[Actor Spotlight] Yoo Inna
This week’s spotlight is on Yoo Inna, whose new rom-com Reach of Sincerity just premiered on tvN. The role is not only her follow-up to the 2016 hit The Lonely Shining Goblin, but famously reunites her with her Goblin co-star Lee Dong-wook.
Born in 1982 in Seongnam, South Korea, Yoo Inna’s story as an actress and entertainer is quite an inspiring one. She started her career as an idol trainee, and though she trained for over a decade in several different agencies, Yoo Inna struggled to debut. It wasn’t until she decided to try acting in 2009 that she finally found her niche. When asked about her career and changing courses after so many years, Yoo Inna had a wonderful quote: “Even a compass, which is supposed to tell you which direction to go, wobbles before it finds its true course. I hope young people aren’t too scared of facing the wobbles along the way, because they’re a natural part of the journey.” After her debut, Yoo Inna also became successful as a DJ, and the host of TV shows like Get it Beauty.
Here are some dramaland moments from Yoo Inna, followed by her full filmography.
Queen In-hyun’s Man (2012)
Sageuk fusion dramas are, to me, either a complete success or complete failure, and Queen In-hyun’s Man was the former. It took the best elements of both stories/eras and made a sandwich that Subway could only dream of. Queen In-hyun’s Man had the great concept of a mysterious talisman that brought Joseon-era scholar Kim Boong-do (played by Ji Hyun-woo) into present-day Seoul. There he met the struggling actress played by Yoo Inna, and it was all drama and intrigue (and romance!) from there on out. This drama was written by Song Jae-jung, famous for her wonderful, complex, and layered plots — but equally famous for ending them in ways that leave the audience a little let down (see: W–Two Worlds and Memories of the Alhambra). If you can unplug the technical side of your brain and instead fall in love with the concept, the time-slip romance, the wonderful chemistry of the leads, and the rich world of this story, Queen In-hyun’s Man is a delight through and through. And there will never be another hero quite like Kim Boong-do.
My Secret Hotel (2014)
Rather than cover The Lonely Shining Goblin here, I thought I would feature the lesser-known My Secret Hotel, which was Yoo Inna’s next role after her turn in the super successful You From Another Star. In My Secret Hotel, Yoo Inna played a wedding planner at a luxury hotel who had to deal with all kinds of chaos on the hotel grounds — dead bodies, ex-husbands, you name it. Sure, the drama lost its steam and was a little confused about what kind of story it wanted to tell, or even what genre it wanted to be. But all in all, I enjoyed this story of a divorced couple forced to interact again, and confront the things that went wrong in their relationship. Nam Goong-min is the second lead here, but I have to say I loved Jin Yi-han so much more as the ex-husband who’s planning marriage number two.
Reach of Sincerity (2019)
I didn’t see Goblin (I know…), but I was just as excited as the rest of dramaland for the reuniting of Reaper and Sunny! I enjoy both actors separately, and the setup in Reach of Sincerity sounded like a lot of fun: Yoo Inna plays our scandal-ridden Hallyu actress who is forced to give some method acting a go as she gets “real world” experience in a law firm, working for none other than Lee Dong-wook. Well, after watching the premiere episodes, I can safely say that Yoo Inna is golden as the ditzy star famous for her terrible acting. She can’t do so much as forward an incoming phone call, but she sure knows how to charm people with her charisma. The clash of both personalities and worlds is shaping up nicely, and the law firm is full of strong, quirky characters that kind of give off a Let’s Eat feel for me. Here’s hoping the drama plays on the actors’ strengths, and keeps up with the hilarious parodies and meta as the plot starts to unfold.
Yoo Inna’s full filmography:
- High Kick! Through the Roof (2009) [Drama]
Like many others, Yoo Inna got her start debuting on this famous sitcom.
- Secret Garden (2010) [Drama]
Yoo Inna has a supporting role as Ha Ji-won’s BFF and roommate.
- Fair Love (2010) [Film]
Ajussi romance (there, I said it!) with Ahn Sung-ki and Lee Hana.
- Birdie Buddy The Fair Love (2010) [Film]
UEE leads in this drama about a girl that wants to be a professional golfer, and Yoo Inna plays her friend.
- The Greatest Love (2011) [Drama]
One of the few Hong Sisters dramas I haven’t seen yet — this one stars four strong leads: Yoo Inna, Gong Hyo-jin, Cha Seung-won, and Yoon Kye-sang.
- Little Black Dress (2011) [Film]
A story of four friends (played by Yoon Eun-hye, Park Han-byul, Cha Ye-ryun, and Yoo Inna) and their struggles in life and love. Sometimes a LBD can help.
- Queen In-hyun’s Man (2012) [Drama]
Yoo Inna and Ji Hyun-woo are star-crossed lovers in this fusion sageuk (see above).
- Love Fiction (2012) [Film]
A novelist with writer’s block (played by Ha Jung-woo) meets and falls head over heels for Gong Hyo-jin.
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin! (2013) [Drama]
IU plays the eponymous heroine, and her real-life bestie Yoo Inna has a supporting role as her older sister.
- Potato Star 2013QR3 (2013) [Drama/Cameo]
Yoo Inna cameos in this drama starring Ha Yeon-soo and Yeo Jin-gu about a mysterious asteroid hitting Earth.
- You From Another Star (2013) [Drama]
Is frenemy a good word to describe Yoo Inna’s character in the smash hit You From Another Star? Kudos to Yoo Inna for taking on a role where she would be juxtaposed with Jun Ji-hyun, which takes some serious courage in my books.
- My Secret Hotel (2014) [Drama]
The hotel could have had more secrets, but I’ll take the story of a cute divorced couple instead (see above).
- The Secret Message (2015) [Web Drama]
Nice little web drama starring T.O.P. (a.k.a. Choi Seung-hyun) of Big Bang (*fangirl moment*) and Japanese actress Ueno Juri. Other favorites like Yoo Inna and Lee Jae-yoon have small (and awesome) roles here.
- One More Happy Ending (2016) [Drama]
Drama about the members of an early girl group (played by Jang Nara, Yoo Inna, Yoo Da-in, and Yoo In-young) who are now in their thirties and living very different lives.
- The Lonely Shining Goblin (2016) [Drama]
Though recently dethroned in terms of rating records, this drama won’t be dethroned in viewer’s hearts, for sure. Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook played the ill-fated second lead couple and left an armada of “ships” behind them.
- Top Star Yoo Baek (2018) [Drama/Cameo]
Yoo Inna did a voice cameo for this Kim Ji-suk drama about a narcissistic top star. This one is on my marathon list!
- Reach of Sincerity (2019) [Drama]
They had me at the ultra cheesy Descended From the Sun parody, and Yoo Inna’s commercial re-enactments (see above).
- Reach of Sincerity: Episode 1
- Lee Dong-wook and Yoo Inna take the bickering to court in tvN’s Reach of Sincerity
- Yoo Inna and Lee Dong-wook to reunite for Reach of Sincerity
- The Lonely Shining Goblin: Episode 1
- Yoo Inna considers bringing some sunshine to tvN fantasy drama Goblin
- One More Happy Ending: Episode 1
- Yoo Inna offered MBC’s remarriage drama One More Happy Ending
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 1