K-drama star Bae Suzy: Why we are envious of her, and not just because she dated Lee Min-ho

A still from K-drama Start-Up.
PHOTO: Netflix

Don't let her sweet looks fool you. South Korean star Bae Suzy — hailed as one of the "Nation's First Loves" — is a force to be reckoned with.

In contrast with her innocent girl-next-door image, she showed her tough side in last year's action-packed TV series Vagabond, which also starred rising singer-actor Lee Seung-gi.

She will next be in Start-Up, a heartwarming and romantic story about youths who try to achieve their dreams at a place called Sand Box, a Silicon Valley-like place with many start-up companies. The drama series also stars Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho, and Kang Han-na.

Before it drops on Netflix, let's take a look at the reasons why we are so envious of her.

1. Only 26 but already a successful actress and pop star

She just turned 26 last Saturday (Oct 10), and Suzy has already been in the cutthroat entertainment industry for 10 years, debuting in 2010 under K-pop group Miss A. One year later, she kickstarted her acting career in popular K-drama Dream High.

She is the first female Korean celebrity to win three 'rookie' awards in all three fields of music, television, and movies.

She clinched the best new female artist award as part of Miss A at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA); the best new actress at the 48th Paeksang Arts Awards for her role in Architecture 101; and the best new actress award at the 2010 KBS Drama Awards for her role in Dream High.

Suzy is also the first female Korean artist to have her wax figure featured at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, alongside the ever-popular Kim Soo-hyun and Lee Jong-suk.

2. She dated Lee Min-ho and Lee Dong-wook

In 2015, Suzy revealed that she was in a relationship with Korean heartthrob Lee Min-ho, after pictures of their secret rendezvous in London surfaced. The couple broke up after three years, with her management agency citing privacy issues as the reason for their breakup.

Not long later, Suzy confirmed her relationship with Goblin actor Lee Dong-wook, with sparks reportedly flying after meeting at a private gathering.

Unfortunately their relationship only lasted four months, with fans labelling Suzy the "Taylor Swift of South Korea" after the break-up.

3. She's acted with some of the hottest K-drama hunks

Who wouldn't be envious when she has gone up close and very personal with some of Korea's most handsome A-listers?

They include Lee Seung-gi, Kim Soo-hyun, Kim Woo-bin, Lee Jong-suk, Ha Jung-woo, and most recently, Nam Joo-hyuk in the upcoming K-drama Start-Up.

Bae Suzy with Nam Joo-hyuk. PHOTO: tvN, courtesy of Netflix

4. Did we say she's also very adorable?

Her sweet and innocent personality earned her the nickname of "Nation's First Love", aka boys' first crush. Other actresses with the same honour include Jun Ji-hyun, Son Ye-jin, and Lee Yeon-hee.

In Start-Up's virtual press conference today, even her co-star Kang Han-na teased that while their on-screen characters have subtle conflicts as rivals, Suzy is so lovable that "it was difficult for me to bring my claws out".

Bae Suzy with Kang Han-na. PHOTO: tvN, courtesy of Netflix

5. She's rich and has the title of CF Queen

According to South China Morning Post, Suzy is dubbed a 'CF Queen' or Commercial Film Queen, endorsing a range of products from food to clothing and cameras.

She earned more than 10 billion won (S$12 million) and clinched over 14 endorsement deals in 2013. According to Koreaboo, tvN reported in 2017 that Suzy earns at least 700 million won per commercial.

Some of the brands that she has endorsed include Lancome, Guess, Swarovski, The Face Shop, and Canon.

Start-Up will premiere this Saturday Oct 17 at 10pm on Netflix, and new episodes will be released every Saturday and Sunday.

trining@asiaone.com