In most parts of the world, getting a tattoo is almost as easy as getting take-out from your favorite restaurant. You can be in and out of the shop in under half an hour with a small design, and after that, you have little to worry about. Unfortunately, this isn't the case for celebrities in South Korea, where getting a tattoo is still quite taboo, and technically, illegal when not done by a medical practitioner.
Though the attitude towards body ink is slowly changing in the country, the practice of people hiding their tattoos or covering them with bandages on television remains common. This is partly why most Korean actors and K-pop idols don't have any tattoos or at least visible ones, but it doesn't stop those who really want to be inked either. Below, we talk about five K-drama actresses and their tattoos you probably haven't seen yet. These range from small, big, to ink they've had removed, so keep scrolling to know more!
1. Gong Hyo Jin
When the Camellia Blooms star Gong Hyo Jin is one of the few Korean actresses who flaunts her tattoos. She has two small tattoos on her hands: A peace sign on her left index finger, and the world "love" on her ring finger. But her most visible tattoo is on her left shoulder, which features a cross and a ribbon with the words laurel, lubere, and money written across them. While most celebrities would cover an ink this big, Gong Hyo Jin has proudly showed it off in her magazine covers for Harper's Bazaar Korea, Marie Claire Korea, and W Korea.
2. Han Ye Seul
Han Ye Seul has a collection of more than 10 tattoos, and many of them have special meanings for the Birth of a Beauty actress. For one, the large snake on her right shoulder represents her desire to shed her skin like the animal and leave her past behind. She rocked this ink on the March 2021 cover of Allure Korea, where she looked absolutely stunning in a black SueComma Bonnie dress.
Han Ye Seul also several smaller tattoos, like the triangle on her wrist that signifies the Holy Trinity and the phrase "be kind" on her ring finger. That said, her most popular tattoo is that of three swords just below her sternum, which stands for strength, courage, and protection, respectively.
3. Bae Suzy
Bae Suzy has two tattoos, but they're so small she doesn't have to try too hard to keep them hidden. The one that's often spotted is the little heart at the bottom of her left finger, and this is the only ink the public knew she had for years.
Suzy's second tattoo was revealed only recently during one of her campaign shoots for beauty brand Lancome. One photo from the set showed the back of the Start-Up leading lady's neck, which bears a mini cross stuck into a small heart. Suzy has yet to speak about the meanings of her tattoos or if they have meanings at all, but there's no denying she has pretty ink!
4. Jung Ryeo Won
Like Gong Hyo Jin and Han Ye Seul, Australia-raised Korean actress Jung Ryeo Won has zero qualms about flaunting her tattoos in public. Many of her inks are on her arms, and the My Name Is Kim Sam Soon star has revealed the meanings behind some of them. On her Instagram stories, she said that the word "epignosis" written on her tricep means "what your head knows, the mind & spirit knows."
Meanwhile, the phrase "I do what I am" inked on her forearm stands for her view on individuality and identity: "You are not defined by what you do—you do what you are."
5. Han So Hee
Before her rise to fame as Yeo Da Kyung in The World of the Married, Han So Hee was active in the modeling scene. She posed for different brands and magazines with two big arm tattoos on display, but it's often said that she had them all removed when she decided to pursue a career in acting.
Singer-actress IU once admitted that she definitely had plans on getting a tattoo. Though she has yet to follow through, the Hotel Del Luna actress did give us a sneak peek of what she would look like with one! In her music video for Celebrity, she wore a temporary tattoo of a star on her neck, and it suited her so well that many of her fans (us included) wished it was real ink.
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This story originally appeared on Preview.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.