[Actor Spotlight] Moon Ga-young
It’s time to welcome Moon Ga-young to the spotlight. Currently starring in JTBC’s Woohoo Waikiki 2, Moon Ga-young is not as well-known as she deserves, but is definitely no stranger to the world of acting.
Born in Germany in 1996, Moon Ga-young moved with her family back to South Korea at the age of ten — around the same time she debuted as a child actress. Moon Ga-young had a rather successful career as a child actress, and slowly began to transition to adult roles. In 2014, she played opposite Changmin of TVXQ in the short MNET drama Mimi. The web drama EXO Next Door followed, and after that, Moon Ga-young was well on her way to primetime dramas.
Moon Ga-young seems an incredibly versatile actress. Based on her roles thus far, she’s had a wide range of characters, from the innocent and rather bumbling girl next door, to the femme fatale role in The Great Seducer that won her a KBS Top Excellence Award in 2018.
Here are some dramaland moments from Moon Ga-young, followed by her full filmography.
EXO Next Door (2015)
Let me start off by saying yes, I actually watched EXO Next Door. This web drama was by no means good, but it wasn’t exactly unwatchable, either. This was also the first time I saw Moon Ga-young on the screen. At the time I wrongly assumed she was a carefully-selected newbie actor. After all, the role of the girl that gets to be the neighbor of/housekeeper for EXO was as coveted as it was risky. Moon Ga-young was actually quite sweet, bumbling, and likable in this role. Though the role mostly consisted of her reacting to the EXO members’ mischief, teasing, romantic advances, and everyday heroics, she did it well. My favorite thing about this web drama was not the singing, smirking, winking, moping, grumbling, and looking fetching on EXO’s part, but those hot pink cheeks of Moon Ga-young’s heroine. Embarrassment is a powerful emotion that’s easy to feel second-hand, and that untamable and silly CGI blush of hers just made my day.
The Great Seducer (2017)
Why did I tune in to The Great Seducer? Woo Do-hwan. Why did I force myself to stay tuned through this pretty lousy drama? Woo Do-hwan. The drama was supposed to be a remake of Dangerous Liaisons, which I haven’t seen, but am familiar enough with the plot to know that it would never work in a K-drama format. Dramaland is such a dear, conservative place that things like seduction are mostly portrayed through saying something is a seduction, not actually showing us, or acting it out. This drama and its cast of characters didn’t really pull off the “danger” in dangerous. Instead, we got a wackadoo tale of chaebol kiddies whose self-images and notions around love were completely skewed due to their rather terrible parents. Moon Ga-young played one such chaebol heiress, and even if the drama was a mess, her performance was great. She went all in as this languorous, depressive young woman who belonged more in an Edith Wharton novel than 21st century Seoul. Gorgeous, sophisticated, and capable of very mean things, Moon Ga-young’s character was half antagonist, and half protagonist, which is a push and pull I rather enjoyed.
Woohoo Waikiki 2 (2019)
The popular youth drama Woohoo Waikiki got so much love, it’s back for Season 2. I somehow missed the original Waikiki bandwagon, though I’m not sure why, since I think Kim Jung-hyun is genius, and I have serious FOMO from not watching it. Now that Season 2 is well underway, my curiosity continues. Multiple seasons in dramaland are rare and tend to have less character and storyline continuation than the seasons of TV we are used to in the U.S. — and that’s just what we find in Season 2 of Woohoo Waikiki. The plot is still about the struggling Waikiki Guesthouse and all the crazy that happens, but much of the cast is different. Instead we get to meet new characters, one of whom is played by Moon Ga-young. Her character is the first love of not one, not two, but three of our Waikiki characters.
Moon Ga-young’s full filmography:
- Fallen Angel, Jenny (2006) [Drama]
Moon Ga-young made her debut this MNET drama.
- Teacher’s Mercy (2006) [Film]
The mass murder horror movie where Moon Ga-young made her film debut. Honestly, I wonder about casting ten-year-olds in horror movies, but maybe that’s just me.
- Cloudy Today (2007) [Drama]
Another bit part for the child actress.
- Prince Hours (2007) [Drama]
Also known as Goong S, this drama was a spin-off of the popular Goong, and starred Seven, Park Shin-hye, and more. Moon Ga-young had a supporting role.
- By My Side (2007) [Drama]
Your daily dose of family melo. Moon Ga-young played the younger version of Lee Yoon-ji’s heroine.
- Bunt (2007) [Film]
Underdog father/son movie that starred Jung Jin-young and Choi Woo-hyuk.
- Black House (2007) [Film]
Moon Ga-young did some voice acting in this horror film about insurance policies, and a murder investigation.
- Shadows in the Palace (2007) [Film]
Joseon mystery thriller film that starred Park Jin-hee. Moon Ga-young had a small role here.
- Our Town (2007) [Film]
Another horror film, another small role for the young Moon Ga-young.
- Witch Amusement (2007) [Drama]
Well-performing drama that starred Han Ga-in as the witch-like heroine. Moon Ga-young had small role here.
- Merry Mary [Drama]
Lee Hana and Ji Hyun-woo led this feel-good rom-com, and Moon Ga-young played the young version of the heroine.
- Hometown Over the Hill (2007) [Drama]
A look at the lives of the people of South Korea’s rural farming villages.
- The Sweet Life (2008) [Drama]
Noir melodrama that starred Lee Dong-wook, Oh Yeon-soo, Park Shi-yeon, and the expected amount of love, murder, revenge, lies, mystery, and other entanglements. Moon Ga-young had a supporting role.
- Do You See Seoul? (2008) [Film]
A group of school kids (Yoo Seung-ho, Moon Ga-young, and more) went on a field trip and got lost.
- Ja Myung Go (2009) [Drama]
Jung Ryeo-won and Park Min-young starred in this historical drama based on Korean folklore. Moon Ga-young plays the younger version of one of the supporting cast.
- Friend, Our Legend (2009) [Drama]
This drama told the story of a group of friends coming of age on the streets of Busan, and starred Hyun Bin, Kim Min-joon, and more. Again, Moon Ga-young plays the younger version of the leading cast.
- Reputable Family (2010) [Drama]
Moon Ga-young played the young version of Han Go-eun’s heroine in this sageuk weekend drama.
- Bad Guy (2010) [Drama]
Melodrama that starred Kim Nam-gil, Han Ga-in, Kim Jae-wook, Oh Yeon-soo, and more. Moon Ga-young played the younger version of Oh Yeon-soo’s character.
- You’ve Fallen For Me (2011) [Drama]
Sweet musical drama that starred CNBLUE’s Jung Yong-hwa and Park Shin-hye — Moon Ga-young played Jung Yong-hwa’s younger sister. (Also known as Heartstrings.)
- Who Are You? (2013) [Drama/Guest Appearance]
Ghostly detective drama that starred Taecyeon and So Yi-hyun; Moon Ga-young appeared in the first two episodes.
- Killer Toon (2013) [Film]
Psychological horror film where Lee Shi-young played a cartoonist/murder suspect after a series of murders mimic a popular webtoon.
- King’s Family (2013) [Drama]
Weekend family/rom-com drama about the Wang family and their ups and downs. Moon Ga-young played one of many daughters.
- Mimi (2014) [Drama]
Four episodes of Changmin and Moon Ga-young complete with webtoon authoring, memory loss, and fated connections.
- EXO Next Door (2015) [Web Drama]
Moon Ga-young played the heroine who not only lives next door to EXO, but wound up as their defacto housekeeper. Sounds like fanfic come to life, to me (see above)!
- Master of Trade—Inn 2015 (2015) [Drama]
Jang Hyuk played the powerful merchant in this historical drama, and Moon Ga-young had a supporting role.
- Delicious Love (2015) [Web Drama]
Gongchan of B1A4 starred in this web drama as the flawless chef who falls head over heels. Moon Ga-young has sure worked with a lot of idols!
- Jang-soo’s Store (2015) [Film]
Neighborhood rom-com that starred Park Geun-hyung and Yoon Yeo-jung as the elderly couple that the town helped bring together.
- Island (2015) [Film]
Mystery thriller film about a man (Oh Ji-ho) who returned to Jeju and discovered hidden secrets, one of them presumably around the “sad and mysterious” character played by Moon Ga-young.
- Mirror of the Witch (2016) [Drama]
Moon Ga-young had a side role in this fantasy sageuk led by Yoon Shi-yoon and Kim Sae-ron.
- Jealousy Incarnate (2016) [Drama]
I regret missing this buzz-worthy drama. It starred Gong Hyo-jin, Jo Jung-suk, and Go Kyung-pyo, among others, and Moon Ga-young had a supporting role.
- Cutter (2016) [Film]
Gritty indie teen film that starred Choi Tae-joon, Kim Shi-hoo and Moon Ga-young.
- Twenty Again (2016) [Film]
Not to be confused with the drama of the same name, this art film starred Kim Seung-woo and Lee Tae-ran as lovers that reunited later in life.
- Live Up to Your Name (2017) [Drama]
Kim Nam-gil and Kim Ah-joong starred in this timeslip medical drama, and Moon Ga-young supported.
- Waltzing Alone (2017) [Drama]
One-episode drama special that starred Moon Ga-young and Yeo Hoi-hyeon in a story of a boyfriend and girlfriend that compete for the same job.
- The Great Seducer (2017) [Drama]
Sexy for about a minute, and ridiculous for the rest (see above).
- Woohoo Waikiki 2 (2019) [Drama]
Waikiki is back, and this time Moon Ga-young joins the fray (see above).