Sandara Park, famously known as Dara, is a South Korean actress, singer, and TV host. Dara is one of the few stars who have taken the Korean film industry to global platform. Her impeccable and unique dressing style has made her a youth fashion icon. She has not only left an impression in Korean films but also made a mark in the Philippines film industry as well. She has been honored with the most prestigious title of "Pambansang Krungkrung ng Pilipinas" for her exceptionally successful career in the Philippines. Her Filipino fans have gladly nicknamed her “Boa”. The Korean Tourism has also honored Dara for her works that has connected distinct cultures all over Asia. Never a camera-shy person, Dara is always bold and fearless, regardless of what media says about her. Her journey from rags to riches is an inspiration to all the aspiring artists.
Childhood & Early Life
Sandara Park was born on November 12, 1984 in Busan, South Korea. Her unique nickname originates from the story of the war hero, Kim Yusin, who is a God figure to the Koreans.
Dara’s sister's name is Durami, and her younger brother, "Thunder" is a member of a boy pop group ‘MBLAQ’.
Dara belonged to a well-to-do business family until her father went bankrupt after a heavy loss in his business. The family decided to move to Alabang, Muntinlupa, Philippines and make a fresh start. Dara did her schooling from the Philippines.
During her school days, Dara met a Filipino actress Pauleen Luna, and Luna persuaded Dora to take part in the singing reality show "Star Circle Quest 2004".
She faced discrimination due to her Korean origin, but she finished up at the second position. There was no looking back after it and Dara joined "Star Magic", an event organizing agency that got her many ad films and television series.
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In 2004, she made her debut with the film "Bcuz of U", and won the debutant of the year award.
Dara gave back-to-back hits in the next two years and cemented her place in the Philippines film industry.
Meanwhile, she also pursued singing and released solos and duets from 2006 to 2007.
In her modeling career, she has endorsed many top brands including Samsung, Nikon, and Etude House. She is also the Filipino ambassador for the luxurious Kendell Jenner line of clothing.
Dara remained a top-notch Philippines film actress and singer until she left the industry in 2007 to shift to South Korea.
In August 2007, Dara returned back to South Korea with her family. The very next day, YG Entertainment signed her for some upcoming projects.
Before making her debut in the South Korean films, Dara decided to do some research work. She attended many acting workshops including YG Entertainment's "Yang Hyun-suk workshop”. Soon after, she signed her first Korean television drama "The Return of Iljimae" in 2008 where she appeared as Rie. Later in the year, Dara appeared in Gummy's music video of the song "I'm Sorry".
She collaborated with Korean singers, Bom, CL and Minzy, to form the musical group 2NE1. She decided to use Dara as her stage name. In the debut year itself, the group gave some super hit tracks. Dara slowly made a shift to singing. She released some of her singles in 2009 and they all were chartbusters
In 2012, all her Philipines films released in the theatres of Korea.
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In 2014, Dara's return to the Filipino entertainment industry made sensational news. Her comeback with the reality show "Pinoy Big Brother" was seen as the "Return of the dominance".
As An Actress
Bcuz of U: Dara made her debut with this Filipino film. Released in 2004, this movie is a collection of three different love stories. Dara played a lost girl in the city name, April, in the last of the three stories.
My Name is Sandara Park: This is a life documentary on Dara, which aired in 2004 on KBS channel.
Can This Be Love: Dara played a Korean immigrant who studies in a Filipino University. Released in 2005, the movie was a huge hit and Dara became the most sought-after actress in the Philippines.
D’ Lucky Ones: Dara played the lucky girl, Anna, who shares a love-hate relationship with the lucky boy, Luis. This rom-com released in 2006 and was an average hit.
Super Nyopi: This is Dara’s first action fantasy film in which she appeared as "Michie Rapisora" who has the power to produce fire and ice at the same time. The film released on December 25, 2006, and was later screened at 32nd Metro Manila Film Festival.
Dr. Ian: This South Korean web series marks the comeback of Dara in the industry. She was in the lead opposite Kim Young-wang. She played the character of Lee Soo-dam who eventually falls in love with her doctor. Aired in 2006, the series was a joint venture of South-Korean and Japanese web series production. The series became the most watched web drama.
Girlfriends: This film released in 2009, after Dara became a part of the group 2NE1. This can be counted as her South Korean debut film as she played herself as a 2NE1 member.
Maalaala Mo Kaya-Scrapbook: This Filipino television-radio drama series is the longest-running series in the world. Dara played herself in the episode named scrapbook that showed her journey in the Filipino entertainment industry.
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We Broke Up: Dara yet again gave this successful web series. With over 16 million views, the series became 4th most popular series of 2015.
Sandara: Released in 2004, this is Dara's first extended play. The track "In Or Out" topped the Filipino music chart.
Walang Sabit: The track is from her second EP with the same name. Released in 2005, this track too became a chartbuster.
Ang Ganda Ko: Dara made a hattrick with this chartbuster from her album "Sandra Ang Ganda Ko". The album released in 2006.
Kiss: This single, released in 2009, is from the album "To Anyone". Dara featured with her fellow 2NE1 member, CL, in this track. She later performed the song in 2NE1's first concert tour, NOLZA.
Two of Us: Along with Kang Seon-yoon, Dara featured in this track from the series "We Broke Up". They have also featured in the title track. The video released in 2015.
Always for You: This track is from the South Korean television series "One More Happy Ending". The track released in 2016.
One Step-Part 1&2: Dara featured in the tracks "Song of Memory" and "Step" from part 1 and 2, respectively. She featured with Han Jae-suk in the earlier one, while the latter is her single. Both the tracks released in 2017.
Hello: Dara featured with the rapper G-Dragon in this track from the album "Heartbreaker". The album released in 2009.
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Awards & Achievements
21st PMPC Star Awards for Movies (2005): Dara won the award in the category of "Best Debutant-Female" for the film "Bcuz of U".
Philippines Association of the Record Industry (2005): Dara won the "Gold Award" for her album "Sandara'. Again in 2006 she won the "Platinum Award" for the album.
Philippines K-pop Convention (2010 & 2012): Dara received the "Hottest Female Star" award.
K Web Festival (2015): Dara won the award in the "Best Actress" category for the web series "Dr. Ian".
Dara dated Philippine artist, Joseph Bitangcol. This was made official in 2009, but they broke up soon after due to personal reasons. Both kept a cordial relationship post-breakup.
After this, there were rumors of Dara dating co-actor Kim soo-hyun. She is also rumored to be dating rapper G-Dragon as they were spotted at public places.
Dara is the seventh richest Korean celebrity with a net worth of around 16 million dollars.
Dara is called "The Vampire" because of her extremely youthful skin.
She is blessed with the ideal face shape in the ratio of 1:1:0.8 (Golden Ratio).
One of Dara's famous on-screen kisses was just a camera trick
Her favorite subjects are mathematics and physics.
She can speak Korean, English, Filipino, and Japanese.
Dara is very particular about the conversations over the phone. She prefers texting over calling. Also, not replying to her messages annoys her and she at once deletes the number.