8 K-Dramas Where The Female Lead Breaks Out Of Her Shell

It’s Women’s History Month, which means it’s a great time to celebrate all the powerful and strong women out there in the world. In K-dramas, it’s always a beautiful thing to see a female protagonist gain the strength she always had within her to become more independent and self-aware by the end. Here are eight K-dramas that explore that theme.

1. “Flower Boy Next Door

Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye) is an introverted girl who spends most of her days avoiding people. She hardly leaves her small apartment and finds outgoing people burdensome. But when Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon) catches her stalking her next door neighbor, things get pretty awkward. She can’t seem to avoid the outgoing and outspoken Enrique. The two form an unlikely bond and start to develop some serious feelings for each other.

Go Dok Mi’s introverted personality starts to interfere with her life when she becomes afraid to go outdoors. She has social anxiety, which prohibits her from wanting to interact with anyone outside her house, which is why she stays inside. When she meets Enrique, he challenges her to come out of her shell and to deal with whatever issues are lying deep within. She realizes that she has some baggage to overcome in order to heal. You’ll love seeing how much Dok Mi transforms and becomes a better and more confident version of herself with Enrique encouraging her along the way!

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2. “Master’s Sun

Gong Hyo Jin plays Tae Gong Sil, a girl who barely gets enough sleep at night because she’s constantly being pestered by dead people who want her to do things for them. When she meets Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub), she finds out that she doesn’t see dead people when she touches him. The two start off despising each other, but because Gong Sil is able to find peace when she’s around Joong Won, she’s pretty clingy. They embark on a weird relationship and somehow end up falling in love with each other.

Tae Gong Sil is a prisoner in her own life. In the beginning of the series, we see that she is distressed and exhausted from having to see and hear ghosts all day. It has made her secluded and alone. After meeting Joong Won, she finally finds some peace but is unable to let him go. She comes off as being a bit clingy out of desperation for not wanting to see the ghosts. However, as the series progresses, she realizes that she has some power over her own life and decisions, which makes her strive for independence. The journey Gong Sil takes into self-awareness is empowering, and you see her transform into a more confident and strong woman.

Start watching “Master’s Sun”:

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3. “She Was Pretty

“She Was Pretty” stars Hwang Jung Eum as Kim Hye Jin, a woman who used to be very put together and popular with the boys as a kid but grows up caring a little less about her appearance. She gets a chance at a magazine company where she reunites with her first love Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon). Sung Joon was madly in love with Hye Jin when he was younger but is now unable to recognize her as an adult.

In this series, Hye Jin starts off as being a confident young girl, but when her family suddenly becomes poor, she is left not caring as much about her appearance and well-being. As she becomes an adult, she is left feeling self-conscious about her life decisions, dreams, and physical appearance. So when she meets Sung Joon, she is even harder on herself as she knows she is not the same confident person she was when she was younger. Despite this, her relationship with Sung Joon becomes more serious, and she reawakens the confidence she had within herself. This results in her coming out of her shell and overcoming a lot of life’s obstacles while learning to accept herself for who she is.

Start watching “She Was Pretty” here:

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4. “True Beauty

Lim Ju Gyeong (Moon Ga Young) is a high school student who has been bullied for not being the most attractive and popular girl in school. She decides to take it upon herself to learn how to do makeup by watching videos online. She gets the opportunity to transfer to another school and gets caught in the middle of a heart-wrenching love triangle between Lee Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo) and Han Seo Jun (Hwang In Yeop).

This drama is based on the popular and successful webtoon written by Yaongyi, and it explores realistic situations that many Koreans face. Some of these very serious issues include bullying and an obsession with physical appearances. The heart of the series lies in the lovable Lim Ju Gyeong, a high school girl who is bullied and self-conscious about her looks. She is eventually able to shed the low self-esteem she has while also finding true love.

Start watching “True Beauty”:

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5. “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty

Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) has always been self-conscious about her physical appearance. It affects her so much that she decides that getting plastic surgery is the only way that she can live her life. On the first day of university, Mi Rae becomes excited to start her new life, but she runs into Do Kyung Suk (Cha Eun Woo), a very handsome and popular boy whom she used to go to elementary school with. Kyung Suk recognizes Mi Rae pretty quickly, and he starts to realize that his feelings for her are more than just surface level.

Similarly to “True Beauty,” “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty” has a female protagonist who has been a victim of feeling the societal pressures of looking a certain way in order to be happy. This has made her retreat into a shell, not wanting to socialize or make friends for fear of getting hurt. When she decides to take matters into her own hands, she realizes that Kyung Suk is not after her appearance but her heart, which makes her more self-assured and secure in who she is. By the end of the series, she’s flourishing and in a serious romantic relationship!

You can start watching here:

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6. “Fated to Love You

Jang Nara stars in “Fated to Love You” as a regular, plain girl named Kim Mi Young. Fatefully, she meets Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) one day, and the two have a one night stand. This results in a pregnancy that forces them into marriage. Although they are not sure about their feelings for each other, Lee Gun pushes Kim Mi Young away.

The series starts off as rather heartbreaking with Mi Young being a character that many can sympathize with. She is shy, often overlooked, and not one to put herself out there. However, after the start of her relationship with Lee Gun and understanding more of the things that she really wants for herself and her life, she becomes more assertive. By the end of the series, she realizes who her heart is truly after, which brings her out of her shell completely.

Start watching “Fated to Love You”:

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7. “Because This Is My First Life

In “Because This Is My First Life,” Lee Min Ki stars as Nam Sae Hee, an awkward computer designer who is house poor, while Jung So Min stars as Yoon Ji Ho, an aspiring drama writer who is on the brink of giving up on her dreams because she can’t afford to live in the city. The two meet and decide to have a contract marriage so that Sae Hee’s parents will stop setting him up on blind dates and so that Ji Ho can look for a job.

Ji Ho is a character who knows what she wants in life but is constantly put down from the obstacles that she comes across. This causes her to be less secure and confident in herself, pushing her into a situation that she would never have agreed on, which is to get married to a man and live with him so that she won’t have to go back home. However, as a result of this life-altering decision, Ji Ho comes to learn more about herself and her heart, which in turn makes her more fearless and bold.

Start watching the drama:

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8. “Oh My Ghostess

Na Bong Sun (Park Bo Young) is an assistant chef to Kang Sun Woo (Jo Jung Suk). Bong Sun is a shy and timid girl, but she gets possessed by Shin Soon Ae (Kim Seul Gi), a ghost who has a bit of a wild side. With the help of Soon Ae’s outgoing personality, Sun Woo begins to notice the charms of Bong Sun.

Shin Soon Ae is a seductress who tries really hard to get Kang Sun Woo. She is the complete opposite of Bong Sun, which is one of the many aspects that makes this series hilarious. Soon Ae is in desperate need of some Sun Woo in her life, and she uses Bong Sun in order to achieve this. It’s not only adorable seeing the timid Bong Sun come out of her shell, but you’ll also feel the warmth from Jo Jung Suk as his character opens up his heart to her. It’s a feel-good love story that is guaranteed to bring a lot of laughs and healing!

Start watching “Oh My Ghostess”:

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Hey Soompiers, who is your favorite female K-drama character that comes out of her shell? Let me know in the comments below!

binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG but has lately been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

Currently watching: “Thirty-Nine,” “Forecasting Love and Weather,” “A Business Proposal,” and “Twenty Five, Twenty One”
All-time favorite drama: “Secret Garden” and “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen

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