Before They Were Stars: Surprising Past Careers of Korean Celebrities


The road to success isn’t always easy and short. Many celebrities had different dreams growing up or they had other jobs prior to debuting. There are instances where they were training to become professional athletes. Some celebs worked part-time jobs to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams, while others ended up switching their careers. Their stories prove that it is possible to achieve your dreams if you work hard. Also, you never know how your life will change and what adventures you will embark on.  Are you curious about your favorite celebrities’ pasts? Keep reading to find out more and get inspired!

Let’s start with our sports stars. Both UEE and So Ji Sub were talented swimmers when they were youths. So Ji Sub even won a bronze medal in a swimming competition.


Scary villain from “My Love From the Stars” and “Liar Game,” actor Shin Sung Rok was originally a basketball player. A hip surgery led to him quitting the sport. His brother ended up becoming a professional basketball player although he eventually retired and recently became a chef. Major career changes for both of them!

Seo Ji Suk was planning on being a track and field athlete due to his speed and agility. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury which changed the course of his career.

Lee Tae Sung is another actor who once dreamed of being a sports star. An injury prevented him from becoming a professional baseball player, but he was able to portray one in the drama “Two Outs in the Ninth Inning.”


Jo Han Sun and Kang Dong Won were soccer players in their youths. Their talent was not wasted as they played soccer in the movie “Wolf’s Temptation,” as you can see in the picture.


Song Joong Ki was a promising short track skater and might have won Korea some medals if he hadn’t had to quit due to an injury. Fortunately, the handsome actor was able to showcase his skills in the drama “Triple.” Meanwhile, Song Hye Kyo and Han Chae Young learned figure skating when they were younger.  It appears as though their sports pasts have helped them in various projects after debuting.


Even people who have been normal company employees can become stars! Actor Ji Jin Hee was a visual design major and worked at an advertising company. Meanwhile, Kang Ji Hwan was a graphic design major and worked at a company for about a year.


Comedian Jung Hyung Don from “Infinity Challenge” was actually a salaryman at Samsung. Likewise, his colleague Park Hwee Soon has experience working for a matchmaking company. Kim Jun Ho also revealed that he had a part-time job working at a lingerie store. What surprising jobs for such funny men.


Gorgeous singer G.NA revealed she was an English teacher at an academy prior to her singing debut. Who wouldn’t want a bombshell English teacher?

Son Ho Young worked part-time at a tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurant. Fans certainly wish they could be served a tasty meal by the handsome star.


There are also stars with retail experience. Narsha from Brown Eyed Girls has experience working at a clothes store. Talented actor Kim Myung Min worked as a salesman at a ski apparel store in Itaewon. Despite his current image as a serious actor, he was known for being business savvy and incredibly successful in selling items.


Yoon Sang Hyun, who debuted somewhat late compared to others, managed a small restaurant in front of an  all-girl’s high school. Students must have flocked to see the good-looking actor.

Heartthrob Won Bin surprisingly worked as a car mechanic after graduating from high school. At the time, he dreamed of becoming a car racer.

Veteran actor Han Suk Kyu was a voice actor in the past. No wonder I find his voice so soothing…


Jewel in the Palace” star Lee Young Ae was a reporter for a morning show in 1994. Actress Han Ye Seul was a supermodel, but later started out as a reporter on “Section TV” in 1999 before transitioning into acting.


Which of these stars’ previous careers did you find the most surprising? Comment below!