Sulli (Choi Jin-ri) was a popular South Korean actress, model and singer. She made her on-screen debut at the age of eleven with the 2005 TV series ‘Ballad of Seodong’. Born and brought up in Busan, South Korea, Sulli was always attracted towards the show business and all the glitz attached to it. She learned acting at a very young age and started auditioning for roles in films and TV and began her career as a child artist in films such as ‘Punch Lady’ and ‘BABO’, and TV series’ like ‘Love Needs a Miracle’ and ‘Vacation’. Apart from acting, she was passionate about and she became a member of the girl music group ‘f(x)’ in 2009. The group released their first single titled ‘LA chA TA’ in the very same year. She kept herself busy with her music and acting jobs for the following years and transitioned from a child actor to a lead actress with the 2012 series ‘To the Beautiful You’. For this part, she received the SBS Drama Award for Best New Actor. She left her music group later in order to focus more on her acting career.
Childhood & Early Life
Sulli was born on March 29, 1994 in Busan, South Korea and was named Choi Jin-ri by her parents. She was brought up in the family of four children - two elder brothers and one younger.
She was always interested in the show business from her early childhood. She decided at a young age to be an actor. Seeing her passion about acting, her mother enrolled her into an acting school at a very young age. All her teachers appreciated Sully for being a quick learner and seeing the great talent in her, the family moved to Seoul, to give their daughter a serious chance to try a career in acting. She was in fourth grade by then, but was never scared to face the camera, and gave auditions after auditions and finally got a role in SBS drama ‘The Ballad of Seodong’.
Sulli finished her high school education, along with acting in films and TV shows from the School of Performing Arts, Seoul, and it was there that she became in music as well and started working on her singing skills.
To give wings to her musical aspirations, Sully joined S.M. Entertainment as a trainee. She met two fellow struggling musicians there and formed a group named ‘Girl’s Generation’ and started her musical journey.
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Sulli began her acting career at the age of eleven with the historical drama ‘Ballad of Seodong’, where she played the role of a young princess. It was a small role, but Sulli’s talent was clearly visible and sometime later in the same year, she appeared in another show titled ‘Love Needs a Miracle’ in a cameo.
In 2006, she played a supporting role in the TV series ‘Vacation’. She made her film debut with the 2007 film ‘Punch Lady’. The film was a moderate success, and remained largely unknown.
Slowly and gradually more roles started pouring in. One such part was in the movie ‘BABO’, where Sulli played the younger version of the leading female character Ji-ho. The film released in 2008 to a warm reception and after that Sulli got herself busy with her musical group named ‘f(x)’.
’f(x)’ was a five member dance-pop group which constituted of all young South Korean female artists and they released their debut single in September titled ‘LA chA TA’ and very soon got signed on by the LG group for a promotional video of their latest cell-phone.
Along with releasing her debut album ‘Pinnochio’, Sulli concentrated on her acting career and appeared in a cameo role as a model in the 2010 film ‘Oh My Lady’.
In 2011, she was seen in ‘Welcome to the Show’ as a fictional version of herself and in the very next year, she featured in the documentary film ‘I Am’.
The year 2012 came with the biggest role of her career in ‘To the Beautiful you’, a show which would turn her career around. In the show, she played a girl who disguises as a boy to stalk her crush. The series was based on a Japanese manga and turned out to be a huge hit. Sulli cut her hair short to prepare for the role and all her hard-work paid-off as she won an SBS Drama award for her role.
She played a supporting role in the 2014 film ‘The Pirate’, which happened to be a period action adventure film. Sulli played the supporting role of a young girl, who gets lost in the ocean only to be rescued by the female captain of the pirates and later, she herself becomes a pirate.
In between her acting roles, her band ‘f(x)’ was gaining huge popularity with releasing two more albums titled ‘Pink Tape’ and ‘Red Light’. The band received two big awards - Golden Disc Award and Seoul Music Award. The band also kept indulging in stage shows across the nation.
The band started gaining prominence in Japan as well, but some internal issues plagued the band. Sulli wasn’t able to provide enough time to the band due to her busy acting schedule and she was also said to be suffering from depression. She finally quit the band in July 2014, but the official announcement regarding the same was made exactly a year later. Sulli later said that she was finally getting some big roles in films and she didn’t want to let it go as acting was always her first priority.
In 2014, she was seen playing the lead female part in the film ‘Fashion King’, a film which told the story of a young boy who finds out that he carried immense talent for fashion designing. It was the film adaptation of a popular webtoon series, and received acclaim upon its release.
After staying away from both the big screen and small screen for almost three years, Sulli appeared in a supporting role in the 2017 film ‘Real’, a dark thriller set in a fictional city. The film was a massive, but the acting of the cast members was appreciated to a great extent.
Family & Personal Life
Apart from acting and singing, Sulli liked dancing as well. She was quoted saying that that she is waiting for a role that would perfectly utilize her talent as a skilled dancer.
Sulli was quite tall for an average Korean girl and because of that she was instructed mostly to appear on screen with flat shoes. She was adorably called ‘Giant Baby’ by her fans.
Sulli had been in many relationships. Before her death, she was in a relationship with a brand director, Kim Min-joon. The couple were good friends for years before their romantic association. Before Kim, Sulli was in a relationship with Choiza, a famous South Korean musician.
Sulli was found dead on October 14, 2019 by her manager. She hung herself from the second floor in her house in Seongnam. She was suffering from severe depression.