South Korea-born, New York-raised actress Yoon-jin Kim first gained notice throughout Asia with a powerful performance in the ultra-stylish, heart-stopping action film Shiri (1999). Her popularity later spilled over the U.S when she landed the role of castaway Sun-Hwa Kwon (2004-Present), the daughter of a powerful Korean businessman and one half of a Korean couple on the ABC hit survivor drama "Lost."
The 5' 6¼" tall actress, who has been called "The Korean Julia Roberts," is spokesperson for Kanebo, a Japanese cosmetics company. She was one of Maxim's "Hot 100" in 2006 and was the February 2007 entry in Stuff magazine's 2006-2007 pin up calendar. She has published a Japanese photo book called "XOXO" and has been appointed to the publicity committee of the American Red Cross.
"I watched an auction on Ebay for my photo. It went all the way up to $15!" Yoon-jin Kim.
Childhood and Family:
In Seoul, South Korea, Yoon-jin Kim was born on November 7, 1973. In the early ‘80’s, when she was ten years old, Kim immigrated to America with her family and became settle in Staten Island, New York. In the seventh grade, she enrolled in her junior high school drama club and performed in the musical “My Fair Lady.” She then successfully auditioned for New York’s prestigious High School for the Performing Arts before attending Boston University where she earned a B.A. in acting.
Kim is a trained dancer: Ballet, Jazz, Afro-Caribbean and Peking Opera Dance. She is also a trained fighter, and her combat skills are Unarmed, Quarter Staff, Broad Sword and Tae Kwon Do. She recently bought a house in Hawaii.
Korean Julia Roberts
"After graduating (from Boston University), I was cast in a Korean miniseries that took off. It was crazy! I became recognizable overnight." Yoon-jin Kim (on her first acting break).
South Korea-born, New York-raised Yoon-jin Kim found work in a number of off-Broadway productions and stage musicals. A Korean television mini-series that happened to have been shooting on-location in New York offered her a role as the young ingénue Mi Sook in "Beautiful Vacation" (1996), followed by her appearances in the country’s TV series "Weding Deureseu" (1998) and "With Love" (1999).
In 1999, Kim received her breakthrough when she was cast in a pivotal role of special agent Lee, Myung-hyun (Lee, Bang-hee) in the wildly successful South Korean politically charged action-thriller film Shiri, by Korean auteur Je-gyu Kang. The next year, she reteamed with director Kang Je-Gyu to star in the action-adventure romance Legend of Gingko (a.k.a. Danjeogbiyeonsu).
"I was playing a "La Femme Nikita" (1997)-type role - a North Korean spy who falls in love with her enemy. From then on, I played every cool girl with a gun. My nickname in Korean is "Woman Warrior." Yoon-jin Kim (on her character on Shiri (1999)).
The Korean rising star received international recognition in 2001, thanks to filmmaker Takahisa Zeze who handed her a starring role in the mistaken-identity crime caper Rush!. The next year, she played the title role in writer-director Young-Joo Byun's film adaptation of a controversial, best-selling Korean novel, Ardor. She also starred in Sang-ho Yuk's slapstick romantic comedy Mr. Iron Palm and Yun-su Jeon's fantasy action movie Yesterday.
From 2004 to present, Kim has been playing her most prominent to date, as castaway Sun-Hwa Kwon, the daughter of a powerful Korean businessman and one half of a Korean couple on the ABC award-winning survivor drama "Lost." During that time, she also returned to her homeland to star in the film Yu-wol-ui il-gi (2005).
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, "Lost," 2006