Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk are probably this generation’s ideal onscreen couple that has come to life. Thanks to the success of “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo,” they were able to take their popularity to the next level. Many fans were quick to notice the pair’s obvious chemistry, so much so that their lingering stares, sweet kisses, and adorable hugs on camera seemed pretty real.
Before their stint as the “swag couple,” both of them worked in “Cheese in the Trap,” though their characters had little to no interaction. And even before that, they were paired in several modeling projects as YG K-Plus agency’s golden couple.
Lee Sung Kyung as a top model
With her long limbs (she’s 176 centimeters tall), beautiful face, and slim figure, Lee Sung Kyung had all the qualities of becoming Korea’s next top model. She competed at the local Super Model Contest in 2008, placing 11th and winning the Lex Prize; and the International Asia Pacific Super Model Contest in 2009, placing 5th and winning the Unix Hair New Style Prize.
Lee Sung Kyung got the attention of many designers in Seoul Fashion Week for her fierce and confident walk on the runway, which fit the streetwear vibe of her clothes.
She is also known for her chameleon-like features, which is an asset in the fashion industry because she can transform into any look and style.
Nam Joo Hyuk as a favorite of menswear designers
While Lee Sung Kyung was doing her own thing, another model was also on the rise — Nam Joo Hyuk. At 188 centimeters tall, this guy has boyish charms that made him perfect for magazines targeted for young women: Céci and Nylon Korea, which he appeared in the most. He debuted in 2013 as a model for the SONGZIO Homme Spring/Summer 2014 collection. After that, he starred in Akdong Musician’s “200%” MV.
While it may seem like he is a natural in front of the camera, Nam Joo Hyuk had doubts in himself at first. He once said in an interview, “To be honest, even in my early modeling career, I can’t say that I was good. I don’t think I have a large range of facial expressions. I’m not particularly skilled. I don’t know what I do, I just do it. I want to do well, so I do make an effort.”
A perfect pair in magazines
With their youthful energy and incredible looks, the two were often paired in magazine editorials.
Céci Magazine (April 2014) – a sweet escape concept
Nylon Korea – Marvel comics concept
Fashion Look Book campaign for Polham 2015 F/W Collection
So Car campaign
In an interview for the Elle February 2017 issue (before their dating news was revealed), Lee Sung Kyung was asked about her onscreen chemistry with Nam Joo Hyuk, which was considered a hot issue with netizens. She said, “We worked well because Joo Hyuk is a close friend of mine, just like his character Joon Hyung was for Bok Joo. We’ve been friends ever since we were models. We did a lot of couple photo shoots together, so we weren’t awkward.”
Runway role models
Even before they actually became a couple, Nam Joo Hyuk and Lee Sung Kyung were already wearing couple clothes — on the runway.
Studio K SS/2015
They also walked for popular streetwear brand Beyond Closet for its menswear collection in 2015. While Lee Sung Kyung was the only female model, back then, the attention was more on WINNER’s Song Mino and Kang Seung Yoon, who opened and closed the show.
Red carpet darlings
Nam Joo Hyuk often escorted Lee Sung Kyung on red carpet events, award shows, and they often presented awards (or received awards) together.
MBC Drama Awards in 2015 (left and bottom) and Melon Music Awards in 2014 (right)
Chic in black at the Style Icon Awards 2014
They both won “Fashion models of the year” at the CFDK Awards in 2014.
With all that time spent on and off camera, it’s not hard to see how they ended up becoming a couple. Perhaps it’s also because they have the same interests in modeling and acting, or maybe they bonded over long waiting hours during shoots and at film sets. Whatever it is, we hope they stay together forever!
DP_Kim is an English magazine writer and fashion fan whose goal in life is to wear heels and find the best OOTD locations while living in the farm outside of Jeonju, South Korea. Follow her Korean adventures here.