Kim Go-eun
Kim Go-eun at the premiere of 'Exhuma' Image Credit: ggonekim/Instagram

She stumbled into acting by chance, but today South Korean actress Kim Go-eun is one of the biggest stars in the Korean entertainment industry. Go-eun, who turned 33 on July 2, is recognised by fans as a versatile and respected actress, known for her dedication and pushing boundaries. We take a look back at her career.

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Kim Go-eun began her career with the film titled ‘Eungyo’, but rose to fame in one of her most iconic roles as Ji Eun-tak in ‘Goblin’ or ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’ in 2016.

And now, her recent role as a shaman in the horror thriller movie ‘Exhuma’ has become the highest grossing Korean film of 2024, with a worldwide gross of US $97 million (Dh 356,281,485).

To celebrate her career over the years, here’s a list of Kim Go-eun’s most iconic roles.

Hong Seol in Cheese in the Trap (2016):

This isn’t your typical campus romance stories. Go-eun plays a spirited character, Hong Seol, whose life entangles with Yoo Jung (Park Hae-jin), the complete opposite of her – personality wise. Go-eun as usual shines through in this role.

Ji Eun-tak in Goblin (2016):

‘Goblin’ or ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’ is a k-drama classic. Currently the third highest rated Korean drama, Go-eun plays the upbeat and young Ji Eun-tak in the show. While she portrayed the character perfectly, her chemistry with fellow co-stars Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-wook is seamless.

Oh Inju in Little Women (2022):

The Korean adaptation of the classic novel titled the same, took viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions in this mystery family drama. The Korean adaptation of the novel saw twists and turns like no other. While Kim Go-eun stood out with her portrayal of her character Oh Inju, her co-stars Nam Ji-hyun and Park Ji-hu were just as good. The trio played sisters who become embroiled in a major incident that disrupts their lives.

Jeong Tae-eul in The King: Eternal Monarch (2020):

While the story was about The King, Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho), Tae-eul’s (Go-eun) character was expertly portrayed by Go-eun. And while the show did not achieve the success they had hoped, the romance and chemistry between the two actors continues to enthral its viewers.

Kim Yumi in Yumi’s Cells (2021):

Unlike any other show she’s done, Yumi’s Cells is based on a webtoon about an ordinary office-worker named Yumi from the point of view of her brain cells, which control every aspect of her life. The first two seasons were loved by viewers who are now hoping for a season 3. However, no official announcement for a new season has been made yet.

Hwa-rim in Exhuma (2024):

In a first for Go-eun’s fans, the actress plays Hwa-rim a shaman who comes across something dreadful when excavating an ominous grave. Go-eun, as usual excelled in this role, especially during the shamanic rituals where she holds the viewers captive with her commanding presence.

Go-eun even bagged the Pioneer Award at the eleventh Marie Claire Film Festival, hosted by the fashion magazine Marie Claire, for her performance in ‘Exhuma’.

Kim Go-eun, born in 1991, had majored in drama at the Korea National University of Arts. After winning several awards for her first film, ‘Eungyo’, she took a little time off and performed on stage with her classmates and even participated in short films.

In a recent YouTube live on February 21, Kim Go-eun revealed she spent her formative years growing up in a rural village in China. She was quoted saying, “I lived there from when I was four years old until I turned fourteen years old.” She went on to say her parents forbid her from speaking Chinese at home and practice speaking only Korean. She moved back To Korea when she was 14.

According to reports, she has currently completed filming her upcoming romance K-drama ‘Two Women’ alongside Park Ji-hyun and Kim Gun-woo. The story about two friends who drift apart and reunite is scheduled to air in 2025.