Ku Hye-sun (born November 9, 1984) is a South Korean actress, singer-songwriter, director and artist. She gained widespread recognition in the television dramas Pure in Heart (2006), The King And I (2007), Boys Over Flowers (2009), Take Care of Us, Captain (2012), Angel Eyes (2014) and Blood (2015).

Early life

Ku Hye-sun's family consists of her mother, father, and one older sister. While growing up, Ku initially dreamed of becoming a singer. She eventually formed a vocal band with college friends, but due to her gaining popularity through the internet as a model she put those goals on hold.

Career

As an actress

Ku Hye-sun entered the entertainment industry after gaining popularity on the Internet as an ulzzang. She used to be a trainee under SM Entertainment, before switching over to DSP Media and preparing to debut in a girl group called Ria. But after it didn't work out she then signed under YG Entertainment, her management from debut until now. Originally set to debut as a singer (supposedly in a three-member girl group with 2NE1's Park Bom and Sandara Park), YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk advised Ku to pursue acting rather than music. She made her debut in a CF for Sambo computers and then made her television debut in the KBS horror series Anagram, and continued to appear in one-act dramas. Her performance as Hye-jin in the 2004 MBC sitcom Nonstop 5 attracted the audience's attention.

Ku soon rose to fame in the 2006 television drama Pure in Heart and surprised critics with her performance in the historical drama The King and I.[8] She then starred in the martial arts drama Strongest Chil Woo.[9]

Ku rose to fame for her role as Geum Jan-di in the mega hit KBS2 drama Boys Over Flowers opposite Lee Min Ho,[10] which gained her pan-Asia popularity.[11]

After a year in limbo with no broadcasting slot, her first pre-produced drama The Musical finally aired in September 2011.[12][13][14] Ku next starred as a female pilot in the SBS series Take Care of Us, Captain,[15][16][8][8] followed by Absolute Darling, the Taiwanese drama adaptation of the manga Absolute Boyfriend.[8][8]

After two years break from acting career, Ku appears in MBC channel’s two-part documentary drama Heo Nanseolheon. She took part in the program’s narration and production as well.[8]

Ku then made a small screen comeback acting in SBS's wekeend drama Angel Eyes in 2014. She played a legally blind woman who gets her vision back in an operation and decides to embrace life with passion by becoming an emergency rescue worker.[8]

In February 2015, Ku starred in KBS's vampire drama Blood. She plays an arrogant genius physician who entered medical school at a young age of 17.[8] However, Blood suffered low ratings in Korea and Ku was criticized for her bad acting.[8][8] On November 6, 2015, Ku was confirmed to be starring in a Chinese drama The Legendary Tycoon which tells the life story of Run Run Shaw, a self-made entertainment mogul from Hong Kong.[8][9]

Ku was cast in the MBC's weekend drama You’re Too Much alongside Uhm Jung-hwa.[9] However, she left the show after two weeks due to health reasons.[9]

As a singer-songwriter

In recent years, Ku has displayed her vocal talents through soundtrack releases as well as digital singles. In 2005, she released her first single "Happy Birthday to You" for Nonstop 5. In 2006, she released the track "Sarang Ga" ("Love Story"), which became the title song of Pure in Heart. In 2012, Ku released her first self-composed soundtrack, titled "Fly Again" for SBS's Take Care of Us, Captain, which she stars in.

Ku released her first album Breath in 2009, an album of new-age music which included her composed song for her friend and singer, Gummy, entitled "Around the Alley". She then released her self composed and written digital single "Brown Hair" in 2010, with the music rearranged by bossa nova pianist Choi In-young.[9] In 2012, Ku released "It's You" and its music video. She not only wrote the music and lyrics of "It’s You", but also filmed and edited the music video.[31] In 2014, Ku released her 5th digital single "Happy", which is also a remake to Seo In-guk's song "Were We Happy".[32][33] She released another self-written single titled "Must" the same year, which also serves as the soundtrack of her film My Daughtr.[34]

In 2015, she released a second album titled Breath 2, which serves as a follow up to her 2009 album Breath.[35] The title track "After 10 Years 100 Years" is a remake of the OST from the film The Peach Tree. Ku held her first concert the same year.[9]

In 2016, Ku released the song "Written and Erased", which is a collaboration song of Ku with The Blind. On April 28, she released her first regular album And Spring that consist of 11 tracks including her singles "Stupid", "Brown Hair", and "It’s You."[37]

As a director

Ku made her official debut as a director through her short film The Madonna. The film which was centered around the topic of assisted suicide, debuted at the 2009 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.[38] The film was featured in several film events, including the Asiana International Short Film Festival and the Pusan Asian Short Film Festival where it won "Audience Award" category.[39] The Madonna also won the "Spotlight Award" at the 12th Short Shorts Film Festival which was held in Tokyo from June 10 through 20, 2010.[39] She shared that the reason of herself making film was "It’s not like I dreamed of becoming a filmmaker since I was young. I’m interested in many things, including music, art and literature, and I thought I could incorporate all those things by making a film."[38]

The following year, Ku directed her first feature-length film Magic.[40][10] The film was invited and screened at the 6th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF) from August 12 to 17, 2010[10] and the 23rd Annual Tokyo International Film Festival.[10] She continued directing short films such as You (2010) Fragments of Sweet Memories (2012),[44] as well as trailers for film festivals. Fragment of Sweet Memories was selected as one of Korea's outstanding 3D films, and was shown at the Cinemountain in Busan Cinema Center during the International 3D Festival (I3DF), which Ku serves as the promotional ambassador of.[45][10] The film was also selected as a finalist for the Seoul Senior Film Festival, and received citation from the Mayor Park Won-soon.

In 2011, Ku established her own company, Ku Hye-sun Film, under which she would produce and film her projects.[47] Her second directorial feature The Peach Tree was the first film made under her newly established production company.[48][49][50][51] She also wrote the theme song and novel version of the film.[52] On October 25, 2012, she was awarded the Minister Commendation at the 14th Annual Republic of Korea Design Award for The Peach Tree.[53]

In 2013, Ku directed a short film for Samsung Galaxy S4, as part of the project "Story of Me and S4".[54][55] The same year, she served as the jury for the 9th Jecheon International Music and Film Festival.[56]

In 2014, Ku released her fifth directed film, Daughter.[12] Not only did she took part in producing, script-writing and directing of the movie, she also plays the main character as a mother who gives her daughter an oppressive corporal punishment.[58] The film aims to address and make known to society the problems of child abuse. Daughter was invited to Busan International Film Festival.[12]

As an artist and an ambassador

Aside from her acting and directional works, Ku participates in a wide range of projects, including writing and drawing as well as ambassador activities. In recognition of her versatility and talents, Ku was voted as the Best Female Artist in the Entertainment Industry in 2012.[12] She also received the Korea Fulfillment Award, and the Ministry Award for "sharing happiness" for her charitable acts.[61][62]

Image
In July 2009

In 2009, Ku published her first illustrated novel Tango (탱고), centered around a 20-something young girl who goes through two separate relationships to finally mature into a woman. The book was a bestseller, selling 30,000 copies within a week.[63] Its release coincided with her first solo art exhibition, also titled "Tango" which was held in July 2009 at La Mer Gallery and attracted a total of 10,000 visitors. The exhibition featured around 40 of Ku's illustrations, some from her novel.[64] She held her second art exhibition in 2012, titled "Afterimage" at the Hangaram Design Arts Center in the Seoul Arts Center.[65] She donated all proceeds from the sale of her artwork toward purchasing "clean cars" (germ-free automobiles) for the Korea Leukemia Patient Group.[12][13][13]

From 17–31 August 2013, she held exhibition entitled "Anything That Leaves Yearning Is All Beautiful".[69][13] The same year, Ku attended the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Fair.[71] The illustration poster of her cat 'Mango' will be sold at this exhibition, where the profit will be donated to charity organization ‘Community Chest Hong Kong’.[13][13] Ku was also appointed as the 2013 Cheongju International Craft Biennale (CICB) ambassador,[74] as well as the ambassador for ArtisTree, an organization to encourage arts.[75]

Personal life

On March 11, 2016, Ku was confirmed to be dating her Blood co-star Ahn Jae-hyun since April 2015.[13] The couple officially registered their marriage at the Gangnam district office on May 20, 2016.[14] They announced that instead of holding a wedding party, they would donate the money to the pediatric ward of Severance Hospital.[14] The pair is confirmed to be appearing in the upcoming reality show Newlywed Diary produced by Na Young-seok, which will showcase their married life.[14]

Filmography

As actress

Television series

YearTitleRoleNetwork
2004Nonstop 5Hye-sunMBC
Drama City – AnagramNurseKBS2
2005Drama City – Everybody Cha Cha Cha
Ballad of SeodongEun-jinSBS
2006Pure in HeartYang Guk-hwaKBS1
2007The King and IQueen Je-heon/Yoon So-hwaSBS
2008Strongest Chil WooYoon So-yoonKBS2
2009Boys Over FlowersGeum Jan-di
2010Ku CineHerselfMnet
2011The MusicalGo Eun-biSBS
2012Take Care of Us, CaptainHan Da-jin
Absolute DarlingGuan Xiao FeiGTV
2014Heo NanseolheonHeo Nanseolheon/ Documentary narrator[14]MBC
Angel EyesYoon Soo-wanSBS
2015BloodYoo Ri-ta/Yoo Chae-yoonKBS2
2017You're Too MuchJung Hae-dang (up until Episode 6, replaced by Jang Hee-jin)MBC

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2007August RushGirl on couch (cameo)American production
2014DaughterSanAlso director and screenwriter

Narration

YearTitleNetworkNotes
2012The Hospice for the Children Who Live for TodaySBS[14]
2013PrimeMBCI Love Wood segment[14]
2014Miracles in DecemberKBS1Angel Bread segment[14]
2016RookieKBS2

Reality show

YearTitleRoleNetworkNotes
2017Newlywed DiaryCasttvNwith Ahn Jae-hyun

Music video

YearSong TitleArtist
2002"We Make a Good Pair"Sung Si-kyung
2004"The Reason I Close My Eyes"Taebin
2006"Forget You"Soul Star
2007"Yesterday Is Different from Today"Kim Ji-eun
2010"Touch Your Heart"Fahrenheit
"Brown Hair"Ku Hye-sun
2012"Marry Me"
2013"With Laughter or with Tears"Seo In-guk
"It's You"Ku Hye-sun
"Happy"
2014"She's So High"[14]Beatburger
"Floral Rain"Ku Hye-sun
2015"After 10 Years 100 Years"
"A Day Without Sound"

As director

Feature film

YearTitleCredited asCastRef.
2010MagicDirector,
screenwriter,
cameo
Im Ji-kyu
Seo Hyun-jin
Kim Jung-wook
[40]
2012The Peach TreeDirector,
screenwriter,
music director
Jo Seung-woo
Ryu Deok-hwan
Nam Sang-mi
[49][50][85]
2014DaughterDirector,
screenwriter,
actor
Ku Hye-sun
Shim Hye-jin
[58]

Short film

YearTitleCredited asCastRef.
2009The Madonna
(aka The Cheerful Caretaker)
Director,
screenwriter,
editor
Seo Hyun-jin
Kim Myung-soo
Jun Tae-soo
[38]
2010YouDirector,
screenwriter
Nam Sang-mi
Choi Il-hwa
2012Fragments of Sweet Memories
(3D)
Director,
screenwriter,
music director
Yoo Seung-ho
Choi Il-hwa
Ryu Young-jae
Yang Hyun-mo
Yang Kyung-mo
Seo Hyun-jin
[44][86][87][88]
2013White Dog
(Samsung Galaxy S4)
Director,
singer of theme song
Cristina Fernandez Lee
Moon Mason
Ku Hye-sun
[55]

Trailer

YearEventCastRef.
20097th Asiana International Short Film FestivalSeo Hyun-jin
201113th International Women's Film Festival in SeoulKu Hye-sun
201314th Persons with Disabilities Film Festival[15][15]
201410th Jecheon International Music & Film FestivalKu Hye-sun, Seong Seung-han, Choi In-young[15]

Discography

Albums

YearAlbumLabelNotesRef.
2009BreathYG EntertainmentSinger, composer[92]
2015Breath 2[35]
2016And Spring[37]

Singles

YearTitleAlbumLabelNotesRef.
2005"Happy Birthday To You"Nonstop 5 OSTEMISinger[15]
2006"Sarang Ga (Love Story)"Pure in Heart OSTYG Entertainment[15]
2010"Brown Hair"Singer, composer[15]
2012"Fly Again"Take Care of Us, Captain OSTPony CanyonComposer
"Marry Me"YG EntertainmentSinger, composer[15][16]
2013"Flying Galaxy"[16]
"It's You"[31]
"Happy"[33]
2014"Floral Rain"
"Must"[34]
2015"A Day Without Sound"Singer[16]
2016"Written and Erased"In collaboration with The Blind
"Winter Story"for Newlywed Diary[16]
"Summer Day"

Concert

YearConcertArtist
2009With YouKu Hye Sun participated in Isao Sasaki's concert
Over the RainbowKu Hye Sun, Isao Sasaki
2015Summer, Autumn, Winter, and SpringKu Hye Sun, Choi In-young