As actress Han So Hee draws attention in the new webtoon-based drama Nevertheless on JTBC and Netflix, her pre-debut photos are resurfacing on social media—and her edgy aesthetic going viral. Here’s what she had to say about the pictures when they came to light.
In many of her K-Dramas, Han So Hee has taken on a pure and proper image. In real life, however, her style before she debuted was completely different.
Photos from her old blog and Instagram account show pre-debut Han Soo Hee with a dark, edgy, and sexy aesthetic most never expected from her.
In some of the photos, she can even be seen smoking cigarettes.
While in others, she sports tattoos across her arms.
One fan uploaded Han So Hee’s pre-debut photos to Twitter this week, and the post went viral with almost 80,000 likes in just over one day.
pre-debut han so hee !?!!!! im gonna combust pic.twitter.com/y5m35jU2K5
— mc (@mamachaeng) July 5, 2021
Unlike many celebrities, Han So Hee didn’t come from a privileged background. After majoring in the arts, she moved to Seoul at the age of 20 with just ₩300,000 KRW (about $265 USD) to her name. For over a year, she struggled to make ends meet working in a bar every day, not beginning to find fame until she appeared in SHINee‘s “Tell Me What To Do” music video back in 2016.
As such, there’s definitely an element of reality to the now-26-year-old’s gritty past photos. However, given how smoking and tattoos are often perceived in Korean society, it should come as little surprise that these photos got a lot of negative attention when they first came to light. At the time, Han So Hee was still starring in The World of the Married, so all eyes were on her past. “This is just shocking,” said one netizen, while another remarked, “How can she live seeing those?”
But remarkably, Han So Hee wasn’t fazed at all—which only makes her cooler in the eyes of many. “I don’t have any thoughts about it,” the actress told the media when they questioned her about her feelings on the controversy. “I’m me back then,” she stated, “And I’m me now too.”
Han So Hee went on to say that the thoughts and ideas she had in the past aren’t that different from those she has now. In fact, she finds it funny to call that “the past” at all—”The photos are only from three to four years ago,” she revealed. Han So Hee’s friend also spoke up at the time, stating, “It’s just sexist and discrimination to think that [smoking and tattoos] can be okay for male actors, but there is an issue when a female actress does it.”
As you work, don’t you start to develop some restrictions in your normal life? As a result, I think I am now complete in my image.
— Han So Hee
While many condemned her for the photos, the actress knows their opinion isn’t the only one. “My female fans really liked my image back then,” Han So Hee told the press, adding, “I am very grateful for it.”