As actress Han So Hee continues to draw attention in whatever work she does — World of the Married, Nevertheless, My Name, or her feature in Jungkook‘s music video for “Seven” — her pre-debut photos continue to be brought up on social media. Her edgy aesthetic is always a major talking point. Here’s what she had to say about the pictures when they first came to light.
Han So Hee has taken on a variety of roles, from the pure and proper working young adult in Soundtrack to a badass in My Name. In real life, however, her style before she debuted was completely different from what she displayed in her acting.
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, 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-28-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 made 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 was 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 a few 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.”