Choi Ji-woo

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Choi Ji-woo
BornChoi Mi-hyang
(1975-06-11) June 11, 1975 (age 39)
Paju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
EducationPusan Women's College - Aerobic Dance
Years active1994–present
AgentYG Entertainment
Korean name
Revised RomanizationChoe Ji-u
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Chiu
Birth name
Revised RomanizationChoe Mi-hyang
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Mihyang
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This is a Korean name; the family name is Choi.
Choi Ji-woo
BornChoi Mi-hyang
(1975-06-11) June 11, 1975 (age 39)
Paju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
EducationPusan Women's College - Aerobic Dance
Years active1994–present
AgentYG Entertainment
Korean name
Revised RomanizationChoe Ji-u
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Chiu
Birth name
Revised RomanizationChoe Mi-hyang
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Mihyang

Choi Ji-woo (born Choi Mi-hyang on June 11, 1975) is a South Korean actress. She is most famous for starring in the television melodramas Winter Sonata, Beautiful Days and Stairway to Heaven.


Choi Mi-hyang was first discovered when she won a talent audition organized by MBC in 1994, then made her acting debut in the drama series War and Love in 1995. Afterwards, she adopted the stage name "Choi Ji-woo."

She was cast in her first major role in 1996 film The Gate of Destiny, but due to her limited acting skills, she was replaced in the middle of filming.[1] In the next couple of years Choi continued to star in both TV dramas and films, including The Hole (a Korean remake of Hollywood thriller Hush), as well as the romantic comedies First Kiss with Ahn Jae-wook and The Romantic President with Ahn Sung-ki. But it was her portrayals on TV of tragic heroines with a pure and innocent image -- notably in Truth opposite Ryu Si-won and Beautiful Days opposite Lee Byung-hun -- that boosted her rising popularity.

In 2002, she reunited onscreen with Bae Yong-joon (she previously had a supporting role in his 1996 drama First Love) that she would star in her most famous, iconic role. Directed by Yoon Seok-ho as the second installment of his "season dramas,"[2] Winter Sonata became a phenomenal hit throughout Asia and has been credited as one of the initiators of the Korean Wave.[3] As a result Choi gained wide pan-Asian recognition, especially a huge following in Japan where she acquired the nickname Ji-woo Hime ("Princess Ji-woo").[4] In 2009 she and Bae reprised their roles as voice actors for Winter Sonata Anime.[5][6][7] She continues to be a lucrative star and brand in Japan, fetching high licensing/broadcasting rights for her dramas and selling out concerts and merchandise (tvN's E News compiled a list of the top Hallyu stars in Japan based on their approximate gross incomes for the first half of 2011, and Choi was #5 with approximately US$2 million).

After the success of her 2003 melodrama Stairway to Heaven with Kwon Sang-woo, Choi again attempted to break into film. She played a terminally ill heroine in Now and Forever,[8][9] and a more risque character in sex comedy Everybody Has Secrets (a Korean remake of Irish film About Adam).[10][11] Both films were poorly received by critics and audiences in South Korea, but performed well at the Japanese box office.

Choi then spent the next few years overseas, shooting the Chinese drama 101st Proposal with Sun Xing, and the Japanese drama RONDO opposite Yutaka Takenouchi.[12][13][14] She returned to Korean television in 2007 in Air City alongside Lee Jung-jae; her role was the Chief Operating Officer of Incheon Airport.[15]

In 2009, she starred opposite Yoo Ji-tae in the drama Star's Lover, playing a top actress who falls in love with an ordinary man.[16][17] Choi received ₩48 million per episode, the highest salary for a Korean actress at the time (her record was later broken by Go Hyun-jung's ₩55 million for the 2010 drama Daemul).[18][19]

That same year, she set up her own management agency called C,JW Company with her brother as CEO.[20][21] She also joined the ensemble cast of semi-improvisational mockumentary Actresses, arguably her most significant film yet.[22][23]

During the press conference for the 2011 series, Can't Lose, co-starring Yoon Sang-hyun, featuring a lawyer couple facing their own divorce suit, she was asked if she worried about shedding her pure and innocent image. Choi said, "I've had the same image for 15 years. Isn't it time for me to break out? I was a melodrama queen and now I want the title of romantic comedy queen." She added that she had gained more fans after showing her cheerful, easygoing side as a guest on the reality show 2 Days & 1 Night.[24][25]

In 2012, Choi was cast in the Chinese drama City Lovers, in which she portrayed the CEO at an event management company opposite Qin Hao, a newly employed businessman at her firm.[26][27][28]

Later that year, she became the host of Choi Ji-woo's Delicious Korea on food lifestyle cable channel O'live TV alongside fashion designer Jung Kuho. The 5-episode show, which aired from November 23 to December 21, 2012, aimed to promote Korean cuisine and culture to the world, and the two hosts traveled through South Korea and introduced little-known regional food to the viewers.[29][30]

She next headlined the 2013 remake of hit 2011 Japanese drama Kaseifu no Mita. In The Suspicious Housekeeper, Choi played the titular character, an icy and stoic yet amazingly capable housekeeper who comes to work for a recently widowed father and his four children.[31][32] Despite the difficulty of not being able to react to her costars, Choi said she chose the role because she "was really charmed by the way the heroine refrains from letting her emotions show."[33][34]

In February 2014, Choi signed with the talent agency YG Entertainment.[35][36][37][38] She then reunited with previous costar Kwon Sang-woo in Temptation; she played a rich woman who makes a dangerous offer to a married man.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Choi majored in aerobic dance at Pusan Women's College. She later enrolled in Hanyang University's Department of Theater and Film and completed her first year; however she had to withdraw from college studies due to her hectic work schedule.


Television drama[edit]

1995War and LoveMBC
1996MBC Best Theater "사랑, 그 하나만으로도"MBC
First LoveKang Seok-heeKBS2
Three Guys and Three Girls(guest appearance)MBC
1997Happiness Is in Our HeartsSeon Kyung-ahSBS
1998LoveYoo Ji-youngMBC
1999Love In 3 ColorsEun Ji-sooKBS2
Love StoryMin-jung (episode 2: "Message")SBS
2000TruthLee Ja-youngMBC
Mr. DukeJang Soo-jinMBC
2001Beautiful DaysKim Yeon-sooSBS
2002We Are Dating Now(cameo, episode 15)SBS
Winter SonataJeong Yoo-jinKBS2
2003Stairway to HeavenHan Jung-seoSBS
2004Full HouseHerself (cameo, episode 3)KBS2
101st ProposalLi Shao RongBTV
2006RONDOChoi Yoon-ahTBS
2007Air CityHan Do-kyungMBC
2008Star's LoverLee Ma-riSBS
2009Winter Sonata AnimeJeong Yoo-jin (voice)SKY PerfecTV!
2011Fuyu no SakuraInaba Tatsuki's Korean girlfriend
(cameo, episode 2)[40]
Can't LoseLee Eun-jaeMBC
2012City LoversAHTV
2013The Suspicious HousekeeperPark Bok-nyeoSBS
2014TemptationYoo Se-youngSBS
2015Grandpa's Over Flowers (2015 TV series)The Luggage GirltvN


1996The Adventures of Mrs ParkEun-jin
1997HallelujahBar madam (bit part)
The HoleSu-jin
1998AlienKim's daughter (voice)
First KissSong Yeon-hwa
1999Nowhere to HideKim Ju-yeon
2002The Romantic PresidentChoi Eun-soo
2004Everybody Has SecretsHan Sun-young
2005Shadowless SwordFemale martial arts gosu (cameo)
2006Now and ForeverHan Hye-won

Music video[edit]

YearSong titleHangulArtist
1996"Endless Love"무한지애Kim Jung-min
1998풍경Goo Bon-seung and Jang Dong-gun
"Na Na Na"Yoo Seung-jun
1999"For Your Soul"Jo Sungmo
2003"The Young Prince's Dream"별을 사랑한 어린 왕자의 꿈Cha Tae-hyun

Variety show[edit]

2004Hanamaru MarketGuestTBS
SMAPxSMAP - Bistro SMAPGuestFuji TV
2005SMAPxSMAP skit "Old Maid"GuestFuji TV
2006Masahiro Nakai's SMAP FridayGuestTBS
The Tunnels' Thanks to EveryoneGuestFuji TV
2007Sanma no ManmaGuestFuji TV
Infinite ChallengeGuestMBC
2008Line to the Law CenterVTR appearanceNTV
20112 Days & 1 NightGuest ("Actress Special")KBS2
Saturday Across GenerationsGuestKBS2
Healing Camp, Aren't You HappyGuestSBS
2012Choi Ji-woo's Delicious KoreaHostO'live TV
Running ManGuest (episodes 126-127)SBS
2013MBC Human Documentary - LoveNarrationMBC
2014Three Meals a DayGuest (episodes 7-8)tvN

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
1995Korea's Isabelle Adjani ContestN/AN/AWon
1996KBS Drama AwardsBest New ActressFirst LoveNominated
199718th Blue Dragon Film AwardsBest New ActressThe HoleNominated
199834th Baeksang Arts AwardsBest New Actress (Film)Won
21st Golden Cinematography AwardsBest New ActressWon
199914th Golden Disk AwardsGolden Video Best ActressFor Your SoulWon
20th Blue Dragon Film AwardsBest Supporting ActressNowhere to HideNominated
200037th Grand Bell AwardsBest Supporting ActressNominated
MBC Drama AwardsExcellence Award, ActressMr. DukeWon
2001SBS Drama AwardsTop 10 StarsBeautiful DaysWon
Excellence Award, ActressWon
200238th Baeksang Arts AwardsMost Popular Actress (TV)Winter SonataWon
Model Line Best Dresser AwardsSwan AwardN/AWon
KBS Drama AwardsPopularity AwardWinter SonataWon
Top Excellence Award, ActressWon
2003Andre Kim Best Star Awards[42]Female Star AwardN/AWon
26th Golden Cinematography AwardsMost Popular ActressThe Romantic PresidentWon
SBS Drama AwardsTop 10 StarsStairway to HeavenWon
Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama SpecialWon
200440th Baeksang Arts AwardsMost Popular Actress (TV)Won
4th Proud Korean Awards
(Journalists Federation of Korea)
200541st Baeksang Arts AwardsHallyu Special AwardN/AWon
The Motion Pictures Association of KoreaHallyu Special AwardN/AWon
2006Dior Timeless Beauty Awards[43]RecipientN/AWon
2009International Cultural Industry Exchange Foundation AwardsRecipientN/AWon
4th Seoul International Drama Awards[44][45]Inducted into the Star Hall of FameN/AWon
36th Tourism DayPresidential Commendation[46]N/AWon
SBS Drama AwardsExcellence Award, Actress in a Drama SpecialStar's LoverNominated
2010World Tourism Cities ForumTop Popularity AwardN/AWon
2011MBC Drama AwardsBest Couple Award with Yoon Sang-hyunCan't LoseNominated
Popularity AwardNominated
20127th Asia Model Festival Awards[47][48]Asia Star AwardN/AWon
Seoul International Social Work ConferenceSocial Welfare Award[49]N/AWon
2013SBS Drama AwardsTop Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama SpecialThe Suspicious HousekeeperNominated
20147th Korea Drama AwardsTop Excellence Award, ActressNominated
SBS Drama AwardsTop Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama SpecialTemptationNominated


  1. ^ "Choi Ji-woo talks being replaced". Korea JoongAng Daily. 27 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Producer Yun Seok-ho, the creator of Yonsama and the hallyu frenzy". KBS Global. 17 January 2005.
  3. ^ "Is it all over already? Gloomy signs overshadow rosy statistics of Hallyu". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. 11 July 2005. 
  4. ^ "Pure Love: Tear-Jerking Love Stories Enthrall Japanese Women". Web Japan. 14 October 2004.
  5. ^ "Bae, Choi to Voice Winter Sonata Cartoon". The Korea Times. 30 May 2008. 
  6. ^ "A reunion in 7 years: Yonsama and Jiwoohime". 10Asia. 29 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo reunite for Winter Sonata anime". 10Asia. 2 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Love Letter Starring Choi Ji-woo and Cho Han-sung to Open Next Year". KBS Global. 5 August 2005. 
  9. ^ "Yeonriji ("Now and Forever") Depends Heavily on Ji-woo Hime". The Korea Times via Hancinema. 13 April 2006.
  10. ^ "Sexy Secret Has Little to Tell". The Korea Times. 29 July 2004.
  11. ^ "Sex and Laughter in a Game of Love". The Dong-a Ilbo. 29 July 2004.
  12. ^ "Choi Ji-woo to Co-Star with Takenouchi Yutaka". KBS Global. 4 July 2005. 
  13. ^ "Actress Choi Ji-woo Stars in Joint Korean-Japanese TV Drama". KBS Global. 20 December 2005. 
  14. ^ "TV Drama Rondo Starring Choi Ji-woo Suffers Low Viewer Ratings". KBS Global. 24 February 2006. 
  15. ^ "This is Who I am". W Korea (in Korean). June 2007.
  16. ^ "Celebrity's Sweetheart Knocks on Viewers Hearts". The Korea Times. 2 December 2008. 
  17. ^ "Mega drama duo signals hot winter". The Korea Herald. 1 December 2008. 
  18. ^ "Koh Hyun-jung, highest paid Korean actress". The Korea Times. 12 April 2011.
  19. ^ "Ko Hyun-jung Sets New Soap Opera Earnings Record". The Chosun Ilbo. 12 April 2011.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Actresses Choosing To Be Managed By Family". KBS World. 10 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "Actresses is a miracle achieved, says Koh (Part 1)". 10Asia. 23 November 2009.
  23. ^ "Actresses is a miracle achieved, says Koh (Part 2)". 10Asia. 23 November 2009.
  24. ^ "Choi Ji-woo Can't Lose in romantic comedy". The Korea Times. 23 August 2011.
  25. ^ "Choi Ji-woo Thrilled About Shaking Off Old Image". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 August 2011.
  26. ^ "Choi Ji-woo to return to Chinese TV series in 9 years, teaming up with Qin Hao". 10Asia. 27 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Choi Ji Woo Stars in Her First Chinese Drama in Nine Years". enewsWorld. 27 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "Choi Ji-woo returns to Chinese drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. 28 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "Choi Ji-woo Will Introduce Korean Food as TV Host". 10Asia. 30 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "Choi Ji Woo to Look Far and Wide for Delicious Korean Foods in a Documentary". enewsWorld. 3 November 2012. 
  31. ^ "Choi Ji-woo to Play Housekeeper in an Upcoming Drama". 10Asia. 31 July 2013. 
  32. ^ "Choi Ji-woo to Play Housemaid in a New Drama". The Chosun Ilbo. 10 August 2013. 
  33. ^ "Choi Ji-woo to play modern-day Mary Poppins". The Korea Herald. 16 September 2013. 
  34. ^ "Suspicious role challenged Choi". Korea JoongAng Daily. 5 December 2013. 
  35. ^ "Choi Ji Woo Signs with YG Entertainment". enewsWorld. 26 February 2014. 
  36. ^ "Actress Choi Ji-woo joins YG Entertainment". The Korea Herald. 27 February 2014. 
  37. ^ "Actress Choi Ji-woo Joins YG Entertainment". 10Asia. 26 February 2014. 
  38. ^ "Hallyu icon joins YG Family". Korea JoongAng Daily. 27 February 2014. 
  39. ^ "Look who's back together: Kwon Sang-woo, Choi Ji-woo re-united in SBS drama Temptation". The Korea Times. 11 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "Choi Ji Woo to make a guest appearance in winter drama, Fuyu no Sakura". Tokyo Hive. 9 January 2011. 
  41. ^ "Choi Ji-woo Takes Lead in ALI's New Music Video". 10Asia. 31 January 2013. 
  42. ^ "Top Stars Win Andre Kim Awards". The Korea Times. 1 May 2007. 
  43. ^ "Choi Ji-woo Named Korea's Greatest Acting Beauty". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 August 2006. 
  44. ^ "Star Hall of Fame Celebrates Choi Ji-woo". The Chosun Ilbo. 20 August 2009.
  45. ^ "Dramas, Stars to Compete at Seoul Intl Drama Awards". The Korea Times. 25 August 2009. 
  46. ^ "Actress Choi Ji-woo to receive President's honor". 10Asia. 24 September 2009. 
  47. ^ "Asia Model Awards". KBS World. 18 January 2012.
  48. ^ "Choi Ji-woo, Kara win Asia Star at 2012 Asia Model Awards". The Korea Herald. 19 January 2012.
  49. ^ "Choi Ji Woo receives Seoul City Social Welfare Award". StarN News. 7 September 2012. 

External links[edit]