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Hyeri Overcomes The Acting Idol Stigma With 'Reply 1988'

BY Adrienne Stanley | Jan 09, 2016 10:50 AM EST

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Hyeri of Girl's Day continues to lead tvN's weekend series, "Reply 1988" towards 20 percent ratings, as the series returns from a two-week hiatus.

While she is praised for her portrayal of Duk Sun, her casting was initially shrouded in controversy, as audiences scoffed at her ability to lead the beloved, iconic series, as an acting idol.

On January 9, the domestic publication Segye analyzed the potential of Hyeri, D.O., and Siwan, whose extraordinary dramatic range continues to astonish audiences and critics, alike.  

"[Hyeri] has made antis (detractors) stand back and has wiped out their concerns, from the first episode," said the Segye writer, in regards to her performance in the tvN drama. 

Acting idols, a term generally used to refer to members of K-pop groups who pursue dramatic roles rather than soloists, often carry the stigma of poor line delivery and preferential treatment over their trained co-stars.

However, Hyeri and pop stars like Im Siwan and EXO's D.O exemplify the potential of idols Korean entertainment.

With numerous accolades under his belt for his role in the office drama, "Misaeng" and the courtroom movie, "The Attorney," ZE:A's Siwan has surpassed most of his contemporaries and is often no longer referred to as an acting idol. 

D.O. has yet to demonstrate his potential as a leading man with two high-profile films in 2016, "Pure Love" and "Hyung," while Hyeri is currently the darling of K-Drama, after defying the criticism of netizens or forum users. 

"Hyeri has become more and more like Duk Sun," said a representative for her agency.

The rise of Hyeri. 

Hyeri appeared in several cameo and supporting roles, before landing the part of the leading lady in jTBC's controversial teen drama, "Seonam Girls High School Investigators." The cable series made headlines for several racy plotlines, including the incorporation of a lesbian kiss between students. 

She followed "Seonam Girls High School Investigators" with her portrayal of Min Woo Jung, the whiny supporter of Robin in the lackluster romantic comedy, "Jekyll, Hyde, and I." 

With "Reply 1988," she brilliantly channels of the frustration of teen love and the anguishing realization that some dreams like attending college may be unattainable. 

Episodes 17 and 18 fast forwarded six years to 1994, challenging the lifelong friends to make tough decisions  while continuing to honor each other's feelings. 

In these scenes, Hyeri abandons the early laugh she adopted as the girl-next-door and exhibits maturity, as she illustrates the frustration of her dreams that Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol)  will pursue her, even as his best friend, Taek (Park Bo Gum), makes small moves to solidify a romantic relationship. 

While she has yet to identify her next acting role, the momentum of "Reply 1988" has led Hyeri to break the 1 million follower mark on Instagram, while generating more than twenty endorsement opportunities for the 21-year-old star. 

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