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5 K-Drama Child Actors Who Grew Up To Play Lead Roles

One of them started acting at only 4 years old!
IMAGE (LEFT) INSTAGRAM/YOU_R_LOVE, (RIGHT) DONG YI/MBC

One thing we love about Korean dramas is that they almost always give us flashbacks to the lead characters' childhoods, which make us feel more connected to them! Have you ever wondered about the young actors who brought these roles to life? Well, they're all grown up and have starred in their own shows! Here are five of our favorite stars:

1. Kim So Hyun

Birthday: June 4, 1999

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Early Roles

So Hyun, who was born in Australia and moved to South Korea when she was a toddler, first rose to fame when she was cast in the drama Moon Embracing The Sun (2012) as the younger version of Yoon Bo-kyung, a villainous queen-to-be. She also played Young Hwa-yong/Young Se-na in Rooftop Prince (2012), also as the antagonist.

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In 2013, So Hyun won the Best Child Actress award at the first K-Drama Star Awards for her performance in Missing You, where she played the role of a bullied high school student who gets kidnapped.

Recent Dramas

So Hyun landed her first lead role in the series Who Are You: School 2015, where she played twin characters who were separated as kids. Since then, she has starred in the dramas Hey Ghost, Let's Fight (2016), The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (2017), and Radio Romance (2018).

So Hyun was also seen in the Netflix-produced series Love Alarm, which is based on a webtoon. The drama is about a mobile app that alerts users when someone within a 10-meter radius has romantic feelings for them. While the application becomes a social fascination, people are still interested in the true, natural feelings for each other that existed before everyone was using the app.

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2. Kim Yoo Jung

Birthday: September 22, 1999

Early Roles

Yoo Jung started acting when she was only four years old. She played younger versions of characters in Princess Hours (2006), Queen Seondeok (2009), and Dong Yi (2010).

In 2012, she starred alongside Yeo Jin Goo in Moon Embracing The Sun where they played teenage versions of the leads. Yoo Jung played Ga-in, the daughter of a noble family that was gaining power in the royal court. Smart, beautiful, and well-loved, she was chosen as the crown princess, but mysteriously fell ill and ~died~ before the royal wedding ceremony. Just when she was believed to be dead, she was saved by the head shaman but lost all her memories in the process.

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Recent Dramas

Her first leading role was in the historical drama Love in the Moonlight (2016), where she starred as a cross-dressing heroine opposite Park Bo Gum. In 2018, she worked on the series Clean With Passion For Now, which told the love story of two complete opposites: a cleaning company employee who doesn't really care about *dirt* and the company's boss who suffers from Mysophobia (a pathological fear of contamination and germs).

3. Yeo Jin Goo

Birthday: August 13, 1997

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Early Roles

Jin Goo made his acting debut at the age of eight in the film Sad Movie (2005). He rose to international fame when he starred in the fantasy-period drama Moon Embracing the Sun (2012) as the younger version of actor Kim Soo Hyun, the crown prince.

Recent Dramas

In 2019, Jin Goo starred in two dramas: In My Absolute Boyfriend he played a robot programmed to be every woman's perfect guy. His second drama, The Crowned Clown, tells the story of a Joseon king and his doppelganger whom he desperately puts on the throne to escape the intense power struggles of royal life.

4. Yoo Seung Ho

Birthday: August 17, 1993

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Early Roles

Seung Ho first rose to stardom in the film The Way Home (2002), where he played a city boy who learns to appreciate country life when he's forced to spend the summer with his deaf-mute grandmother. He also played the younger counterparts of the male leads in dramas such as Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-sin (2004), The King and I (2007), and The Legend (2007).

Recent Dramas

In 2017, Seung Ho starred in the drama I Am Not A Robot as Min-kyu, the greatest shareholder of Korea's largest financial company with an IQ of 159. The catch is, he's allergic to humans! He also starred as a troubled crown prince in The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (2017) and in My Strange Hero (2019) as a high school student who gets expelled after being falsely accused of violence.

5. Nam Da Reum

Birthday: June 13, 2002

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Early Roles

He's that kid who's often cast as the younger version of the male leads and their friends! Da Reum has been the child counterpart of Kim Hyun Joong in Boys Over Flowers (2009), Lee Jong Suk in Pinnochio (2014) and While You Were Sleeping (2017), and Lee Je Hoon in Where Stars Land (2018), among others.

Recent Dramas

Da Reum got the lead role in Goodbye My Life Insurance (2018), which tells the story of a father who is diagnosed as a terminally ill patient. The father decides to create an AI clone that will be able to replace him in order to accompany his son (Da Reum) once he's gone.

Da Reum also starred in Beautiful Life, where he plays the role of Sun Ho, a student who becomes critically injured due to an incident of school violence. His family seeks the truth and fights for justice in his name. No doubt about it: Da Reum is a rising star!

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This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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