My face when someone says they don't know Lee Da Hee.
Also, my face when someone confuses Lee Da Hee with Lee Da Hae.
GIF credits: veronicapark
Born on March 15th, Year of the Ox (1985), and making her debut as a model at the age of 17, Lee Da Hee steadily rose the ranks and established an acting repertoire for herself that is unlike any other (you'll see what I mean in a bit) However, success wasn't directly imminent, partly because of the fact that Da Hee's amazing height hindered her from getting roles. In fact, Korean, and the world at large, fully embraced this gem of a person at a point in her career where few would deem it possible.
Da Hee has readily proven herself in not only the acting industry but as a variety show personality too. It was, therefore, surprising — and disappointing — to see that this wonderful human being did not have an Ultra Fan Guide dedicated to her. Hence without hesitation, I jumped on to this opportunity to dedicate this guide (as a late birthday present as of the time this is being written) to Lee Da Hee: an absolute girl crush, and to let more people know about how spectacular she is!
So, without further ado,가자 (Let's Go)!
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Seventeen-year-old Da Hee was a finalist in SBS's Super Elite Model Contest in 2002. As is the norm, she ventured out into acting, playing minor, often completely overlooked roles in various dramas. Getting work was not the problem, making an impact was. Da Hee's roles were forgettable, and she would be nearly always be overshadowed by her peers in the industry. A spectacular model was like a fish out of water in the acting world. The spaghetti just didn't seem to stick to the walls. But Da Hee persisted, and boy did that persistence pay off. Let's have a look at a few of her roles, shall we? The roles mentioned below are the ones I personally deemed worth a mention, so if you wish to check out Da Hee's entire repertoire, click here.
1. The Legend
Da Hee plays the role of palace guard Gakdan. Little else is known about her role, but you can rest assured that this is officially where Lee Da Hee's badassery starts. It will ebb and flow, as you'll see, but this has to be the foundation of it all!
Just look at the adorable little badass we have here! Might I say, how much I love that outfit? Da Hee's beautiful, sharp features perfectly complement her look here. A magnificent raven, here to spread its wings!
2. Birdie Buddy
Two young women from different backgrounds: Mi Soo (Uee), a country bumpkin, and Hae Ryung, a privileged elite with a dark past, train to become the next top professional golfers under the tutelage of John Lee (Lee Young Woo), a dreadlock adorning pro golfer turned golf course tester.
Da Hee, not so surprisingly, plays a role she was born to play. Brooding, quiet, and dignified, Hae Ryung is as competitive as she is fierce. Beautiful, talented and just too perfect for her own good, Hae Ryung gets a lot more than she asked for when an unlikely competitor emerges in the form of Mi Soo, both in her professional and romantic life.
3. Welcome Rain to My Life
Han Dan Bi, a boisterous, rude woman (what a combination right?) raised in a wealthy family, finds her life turning upside down after her father's demise (planned by his own wife, because why not?) As if things couldn't get worse, Dan Bi finds out she's adopted (what a shocker!) and is kicked to the streets by her now stepmother. It's a regular old makjang from here on complete with birth secrets, power struggle, love triangles, and borderline incest? But they're not actually siblings so it's fine? I really wish I had the answer to this, alas the lack of subtitles does not help at all.
Messy 106 episode makjang aside, three guesses who plays Han Dan Bi? That's right, our very own Lee Da Hee, in her first-ever lead role (but don't tell anyone that) shines like sunlight in the rain (get it? Rain = Bi. Okay, I'll stop) and owns the show! She's here to fight, and she's here to stay.
Awkwardness level: Han Dan Bi
1. I Hear Your Voice
Fifteen-year-old Jang Hye Sung witnesses a murder and testifies in court, thereby becoming enemies with a vengeful criminal and the first love of the boy whose life she saves in the process. Years later, Jang Hye Sung (Lee Bo Young) now in her late twenties, is a jaded public defender, who is not very good at her job. Her life changes when she meets high school senior Park Soo Ha (Lee Jong Suk), a charming boy with the ability to read people's thoughts, and who just so happens to be the same boy whose life Hye Sung had saved all those years ago. Dun dun dun!
GIF Credits: Kpopmap
Where does our Da Hee come into this? She plays the role of Seo Do Yeon, a prosecutor, and Hye Sung's rival since her school days. She is also a witness to the murder of Soo Ha's father, but gets cold feet at the last minute and refuses to testify. Born and raised in an influential family, Do Yeon always strives to be the perfect daughter for her parents, disregarding her own interests.
GIF Credits: Kpopmap
Min Hyuk (Ji Sung), a jaded chaebol heir, loses his girlfriend in a hit and run accident. Yoo Jung (Hwang Jung Eum), an innocent and tenacious woman, takes the blame for her boyfriend's involvement in a hit and run incident and goes to prison in his stead. Min Hyuk and Yoo Jung's paths cross, and secrets are revealed.
Lee Da Hee is back as the second female lead y'all. She plays the character of Shin Se Yeon, Min Hyuk's fiancée, who is in a constant state of insecurity due to the existence of his girlfriend and (after her death) Yoo Jung. No stranger to such roles, despite having been typecast, Da Hee still managed to shine and gain steady momentum.
3. Big Man
Kim Ji Hyuk (Kang Ji Hwan), a poor orphan suddenly finds out one day that he is actually super-rich and that everything that has ever happened to him was a conspiracy against him. With this knowledge, he goes against Kang Dong Suk, (Kang Daniel) the current heir of the family he was supposed to lead, and even steals his girl! Wow!
Lee Da Hee plays the girl, or So Mi Ra, to be exact. A chauffeur's daughter, and a hardworking manager, Mi Ra catches Dong Suk's eye after she saves his life. She hates Ji Hyuk to no end, but after multiple encounters with him, she finds herself slowly falling for and even aiding him in his cause. You know, typical makjang tropes. Let's all appreciate Da Hee's promotion to female lead status though. Hip hip hurrah!
Don't drink on a balcony, kids!
GIF Credits: Soompi
CLAIM TO FAME
AKA the absolute best decisions Lee Da Hee ever made.
1. Mrs. Cop
Meet Choi Young Jin (Kim Hee Ae). Street hardened violent crimes detective, sundae lover, a single mom to an adorable daughter, and an overall great person. With her is her Scooby gang of amazing people. Together they fight crime and save the world (AKA Seoul.)
Lee Da Hee plays the character of Min Do Yeong, the adorable and badass (the closest Lee Da Hee ever came to portraying her own self in a drama) maknae of the violent crimes unit. She is smart, resourceful, hardworking, stubborn, and hilarious. Her relationship with all members of her team, in particular her partner and senior Han Jin Woo (Son Ho Jun), is arguably my favourite dynamic of the whole show (and episode 5 the best episode of the whole show), after the entire team that is.
When your superiors love setting you up to fail, you reach a compromise.
GIF Credits: Gfycat
2. The Beauty Inside
A-list actress Han Se Gye (Seo Hyun Jin) is an eccentric woman with a secret. She changes her appearance every month. Sometimes it's a man, a child, a woman of a different race, you never know what you're gonna get. Seo Do Jae (Lee Min Ki) is your regular chaebol with a secret. He has prosopagnosia, which gives him the ability to forget faces (lucky man). Together these two form a hilarious duo with their hi-jinks.
Lee Da Hee plays the role of Kang Sa Ra, Seo Do Jae's competitive step-sister, who wishes to establish a place for herself in the family business. Beautiful yet standoffish, Sa Ra is an admirable character in that she tries to live up to the idea of a strong female character. Her relationship with Ryu Euh Ho (Ahn Jae Hyun), a young priest in training is a very interesting dynamic and honestly the only reason why I finished the drama. They're just too good together.
How to Flirt 101 - feat. a very flexible sheet.
GIF Credits: estelle-sim (Tumblr)
3. Search: WWW
The oh so popular story of three brilliant women slaying in the IT industry, following their trials and tribulations, their triumphs and tragedies, and of course, their love lives.
Oh boy, now where do I start? *Fans self* Scarlett, Scarlett and Scarlett. The one name that was on every single person's mind throughout the duration of this drama's airing (I would know, I was one of those people.) To say that Scarlett is the culmination of the best traits of all of Lee Da Hee's previous roles would not be amiss.
GIF Credits: omonatheydidn't! (Live Journal)
Crime-fighting, butt-kicking, drama loving, fangirling Scarlett is forever my girl crush. Lee Da Hee was born to play this role, and she alone would rule the scene every time she came on screen. Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate a new high for noona romances with Scarlett's relationship with the lovable puppy Seol Ji Hwan (Lee Jae Wook)? They were the best part of the entire drama for many, myself included! Search WWW really skyrocketed Da Hee's career, and I can't wait to see her upcoming projects.
Lee Da Hee: *exists*
GIF Credits: veronicapark (Tumblr)
ROLES IN FILM
Delivering Love (2008) as Na Rae
Harmony (2010) as Kang Na Young
QUEEN OF VARIETY
If there's one thing you absolutely need to see, that's Lee Da Hee in variety shows. With her true fluff-ball of a personality out on display for everyone, Lee Da Hee is an absolute riot! Notable appearances include:
List of Episodes with Appearances
Make her a regular already you cowards!
Enough cute stuff! It's time to get your knuckles cracking!
GIF Credits: Tenor
Brace yourselves, the show for queens lead by a queen is here! Da Hee served as the host for Queendom, alongside Jang Sang Kyu, throughout its run, and will be returning to host the spinoff show Road to Kingdom! (Spoilers in GIFs below!)
Queen supporting Queens!
GIF Credits: daharte (Tumblr)
Soooo Good! *squeals*
GIF Credits: Drama in the Rain (Tumblr)
I dare not add Lee Da Hee's pictorials from her various photoshoots because I don't want to cause people to faint from the sheer perfection. Also, because the woman is a walking photoshoot!
How's it going, beautiful people?
That was the long-overdue Ultra Fan Guide to Lee Da Hee, a wonderful human being and a living example of the fact that queens are made and not born! Have you encountered Lee Da Hee in her various works? What do you think of her? Thank you so much for reading until the end! Until next time! ❤️
Here's a very cute Son Ho Jun to fan you after witnessing all that greatness!
Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor)