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Five K-Dramas Where Gorgeous Actresses Portray Plain Janes

BY Adrienne Stanley | Sep 24, 2015 02:15 PM EDT


Hwang Jung Eum is the latest K-Drama actress to play down her looks as she embraces the role of a plain Jane publishing intern in "She Was Pretty." The term plain Jane can be used to describe a woman who in average in appearance, with few distinguishing qualities.

Plain Janes in Korean dramas are often characterized as misunderstood homebodies or women who abandon their appearance due to psychological stress like financial troubles and anxiety. 

Hwang hilariously portrays Kim Hye Jin, a woman who is plunged into the high-powered world of fashion publication.

In the series, Hye Jin was once a teenaged heiress but now struggles to embrace new hairstyles and botches her makeup. Her cringeworthy delivery of a floundering fashion intern belies her gorgeous appearance.

While her current role is a comedic take on the plain Jane trope, her portrayal of ex-convict Kang Yoo Jung in "Secret Love," put a different spin on the concept.

As a former K-pop idol in the girl group, Sugar, Hwang is an interesting choice for roles where the heroine is completely clueless about style or beauty.

Plain Janes in dramas are often portrayed by women who are considered some of the beautiful actresses in Korea. Here are four other K-Dramas where gorgeous actresses portray plain Janes.

1. Honey Lee as a single mother and agricultural leader in "Modern Farmer." 

Former Miss Korea, Honey Lee (Lee Ha Nui), made a stunning transformation for the role of Kang Yoon Hee in "Modern Farmer." As a single mother-turned-farming expert, she was covered in dirt and depicted with livestock. 

2.Park Min Young transformed from a stunning starlet to play a spunky reporter in  "Healer." 

As Chae Young Shin, Park Min Young sported short hair and wore plain clothing through the bulk of "Healer."

Scenes where she and Ji Chang Wook received a makeover to portray a wealthy couple marked a turning point for the on-screen couple and the series. 

3. Park Shin Hye is gorgeous in real life, but she took on a geeky look for "Flower Boys Next Door."

Park Shin Hye epitomized the stereotype of the cloistered writer as Go Dok Mi in "Flower Boys Next Door." She was surrounded by attractive actors like Yoon Shi Yoon, but "Flower Boys Next Door" did not feature the obligatory K-Drama makeover scene where a plain Jane transforms into a stunning beauty.  

4. Ha Ji Won portrayed a fierce stuntwoman who did not have time for beauty in "Secret Garden."

Ha Ji Won proved that some of the most interesting K-Drama heroines are those who abandon thoughts of beauty, but still get the gorgeous guy, in "Secret Garden." Her portrayal of stunt woman Gil Ra Im continues to be one of the most iconic K-Drama roles to date. 

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