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From Models To K-Drama Actors: A Pretty Transition

BY Julie Jones | May 07, 2014 02:01 PM EDT

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Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin are both stars now but it hasn't been that long since they were walking the runway to earn spending money. Tall, lanky and thin, they have the perfect frames for modeling clothes and that naturally led to other opportunities.

They are not the first k-drama stars to make the transition from modeling to acting.

So Ji Sub started out modeling jeans, which he said he just did because it seemed like an easy way to make money. This led to a sitcom role and another part in a drama appropriately called "Model."

He has been close to actor Song Seung Hoon since those days because the star of the film "Human Addiction" also modeled the same brand of jeans. Then he and So Ji Sub went on to debut in the same sitcom.

Jun Ji Hyun wanted to be a flight attendant when a fashion editor discovered her on the street and convinced her to model. She modeled for a while before making her first film, "White Valentine." Kim Tae Hee was discovered while she was still a college student and planned to be a fashion designer. The transition to acting seemed a natural one.  Song Hye Kyo was a high school student when she won a modeling contest and that led to a small role in "First Love." Han Ga In did an American Airlines commercial before she appeared in her first drama.

Jang Geun Suk may have had the longest pre-k-drama modeling career as he began at age five. A talent agent discovered him when his real estate parents were showing the agent a home.

The trend continues. The latest models turned actors include Sung Joon, Lee Soo Hyuk, Song Jae Rim, and Hong Jong Hyun.

Tall lanky Sung Joon left modeling behind to appear in "Shut Up Flower Boy Band," "Gu Family Book" and "I Need Romance 3." Lee Soo Hyuk debuted in designer Jung Wook Jun's fashion show and appeared in GQ, Bazaar and Elle spreads before his distinctive looks earned him roles in "Vampire Idol" and  "Shark."  He also appeared in the 2NE1 videos "It Hurts" and "Falling In Love."

Song Jae Rim began his career modeling the Seoul collections of Juun. J, Herin Homme and Ha Sang Beg, and doing magazine spreads. Since then he has snagged roles in "The Moon Embracing The Sun" and "Two Weeks."

Hong Jong Hyun, who debuted as a model, can also be seen in the 2NE1 video "Falling In Love." He's had several drama roles, notably in "Vampire Idol," "Jeon Woo Chi" and "Dating Agency Cyrano."

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