In case this wasn’t obvious before, Park Shin Hye (Pinocchio) has recently been crowned the ‘New Queen of Hallyu’ as she is the first South Korean actress to have surpassed 700 million followers on the Chinese social media site Weibo. In addition, her shows – especially Pinocchio – have been huge hits internationally, with record number of views for Pinocchio on Youku, a Chinese video streaming site not unlike Youtube.
This is really not even big news to me, though I am quite surprised she has only been named a ‘Queen of Hallyu’ by 10Asia now. Or if we’re being really jaded here, she could have been named as such by her agency SALT Entertainment, who could have sent out a press release about Park’s recent success. While I may not like her very much as an actress – or as a person – I cannot deny the amount of star power she has. Each drama she’s worked on has been a hit after hit, whether or not the actual drama and storyline is any good. It’s similar to the Lee Min Ho effect, where I think his dramas aren’t necessarily great but because he’s in it, the drama becomes great. I must add that these ‘effects’ work consistently outside of Korea. Heartstrings for example was not a ratings hit in Korea, but somehow managed to capture a huge following overseas.
It is also no surprise that in China, the ‘new kings of Hallyu‘ have taken the country by storm. Because of Heirs and My Love From Another Star, Lee Min Ho, Kim Woo Bin, and Kim Soo Hyun are seen everywhere on billboards and advertisements. In fact, to be more specific I saw more posters for Kim Woo Bin and Kim Soo Hyun than for Lee Min Ho; apparently the two Kim’s are waaaayyyy more popular than Lee, which is comforting since I don’t like Lee Min Ho as an actor very much. Similarly, Jeon Ji Hyun is seen everywhere in China and in Korea, sponsoring everything from potato chips to water.
It’s a little insane to see how much love is lavished upon these actors, most of whom are still fairly young and somewhat untested. There’s no denying that they’re potentially good actors, but they have to tackle on many more roles before they can certifiably be considered really good actors. If anything, I have the most hopes for Kim Woo Bin to succeed as a serious actor. I suspect that Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye will coast on their good looks and their typecast roles in dramas for a little longer.