Song Ji-hyo is a South Korean model and actress. She dreamed of making a name in the show business since her high school days, and against all odds, she managed to achieve her dreams. She is presently one of the most well known film and TV actress in South Korea. She made her acting debut with a cameo appearance in the TV series ‘Age of Innocence’ in 2002 and in the very next year, she was seen in the film ‘Whispering Corridors: Wishing Stairs’. The historical Television series ‘Jumong’, which went on-air in 2006 made her a household name in South Korea and opened her ways to do more dreamy roles in films and TV. She displayed her wide range of acting skills in both the serious roles and dramatic roles equally. Her sex comedy film ‘Sex is Zero 2’ was a success, so was her historical epic ‘Frozen Flower’. For her television stints ‘Emergency Couple’ and ‘Running Man’, she was adorned with several drama awards well. Presently, she is working on her next film ‘Wind Wind Wind’ and keenly anticipating the release of her TV series ‘Chief B and the Love Letter’.
Childhood & Early Life
Song Ji-hyo was born Cheon Seong-im in the Pohang region of South Korea on 15th August 1981. She was extremely close to her younger brother as a kid, named Cheon Seong-moon. He happens to be an aspiring model and actor and Song even introduced him in her show ‘Running Man’, where he was admired for his good looks and adorable appearance.
As a kid, Song had a very happy childhood; she spent a lot of time playing around with her siblings, an elder sister and a younger brother. However, the family lived a disciplined life more or less, due to their mother’s profession as a swimmer. And being a sportswoman, she knew the value of a disciplined life and encouraged her children to follow the same lifestyle. This worked in a good way, as all three of her kids turned out to be health conscious and athletic.
Song was a fan of films since her teenage days and she recalls deciding to make a career in acting after watching the film ‘Promise’ in 1998. She was in high school by then, and decided to carve out a proper plan for her career, first modelling, and then acting.
As for her studies, she first attended the Daerim Elementary school, then Hwagye Middle School and later went to Ilsan Convention High school, where she finally decided to set the course of her future as an actor and model. But education came first for the mother, and hence, Song first had to first finish her graduation degree in tax and accounting from Kyungmoon University.
After receiving her degree from the university, she finally came out in search of modelling assignments, and did some odd jobs side by side to support herself financially and soon after that, she started getting noticed as a model and her dreams began to come to realization.
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Song Ji-hyo started her modelling career doing photo-shoots for the famous Kiki magazine, and the exposure she got there, got her signed on for some music videos and around 2001, she appeared in many music videos, her first one being ‘Just say Goodbye’. She carried on with music videos and modelling assignments while waiting for some film or TV offers and she got one right away in form of ‘Age of Innocence’ in 2002. Although it was just a cameo appearance, it wasn’t a bad start by any means.
She then auditioned for the film, which happened to be the third instalment of the successful horror film franchise ‘Whispering Corridors’. More than 3000 girls from all over the country gathered for the audition and Song beat them all to grab the role of Yoon Ji-sung. Her character was widely appreciated in the film which was released in 2003 and Song earned a nomination for the Blue Dragon Film Award’s category for the best new actress.
It was confirmed through the confidence she displayed that she was here to stay and she proved herself yet again next year with the film ‘Some’, a crime thriller film, where Song portrayed the role of a reporter.
She refused doing TV for some initial years of her career but when a major offer came in form of the popular series ‘Princess Hour’, she couldn’t say no to that and appeared on the small screen in 2006 and the series became a mega hit across the entire South Korea, and internationally as well. In the same year, she hit another home run with the historical epic drama series ‘Jumong’, which became an immediate hit among the audiences, earning her a nomination for the Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2006.
She moved back to films, this time with a lighter role in the sex comedy film ‘Sex is Zero 2’ in 2007. The film wasn’t a critical hit, which anyway is a rarity for such kind of films, but it became a sure shot hit among the youngsters.
Then in 2008, she appeared in the historical film titled ‘A Frozen Flower’, where she portrayed the Queen. However, the film met with a slight controversy due to the intimate scenes performed on Song, the film eventually became one of the highest grossing films of the year.
In 2010, Song joined the variety TV show ‘Running Man’ for a few episodes, and then became a regular in the show and continued her streak of playing historical characters with the 2011 series ‘Gyebaek’, where she won an award at the MBC drama awards. Towards the end of year, she was also made the brand ambassador for the ministry of education by the South Korean government.
Song turned to action with the 2012 film ‘Code Name: Jackal’, wherein she did some dangerous stunts all by herself and played another historical role in the series ‘The Fugitive of Joseon’.
She then appeared playing a key role in ‘Emergency Couple’, a medical comedy series. The series was a hit in South Korea and the rights for the series were sold to nine other countries.
In 2015, Song played the lead role in the romantic comedy Television series ‘Ex-Girlfriend Club’ and also appeared in the music video for the song ‘You’re so Cute’ by the ace Taiwanese singer and actor Kenji Wu.
This got her in the attention of Chinese and Taiwanese producers and Song starred in a Chinese film titled ‘708090’ opposite Kenji Wu, the Taiwanese superstar. ‘Super Express’ was her another Chinese film project which made her extremely popular in the neighbouring country as well.
Presently, she is busy wrapping up the shoot of her next film ‘Wind Wind Wind’ and the TV series ‘Chief B and the Love Letter’.
As her mother was an athlete, Song Ji-hyo has always been inclined towards sports and loves to do cycling and wake boarding in her free time.
Although she has never made any of her relationships public as of now, she was rumoured to be in a relationship with Baek Chang Joo, her ‘Running Man’ co-star.
She was reported to be in a romantic relationship with Gary. When Gary got married, media asked Song about her reaction to Gary’s surprise marriage and she said that she was a little bit disappointed but wished a happy life ahead for the couple.
Most of the cast from her famous variety show ‘Running Man’ knew each other much before they came together for the show, as they went to the high school together.