An extremely popular slang expression in Korea these days is the word “뇌섹남” (nue-saek-nam), an acronym literally translating to a “man with a sexy brain,” with its female counterpart “뇌섹녀” (nue-saek-neo), a “woman with a sexy brain.”
In the Korean entertainment industry, there has been a recent trend that emphasizes the intelligence of celebrities. Programs such as “Problematic Men” and “Abnormal Summit” have celebrities showcase their intellect by discussing the global issues that our society is facing, rather than the usual simple conversations about their everyday lives.
Here are some of the top 10 celebrities in Korea who have a sexy brain on top of extreme talent and gorgeous appearances. Let us know in the comments down below if your favorite celebrities made it on the list, or if there’s anyone we missed!
All rankings mentioned in the article were taken from the 2015 US News Education University Rankings.
Actress Honey Lee
Honey Lee is most well-known as 2006’s Miss Korea. Honey Lee graduated from Seoul National University, the most prestigious public university in Korea, with a bachelor’s degree in Korean traditional music. Seoul National University is ranked 9th in Asia and 102nd worldwide.
Actress Kim Tae Hee
Kim Tae Hee, who most recently starred in “Yong Pal,” is not just a pretty face! When people think of celebrities that are both beautiful and smart, one of the first people that come to mind is Kim Tae Hee. Kim Tae Hee, like Honey Lee, graduated from Seoul National University with a bachelor’s degree in fashion and design.
EXID’s Hani, though first known as the girl group member captured in the famous fan cam that shot her group to popularity, has proven her intelligence with an impressive IQ score of 145. Also, she revealed that after studying for two months by herself, she received a score of 900 on the TOEIC exam (a perfect score is 990), an English language test designed to specifically measure the everyday English skills of people working in an international environment.
BTS’s Rap Monster
One of the celebrities that caught me off guard was definitely BTS’s Rap Monster. Not only is the rapper capable of dropping sick beats, he is also extremely knowledgeable and has proven his intelligence with an IQ score of 148. He also ranked in the 99th percentile of students nationwide who took the Korean college entrance exam in the same year.
Epik High’s Tablo
When speaking of intelligent Korean celebrities, I think Tablo has to be included in the list. Although he struggled in the past with people not believing his credentials, Tablo graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a master’s in English. Stanford University is ranked 4th nationwide.
Actor Lee Seo Jin
Lee Seo Jin isn’t just known just for traveling the world with cute grandpas or for spending his time in the country side farming. He is a graduate of New York University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. New York University is ranked 34th worldwide!
Actor Lee Sang Yoon
Lee Sang Yoon, like his fellow actors Kim Tae Hee and Honey Lee, is also a graduate of Seoul National University. Lee Sang Yoon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics. As someone who is currently struggling with physics, respect to Lee Sang Yoon!
Roy Kim is not only known for his sweet vocals and cute looks but also for attending Georgetown University. Georgetown University is currently ranked 21th in the United States and has an acceptance rate of only 16.4 percent.
MC Jeon Hyun Moo
Jeon Hyun Moo is one of the most famous news anchors that made a successful debut in the entertainment business. The MC graduated from Yonsei University with a bachelor’s degree in both sociology and English literature. Yonsei University is one of the most prestigious private universities of Korea ranking 112nd worldwide and 16th in Asia. Alongside his degree from one of the top universities of Korea, Jeon Hyun Moo also speaks Korean, Chinese, and Japanese fluently. It’s no surprise that he is so successful with that kind of talent.
Actress Yoon So Hee
Actress Yoon So Hee is currently attending KAIST University, majoring in biochemical engineering. KAIST University (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) is one of the most prestigious schools with an emphasis in STEM majors. It is currently ranked as the 2nd best university in South Korea and 22nd within Asia.
Let us know if there are any more celebrities to add to the list!
lahkim is a Soompi writer who is passionate about Korean beauty products as well as the beauty trends of Korea. Other than her love for Korean beauty, she is also a fan of K-dramas, K-indie, and K-hip-hop. Her favorite K-pop artists include Bobby, Hyukoh, Zion.T, and WINNER. Some of her favorite K-dramas are “Gentleman’s Dignity” and “Kill Me, Heal Me.” When she is not going crazy over the latest update about Bobby or obsessing over the newest episode of the latest drama, she can be seen either studying for her Biology midterms or helping out at her campus ministry.