Back in November, we gave you our (incomplete) list of 10 Korean celebrities who caught our attention not only for their striking looks and impressive talents, but also for their top-notch intellect. However, you, the readers, let us know through your comments that we definitely missed some other Korean stars also worthy of such praise. So, here’s a list of 10 more Korean celebrities who have the looks, the skills, and the brains.
Rapper – and now producer – Verbal Jint has squarely placed his name in the Korean music industry with his introduction of a rhyming scheme in Korean rap. This come as no surprise, as the musician attended Seoul National University and received a bachelor’s degree in economics after passing the GED’s with flying colors. He also previously attended the Hanyang University School of Law, before taking a leave of absence to focus on his career.
Before releasing her first album, singer Lena Park (Park Jung Hyun) attended UCLA for a year with the intention of studying theater. Eventually, she completed her college education at the prestigious Columbia University’s School of General Studies, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English and comparative literature. The singer previously revealed that she was always the bookish type, a trait which helped her find her passion for both music and literature.
Although U-KISS’s AJ dropped out of school in the seventh grade to become an idol, he later hired a tutor and studied resolutely for his GED. His determination surely paid off, as he was admitted to Columbia University in 2011. The New York Post called him a psychology student by day, and South Korea’s Justin Bieber by night. For now, the star is taking a hiatus from his musical career to focus on finishing his studies.
While he may be most praised for his ability to hit high notes, TVXQ’s talented singer Changmin should also be acknowledged for his high IQ, which is known to be around 150. Even after receiving his first bachelor’s degree in postmodern music from Kyung Hee University and a second degree in film and arts at Konkuk University, Changmin is now pursuing a dual degree – both a master’s and a doctorate – at Inha University.
Seohyun of Girls’ Generation showed her fans on SBS’s “100 Billion Quiz” that she’s not just a pretty face with a great voice: she answered every single question correctly on the quiz show, demonstrating her sharp intellectual prowess. According to fellow Girls’ Generation members, Seohyun is constantly reading and learning about global politics. She graduated from Dongguk University, where she received an achievement award.
Who would have thought that the actor-singer-television host Im Siwan might have become a mechanical engineer? Prior to his debut, Im Siwan majored in mechanical engineering at Busan University. On an episode of tvN’s “Open List 2015,” the idol revealed that only those with scores higher than 450 out of 500 on the college entrance exams were admitted to the program, and that he received excellent marks in high school. Plus, the star can solve a Rubik’s cube in under 40 seconds: sounds like the guy’s incredibly multi-talented!
Like AJ, Miryo of the Brown Eyed Girls also dropped out of high school in order to pursue her musical career. However, she also studied for the GED and was accepted into the prestigious Joongang University. If her acceptance isn’t proof enough, the rapper also proved her intellect on KBS’s “Idol Brain Collision,” where she showed off her middle school report card and the fact that she was first in her entire school. She also won the title “Most Knowledgeable” on the show, answering correctly even the most recondite of questions.
With an IQ of 137, actor Kang Dong Won surely deserves his place on this list. He graduated from Hanyang University with a degree in mechanical engineering with honors. The actor was also revealed to have received good grades in middle school, and his teachers as well as classmates remember him as both a good-looking and outstanding student.
While Super Junior member Kyuhyun has impressed fans worldwide with his impressive vocals, we’ve also got to love him for his smarts. Before following his musical career, Kyuhyun was urged to study law by his father, and only permitted to pursue music if he did well on his college entrance exams. He received his bachelor’s degree in postmodern music at Kyunghee University, where he was highly praised for his active participation in student activities.
Entering a doctorate program is no small feat; just ask any aspiring academic out there. After featuring in “Jewel in the Palace,” one of the most widely acclaimed Korean dramas, actress Lee Young Ae is currently pursuing a PhD at the Graduate School of Theater and Cinema at Hanyang University. She also has a bachelor’s degree in German language and literature and a master’s degree in theater and cinema. Although the actress does not necessarily have any aspirations of becoming a professor, Lee Young Ae professed that she enjoys learning and studying.
seehkay is a contributing writer for Soompi. In her free time, she likes to read, discover new music, analyze Korean dramas, and drink coffee every chance she gets.