Male K-Drama Leads Of 2020 Whose Debut Roles Put Them On The Path To Stardom

When an actor is so successful and at the top of his game, it’s fun to look back at their humble beginnings. Whether the role be big or small, it’s a monumental step as it gives them a chance to fulfill their dreams and showcase their talents. Here are 10 K-drama actors’ debut roles that put them on the path to stardom!

Note: List is in no particular order!

1. Jang Ki Yong – “It’s Okay, That’s Love”

Jang Ki Yong initially started out in showbiz as a model. He was sent to the set of the SBS drama “It’s Okay, That’s Love” and was given a small role playing Lee Sung Kyung‘s boyfriend. At the time, he didn’t think much of it nor did he have a big desire to act, but after being on set, it sparked a newfound passion. Since then, he’s been starring in K-dramas galore, including this year’s fantasy romance “Born Again.”

Watch Jang Ki Yong in his debut role:

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2. Lee Jae Wook – “Memories of the Alhambra”

Lee Jae Wook has had a short acting career, but a very impressive one. Having been in just five K-dramas and one movie, Lee Jae Wook is proving to have what it takes to be one of the industry’s best. Lee Jae Wook’s debut role was in the sci-fi fantasy “Memories of the Alhambra” as the shady hacker, and this past year he got his first starring role as Sun Woo Jun in “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol.”

3. Song Seung Heon – “Three Guys and Three Girls”

This year, Song Seung Heon starred in the MBC drama “Dinner Mate” and also graced us with a rare appearance on the variety show “Home Alone.” It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since Song Seung Heon debuted on the sitcom “Three Guys and Three Girls.” He played the aloof and love struck Seung Hun (most of the characters went by their real names in the show), and he quickly garnered a big fan following soon after he debuted. People already couldn’t resist his charms!

4. Ahn Hyo Seop – “Splash Splash Love”

Ahn Hyo Seop starred in the hit hospital romance K-drama “Dr. Romantic 2” this year. Way before Ahn Hyo Seop became an actor, he was a trainee at JYP Entertainment. After being a trainee for several years, he decided to try his hand at acting. His first role and debut was as the loyal Park Yeon in the fan favorite web-drama “Splash Splash Love.” His role was small, but very impactful.

Check him out in the web-drama below:

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5. Kim Min Jae – “Persevere, Goo Hae Ra”

Kim Min Jae starred in a lead role this year as the piano prodigy Park Joon Young in “Do You Like Brahms?” He started training to be an idol and was a very talented dancer and rapper. Despite this, when he was given the opportunity to get into acting, he accepted it without any hesitation. His debut in dramaland was in the music-themed series “Persevere, Goo Hae Ra” as Sa Gi Joon. Because he was required to dance, it was an easy transition!

Start watching Kim Min Jae in his debut role:

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6. Joo Ji Hoon – “Princess Hours”

This year was a huge success for Joo Ji Hoon. He starred in SBS’s “Hyena,” “Kingdom” Season 2, and was also confirmed to star in the upcoming series “Mount Jiri” alongside Jun Ji Hyun. Joo Ji Hoon was lucky in that he started his career off with a bang. His debut was a starring role in the classic rom-com “Princess Hours.” He played the stoic and cool Prince Lee Shin.

Check out a very young and talented Joo Ji Hoon in the first episode of “Princess Hours”:

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7. Park Bo Gum – “Blind”

Park Bo Gum originally wanted to be a singer-songwriter and has proven on various interviews and shows that he’s talented at singing and playing the piano. However, at the suggestion of others, he decided to get into acting. His first role was in the movie “Blind” as Kim Ha Neul‘s younger brother Dong Hyun. This year, he starred in “Record of Youth” right before enlisting into the military.

8. Yoon Shi Yoon – “High Kick Through the Roof”

Yoon Shi Yoon starred in the action-packed OCN drama “Train” this year. He was also on the panel of the popular dating reality show “Heart Signal 3.” Yoon Shi Yoon’s acting career started off strong as he was a cast member of the sitcom “High Kick Through the Roof.” That following year, he starred in the very popular series “Bread, Love and Dreams” and shot to stardom.

Start watching “High Kick Through the Roof”:

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9. Nam Joo Hyuk – “Surplus Princess”

Nam Joo Hyuk started off in the industry as a model. With his good looks and height, it was only a matter of time before he got into acting. His debut role was in “Surplus Princess” as the satoori speaking character named Big. It was a pretty big leap into the K-drama industry as it was his first role in a K-drama and a pretty big one at that! Nam Joo Hyuk is currently starring in “Start-Up” alongside Suzy.

Watch the first episode of “Surplus Princess” here:

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10. Jung Hae In – “Bride of the Century”

Jung Hae In starred in “A Piece of Your Mind” this year and was also confirmed to be starring in the highly anticipated drama “Snowdrop.” Jung Hae In’s first appearance in the entertainment industry was in AOA Black’s music video, but his official debut role was as the fun and charming Choi Kang In in “Bride of the Century.”

Start watching “Bride of the Century” here:

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Hey Soompiers, which actors have you followed since their debut? Let me know in the comments below!

binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

Currently watching: “How Do You Play?” and “Start-Up”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen

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