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Song Hye-kyo (송혜교, Song Hye-gyo), born on November 22, 1981 in Dalseo, Daegu, South Korea, is a South Korean actress and model. She is best known for her roles in Autumn in My Heart, Full House, That Winter, the Wind Blows and Descendants of the Sun.
Native name (Korean): 송혜교
Phonetic name: Song Hye-gyo
English name: Song Hye-kyo
Birthdate: November 22, 1981
Birthplace: Dalseo, Daegu, South Korea
Country: South Korea
Height: 161 cm
Weight: 45 kg
Blood type: A
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Hobby: Swimming, fashion, skiing, skating, piano
Education: Sejong University
Occupation: Actress, model
Label: United Artists Agency
When Song was born, she was sick and her parents and doctors thought that she would not survive. Upon her recovery, Song's parents registered her birth on February 26, 1982 (instead of her actual birthdate, November 22, 1981).
Song's parents divorced when she was a young girl, and she was raised by her mother. They moved from her birthplace in Daegu to the Gangnam District in Seoul, where she trained as a figure skater in elementary school, but quit when she was in the eighth grade. Though Song considered herself shy and introverted, she was described by her high school teacher as having a "cheerful character, she mixed well with her friends and was always in a bright mood." Song Hye-kyo attended college at Sejong University, where she majored in Film Arts.
In 1996, the 14-year-old Song, then a third-year junior high school student, won first place in the SunKyung Smart Model Contest, and she made her entertainment debut as a model for the school uniform company. This led to her being cast in a small role in her first television drama, First Love. She would continue to appear in a string of various dramas and sitcoms, notably Soonpoong Clinic. But it wasn't until the KBS drama Autumn in My Heart in 2000 with Song Seung-heon and Won Bin that she rose to fame in Korea and throughout Asia. The romantic melodrama series was a ratings success, pioneering a trend in Korean melodramatic series and launching a fever that is commonly referred to as the "Korean Wave" and leading to Song becoming a Hallyu star.
In 2003, her popularity continued to climb when she played a leading role alongside Lee Byung-hun in the gambling drama All In, which drew solid viewership ratings nationwide throughout its run with a peak viewer rating of 47.7 percent. The following year, she co-starred with singer Rain in the hit romantic comedy series Full House. The drama achieved pan-asia success and established Song as one of the most well-known Korean actress in Asia.
Early 2005, Song went to San Francisco to study English, and later traveled to Seattle. Song took time off to recharge herself after the successful asia drama Full House. "I have had a good rest. It was a good opportunity to reflect on myself," said Song. Song returned to Korea on March 5 2005. The same year, Song made her big-screen debut in My Girl and I (a Korean remake of Crying Out Love in the Center of the World), which was panned by audiences and critics alike. Vocal about her dissatisfaction with typecasting in the roles she was being offered, Song proved in the following year that she took on different roles.
She returned to the big-screen in 2007, as the titular gisaeng in the film adaptation of Hwang Jin Yi. Because they found Song's image "too cute," Jun Ji-hyun and Soo Ae were the producers' original choices for the role, but Song went on a rigorous diet and surprised them with her will and desire to be Hwang Jini. A year later, she made her American debut in the Hollywood indie Make Yourself at Home (formerly titled Fetish), a psychological thriller about a girl who was born to a shaman mother and tries to flee her fate by becoming an immigrant bride in the U.S. Despite Song's attempts to challenge herself, both films underwhelmed at the box office.
She made her TV comeback in late 2008 with The World That They Live In (also known as Worlds Within), a series set at a broadcast station in which Song and Hyun Bin played drama PDs who work together and fall in love.
In 2010, she starred in Camellia, an omnibus pic made up of three short films directed by three Asian directors. Each episode is set in the past, present and future of the city of Busan. In the film's final segment Love for Sale, Song and Kang Dong-won played former lovers who forget their memories about each other which later leads them to a fatal destiny.
Considered one of Korea's most beautiful women, in early 2011 Song released the photobook Song Hye-kyo's Moment which was shot by top photographers in Atlanta, New York City, Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Paris, the Netherlands and Brazil. Proceeds from the sales of the photo book was donated to a children's foundation.
Song then played a documentary filmmaker who finds the strength to forgive the 17-year-old boy who killed her fiance but instead of redemption finds only greater tragedy in A Reason to Live (Korean title: Today), which after several delays was released in October 2011. Song was a huge fan of director Lee Jeong-hyang and had actively sought her out, and though she had difficulty getting into character, Song said she fell in love with the script and felt her acting had matured. She considers the film "a turning point" in her life.
In 2011, she became the first Asian actress to sign a contract with French global agency Effigies, paving the way for her possible entry into the European market. She released a photo-essay book in 2012 titled It's Time for Hye-kyo.
Song then played a supporting role in The Grandmaster, Chinese director Wong Kar-wai's biographical film about Bruce Lee's kung fu master Ip Man, for which she learned Cantonese and martial arts. She later admitted there had been "a bit of friction and misunderstanding" with Wong while filming, but that the difficulties helped her mature.
Song reunited with the writer and director of Worlds Within in That Winter, the Wind Blows, a 2013 remake of 2002 Japanese drama Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu ("I Don't Need Love, Summer"). She played a blind heiress in the melodrama, opposite a con man pretending to be her long-lost brother (played by Jo In-sung). That Winter, the Wind Blows placed number one in its timeslot during most of its run, and Song and Jo were praised for their performances. Song won the Daesang (or "Grand Prize"), the highest award for television, at the 2nd APAN Star Awards.
In 2014, Song reunited with Kang Dong-won in My Brilliant Life, E J-yong's film adaptation of Kim Aeran's bestselling novel My Palpitating Life about a couple who watched their son suffering from progeria grow prematurely old.
Romantic epic The Crossing was Song's second Chinese film to be released and was directed by John Woo (Woo's longtime friend and producer Terence Chang has been managing Song's overseas activities since 2008). Previously titled 1949 and Love and Let Love, the long-gestating project had originally been announced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, then cancelled in 2009, and revived again in 2011. Woo's recovery from tonsil tumor removal in 2012 led to another delay due to scheduling conflicts among the cast, and Song finally began filming in June 2013. The Crossing is based on the true story of the Taiping steamer collision and follows six characters and their intertwining love stories in Taiwan and Shanghai during the 1930s; Song played the daughter of a wealthy banker.
Another Chinese film followed in 2015, The Queens, a contemporary romantic comedy about three cosmopolitan women – an actress, a PR specialist and a gallery manager – who manipulate friends and put down their enemies as they play the game of love. Also starring Joe Chen and Vivian Wu, it was actress Annie Yi's directorial debut.
In 2016, Song starred in the mega-hit romantic comedy series Descendants of the Sun, an intense drama about an army captain (played by Song Joong-ki)and a surgeon who fall in love while working amidst disaster-torn areas. The drama was incredibly popular with the final episode recording a 38.8% viewership rating nationwide and 41.6% in the capital area according to Nielsen Korea. The drama reestablished Song as a leader of the Hallyu and she topped popularity polls in Asia and was noted for her immense brand recognition in South Korea. Song won Daesang (Grand Prize), the highest award at the 2016 KBS Drama Awards along with her co-star, Song Joong-ki.
- Descendants of the Sun (KBS2, 2016)
- That Winter, the Wind Blows (SBS, 2013)
- The World That They Live In (KBS2, 2008)
- Full House (KBS, 2004)
- Shining Days (SBS, 2004)
- All In (SBS, 2003)
- Guardian Angel (SBS, 2001)
- Hotelier (MBC, 2001)
- Autumn Tale (KBS2, 2000)
- Soonpoong Clinic (SBS, 1998)
- Sweet Bride (SBS, 1999)
- What Do You Think of Me (SBS, 1998)
- White Night 3.98 (SBS, 1998)
- Deadly Eyes (SBS, 1998)
- Parade (SBS, 1998)
- One of a Pair / Partner (SBS, 1998)
- Six Siblings (MBC, 1998)
- First Love (KBS2, 1996)
- Happy Morning (KBS, 1996)
- The Crossing II (2015)
- The Queens (2015)
- My Palpitating Life (2014)
- The Crossing (2014)
- The Grand Master (2013)
- Countdown (2011)
- A Reason to Live (2011)
- Nobody Somebody (2011)
- Camellia Love for Sale (2010)
- Fetish (2008)
- Hwang Jin Yi (2007)
- My Girl and I (2005)
2016 KBS Drama Awards
- Grand Award with Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun)
- Best Couple Award with Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun)
- Best Asia Couple Award with Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun)
2016 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards
- Popularity Award (TV), Actress (Descendants of the Sun)
- iQiyi Global Star Award
2013 SBS Drama Awards
- Best Actress for Miniseries (That Winter, The Wind Blows)
- Top Ten Stars Award (That Winter, The Wind Blows)
2013 2nd Daejeon Drama Festival
- APAN Star Awards
- Grand Prize/Daesang (That Winter, The Wind Blows)
2008 KBS Drama Awards
- Best Couple with Hyun Bin in The World That They Live In
2007 6th Korean Film Awards
- New Best Actress for "Hwang Jin Yi"
2004 KBS Drama Awards
- Excellence Award for Full House
- Best Couple with Bi
- Popularity Award
2003 SBS Drama Awards
- Best Actress for All In
- Top 10 Memorable Actors
2001 CE TV Awards
- Asia Teens-Entertainer World Song Awards and Best Korean Star
2001 37th Baeksang Art Awards
- Popularity Award for TV part
2000 KBS Drama Awards
1998 SBS TV Awards
- Best Newcomer Award for Soonpoong Clinic
1996 Model Talent Management Contest
- First Prize