K-drama Spotlight: Bae Suzy’s 10-Year Journey

Bae Su-ji, more commonly known as Bae Suzy, was born on October 10, 1994 in Buk District, Gwangju. She went to the School of Performing Arts Seoul and was an online shopping mall model before she became a celebrity. Dubbed as the “Nation’s First Love,” singer and actress Bae Suzy is definitely one of a kind. She rose to fame in such a short amount of time, stealing the spotlight as a rookie and eventually winning awards in all three fields of entertainment: film, TV, and music.

To mark her 10th-year anniversary in the industry, we go back to highlight Suzy’s journey as an artist. Below is a timeline following her climb to the top as one of Korea’s best and brightest stars.

K-pop Debut

Miss-A-Suzy
Suzy in Miss A’s debut single “Bad Girl Good Girl”

Suzy auditioned for Mnet Superstar K, a TV talent show in South Korea, in 2009. Although she was eliminated in the preliminary round, she was able to catch the attention of a JYP Entertainment scout and eventually became a trainee under the agency.

She first debuted as an idol in 2010: a member of the all-female K-pop group Miss A under JYP Entertainment. Along with three other members, Jia, Fei, and Min, the group released their debut single titled “Bad Girl Good Girl,” which reached the top place of the Gaon Digital Chart (South Korea’s standard record chart for singles). The song also made it as the best performing single of 2010 on the said chart. Their songs that followed also proved success, even breaking records and topping billboards. However, in 2016, one member left the group, followed by another in 2017. Eventually, in December 2017, the group announced their official disbandment.

Suzy also went on to host shows and award ceremonies such as Show! Music Core, where she hosted with other idols, Golden Disc AwardsSeoul Music AwardsMnet 20’s Choice Awards, and the Baeksang Arts Awards. She has also been continuously pursuing her passion for music, releasing her own singles and collaborations with other singers until present.

TV Series and Films

In 2011, Suzy decided to enter the world of acting. She immediately landed her first lead role in her first ever TV project, the award-winning teen music drama Dream High, which also became a hit locally and internationally, especially to the teen audience.

The following year, she made her debut in films as she portrayed the younger version of the main female character in Architecture 101, which also proved to be a success. It became one of the 10 most-watched films in the country in the first quarter of 2012. It also set a box-office record for Korean melodramas, turning in over 4.1 million admissions in a span of nine weeks after its release in theaters.

She has continued to star in dramas and films since then, with her last project being Vagabond (series) with Lee Seung-gi. She is also set to star in another drama, Start-Up, this 2020. The following is a timeline of all her appearances and projects over the years:

2011

Suzy as Go Hye-mi in Dream High
  • TV
    • Dream High – Suzy made her acting debut with a lead role in this music drama where she played Go Hye-mi, a student at Kirin High School of Art who dreams to be an opera singer but decides to go for mainstream pop to pay off her family’s debts.
    • Human Casino (Drama Special) – Cameo appearance
  • Variety Shows
    • Invincible Youth 2 – The show features idols from different K-pop groups as they go on and experience living and surviving in the rural outdoors.

2012

Suzy as the younger Yang Seo-yeon in Architecture 101
  • Film
    • Architecture 101 – Suzy played the younger version of the female lead character Yang Seo-yeon (Han Ga-in), who falls for another student (Lee Je-hoon) in an architecture class. Years later, the same man (Uhm Tae-woong) helps her build her dream home.
  • TV
    • Dream High 2 – Cameo appearance
    • I Need A Fairy – Cameo appearance
    • Big – Playing a main role alongside Hallyu star Gong Yoo and Lee Min-jung, Suzy appeared as Jang Ma-ri, a woman who takes a liking to Gong Yoo’s character, who has an 18-year-old’s spirit trapped in his body.
  • Variety Shows
    • Invincible Youth 2 – Suzy is one of the eight girls in season 2 who took the challenge set in a fishing village.
    • Style Log: Weekly – Much Wanted Life – Narrator

2013

  • TV
    • Gu Family Book – In this action historical drama, Suzy plays Dam Yeo-wool, a martial arts instructor skilled in using a bow and arrow. The drama follows a being who is half-man, half-beast (Lee Seung-gi) on a search for a magical book that will make him human.
  • Variety Shows
    • Real Man – Narrator

2014

2015

  • Film
    • The Sound of a Flower – Set in the Joseon dynasty, Suzy plays the determined pansori (traditional Korean musical storytelling) singer who cross-dresses as a man, as females were not allowed to perform in that era.

2016

  • TV
    • Uncontrollably Fond – Suzy plays the lead character Noh Eul, a documentary PD chasing after her childhood friend who is now a famous celebrity (Kim Woo-bin). While he initially turns down her proposal to film a documentary on him, he eventually gives in and plans to win her heart.

2017

  • Film
    • Real – Cameo appearance
  • TV
    • While You Were Sleeping – Starring alongside Lee Jong-suk, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in, Suzy plays Nam Hong-joo, a field reporter with the supernatural ability of foreseeing the future in her dreams. Armed with this power and with the help of her friends, she attempts to prevent tragedy from happening.
  • Variety Shows
    • Off the Record, Suzy – Appeared as herself

2019

  • Film
    • Ashfall – When a volcano in the border of China and North Korea suddenly erupts, a team is dispatched to the area to plan an operation to prevent disasters that may follow the next eruptions. Suzy plays the pregnant wife of the team’s captain (Ha Jung-woo), who struggles to survive in the middle of the disaster.
  • TV
    • Vagabond – Suzy plays the role of an NIS agent working undercover in Morocco. She stars alongside Lee Seung-gi, whose character is a stuntman hellbent on uncovering the cause of his nephew’s death in an airplane crash.

Awards

Lee-Seung-gi-Suzy-Vagabond
Lee Seung-gi and Suzy in the 2019 SBS Drama Awards

From awards in music to film and TV, Suzy has at least one from all three. She’s the second celebrity and the first female artist to get popularity and rookie awards from all three fields, the first one being Rain. Below is a list of the awards that Suzy has received in her ten-year journey:

2011

  • Best New Actress – Dream High (KBS Drama Awards)
  • Best Couple Award (with Kim Soo-hyun)Dream High (KBS Drama Awards)
  • Hot New Star – Dream High (Mnet 20’s Choice Awards)

2012

  • Best New Actress (Film) – Architecture 101 (Baeksang Arts Awards)
  • Popularity Award – Architecture 101 (Blue Dragon Film Awards)
  • Best Dressed Award – (Busan International Film Festival)
  • Popularity Award – Big (KBS Drama Awards)
  • Hot Female Movie Star – Architecture 101 (Mnet 20’s Choice Awards)
  • Best Female Newcomer in a Variety Show – Invincible Youth Season 2 (KBS Entertainment Awards)
  • Best Cameo Appearance – Gag Concert (KBS Entertainment Awards)
  • First Love Fantasies – (Style Icon Awards)
  • Women’s CF Model Award – (MTN Broadcast Advertisement Festival)

2013

  • Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries – Gu Family Book (MBC Drama Awards)
  • Best Couple Award (with Lee Seung-gi)Gu Family Book (MBC Drama Awards)
  • 20’s Drama Star Female – Gu Family Book (Mnet 20’s Choice Awards)
  • Outstanding Korean Actress – Gu Family Book (Seoul International Drama Awards)
  • Best Model Award – (Korean Advertisers Association Awards)

2014

None received

2015

  • Goddess Award – (Sina Weibo Night Awards)

2016

  • Best R&B/Soul (with Baekhyun)Dream (Melon Music Awards)
  • Best Collaboration (with Baekhyun)Dream (Mnet Asian Music Awards)
  • Best Star Award – Uncontrollably Fond (Asia Artist Awards)
  • Most Popular Actress (Film) – The Sound of a Flower (Baeksang Arts Awards)
  • InStyle Fashionista Award – (Baeksang Arts Awards)

2017

  • Digital Bonsang (with Baekhyun)Dream (Golden Disc Awards)
  • Asia Star Award, Actress – While You Were Sleeping (Asia Artist Awards)
  • Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Wednesday-Thursday Drama – While You Were Sleeping (SBS Drama Awards)
  • Best Couple Award (with Lee Jong-suk)While You Were Sleeping (SBS Drama Awards)

2018

  • Asia Celebrity Award – (Asia Artist Awards)
  • Most Popular Actress (TV) – While You Were Sleeping (Baeksang Arts Awards)

2019

  • Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries – Vagabond (SBS Drama Awards)
  • Best Couple Award (with Lee Seung-gi)Vagabond (SBS Drama Awards)
  • Most Photogenic Star of the Year – (KOPA & NIKON Press Photo Awards)

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Luna

It was Princess Lulu who first introduced her to Korean dramas but it was Yoon Ji-hoo from Boys Over Flowers who enticed her to stay in K-dramaland. She writes news and features for Kdramapal, which combines two of her most favorite things in the world—writing and K-dramas (look who's living the dream). The name Luna literally translates to "moon" and nothing special; she just likes writing at night.