Childhood Trauma + 9 Other Fun Facts About Start-Up’s Kim Seon-ho

Are you watching tvN’s Start-Up? Chances are that you’re suffering from a terrible case of SLS aka Second Lead Syndrome. Everyone thought that Nam Joo-hyuk and Suzy‘s adorable chemistry would steal the show, and it is doing exactly that, but not alone. Kim Seon-ho—who completes the show’s love triangle as Han Ji-pyeong—has emerged to be quite the scene-stealer.

Kim Seon-ho is winning the hearts of viewers worldwide thanks to his adorable relationship with Suzy’s grandmother and his efforts in trying to help Suzy’s character. While Han Ji-pyeong’s arc is mostly sad, Kim Seon-ho’s is far from it. The actor is undoubtedly the breakout star of the series, on the verge of becoming the next big international star.

Kim Seon-ho, star of the popular Korean drama Start-Up

With the way Kim Seon-ho is booking lead roles in major shows now, you wouldn’t be able to guess that he made his TV debut just three years ago. Kim started out with a minor role in the Namgoong Min starrer Good Manager in 2017, following it up with Strongest Deliveryman and Two Cops in the same year. In 2018, he played a major role in Do Kyung-soo and Nam Ji-hyun’s 100 Days My Prince, which went on to become one of the highest-rated dramas of that year.

Since 2019, Kim has challenged himself with full-fledged lead roles in Welcome To Waikiki 2 and Catch The Ghost. 2020, needless to say, has been the best year of the actor’s career so far. He has only appeared in one drama—Start-Up—but it has been enough to completely change the trajectory of his career. If you are one of the many fans who want to get to know the actor more, keep reading!

Kim Seon-ho is a Taurus and has been a cutie since birth

Image Credit: Kim Seon-ho’s Instagram

Kim Seon-ho stans, mark May 8 on your calenders! It was on this day in 1986 that the dimpled actor was born. This means that he’s well into his 30’s and I must say, he doesn’t look it. And going by his childhood photo, it seems that Kim Seon-ho has been cute all his life! He is also an only child and wanted to be a doctor when he was little, which is now making me want to watch him in a medical drama as a brooding young doctor.

Before TV, he was a star in the world of theatre

Despite making his TV debut only in 2017, Kim Seon-ho was no newbie to the world of acting. He majored in theatre at the Seoul Institute of Arts and had been active in the theatre scene for around eight years before his TV break. In fact, his popularity in the theatre world rivaled that of idols and people would line up in the streets to buy tickets to his plays. How cool is that!

His favorite movie is the 2002 romantic drama If Only

Recently, in an interview with Esquire, the actor mentioned that he bawled his eyes out while watching the romantic fantasy movie If Only, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Paul Nicholls. It seems that Kim Seon-ho has a penchant for heartbreaking romance arcs. And while he certainly has the acting chops to act in a similar romance story, I pray that he gives us time to recover from his arc in Start-Up before giving us more reasons to be heartbroken. You can watch the full Esquire interview below.

If Kim Seon-ho could choose to play another character in Start-Up, he would pick Chul-san

Turns out it’s not just the viewers who are a fan of Yoo Su-bin’s satoori (accent) in Start-Up. The Crash Landing On You actor has found another fan in co-star Kim Seon-ho, who called him hilarious and chose his character as the one he would like to play.

Acting helped him conquer his childhood trauma

The bright-eyed actor hides a lifetime of trauma behind his smiles. When Kim Seon-ho was just a child, a burglar broke into his house and stabbed his mother. The young Kim Seon-ho developed a trauma as a result of this incident. He began to find it difficult to navigate crowds and got anxious whenever someone was behind him. Breaking into the theatre scene in college helped him manage his social anxiety. I’m so glad he seems to be doing better!

He knows the dance to EXO’s Growl

In 2018, Kim Seon-ho worked with EXO’s Do Kyung-soo in 100 Days My Prince. As a gift to their viewers for the show’s high ratings, the cast along with Kim Seon-ho learned how to dance to EXO’s record-breaking 2013 title track “Growl.” Kim Seon-ho was clowned for his terrible dancing skills and earned the nickname ‘paper doll’.

He is labelmates with Park Shin-hye

In 2018, Kim Seon-ho signed with Salt Entertainment, the label that also houses Park Shin-hye (Memories of Alhambra), Kim Ji-won (Arthdal Chronicles), Kim Joo-hun (It’s Okay to Not be Okay), and Kim Jung-hwa (Oh My Baby). In just two years, he is set to become the representative star of his management label!

Kim Seon-ho is quite the comedian

The actor is also a fixed cast member on the travel variety show 2 Days & 1 Night, which has contributed heavily to his growing popularity. Despite being a variety rookie, his antics and comic timing have been appreciated by the audience, so much so that they keep coming back for more. Watch some of his best moments in the show in the compilation clip below!

He is friends with Vixxs Ravi, DinDin, and Moon Ga-young

Kim Seon-ho’s closest buddies in the industry are rappers Ravi and DinDin, who work with him in 2 Days & 1 Night. Their banter in the variety show is the reason for many laughs of the audience. Kim is also close to actress Moon Ga-young (True Beauty), with whom he worked in Welcome to Waikiki 2. He also made an appearance in Moon’s drama Find Me In Your Memory, while Moon sent a coffee truck to the set of Start-Up as a gesture of support.

A video of his kissing scene recently went viral

In 2018, Kim Seon-ho starred in the MBC drama special You Drive Me Crazy opposite Lee Yoo-young (The Lies Within). The two played long-time best friends whose relationship changes after they sleep together. It is a testament to Kim Seon-ho’s rising popularity that a kissing scene from the drama recently surpassed 10 million views on YouTube. Psst, interested in checking it out? Watch below.

While Kim Seon-ho is currently breaking our hearts in Start-Up, he is in talks to lead a fantasy drama. Next year, he will make a return to the stage with the play Ice, where he will portray one of the two detectives trying to pin the blame of a horrific murder on someone else. I can’t wait to see him take the lead in another romantic comedy. My only hope is that next time, Kim Seon-ho will get to romance the girl instead of pining after her. My heart can’t take it!

You can keep up with the actor by following his Instagram here. His management runs another account, which is much more active and full of adorably hilarious clips of the actor on set.

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Indoor Enthusiast

Indoor Enthusiast (Esha) is usually found going on rants about how Ji Hae-soo from It's Okay That's Love and Sung Bora from Reply 1988 are the best heroines to grace our screens. Thrillers like Secret Forest and rom-coms with sprinklings of feminism à la Because This Life Is My First hold a special place in her heart. She can be reached at [email protected]