Seeing that photo of Kim Sung Ryung in the photo spread a few days ago got me thinking about Korean actresses who are over 40, but are still rocking it. In fact they don’t look a day over 35. It’s perhaps one of those phenomenons where Asian women tend to age gracefully, though I am pretty sure skin care and maintenance all comes into play. Plus they’re actresses so they can spend on anything to help defy aging. And there’s photoshop. Nevertheless, these women have never looked better.
Now, in order of age – and no special preference whatsoever.
Yoon Yeo Jung
Date of birth: June 19, 1947 – 67 years old
As the oldest on this list, she at this point could be a grandmother. (She could be, I don’t know.) Nevertheless she manages to grace the screen with her refined elegance, and I thought she was at her ‘hottest’ in King 2 Hearts. No lie – I thought she was the coolest Queen Mother ever to grace the screen, especially when she stood up to Yoon Je Moon’s crazy villainous character at the threat of death.
Lee Mi Sook
Date of birth: April 2, 1960 – 54 years old
She is no joke – at 54, there is no stopping this woman. She’s played a kindly mother (Love Rain) and a real diva (You’re the Best Lee Soon Shin, Miss Korea), and everything in between. Don’t forget she was Madam Jo in the film “Untold Scandal,” which is based on the novel Les Liasons Dangereuses. Damn I wish I look as good as she does at her age.
Kim Mi Sook
Date of birth: May 3, 1959 – 55 years old
If Lee Mi Sook is the provocateur, this is the more demure one. Known for Golden Empire, Shining Inheritance, and more, she has quite the lengthy resume. And it’s really unsettling how much she and Lee look alike!
Kim Sung Ryung
Date of birth: February 8, 1967 – 47 years old
This woman’s still got it – and to think she gave birth to Lee Min Ho! Okay – not really, but her character in Heirs did to his character. From playing Jang Geun Suk‘s hateful mother in You’re Beautiful to Daesung’s ambitious mother in What’s Up, to Yunho’s suspicious sister in Queen of Ambition, she’s a chameleon in so many of her roles.
Lee Il Hwa
Date of birth: January 3, 1971 – 43 years old
As the down-to-earth mother in Answer Me 1997 and 1994, she wins you with her charm and makes you wish she were your mother. As the quietly ambitious mother living vicariously through her daughter Yoo In Na in My Love From Another Star, she makes her kindly features seem more threatening than she really is. It’s all in her twinkling smile.
Lee Young Ae
Date of birth: January 31, 1973 – 43 years old
She manages to withstand the test of time and look almost just like she did in her Dae Jang Geum days. Yes, she’s matured a bit, but she’s so recognizable and still in high demand despite not having acted in the past nine years. In films or dramas. Porcelain skin for the win.
Go Hyun Jung
Date of birth: March 2, 1971 – 43 years old
Go Hyun Jung has the girl next door vibe to her that just makes her more attractive than more conventionally pretty contemporaries (i.e. Lee Young Ae, Choi Ji Woo). That doesn’t mean she is not hot. Her frank appearance makes her seem like the friend you want to grab drinks with and talk to all night, and that’s a pretty attractive quality to have.
Kim Nam Joo
Date of birth: May 10, 1971 – 43 years old
Kim Nam Joo really caught my eye with Queen of Housewives, where she displayed her deftness in comedy and melodrama. Don’t be fooled by her slightly matronly businesswoman image in Housewives and Queen of Reversals – she’s really hot, especially with her husband Kim Seung Woo.
Oh Yeon Soo
Date of birth: October 27, 1971 – 42 years old
She looked so good in IRIS 2. Oh Yeon Soo is one of those actresses I could see Kim So Yeon growing into; sharp features that make her look like a total bad ass but still soft enough to take on a tender character like she did in Triangle. Her face looks like she always has a secret to keep and a story tell – a mystique, shall we say.
Jeon Do Yeon
Date of birth: February 11, 1973 – 41 years old
This woman seriously does not look like she’s hit her 40s. She manages to look fresh-faced and sunny despite her darker film roles like “The Housemaid” or “Secret Sunshine.” Credit it to aging really gracefully? She’s become a Cannes darling, and no doubt a fashion one too.
This is just a list of ten actresses; there are so many more actresses who have a charm that is unlike any other, and are physically hot. All I mean to do with this list is marvel at just how good these women look at their age and can compete against women half their age.
Age is but a number, and there’s a saying that ’40’s is the new 30’s’. That to me sounds like a bit of a denial of wanting to get older. I think these women should be proud of being over 40, which is usually the age stereotypically believed where the actress goes on hiatus or comes back playing a mother instead of a lead role. Instead these are working actresses. Many play mothers or maternal figures now, but certain actresses like Lee Mi Sook or Jeon Do Yeon manage to upend your expectations with every drama or film she makes. And that’s great – for a woman her age to continually forge new paths and new roles, she proves that once they reach a certain age, Korean actresses don’t have to play the mother or the grandmother or the aunt.
So really, age is but a number. Be loud and proud to be in the 40s!