Former Basketball players and rappers, and a superhero group, Korean male models come from all walks of life. Many of them are making moves into acting or fashion design as well, so they’re more than just a pretty face.
Here are the top 19 Korean male models and:
- their Instagram ID
- and why they’re popular
Let’s get started!
Korean female models aren’t the only ones making headlines. These male models are setting trends in fashion, film and design.
You’ll be calling them oppa in no time.
이수혁 (Lee Soo-hyuk)
Lee Soo-hyuk is a South Korean model and actor who debuted at the 2006 Lone Custome fashion show by Jung Wook-jun. He soon became a top fashion model beloved by many designers for his extremely thin body, pale skin and frail image (like a hot vampire).
Since he moved into acting in 2010, he started to gain weight and muscle mass, and turned heads even further with his broad shoulders. Lee Soo-hyuk has an ever-growing legion of female fans thanks to his charming baritone deep voice.
Despite his cold impression, he has a very playful personality.
He’s also a leader of “Model Avengers”, a super group of models with an ungodly amount of bromance going on. Other members include Kim Young-kwang, Kim Woo-bin, Sung Joon, and Hong Jong-hyun. As a close friend of G-Dragon of Big Bang since childhood, you’ll often see them appearing together on TV shows and social media.
김원중 (Kim Wonjoong)
Kim Wonjoong is a South Korean model from Busan.
He’s one of the top fashion models in Korea, and many fashion-related online communities refer to him as “King Wonjoong”.
Why is that you may ask? Well, if you do a lap at a department store in Korea, you’ll see him modeling for at least one or two brands.
He’s been popular since his debut, thanks to his memorable look, tall frame and great proportions. He got his big break when he was scouted while working at American Apparel in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul after finishing his military duty.
Along with his modeling work, Kim Wonjoong founded an online shop called 87mm in partnership with model Park Jiwoon, expanding his scope to fashion design.
남주혁 (Nam Joo-hyuk)
Nam Joo-hyuk is a model and actor, born in Busan, South Korea.
As a basketball player at Gyeongnam Middle School, he originally dreamed of becoming a pro rather than a model. But, after undergoing two surgeries due to a lump in his shin bone (ouch), he had to end his sports career. You can watch him play basketball on Welcome Back to School below.
Nam Joo-hyuk remembered that his friends jokingly told him to try modeling, and decided to give it a shot. Also, he wanted to be like Jang Ki-yong, who we’ll get to shortly.
At the age of 20, he won first place at the “one-day model experience” hosted by Seoul Hoseo Art Occupational Training College and sponsored by KPLUS. He was able to attend the academy as a scholarship student for three months and signed a modeling contract with KPLUS.
Believe it or not, Nam Joo-hyuk is a total homebody, who enjoys watching movies, playing games or just staring at the ceiling.
장기용 (Jang Ki-yong)
Jang Ki-yong is a South Korean model and actor. He was born in Ulsan in 1992, and moved to Seoul to become a model at the age of 20.
After graduating from Ulsan High School, he attended the Department of Theater at Yong In University, and is now majoring in Model Acting (that’s a thing, we looked it up) at Seokyeong University, Department of Performing Arts, Modeling Acting.
Jang Ki-yong is also a huge fan of jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts.
Recently, he got the lead role for the webtoon original, ‘My Roommate Is a Gumiho (간 떨어지는 동거)’.
주우재 (Joo Woo Jae)
Joo Woo Jae is a Korean model and DJ from Changwon.
His origin story might surprise you.
He majored in mechanical engineering, went into the clothing business, and made a name for himself as a podcast radio DJ. It wasn’t until 2013 that he walked the runway and debuted at the age when most models are getting ready to retire.
He won the Rookie of the Year Award for Best Actor at the 2019 Asia Model Awards.
Joo Woo Jae also appeared in Yoo Se-yoon’s We Fought music video in 2015.
In 2016, he participated in Masked Singer under the Do Re Mi Fa So La Piano Man.
Since he started a bit older and wiser than most, he keeps his personal life guarded.
성준 (Sung Joon)
Sung Joon is a South Korean model-turned-actor. He’s known for his leading roles in the TV series Flower Band, High Society and Madame Antoine.
He’s an original member of Model Avengers, a super group of models-turned-actors including Kim Young-kwang, Lee Soo-hyuk, Kim Woo-bin and Hong Jong-hyun, that formed on the TV show, White Christmas.
Sung Joon quietly enlisted for his military duty on December 18, 2018. Before this, he was in a relationship with his non-celebrity girlfriend. I’m happy to report that they’re married now with a child.
도상우 (Do Sang-woo)
Do Sang-woo is a South Korean actor and model. He made a name for himself after starring as Gong Hyo-jin’s ex-boyfriend on It’s Okay, That’s Love in 2014.
He walked the runway for fashion designer Lee Ju-young during the 2008 Seoul Fashion Week; and for the Seoul collections of Choi Bum-suk, Kwak Hyun-joo, Ko Tae-yong, Kang Dong-jun, Phillip Lim and Damir Doma. He also appeared on Vogue, Elle, Ceci, Men’s Health, GQ, Arena, Esquire, etc.
He enlisted in the army on April 5, 2016, and was discharged on January 4, 2018. No news is generally good news when it comes to celebrities in Korea.
김우빈 (Kim Woo-bin)
Kim Woo-bin debuted as a model at Kimseoryong Homme Show in 2008. He established himself by walking the runway at the 2009 S/S Pret-A-Porter Busan (designed by S.E.G), 2009 F/W Seoul Fashion Week (designed by Kang Dong-jun, Kim Seo-ryong, Lee Ju-young, etc.), as well as doing photo shoots for magazines, including Maxim, W and Vogue Girl.
He has a tall stature, slender body, strong impression and deep low-tone voice.
While reviewing his next project, he was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2017. He planned to enlist at the end of 2017, but was exempted from military service as he received a grade 6 due to chemotherapy. (FYI, even stage 1 cancer is unconditionally exempt.) Thankfully, he’s in remission and healthy as ever.
The history of his expanding shoulder width from working out became a hot topic (while he was a model vs. after he became an actor) for a while.
Kim Woo-bin is a close friend of Lee Jong-suk, who appeared with him in School 2013. Rumor has it that the two were dating because they got along a little “too well”, but he said, “friendship is also a form of love”.
Kim Woo-bin revealed on July 22, 2015 that he had been dating Shin Min-a for 2 years. She was there for him during chemo as well. They make a lovely couple.
이종석 (Lee Jong-suk)
Lee Jong-suk debuted as a model in 2005 at the age of 17. He was super talented to make his debut as the youngest male model at the Seoul collections.
His image is unprecedented in the Korean model industry. He’s the right blend of boyish charm and masculine features. Lee Jong-suk received a lot of attention with his neutral image and got a lot of work as a top model.
As a veteran model entering the 16th year of his career, other male models who’re several years older call him Sunbae-nim (선배님).
After working as a fashion model for several years, he finally made his acting debut on Prosecutor Princess, which aired in March 2010. Then, he became a scene stealer on his next K-drama, Secret Garden, as a supporting actor, ‘Sun’, and gained explosive popularity among women.
He has a nose for good scripts, so if you’re not sure which K-drama to watch, you can start by checking out his shows. I highly recommend W and Romance Is a Bonus Book!
Although he’s a model-turned-actor, Lee Jong-suk is extremely shy. He’s also a homebody. Due to a cruciate ligament rupture in a car accident in middle school, Lee Jong-suk was assigned to serve his military duty as an alternate public service worker. He began his service on March 8, 2019 and completed it on January 2, 2021 after 22 months.
안재현 (Ahn Jae-hyun)
Ahn Jae-hyun is a South Korean model and actor. He began his fashion model career in 2009, appearing in runway shows, magazine editorials and commercials.
He became known for his roles in K-dramas, such as a younger brother or dongsaeng of Cheon Song-yi (Jun Ji-hyun) on My Love From the Star, which aired in December 2013. Although he had a supporting role, his popularity and recognition skyrocketed as the drama itself became a huge hit. In 2018, he also played the role of Ryu Eun-ho on The Beauty Inside.
In March, 2016, Ahn Jae-hyun confirmed he was dating Koo Hye-sun since April 2015. The couple registered their marriage on May 20, 2016. They donated money to the pediatric ward of Severance Hospital, instead of holding a wedding. The couple shared their married life on the reality show “Newlyweds Diary” produced by Na Young-seok.
Unfortunately, this was the moment when their relationship peaked.
In August 2019, a very public “mud fight” began between the couple. Koo Hye-sun announced her feud with Ahn Jae-hyun, saying that her husband wanted a divorce out of ennui and accused him of cheating. The hits just kept on coming, but we’ll spare you the gory details. The couple made different claims and their agencies took legal actions against defamation. They finally settled on divorce in July, 2020.
Time will tell if his career can rebound since K-drama is only appreciated onscreen in Korea. Doing the rounds on variety shows often works in these situations.
김태환 (Kim Tae-hwan)
Kim Tae-hwan is a South Korean actor and model who’s especially active in the Chinese entertainment industry.
Kim Tae-hwan took on many magazine photoshoots and commercials in Korea, then went overseas in the 2014 S/S season. Since the first season overseas, he’s been selected for collections by hot designers such as Neil Barrett, Kenzo, Dries van Noten, and Philip Lim.
He walked multiple runways during the 2014 F/W men’s collection. He also appeared as an opening model at the Les Hommes collection in Milan. Kim Tae-hwan also showed up on Infinite Challenge (episode 358) in 2013.
안보현 (Ahn Bo-hyun)
Ahn Bo-hyun is a South Korean model and actor from Busan. He debuted as a model in 2007 and as an actor in 2016 in the film, “Hiya”. He used to be a boxer in school before modeling and acting.
Since getting punched in the face for a living can be hazardous to your health, he wanted to explore other options.
Ahn Bo-hyun was blessed with serious height, so he enrolled in modeling school. Within a few months, he made a glamorous debut at the Seoul collections. However, he had to quit his career after 5 years because he got too buff from weight training.
When Ahn Bo-hyun watched the movies, “Champion” and “Crying Fist”, he was shocked to see how accurately actors can portray athletes. He thought he could do it too since he was a boxer.
In January 2020, he appeared on webtoon-based K-drama, “Itaewon Class” as Jang Geun-won.
송재림 (Song Jae-rim)
Song Jae-rim is a South Korean actor and model. He began his runway career for the Seoul collections of Juun. J, Herin Homme and Ha Sang Beg.
He enlisted in the military after taking a leave of absence at university, but his military duty was replaced by work in the defense industry due to him suffering from a collapsed lung.
After completing his military service, he became interested in acting and attended an acting academy. But three months later, he was selected as a model first, thanks to his good proportions and figure.
In April 2011, Song Jae-rim became the first Korean to be selected as the main model for the famous Japanese magazines Men’s Nonno, Men’s Joker, POPEYE and Street Jack. He became a top model in Japan, but wasn’t into modeling work, so he switched to acting.
While modeling, he worked his way up from minor roles in movies and music videos. Song Jae-rim became known as an actor in 2012 with his role of loyal bodyguard in the K-drama the Moon Embracing the Sun, which recorded a viewership rating of 40%.
He’s also a homebody who likes to read philosophy books and loves cats. (He has two of them!)
성훈 (Sung Hoon)
Sung Hoon is a former swimmer, and current actor and model in South Korea. He’s also known as Roiii Bang or Roi Bang.
As a swimmer from elementary school to college, he set a new record in the butterfly competition at the 2002 MBC National Swimming Championships and the 2002 University Championships.
After herniated disc surgery, he switched to acting.
Sung Hoon became a member of I Live Alone (나 혼자 산다), which is a famous real variety show in Korea. It featured the rediscovery of Sung Hoon, showing his natural side, such as looking like an unemployed uncle who eats a lot, and his unrealistically handsome side.
조민호 (Cho Min-ho)
Cho Min-ho is a South Korean model and actor.
He was cast in the movie, Our Diary in 2017; web dramas, Yellow in 2015 and Sleepless in Love in 2018; web content, The Traveler on Naver TV; TV shows The Style Class on XTM and Style Log 2014 on On Style.
You’ll also recognize him in many commercials, including those for Beanpole, Kolon Sports, Adidas Orginals, Collect Point, Sinsegae, ABC Mart, Biotherm, MLB, We make price, OIOI, Hangten, Peace bird, NAU and Descente. Commercials, or CFs are actually respected in Korea and even A-list actors do them.
박성진 (Sung Jin Park | Jimmy Paige, a.k.a. Goretexx)
Sung Jin Park is a South Korean model and rapper.
His agency is ESteem Entertainment, and his labels are Just Music and SPEEKER.
He’s a member of a two-person hip hop group, “Silky Bois”, with Black Nut [sic]. He uses the stage name JIMMY PAIGE. It takes all sorts to make a world.
This may surprise you, but despite his background, he’s one of the most prestigious models on this list.
Sung Jin Park debuted as a model at the Kai-aakmann Fashion Show in 2010, and modeled for fashion brands including Hermes, Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Uniqlo and Calvin Klein.
In 2013, Sung Jin Park became the first Korean to be ranked 27th in the world model list selected by models.com. In 2015, he won the Asia Star Awards. He’s the Asian model with the most completed fashion shows, and he even has his statue at the Hermes Sydney store!
나대혁 (Dea Na | Na Dae-hyuck)
- Born: 1990
- Height: 188 cm
- Mother Agency: Wilson Model Management (New York: VNY Models, Paris: New Madison, London: Elite London, etc.)
- Instagram: @nadaehyuck
Dae Na is a South Korean model born in 1990.
He was discovered by fashion photographer Hudson Taylor and began his modeling career in 2012. He then signed with modeling agency Wilson Model Management in NYC.
Dae Na was the first Korean model to be selected for global campaigns of Diesel, Benetton, and Donna Karan. He’s also the first Korean to be named in the ‘TOP 50’ on models.com. (He was highly ranked on The Money Guys List by models.com.)
Dae Na is a role model for many models and is currently active in other areas such as runways, campaigns, and pictorials. He enjoys playing guitar, watching movies and singing.
김상우 (Sang Woo Kim)
Sang Woo Kim is a British-Korean artist and model. While studying at Central Saint Martins, he started modeling as a hobby at the request of his friends majoring in fashion. Soon, he became a top model around the world.
Regarding his career in fashion and art, Sang Woo Kim said he was merely “lucky”. But, he achieved everything on his own, including holding a solo exhibition in Berlin as an artist while working as a model for global campaigns.
He’s one of the Top 50 Male Models ranked by models.com.
박태민 (Tae Min Park)
Tae Min Park is a South Korean fashion model from Busan.
He began his modeling career when an agency offered a contract in 2016. He made his debut at the 2017 S/S Blindness Show, and gained attention in a jeans pictorial for Musinsa Magazine.
Tae Min Park started dreaming of his overseas career after receiving an offer from a British reporter backstage at the 2018 F/W Blindness Collection show. After that, he signed a contract with Parisian modeling agency Bananas Models, making his international debut in 2018.
Tae Min Park became an exclusive model for Prada, Dior and Calvin Klein at the 2019 S/S Fashion Week in New York, Milan and Paris, which are known as the world’s three largest collections.
He made a successful overseas debut by walking the runways for many luxury brands, and appeared in commercials for Prada, Calvin Klein, Isabel Marant, Dior Homme and Givenchy.
Tae Min Park was also listed among the Top 50 Male Models ranked by models.com.
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Korean male models are kind of a big deal in the fashion industry.
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