Celebrity News
Pretty boys grow into pretty men
by | July 30, 2008 | 50 Comments

Check out the latest photos of uljjang-turned-actor Kim Hye-sung (formerly of family sitcom Unstoppable High Kick, more recently of queer indie flick Boy Meets Boy), currently causing an online stir.

These were posted recently on his cyworld page, the most recent ones uploaded yesterday, to lots of admiration for the pretty kid turned pretty young adult. (Kind of brings to mind the feminine-masculine good looks of Coffee Prince‘s model-actor Kim Jae-wook, doesn’t he?) Once an uljjang, always an uljjang…

50 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. JiHwan

    He still looks like a little boy to me but he’s definitely a cutie. Give him a couple more years and he’ll be a hottie.

  2. javabeans

    Yeah, he still has some of his little-boy looks. But he’s definitely grown up nicely since his young uljjang days, no?

  3. haj

    first pic i thought he was a girl^^

  4. JiHwan

    Indeed dramabeans. Speaking of little boys growing into men, Baek Sung Hyun & Kim Bum are both looking so mature now. My hopes is that they’ll cast these young stars in the new korea hana yori dango rather than idol stars (like hyung joong).

  5. chipz

    he’s too pretty!!!!

  6. hangook_sonya

    wow he lost weight

  7. Rin

    Hmm… how old is he again? & yes he’s definitely a cutie in my book (:
    @JiHWan: I agree with you. I think they need to cast young stars in the upcoming Kversion of Hana Yori Dango cus they’re kinda suppose to be “high schoolers.” So it wouldn’t be that good if they cast already so popular ones cus they kinda already have an “image.”

  8. emmaC

    I’ve never seen him before but I think his gender is very ambigous in the posted pictures. At least Kim Dong-Wook looks like a guy who looks kinda femenine but this guy looks like a girl who looks kinda femenine! (I thought the first picture was of the guy who had a sex change………….I can’t remember her/his name right now……….)

  9. Kobe

    I’ve never really understood why girls are attracted to these ‘feminine’ type of guys. Isn’t it somewhat disturbing that these guys are even ‘prettier’ than some pretty girls? I dunno….maybe I don’t understand because I’m a guy, or perhaps I’m just jealous!

    I kinda liked Kim Hye Sung in Jeni & Juno as the role really suited him well, but these pictures …if I didn’t know who it was I would’ve questioned the gender of said person.

  10. 10 belleza


    “I dunno….maybe I don’t understand because I’m a guy, or perhaps I’m just jealous! ”

    Oh admit it Kobe, you still can’t quit Won Bin! 😉

    @Rin and JiHwan,

    I’d prefer they just move the HanaDan storyline into college, a la Meteor Garden. It makes sense for the Korean version to be primarily an idol vehicle, as it was in its Taiwanese and Japanese incarnations. I just hope they don’t try that. I don’t think making an expensive version of, basically, a banjun drama would be worth the investment domestically or overseas.

  11. 11 JiHwan

    @Belleza. A college environment rather than a high school one sounds fine too. What I was trying to say was that I hope they cast real actors rather than idol singers who have no experience.

  12. 12 newbie

    Yeah, I agree with Kobe. I don’t understand the appeal of the very pretty pretty-boys. I prefer my men to look like men.

    He’s really cute and all, but if you were to put him in a wig, and maybe slap on some makeup, you’d totally confuse him for a girl (you could even without all of that!).

    Oh well. Beauty, eye, and beholder and all that 🙂

  13. 13 it's all good

    Dude looks like a lady!
    @Kobe…The answer to your question.

  14. 14 annie

    Too pretty for a girl.
    Friendly suggestion for this ” guy “. Beef up, build muscle be a macho man is way better if you want to date a girl, no girl will like a boy who looks prettier.
    Right now he’s kind of awkward scary pretty.

  15. 15 betchay

    Aigoo.. very pretty boy!
    I enjoyed his movie “Jeni & Juno”, love the story..
    cute & funny!

  16. 16 belleza

    You know, he kinda looks like a much, much younger Tackey (Hideaki Takizawa.) He’d be a perfect Johnny Boy.

    “Beef up, build muscle be a macho man is way better if you want to date a girl, no girl will like a boy who looks prettier.”

    Depends on the culture, actually. Many of the Johnny juniors in Japan are very androgynous (see cast of Gokusen 3.) And Hyde in his prime is even prettier than Song Hye Kyo . . .

  17. 17 Muffin

    On a personal level, I think the appeal of feminine boys is that a) they are pretty to look at, b) they give the appearance of being sexually non threatening, c) you would assume they are more sensitive and have deeper feelings than the average boy due to probably being picked upon which leads to d) the “awww factor” that makes you want to snuggle and protect them.

    As for feminine men the appeal is that having grown up as a pretty boy they are kinda twisted now and pissed off in general, which is sexually exciting. Strange how that works.

  18. 18 iDAREyou

    lol.. he looks like a lesbian.
    i don’t think he’ll loose the baby/feminine face.

  19. 19 asianromance

    some of these guys are just so pretty! everytime i read a manga where a girl masquerades as a guy-especially in the setting of the entertainment industry- i start wondering if some of these guys are actually girls..

  20. 20 favoree

    Joining the discussion, I can say that ,
    when I started to watch asian dramas and understand a little asian culture I discovered that young boys and very young men can be much more beautiful than girls and young women, just purely esthetically.Their features are kinda more courageusly beautiful.For instance, look at Kim Hye-sung’s nose. While the girls are in most cases just cute and feminine.
    May be because I am a woman, I find young men’s beauty much more powerful than women’s . It is so seldom even among models to see a girl whose beauty makes you just open your mouth and watch . Which in young boys-like 15 to 24- you can find pretty often. Not only asian.
    Personally I find it most attractive when a boy looks really fine and underlines it, wears fancy clothes, jewellry etc.and at the same time shows strong maculine character- not loosing sensitivity , of course.This contrast drives me totally crazy.
    The trend of a more feminine man now in all the countries is due to the fact that women became so much stronger , they do not really need a life long protection, so they can choose a mate purely by feelings and instinctively are attracted to the men who look like they can produce nicer children.
    For me it’s very disgusting to see a macho tyrannic man, severe father type. I just hate it.

    • 20.1 Tra


  21. 21 ....

    I thought he was a she at first! lol… if he wore a long haired wig i’d have thought you were kidding when you said he was a guy! personally I prefer guys who look like guys, but that’s my preference.

  22. 22 gyengao

    Favoree–“This contrast drives me totally crazy.” YES!!! Yes, yes, yes. Normally, the overtly-manly-but-metro is more my type (i.e., Kwon Sang Woo), but only recently have I discovered the sexiness of men who are quite pretty or androgynous in the face yet are still “manly” in other respects, such as having a deep voice or a masculine bearing in general (one example that immediately comes to mind is the character of Chang Hwi from Hong Gil Dong). You totally hit the nail on the head–it’s that *contrast* that makes men like that so captivating.

  23. 23 favoree

    So I am not alone…

  24. 24 cartman

    He is such a cutie! 🙂 lol

  25. 25 Kobe

    @It’s all good

    Interesting article … so women prefer men with softer, feminine features because they’re perceived as less promiscuous? So the attraction to these pretty Asian boys is that they won’t be going around hopping beds eh?

    So whatever happened to the old fashioned needs of a woman wanting protection and security? Ok ok, I admit I still haven’t evolved since the neanderthal times 🙂

    But still, if I was a girl I probably wouldn’t be attracted to these pretty boys, and I can confidently say that as a guy, I am not attracted to muscular women with facial hair who drive tow trucks for a living.

  26. 26 Jo

    OMG. So unnatuarally pretty.
    But incredibly talented!!
    I love him ><

  27. 27 spicy

    2nd pic looks like shin dong wook

  28. 28 belleza


    The subjects of the study were male and female college students. So I think the study more or less says girls prefer cute guys over hooligans. And in turn, guys prefer “hot” over “pretty.” I don’t think physiognomy influences this heavily. How you groom or wear makeup substantially influences your image. If Mike Tyson wore a fringe, even he would . . . uhhh nah. 😉

    I think to some other cultures (esp. Asia and Europe), Americans still has a unsubtle (or even cartoon) demarcation line between supposed masculinity and femninity. Even a “metro” is still viewed suspiciously as indulgent here.


    Among Korean actors, I call it the JISI (i.e. the Jo In Sung Index.) More than surface prettiness, it’s about creating an image of vulnerability, of both emotional and sensual generosity. And applying such expression to things: clothes, hair, manner of being, etc. For example, Jang Geon Seok or TOP are very pretty, but they doesn’t score as high on the JISI because, well, they seems very uncomfortable with being so pretty.

  29. 29 favoree

    Well, I find your observation about JISI very wise (as usual from you).
    Agree also that Jang Geun Suk is uncomfortable with his prettiness- you can see it in how he is managing his image- short hair cut, rock attire.
    What do you think: is it because he happens recently to participate in rather grown-up dramas and movies and finds himself constantly among older-aged people ( so he is trying to adjust himself to them), or can it be the new trend- the return to masculinity? Or is his manager calculated that the niche of flower boys are too tightly occupied, and is looking for new image”product” to sell?
    PS : who is TOP?
    Where did you see muscular women with facial hair driving trucks?

  30. 30 favoree

    Sorry, I accidentally clicked twice

  31. 31 belleza

    “or can it be the new trend- the return to masculinity?”

    I think Korean movie viewing culture (as if Hollywood) still mostly associates Serious Acting with characters belonging to the Alpha Male species. It’s still a rite of passage for once idols and flower boys to “grow up” through taking on roles as police officers, soliders, loonies, and gangsters. After Junki drew positive responses from King and the Clown and VIrgin Snow, he concentrated on getting roles that promoted him as an action hero. Jang Dong Gun had to do Friends. Jo In Sung had to do Dirty Carnival. And, after doing interesting work as a mental patient, Rain HAS to play an assassin and a racer.

    “What do you think: is it because he happens recently to participate in rather grown-up dramas and movies and finds himself constantly among older-aged people”

    That and he’s too young to lead and pace scenes. He drew a lot of positive response opposite with Ha Ji Won, but that had a lot to do with Ji Won pacing him in their scenes together. During HGD, he (like most of the cast) had to lead in scenes against a role beyond his years, and he struggled. However, he was significantly better opposite Kang Ji Hwan, because Ji Hwan would roll with whatever he was doing. The more morose Chang Hwui would be (which JGD interpreted as “gravity”), the more sarcastic and sneering Gil Dong would be. And that was really Ji Hwan, as the most experienced actor among the principals, carefully reacting to JGS’s performance, so that Chang Hwui’s noble authority would seem credible to the audience. The illusion wasn’t as congruent when he was playing opposite the other actors.

    For the new production East of Eden, I’m really excited to see how Park Hae Jin pans out in his first big drama role. He has a similar vibe to Hyun Bin in his sensitivity, though without the pride, without the self absorption.

  32. 32 Kobe


    I first started reading your posts over at d-addicts like a year ago and I’m still amazed at your knowledge regarding ….well, everything really. I mean you even know what’s going down with the LA Lakers! Very insightful responses once again.


    It was just an exaggeration to emphasize my point, but I have seen one in real life before whilst driving through the country here in Australia. True story.

  33. 33 favoree

    I’ve got no words, bellleza,you really sense this industry. ( I wonder if you are an insider).
    As for Jang Geun Suk- Kang Ji Hwan duet in HGD- could not be more accurate shot! Bravo.I was waiting for the scenes where they are together.
    But still JGS was pretty good in HGD when interpreting his suffering from unfortunate love- I think he did it best in all his roles- Doremifasolatido,Hwang Jin Yi. Also he managed well in showing the loneliness of the prince. And that without KJH.

  34. 34 lheia...

    i know his cyworld.. but he doesnt have much photos?

  35. 35 lheia...

    lol… I’m one of those who love this said feminine boy.

  36. 36 Anonymous

    I like hew’s that look like sxhe’s

  37. 37 Anonymous

    Sorry mispelled!
    I like he’s that look llike she’s !!!!!

  38. 38 adam

    A beautiful Boy is enourmous power alot of doors open up. alot of people love to see u in sight. women and men fall in love . and theres plenty of jealous boys but they are probably fighting within the fact that they are attracted to the beautiful boy.
    I am a pretty boy and my experiences in life have been a blessing .

  39. 39 Gab

    Wow! Asians seem to age slower than we do. =(

  40. 40 Gab

    On a related note, the other day, I saw this cute Singaporean (chinese) girl, I was so shocked when I realised that she’s actually 28. She looked 18!

  41. 41 Joe

    True.. Asians look so much younger than they are.. I met a 30 yr old woman whom I thought was 20 (I was gonna flirt with her).. In fact, she already had two kids.

  42. 42 Kelly

    I wonder if it’s all about their diet.. I mean, they eat really organic stuffs . . I guess those foods they eat do wonders for their looks. IDK.

  43. 43 0403

    oh so pretty ^^

  44. 44 saki

    It depends on what woman you’re comparing him to. Olivia Hussey was a very beautiful girl when she was young. Much more beautiful than this guy:




    There are a lot of women or girls who are much better looking than pretty boys.

  45. 45 Fafa


  46. 46 jujo

    wahhhhhh…so cute n sooooo pretty!!!

  47. 47 sahar

    oh god,he’s to cute

  48. 48 Paul Roth

    This little darling really turns me on. He’s lovely,
    and belongs in my arms. And I belong in him.

  49. 49 crystal

    I think I have a sixth sense for young promising actors the moment I lay eyes on them, lol.

    Anyway, he’s not really my type, lookswise. Because he’s just too pretty and almost feminine looking.xD
    But strangely, when I saw him first in Kingdom of the winds, he totally caught my attention and I had the feeling that he’s not just a pretty face but quite serious about his acting. Now, reading up some interviews of him, he has got my firm attention. Also, many of his recent projects are quite daring and diverse. He’s carefully choosing roles and isn’t afraid of branching out instead of playing safe.

    Looking forward to his future projects.

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