South Korean star Kim So Hyun chooses homeschooling to make time for acting

Actress Kim So Hyun has been acting since she was seven.
Actress Kim So Hyun has been acting since she was seven.PHOTO: VIU

Juggling acting and school since the age of seven has taken its toll on South Korean teen actress Kim So Hyun, 17.

She barely had time to study in middle school and sat examinations unprepared. She missed out on school activities with friends.

Resolute about not giving up either acting or academic pursuits, Kim found a solution last year. She chose to be home-schooled, instead of enrolling in high school.

Explaining her choice, she says in an e-mail interview with The Straits Times: "My ambition in acting has grown bigger and I don't think I can give up the roles that I've been given. Yet, I was unable to pursue my studies like others. This way, I will be able to have time to study well and to film.

"I will even have time to watch movies and read books, which I was unable to do before. I discussed the issue with my mother and she gave me full autonomy. I made the decision, so that I will have no regrets in future."

Spending the last decade working alongside adults has rubbed off on the teen, turning her into a precocious lass who sounds mature beyond her years.

Well aware of the sacrifices that come with the job, she reveals that she "got injured and scarred" during the process of honing her craft and feeling her way around the film set.

"Those incidents have become valuable life lessons for me and I think I'll be able to smile at my scars later in life," says Kim, who grew up in the industry with friends and fellow teen actors Kim Yoo Jung, 17, and Yeo Jin Goo, 19.

Learning from the school of hard knocks early in life, she also treasures the advice "not found in books" offered by her seniors on set.

What keeps her hooked on acting, she says, is the chance to experience "a variety of different lives", adding: "There's the charm of getting viewers to feel my emotions through acting."

The versatile actress has tried her hand at both villainous and goody-two-shoes roles. She made audiences livid when she played a jealous princess scheming to win the prince's love in hit fantasy period drama Moon Embracing The Sun (2012).

In recent supernatural romance Bring It On, Ghost (2016), she endeared herself to audiences as a lively schoolgirl, albeit a dead one. Her ghost character was entangled in a love-hate relationship with a suave exorcist, played by actor Ok Taecyeon, 27.

Dapper Ok of boy band 2PM is one of many young celebrities that Kim counts as her co-stars and workmates.

She shared a kiss with teen actor Yeo Jin Goo in melodrama Missing You (2013). She also used to host music programme Show! Music Core with boy band members - Block B's Zico and Shinee's Minho.

While she admits to being much envied for working with popular and handsome actors, she says: "I've yet to meet my own idol.

"But when working with these actors, I can understand why fans would idolise these stars."

Perhaps all the make-believe romance on set has sparked Kim's desire to date in real life.

It is clear that she shares the desires of young people when she says: "I want to experience romance like everyone else my age. My ideal type has to be kind and very thoughtful. If he's someone I can learn a lot from, it would be great."

•Catch actress Kim So Hyun in dramas such as Bring It On, Ghost and Moon Embracing The Sun on South Korean entertainment streaming platform Viu. Viu is available on and the Viu app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2016, with the headline 'Home-schooling for South Korean teen actress'. Subscribe