With the influx of idol actors, the competition for roles in the drama industry has become even fiercer for those without big names and star power. Even actors relatively known to the public have been stuck in side roles with no chance at playing lead characters.
Furthermore, some actors and actresses, who’ve shined in their lead roles in cable dramas, have not been able to transition laterally in network dramas. It’s a shame as many are truly talented.
In particular, actresses seem to have a worse deal in comparison to actors, as the number of roles available to women are far less than those of their male counterparts. Here are three actresses that I believe need more screen time and weightage.
Having appeared in several successful dramas — High Kick 2, Secret Garden, Greatest Love — Yoo In-na’s first big break came when she starred in tvN’s Queen In-hyun’s Man, as the lovable Choi Hee-jin. Viewers enjoyed her bubbly persona and endearing on-screen kisses with Ji Hyun-Woo.
The romantic and down-to-earth Choi Hee-jin in Queen In-hyun’s Man was a delight to watch, and it was this drama that first drew me to Yoo. However, with subsequent roles in You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin and You Who Came From the Stars, she’s shown more range as the free-spirited Lee Yoo-shin and the pitiful Yoo See-mi, respectively.
Based on her past performances, Yoo may not be the best fit for a lead role in a melodramatic revenge thriller. She’s however convinced and captivated audiences with her natural charm, which makes her a perfect choice for main roles in other light-hearted, romantic fare. It’s been two years since she’s played a lead character, and it’s time she was given another opportunity!
Contrary to her extensive credit list — which dates back to 2003 — Lee Yoon-ji may appear to be less well-known than Yoo In-na. With her drama appearances, Lee has also picked up a number of accolades that include: KBS Drama Awards’ Best New Actress (for Pure 19, 2006); KBS Drama Awards’ Excellence Award (for Dream High, 2011); and most recently, MBC Drama Awards’ Excellence Award (for The King 2 Hearts, 2012).
Despite the recognition, Lee hasn’t been in a lead role since 2007. It must be mentioned that she has been a part of the main cast in dramas like Sea of Sisters and King’s Family, but there has never been a drama centered around her alone and that is a shame.
Lee has shown tremendous range throughout her career, and she could do well in a number of genres — something many actors and actresses struggle with. It doesn’t hurt that she also sings beautifully!
Much like Yoo In-na, Kim Ji-won got her drama start in the High Kick franchise. She then starred in the wonderfully underrated cable drama What’s Up? as Park Tae-yi, a naive dreamer who captivated with her singing abilities.
Kim has also demonstrated a range of emotions from her innocent Park Tae-yi to the callous and cold Rachel in Heirs. Currently, she plays the role of Ma Ji-woo, a cheery high school student who has a crush on the lead detective in Gap-dong.
The youngest out of the three actresses, Kim has been in the industry for the shortest time, but her talent is evident. Although it seems the least likely that Kim will get a lead role in a network drama any time soon, she’s an actress to keep an eye on, especially if she continues to expand her range of acting.
There are many actresses that deserve leading roles and these are but three of those many. Yoo In-na, Lee Yoon-ji, and Kim Ji-won have all made lasting impressions on me and their talent definitely deserves more recognition. Hopefully, one day, these actresses will become leading ladies!
Which other actresses would you like to see as leading characters?
(Images via Elle, Sure, Ceci)