Five drama recommendations… that’ll give you a girl crush
by DB Staff
Dramaland is full of heroines to love. Whether we admire their can-do attitude, their emotional intelligence, or their insight, fight, or fashion, it’s hard to leave a drama without learning something from the heroine’s story. Or, you know, leaving with a girl crush that you might never recover from. Here are some of our favorites.
You From Another Star (2013)
Cheon Song-yi (Jeon Ji-hyun) may be as dim as a battery-powered tea light, but I admire her spunk and her ability to plow through awkward situations with her — often unfounded — confidence. She’s the very definition of “fake it until you make it,” and she’s definitely made a name for herself as an actress, even if it isn’t always a positive one. But what the public doesn’t see is the side of her that makes her one of my girl crushes.
Behind closed doors, she’s lonely and deeply affected by the netizens’ harsh words, but even her method of self-therapy — singing loudly and obnoxiously to keep from breaking down in tears — reveals an inner strength that I respect. Rather than cave to her manager’s suggestions that she stop posting on social media in order to cultivate an air of mystery — and stop revealing that her book smarts is limited to the introductory chapter of a textbook — she remains unapologetically true to herself. Far too many people cave to society’s pressures, and while I can’t say that Song-yi is completely immune to them, she hasn’t let her success — or failures — turn her into someone that is unlovable or unapproachable. She’s adorably flawed, and it’s no wonder she wormed her way into Min-joon (Kim Soo-hyun)’s heart. –@daebakgrits
Mr. Sunshine (2018)
There’s a lot to love about Mr. Sunshine’s Go Ae-shin (Kim Tae-ri). She’s brave, passionate, smart, and if she sets her mind to something, you can rest assured she’ll see it through to the end of her abilities. Rather than take the safe life roadmap planned out for her, she insists on fighting for freedom and the lives of her people, and she manages to pull off a double life with grace, confidence, and wit. Her strength and courage earn her the love and respect of most who meet her, and certainly one of the most moving moments is watching her small community rally to shield her from harm at a time when she’s the one who’s vulnerable.
But personally, what I love most about her is her curiosity. Ae-shin wants to learn everything, and to be able to apply that knowledge to her greatest advantage. The exact moment I fell in love with her was actually a tiny exchange when she tried to bluff past not understanding an English word to avoid appearing ignorant, painfully (to us) unaware of just how obvious it was. Something about that moment touched me in a deeply relatable way and made me want to see her to succeed in conquering all the mysteries the world has to offer. –@mistyisles
Crash Landing on You (2019)
A successful self-made business woman, Yoon Se-ri has it all, but you can’t hate her for her lavish lifestyle because she earned every bit of it, having branched out from her wealthy family and built her own empire from the ground up. She’s smart, resourceful, and a go-getter, so when she finds herself crash landing in North Korea, it’s no wonder that she’s able to roll with the punches and survive the harsh world she’s dropped into. Yes, she had a lot of help from the handsome Jung-hyuk (Hyun Bin), but charming a North Korean soldier into aiding her is no small feat either!
She has an exceptionally high emotional IQ and is able to read people, but rather than use that to her advantage and manipulate them, she chooses to win them over to her side and gain their loyalty, which makes them want to help her. But she doesn’t just charm the handsome soldier who is totally “her type.” No, she successfully woos a whole town and Jung-hyuk’s sour-faced father. And back home, even though she has a reputation for being a workaholic and making her employees work long hours, she has loyal subordinates who care enough about her to go the extra mile and try to locate her after she goes missing. Se-ri’s the kind of woman you crush on because she’s so stinkin’ likable and because you aspire to be her. –@daebakgrits
Nobody Knows (2020)
At first glance, Cha Young-jin (Kim Seo-hyung) of Nobody Knows might seem unapproachable, closed-off, and cold. But, as an introvert who grew up really frustrated watching introverted characters magically shed their introverted traits as “character development,” Cha Young-jin is the female lead I have subconsciously wanted to be almost my entire life.
She’s strong without being callous or unemotional. She’s independent, but cares deeply for the people around her and relies on them when she needs to. Despite the trauma she carries, she’s secure enough in herself that she can also be a support and shelter for others – to the point that she unintentionally “collects” a whole crew of friends and allies, because she’s able to connect with people who aren’t necessarily willing to open up to anyone else. (And I’d be remiss not to mention her touching, familial-type relationship with the downstairs neighbor boy, Eun-ho (Ahn Ji-ho), which is as compelling as any actual familial relationship!) –@mistyisles
My Name (2021)
I’m a sucker for a heroine that has some fight in her, and Netflix’s action-revenge drama My Name takes that to the nines. Yoon Ji-woo (Han So-hee) is a young girl whose life is turned upside down when her gangster father is murdered. She sets out on revenge, and it changes the course of her life — but this isn’t the petty revenge of a glass of water in the face. Instead, it’s the kind that sees Ji-woo working for a mob boss, infiltrating the police, and meeting all kinds of emotional, mental, and physical conflict.
The drama is as dark and rough as expected, but there was something about the character of Yoon Ji-woo and her fearless and almost brutal determination that really resonated with me. Early on in the drama, we see Ji-woo living and training in a gangster’s den. She’s surrounded by the roughest and toughest and strongest fighters around, and somehow this scrawny orphaned teen is able to best them all. Believable or not, the scene where she slowly beats each fighter to a pulp and wins as the top fighter was just too satisfying for words, because it was less about her physical strength, and more about her incredible mental strength. Ji-woo’s discipline, determination, and endurance are definitely crush-worthy traits, and ones that inspired me as I watched. –@missvictrix
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