho’s child double in The Heirs, where he played the younger version of Kim Tan.

FT Island’s Hongki

Before Lee Hong-ki debuted as a singer with the band F.T. Island, he was a child actor, making his acting debut in 2002 in the KBS2 TV series Magic Kid Masuri as one of Masuri’s friends. This sitcom gained popularity among elementary school students for its lighthearted themes and slice-of-life approach. He was also featured in Kkangsooni, where he played the character of Eo Soo-bong, and sang for the sitcom’s OST.

In 2008, he was offered the leading role in a youthful school drama Master of Study, the Korean adaptation of the Japanese drama Dragon Zakura, wherein top actors such as Bae Doo-na and Yoo Seung-ho were cast. Master of Study should have aired at the beginning of 2009 but due to preproduction difficulties, the drama was postponed to the beginning of 2010 which led FNC Entertainment to refuse Lee’s role because of his busy schedule with the band.

GFriend’s Eunha

Before G-Friend‘s Eunha debuted alongside her five other members, she actually debuted as an actress at the age of 9. Despite being just 19 years old, Eunha already has a career lasting over 10 years. Even though she became popular only after joining G-Friend through the infamous fancam, Eunha actually made her entertainment debut when she was 9 years old, with her given name Jung Eun-bi. Her first appearance was in the long-running KBS drama Love & War in 2007 where she became a recurring member of the cast until the show’s completion in 2014.

Oh My Girl’s Binnie

비니 아역배우 시절 성균관 스캔들 컷거지 분장도 유빈이 미모는 못가린다♡

오마이걸 비니-배유빈さんの投稿 2015年12月4日金曜日

Oh My Girl’s Binnie has had a following since before she debuted in the girl group, due to the high anticipation of WM’s new girl group, but did you know that she actually debuted as a child actress? She has played minor roles in the dramas Sungkyunkwan Scandal, King of Baking Kim Takgu, I Love You, Don’t Cry, More Charming by the Day, and Beethoven Virus. Her most famous role is a cameo in Sungkyunkwan Scandal as a girl in the market.

SF9’s Chani

SF9’s Chani is one of the few new generation idols that is still taking on his acting career seriously after debuting as an idol, before previously debuting as a child actor. He can be seen as a child actor in various works, notably appearing as little Yoochun in TVXQ’s “Balloons” music video and the television dramas Listen to My Heart (2011), The Innocent Man (2012), and The Queen’s Classroom (2013). Nowadays, you probably know him as the studious and kind-hearted Hwang Woo-joo from the drama Sky Castle (2018).

BIG BANG’s G-Dragon

Many people tend to forget G-Dragon had debuted as a child actor as he appeared in the movie Taebaek Mountains and also in the tv show BoBoBo. He was mostly known for his appearance with Seo Tai-ji and The Boys before he joined YG Entertainment as a trainee, which is why people overlook this very fact. Thankfully, it was brought up in an episode of Infinity Challenge where he had a good laugh looking over his younger self acting in a melodrama movie. 

Boyfriend’s Minwoo

Boyfriend’s Minwoo is one of the idols that flew under the radar on this list but most fans do know that he was in KBS2’s Wife and Woman. The drama aired between 2008-2009 and gained a fair amount of following. Minwoo’s character was Kwon Seung-il, a student and son of one of the main characters. 

T-Ara’s Eunjung

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In 1995, she won the Little Miss Korea competition at the age of seven and debuted as a child actress in the same year with the television drama A New Generation of Adults (1995). Since then, she has taken on several minor roles in movies, television series and has also been cast in various commercial films. Her breakout child actress role was in the drama The Land, where she starred as one of the village girls, alongside top actress, Shin Se-kyung.

Sulli

Former F(x) member, Sulli, first gained attention as a child actress, playing the young Princess Seonhwa of Silla in the SBS drama Ballad of Seodong (2005). Sulli began acting professionally at the age of 11, when she was selected to play young Princess as one of the starring roles in the drama. Her fresh and innocent look eventually captured the heart of viewers. She continued to take on minor roles in television dramas and movies such as Vacation (2006), Punch Lady (2007), The Flower Girl is Here (2007), and BABO (2008).