Yoon Eun-hye (Korean: 윤은혜; born October 3, 1984) is a South Korean actress, singer, entertainer and model. She debuted as a member of girl group Baby V.O.X, staying with the group from 1999 to 2005. Yoon has since moved on to acting and is best known for starring in the television dramas Princess Hours (2006), The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (2007) and Missing You (2012).
1999-2005: Debut with Baby V.O.X:
Yoon Eun Hye debuted as a member of Baby V.O.X at the age of 15, replacing an ex-member (Lee Gai) in 1999. Yoon was the sub-vocal in the group, known for her cuteness and childlike traits. Being the youngest member of the group, she received little attention and was often overshadowed by her other four members.
After she joined, the group released their third album Come Come Come in 1999. This album became their first major success, with their singles "Get Up" and "Killer" reaching the number one spot on the Korean music pop charts. Since then, the group released many hit albums which garnered them not just a large loyal fan base in Korea, but also in China, Thailand and other Asia markets.
Yoon was often the prey of anti-fans. One infamous incident was during her debut year, she was shot in the eye by an anti-fan who tried to make her blind with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar using a water gun. She was rushed to the hospital where the doctors confirmed that her cornea was damaged.
Following fellow member Shim Eun Jin, Yoon Eun Hye ended her 6 years activities as a member of Baby V.O.X in July 2005 when her contract with DR Entertainment expired.
2006: Princess Hours and breakthrough success:
By late 2005 Yoon Eun Hye signed on with a new management company, Eight Peak, when she was offered her first major acting role in Princess Hours. Yoon played the lead role as the crown princess Shin Chae Kyung, which shot her to instant fame throughout Asia. Initially, fans of the Goong manhwa questioned her acting ability, and the manhwa fans sent out petitions against Yoon as the lead role, requesting her to be replaced. They even bombarded her Cyworld minihompy with harsh words. Yoon had thoughts of giving up the role initially but she released a statement not long after stating that she would ultimately do her best, displaying her determination to prove herself.
The drama debuted with average ratings, but as it progressed, viewership increased to 28.3% nationally. The popularity led to an extension of additional episodes (from 20 to 24 episodes) and a "Special 1.5" episode on MBC. Although Yoon and the other main casts were invited to work on a second season, only one of them officially agreed. Eventually, a spin-off series with brand new characters was filmed, known as Goong S, which was not the actual sequel planned by the original director and company.
Following the success of her first drama, Yoon took on her next leading role in The Vineyard Man which was aired on KBS in July 2006. The Vineyard Man initially suffered low ratings due to strong competition from MBC 45th anniversary drama, Jumong. Nonetheless, the heart-warming storyline and Yoon's convincing portrayal as "Lee Ji Hyun" gradually won the hearts of audiences, reaching a 15.6% on its finale. Yoon's portrayal in The Vineyard Man won her not only "Best New Actress" in the 2006 KBS Drama Awards, but also "Best Actress" at 2006 Grimae Awards along with Song Il Kook as the "Best Actor".
2007: Continued success with Coffee Prince:
Yoon Eun Hye's third lead role was for MBC's Monday/Tuesday drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, which started airing in July 2007. She played Go Eun-Chan, an employee at a coffee shop, who was once a master of Taekwondo. With her short haircut and tomboyish manner, the character was presumed to be a boy by the owner of the coffee shop, thus leading to romantic complications. The drama enjoyed high ratings, where viewership ratings hit as high as 32.1% in Seoul and 29.9% nationwide, making it the highest rated show in its timeslot. The huge success of Coffee Prince made Yoon the highest paid actress, MBC paying her 20 million won per episode for the drama. For that matter, Yoon became the youngest actress to join South Korea's A-list of stars, the 20 million Won Club which includes Bae Yong-joon, Kwon Sang Woo, Ko Hyun Jung, and Song Il kook.
Yoon successful performance in Coffee Prince, put her in the list of being one of the best actresses in Korean entertainment. From 19-27 November 2007, StarNews carried out their own 2007 Acting Awards, combining all 3 stations. StarNews surveyed a total 17 Chief Producers (5 from KBS, 7 from MBC and 5 from SBS) in nominating and selecting the winners. In this award, Yoon Eun Hye was named "Outstanding Actress" for her role in Coffee Prince. The Chief Producers evaluated Yoon's acting and assessed her as having great potential for success.
The success of Coffee Prince earned Yoon Eun Hye a fan base not only in Korea, but also in other countries. Riding the big success in her dramas, Yoon was crowned as "Drama Ratings Queen" by the media and netizens. Yoon's growing popularity since Princess Hours and Coffee Prince resulted in many companies requesting her endorsement. Due to the overwhelming invitations, Yoon even had to turn down several advertisement requests. Consequently, Yoon was labelled as the "CF Queen" in South Korea.
During filming of Coffee Prince, Yoon suffered severe headache and had to be hospitalized. Yoon was later diagnosed with pernicious anemia.
Yoon Eun Hye received a personal invitation from Italian fashion house Blufin to attend the Blumarine Spring 2008 Ready-to-Wear Collection fashion show in Milan on 25 September.Anna Molinari even personally presented Yoon with a piece of dress as a gift.
Change in management:
In July 2007 conflicts with Yoon Eun Hye's management Eight Peaks surfaced; eventually Yoon filed a Certification Of Contents (COC) to cancel her contractual agreement with the company. In August, Yoon filed a second COC; when asked to reveal the information behind the second COC, Yoon's counsel stated:
"If Eight Peaks refused to cancel the contract then they will not hesitate to file a lawsuit, suing them for their refusal."
The contents of the first COC stated that in January 2007 Yoon was confirmed to star in the drama Que Sera Sera and had even completed the script reading and rehearsal for the upcoming shoot. However, the company forced Yoon to withdraw in order for Yoon to star in a company-produced drama. After her withdrawal, Yoon took a two day vacation to Gangwon-do in March. Eight Peaks claimed that they had no knowledge of this so-called incident and spread a rumour of Yoon's irresponsibility online which damaged her reputation. Yoon's manager, Park Geun-Soo stated:
"The second COC includes evidence to support the disagreeable actions made by Eight Peaks. These actions included the improper handling and distribution/division of earnings and proceeds as well as the unilateral (one-sided) manner of making and carrying out decisions which caused immense problems"
Yoon Eun Hye and Eight Peaks finally came to a mutual agreement through careful negotiations and settled their disputes amicably. With her contract dispute resolved, Yoon Eun Hye signed on with Kraze Entertainment as her new management company in September. This placed her in a positive environment where her activities as an actress was Kraze Entertainment's focal point of attention.
2008: Recognition as an actress:
In April, Yoon Eun Hye was awarded the "Best Actress Award" under the "TV Drama Category" for the role as Go Eun Chan in The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince during the 44th PaekSang Arts Awards. Yoon out beat veteran actresses Kim Hee-ae and Park Jin-hee, making her the youngest actress ever to win "Best Actress Award" at PaekSang Arts Awards. Prior to this, Yoon also set the record as being the youngest actress ever to win "Best Actress Award" at 2006 Grimae Awards and "Top Excellence Actress Award" in 2007 MBC Drama Award.
After three years of absence from the K-pop scene, Yoon Eun Hye returned to her music roots in February, lending her vocals to the new hip hop group, Mighty Mouth. Yoon's collaboration, titled "Saranghae" ("사랑해", I Love You), received a lot of attention in the press and from netizens, and it topped various charts in South Korea.
In April 2008, Premiere Elle published a list of the "Top 100 Most Powerful and Influential People in The Korean Entertainment Industry", where Yoon Eun Hye was ranked 44th. Yoon was one of the only five actors (following behind Bae Yong Joon, Rain, Jeon Do Yeon and Song Kang Ho) ranked among the top 50, which was composed mainly of film directors and writers, CEOs or presidents of media stations and entertainment companies.
In October, Yoon Eun Hye was invited to the Chanel Contemporary Art Project - Mobile Art in New York, where she stood shoulder-to-shoulder with many of the world's supermodels and Hollywood stars. Yoon was the only representative from Asia invited to the event.
In September 2008, Yoon Eun Hye set up her own independent management company, The House Company after her contract with Kraze Entertainment expired. She led the founding of the company on her own, taking care of all the details from planning the company, designing of company logo to the interior of the company. Even though this is a "1-person Corporation", Yoon has plans to groom new talents.
2009: My Fair Lady:
In 2009, Yoon Eun Hye collaborated with Korean fashion house JOINUS to design a series of clothes named Yoon Eun-Hye for JOINUS. Yoon was involved in the designing process whenever a new season came along until the end of 2009, and the clothes were sold as part of JOINUS catalogue.
On 30 April 2009, Yoon Eun Hye was presented with the "2009 Best Jewelry Lady" award. This award was recommended by representatives from top brands, as well as famous designers and professionals in the jewelry industry. Yoon was awarded a plaque and a set of jewelry designed and dedicated especially to her.
Concurrently, Swarovski took a deep interest on Yoon Eun Hye and was chosen as the actress who best suited Swarovski. Nathalie Colin, Swarovski's Creative Director, personally designed the "Swarovski Nirvanna Yoon Eun Hye Ring" and presented the ring to the actress as a gift. On 21 July, Yoon Eun Hye graced the Daniel Swarovski 20th Anniversary event where she was presented the "Yoon Eun Hye Nirvana Ring" personally by Colin. Yoon is the first Asian star to have the honour of her very own Swarovski rings.
Yoon Eun Hye announced her comeback after 2 years of hiatus with the drama entitled My Fair Lady. Yoon played Kang Hye Na, an arrogant, strong-headed heiress of a rich business family living a "princess-like" life whose world revolved around her. The pilot episode got off a good start by topping the viewing chart among Wednesday-Thursday dramas with ratings of 17.4%. Yoon Eun Hye was nonetheless harshly criticized for her acting, which surfaced as a hot issue as it seemed she regressed in her skills since The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. Yoon's pronunciation, in particular, was the topic of netizens' concerns, which they felt hindered Yoon from successfully portraying her character. In an interview Yoon stated:
"I thought of how upset my parents would feel to read all those articles slamming my acting, and I felt like going crazy. There were a lot of times when I endured through it and smiled as I filmed, only to end up with tears trickling out. Now, I'm afraid of making transformations. Each time, people grow familiar with the character, but if it takes a long time and hurts me every time, I don't know what to do, and I feel afraid."
"There are more voices joining in to encourage and praise me. I take the viewers' criticism to mean that I shouldn't be arrogant. I'm reaching that age where I mature as an actor and as a woman. I want to show my talents little by little, but the unfortunate thing is that a lot of people don't give me time for failure. I like to learn more as I experience failure too. I wish people would not brand an actor as a failure through one mistake."
As the drama progressed, Yoon received more favourable appraisals, where the final episode of My Fair Lady drew a rating of 19% nationwide. During the wrap party for the drama, the director of the KBS Drama Department spoke highly about the drama, stating that KBS was pleased with the drama and its ratings.
To show her appreciation for everyone on the production team, Yoon Eun Hye bought 112 pairs of Puma sneakers for the entire crew as a parting gift. It was reported that in the middle of September, Yoon had secretly enquired the shoe sizes of everyone on the production team before placing orders for the shoes. After filming wrapped, Yoon personally handed the shoes one-by-one to each production staff to show her appreciation for their hard work.
2010: Charity work and Baby V.O.X reunion:
In January 2010, Yoon kicked off her first charity project by working with visually impaired children to create a unique line of hand painted bags. This special project was sponsored by ELBON, a chic boutique that carries branded goods, to whom Yoon was the brand ambassador. These bags were displayed in the store on ELBON opening day, to create public awareness about the visually impaired children.
In February 2010, Yoon Eun Hye became a goodwill ambassador for the "Pink Wings Campaign" by Vogue Girl Korea. This charity campaign was designed to help female teens that are head of their household, where profits from the sales will go towards scholarships and spending for these teens in need.
In March, Yoon Eun Hye and Kim Hyun Joong of K-pop group SS501 collaborated in Basic House's "Never Alone Campaign" for UNICEF to help African children. Proceeds from the sale of the "Never Alone" T-shirts go to help the needy in Africa.
Yoon Eun Hye is also the ambassador for another charity campaign title, "Hope Angel", a fundraising program for children suffering from incurable diseases. Yoon's goal was to raise 10 million won and get 500 signatures from netizens to encourage these children not to lose hope. This charity program powered by the Make-A-Wish Foundation which kicked off on March 2, attracted quick responses from the netizens. Yoon achieved 82% of the 500 required signatures within 2 hours, with the target reached later on the same day. On May 1, the goal of raising 10 million won was reached, ending this fund raising program within 2 months.
During her charitable activities, Yoon also continued to work. In February, a 12 minutes long-form "music drama" commercial titled Temptation for Cass Beer was released. This commercial also featured Taecyeon, Junsu, Wooyoung and Nichkhun from 2PM. Yoon plays Nichkhun's stylist who is psychotically in love with him. This music video quickly caught the publics' attention and became a hot topic. Along with the commercial, a digital single was released, entitled "Tik Tok". Because of the single's success in addition to her previous guest appearance on Mighty Mouth's "Saranghae", Yoon was nicknamed the "Lucky Magician" by the media.
Yoon Eun Hye was chosen as the representative of Cartier to film a travel log for the newest summer series of "La Besace Marcello de Cartier" along with the German fashion editor of Style Proofed Pia Sundermann, Brazilian Supermodel Fernanda Motta and French painter Ara Starck. Prior to this, Yoon modelled for Cartier's "All About Trinity" jewelry line; she was then subsequently invited in April to visit Cartier's flagship store and workshop in Paris, in which she received royal treatment.
In May 2010, The House Company introduced its first groomed artist, Do.U. Yoon was also secretly involved in the production of the mini album entitled Do You Know Me? In this album, Yoon's vocals could be found on the last track, entitled "AM 5:00 Do.U-reul Mandeun Saramdeul (Outro)" (AM 5:00 Do.U Production Crew (Outro)). She is also the backup vocal for the first track of the album. Another song on the EP, "Gomdoli" (Little Bear), was featured in the official soundtrack of Personal Taste, in which Yoon Eun Hye made a cameo appearance.
It was announced on June 28, 2010 that Yoon would be starring in Love Song, a drama remake of the 1996 Hong Kong film Comrades: Almost a Love Story. In the drama, Yoon will portray Yu Chae-hwa, a woman who moves from China to live in Korea. Yoon explained her decision to star by stating that the script accurately portrayed the feelings in the original film and hopes that it will become a big present not only for Koreans, but for all the fans in Asia.
According to the production team, Yoon Eun Hye's success in her previous dramas throughout various Asian markets caused a stampede for the purchase of broadcast rights for the drama since her involvement was officially announced. Companies in 11 Asia countries negotiated for the rights to broadcast Love Song. Outside of Asia, there was also demand in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Warner Bros. also expressed interest in buying the United States broadcast rights for Love Song. On 30 June, the sudden passing of late Park Yong Ha led the production to a hiatus. Despite the infinite halt in the production, Yoon maintained her loyalty towards the project even when her contract with the production company had expired. For that matter, Yoon is being praised by the Korean entertainment industry for being a "Loyal Lady". It was announced on 23 February 2011 that the production of Love Song has been cancelled as production team was unable to find a replacement for the male lead.
On 22 August, Yoon together with her former Baby V.O.X members performed on stage for the first time in 6 years since they disbanded. The five members of the original Baby V.O.X made a special appearance on SBS Kim Jung Eun's Chocolate where they belt out a medley of hit songs. Yoon got emotional during the recording, expressing her gratitude towards her fellow members for their enduring support and understanding after she goes solo as an actress. The emotional reunion on stage brought much attention among the music fans, being one of the most searched word on Nate.
In November, Korea's advertisement industry published scientific methods of forecasting the ratings and deciding on which dramas to invest. It was revealed that Yoon came in first place as the most important actor for the ratings and advertisement industry.
According to the article "Scientific Methods of Korea's Advertising Industry", Yoon Eun Hye was the most significant actor who affected the TV ratings from 2005 to 2010 when all things are equal.
So after accounting for its airing slot (day & time), season and the ratings of its competing projects, PDs, Writers, Actors and etc., when all things are considered equal, YEH came in 1st in ratings during 2005 to 2010 (5 years data).
"As for the Actors, Yoon Eun Hye of 'Goong', Coffee Prince, and etc. came in 1st place, Kim Rae Won of 'La Grand Chef', 'Which Star Did You Come From', and etc. took 2nd place and Lee Yo Won of 'Fashion 70's', 'Queen Seon Duk' and etc. came in as the 3rd most important actor for the ratings and advertisement industry."
The research was performed by Nielsen Ratings.
Sk Marketing & Co. stated, "Data from 255 dramas over past 5 years, since 2005, was used for the forecasting model."
2011: My Black Mini Dress and Lie to Me:
Yoon designed the jacket cover and directed the styling concept for former Baby V.O.X teammate Kan Mi Youn's 'First Mini Album: Watch' released on 17 February. Yoon was praised for her fashion sense and art directions on Kan's drastic style makeover.
Yoon returned to the big screen after 5 years with the movie titled My Black Mini Dress, based on the same titled chick lit novel by Kim Min Seo that was participant in the world literature competition. Yoon plays the main character "Yoo Min" who's 2% lacking in appearance, financial means and men. The movie which deals with 4 'Generation 88' girls who ran into the wall of reality after graduation became a hot topic even before opening in theatres, being No.1 searched word on various internet portals. The movie which opened in theatres on 24 March starts off in 2nd place at the box office. It attracted over 200,000 viewers within 6 days of its opening.
On 7 April 2011, SBS announced Yoon's return to the small screen after 2 years since KBS drama My Fair Lady. In Lie To Me, Yoon portrayed "Gong Ah-Jung", a bubbly, most off-the-wall but determined 5th level government official of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Ms. Yoon's fans should find a great deal of similarity between this and a number of other characters she's brought to life. The fundamentally honest and upright Gong Ah-Jung becomes caught in a swirling scandal with a scion of an elite family after a ridiculous lie. The drama began airing on 19 August and ran until 8 October.
2012: Missing You:
In October 2012, Yoon was cast as female lead Lee Soo-yeon alongside Park Yoochun in the male lead role of Han Jung-woo and Yoo Seung-ho as Kang Hyung-joon in MBC drama, Missing You. This marks her return to television after 17 months.
The Vineyard Man
The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
My Fair Lady
Yoon Eun-soo (Ep.8 cameo appearance)
Lie To Me
Road for Hope
Marry Him If You Dare
Na Mi Rae
Singer of Vegiemeal B.O.X (cameo appearance)
The Legend of Seven Cutter
My Black Mini Dress
SBS, 혼자가아니야 Ep.13
KBS, Princess Vs The Frog King
NetTV, Modern Cinderella Story
KBS, Bang Bang
SBS, Let's Go Ep.155
MBC, Nonstop 4 Ep.19
MBC, New NonStop 2 Ep.451
MBC, New Nonstop 2 Ep.231
Saying I Love You
Kim Jong Kook