Childhood & Early Life
Han Ye-seul was born Leslie Kim on September 18, 1981, in Los Angeles, California, US. She studied at ‘Cerritos High School’ situated in Cerritos, California.
She then attended the Cerritos College, Norwalk, California and completed her graduation from there earning an associate degree in Computer Graphics.
Apart from Korean language, Han is also fluent in English.
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In 2001, she won the SBS Supermodel Contest following which her journey in the world of glamour and entertainment began as a model.
She adopted the stage name Han Ye-seul and forayed into acting in 2003 with the MBC aired popular South Korean comedy drama romance TV series ‘Nonstop 4’. It garnered her quick recognition.
In 2003, she also featured in the music video of the track ‘With Me’ by Wheesung. Her other music video appearance was in the track ‘Love Song’ (2010) by Rain.
She contributed to track 6 on Nonstop 4 OST titled ‘You Are Different’ in 2004 that fetched her nomination in the category of Best OST at the Mnet Asian Music Awards that year.
In pursuit of establishing her acting career in the Korean industry, in 2004 Han renounced her US citizenship and became a naturalised citizen of South Korea.
She next appeared as Chae-yi in the South Korean series ‘Forbidden Love’. The series aired on KBS2 for 16 episodes starting from July 19, 2004 to September 7, 2004. That year she also appeared in TV series Nonstop 5 in the cameo role of Han Ye-seul.
In 2004, she also appeared as host of the music program ‘MBC Gayo Daejejeon’ and featured in Track 11 of the compilation album ‘Winter Story 2004–2005’ titled ‘Say It’ by Korean musical group ‘Shinhwa’. During 2004-2005 she also hosted the MBC show ‘Section TV’ and the SBS show Inkigayo (Popular Music).
Moving forward, she essayed the role of Han Eun-bi in the South Korean TV series ‘That Summer's Typhoon’ that aired from May 28, 2005 to September 4, 2005. She also lent her voice on Track 2 of That Summer's Typhoon OST titled ‘Memory’.
While ‘That Summer's Typhoon’ didn't do well in the ratings that year, Han was criticised for her acting in the series as well as in ‘Forbidden Love’. The critics tagged her as a commercial model rather than a true actress.
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Despite criticism, Han continued working and proved her acting prowess with the hit South Korean romantic comedy series ‘Couple or Trouble’. This weekend series featured Han in the leading role of Anna Jo / Na Sang-shil starring along with Oh Ji-ho.
Her brilliant performance and comic timing in ‘Couple or Trouble’ not only earned her acclaim but also won her several awards. These included Excellence Award, Actress and Popularity Award, Actress at the 2006 MBC Drama Awards where she remained a host that year; and the Most Popular Actress (TV) award at the 43rd Baeksang Arts Awards in 2007.
She made her big-screen debut with the 2007 romantic comedy ‘Miss Gold Digger’. Her excellent performance as Shin Mi-soo delving with the screwball comedy genre in the film won her several awards, most notably the Best New Actress award at the 29th Blue Dragon Film Awards and the 45th Grand Bell Awards that year. She also contributed to the track ‘Make Me Shine’ in the film.
In 2007, she appeared in the show ‘She's Olive: Han Ye-seul in L.A.’. She hosted the SBS Drama Awards in 2008, 46th Grand Bell Awards in 2009 and 4th Asian Film Awards in 2010.
Her next TV series was a gambling romance drama ‘Tazza’, a television adaptation of Huh Young-man's manhwa bearing same title. It aired for 18 episodes from September 16, 2008 to November 25, 2008 and fetched Han two SBS Drama Awards that year.
After featuring as Han Ji-wan in the South Korean TV melodrama series ‘Will It Snow for Christmas?’ (2009), she landed up with the titular role of Han Myung-wol in the 2011 South Korean romance action drama TV series ‘Spy Myung-wol’.
A was embroiled in a controversy in August 2011 when Han reportedly did not turn up during her scheduled shoot of ‘Spy Myung-wol’ and flew to to Los Angeles instead the next day. Her agency ‘SidusHQ’ cited conflict between her and TV director Hwang In-hyuk.
Although she came back to Korea to resume shooting on August 18, 2011, she met with severe criticism from both professionals from the TV industry and viewers barring of course a certain section of fans who blamed the hectic Korean drama live-shoot system. Due to this incident, she took a break from acting for three years.
Meanwhile her next big-screen flick, ‘Penny Pinchers’, a romantic comedy released on November 10, 2011.
She made her comeback with the romance comedy TV series ‘Birth of a Beauty’ that aired on SBS for 21 episodes from November 1, 2014 to January 11, 2015. Her excellent performance as Sara / Sa Geum-ran not only brought her back to the spotlight but also earned her several accolades including Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special at the 2014 SBS Drama Awards.
Moving on, she featured in another South Korean romance comedy TV series ‘Madame Antoine’ (2016) that earned her a nomination for Top Excellence Award, Actress at the 9th Korea Drama Awards.
Presently she can be seen featuring in one of the lead roles of Sa Jin-jin in the romance comedy TV series ‘20th Century Boy and Girl’.