Childhood & Early Life
Lee Ha-nui was born in Seoul, South Korea on March 2, 1983 into a highly respected family. Her father was a high ranking government official while her mother was a well known classical musician and music teacher.
Lee grew up among highly artistic environment in the house. Her mother was a gayageum (a traditional Korean musical instrument) player. Lee and her older sister started practicing with the instrument from a very early age and they gradually developed a keen interest in music. They were well-supported by their parents.
As she grew up, Lee became more skilled in playing gayageum and was eventually honoured by the Kumho Art Centre for being a talented musician.
She also happens to be a third degree black belt holder in the martial art Tae-kwondo and a scuba diving enthusiast.
Apart from music, Lee loved acting and playing outdoor sports as a teenager and started shaping herself up for a career in films and TV. Although it would have been very easy for her to break into the industry, she decided on completing her education first.
Once she was done with her high school education, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the Seoul National University in Korean traditional music, just like her older sister. Along with that, she also started modelling. She pursued a master’s degree from the same university in the same programme.
On insistence of her sister, she started participating in beauty pageants pretty soon, and found herself competing for Miss Korea pageant in the year 2006.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
She won the Miss Korea 2006 beauty pageant, which was her ticket to enter the Miss Universe contest in Mexico City. Despite being one of the strongest contenders for the title, she ended up as the third runner up. But this success was enough for her to kick-start a career in the entertainment field back in her home country.
She started doing musical theatre and among many others, her performance in ‘Polaroid’ was particularly praised. Her successful run at the Miss Universe contest also got her the chance to host the variety show ‘TV Entertainment Tonight’.
She made her acting debut in 2009 in a TV series ‘The Partner’, where she appeared as an attorney. Playing a grey shade character in her very first fiction series required some solid guts, and Lee exhibited them perfectly with her scintillating performance as a beautiful femme fatale.
It was followed by a major role in the romantic comedy series ‘Pasta’ in 2010, which revolved around workplace antiques in a restaurant.
In 2011, Lee made her big screen debut with a small role in the film ‘Hit’ and in the very same year, she delivered her career’s very first award-winning performance in the drama ‘Indomitable Daughters in Law’. For her role, she won the Best New Actress award at the MBC Drama Awards that year.
A perfect combination of beauty and talent, she quickly became one of the most desirable actresses in the industry and in 2012 she appeared in a massively successful science fiction film titled ‘Deranged’. In the same year, she was seen in the film ‘I am the King’, a historical comedy film, which too proved a major success.
Her role in the 2014 film ‘Tazza: The Hidden Card’ received positive response and she got nominated for many awards for her portrayal of an eccentric President Woo. She received nominations at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Grand Bell Awards and ended up winning an award at the latter.
In 2015 fantasy romance series ‘Shine or Go Crazy’, she played the role of a queen and then played the role of Ji-yeon in the film ‘Sori: Voice from the Heart’. For the former, she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the APAN Star Awards. Playing all these roles, she stayed far away from getting type-cast in one image and kept playing roles with different moods to keep challenging herself.
In another award nominated stint, she played one of the key roles in the series ‘Please come back, Mister’, where she played with panache the role of a fading actress. Her performance got nominated for an SBS Drama Award.
Her 2016 drama ‘Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People’ received some rave reviews and got Lee another award nomination and this time, she won the ‘Top Excellence Award’ at the Korea Drama Awards.
The year 2017 has been quite busy year for Lee, as she has appeared back to back in movies ‘Fabricated City’, ‘Blackened Heart’ and ‘The Bros’.
As a musician, Lee’s reputation is no less than an actor. A highly skilled gayageum player, she has released 4 CDs of her music, and all of them have been quite successful. She has also give concerts in more than 25 countries around the world, which also includes her scintillating performance at the Carnegie Hall in New York City.
She has also been involved in volunteer work with many prestigious organizations such as UNICEF, Compassion and World Vision.
Her musical theatre stints include ‘Legally Blonde’, ‘Chicago’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’.
Lee Ha-nui has been great friends with the actress Kim Tae-hee, whom she knows since her school days. Their friendship has remained in the news as Lee mentions her as her ‘most favourite person on the planet’.
Lee and actor Yoon Kya-sang were reported to be dating each other for some time, but they have never confirmed this. But when the couple went together on a holiday in Bali in 2013, the rumours were officially confirmed about them being in a relationship.