Lee Young-ae Profile
Name: 이영애 (李英爱) / Lee Young Ae
Profession: Actress and model
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Blood type: AB
Star Sign: Aquarius
Family: Two older brothers
Lee Young-ae Biography
Lee Young-Ae (born January 31, 1971 in Seoul) is a South Korean actress who has a fan base in numerous countries, particularly in the East and Southeast Asian countries which have been hit by the Korean Wave. Recently, it expands further into South Asian and Middle East countries.
She first earned the title of 'Oxygen Lady' when she made her debut as TV model in 1991. After the success in TV commercials, she started gaining her stardom in TV dramas and movies with her beauty and acting skills. Her upbringing and career was fully documented in the NHK Documentary show. (see External Link below)
Her popularity has grown in an exponential manner due to her performance in the popular Korean drama Dae Jang Geum. The drama was such a success that several countries had re-runs of the drama shortly after the last episode had ended. In Hong Kong, the last episode had almost half of the Hong Kong population staying at home just to watch it. In China, hundreds of million viewers watched the drama even it was shown at late nights.
Since then, Lee Young-Ae has been invited to visit Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China and Japan. The fan crowds were phenomenal; in the first time in 12 years, NHK had to use NHK Hall to host the show. Her recent trip was the 2007 Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China as an Image Ambassador. Many fans came from around the world and spent hours waiting for her under the temperature of -20 degrees Celsius. She flew in an Asiana airplane with four of her Dae Jang Geum portraits painted on the side of the plane.
Beside her acting career, she has also been involved in several charity events. In 1997 she went to Ethiopia as a NGO Goodwill Ambassador and experienced the poverty and illness of African children. She went to Thar Desert in 1999 doing a TV show of the lowest caste people in India (see 1999 KBS2 Journey to Thar Desert in exterior link below). Later in 2001, she published these experiences in her autobiography “A Most Special Love” (partial English translation can be seen here) and donated all the income from the sale of the book to charity.
She was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2004 by UNICEF and held several charity functions from that time on. She made many donations to schools and hospitals, which include an elementary school in China such that the school was renamed Lee Young-Ae Elementary School and the Chosun First Middle School in Harbin.
From her 2006 autobiography “Young-Ae’s Vow” (partial English translation can be seen here), she talked about how she became an actress. She recalled what made her go into show business was working with Andy Lau in a 1991 chocolate advertisement. In 1995, she made a decision to go to graduate school to learn theory of acting. Since then, she has not changed to challenge various kinds of acting roles, like that in Dae Jang Geum and later a very different role in Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.
She was awarded Best Actress awards in the Blue Dragon Film Awards (青龍映畫賞) in 2005 and Baeksang Art Awards (百想藝術大賞) in 2006 for the film Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. In 2007, she received Medal of Culture Merit for her contribution to Korean Wave from the South Korean government. (See above picture)
Her major contract in 2006 and 2007 is with LG Group, a large South Korean conglomerate. She became the spokesmodel (Pan-Asia) for all LG Electronics' products. In January of 2007, she received a gratitude frame from LG Electronics for her promotion of their products.