What do Netflix Korean dramas Squid Game (2021) and All of Us Are Dead (2022) have in common? Besides both being massive hits internationally, they both star actress Lee Yoo-mi. Thanks to the dramas’ success, Lee Yoo-mi’s name and fame have catapulted, with her Instagram followers growing from 40 thousand pre-Squid Game to 7.4 million, as of the time of writing.
Curious about the Korean actress? Ahead, we demystify Lee Yoo-mi with 11 things you might not know.
Although we know her most from her recent roles in Squid Game and All of Us Are Dead, Lee Yoo-mi, 27, actually has over a decade of experience under her belt. She shared in an Esquire Korea interview that her showbiz foray started with a commercial in 2009 when she was just 15 before scoring her first acting credit in the 2010 movie The Yellow Sea.
Despite having 10 years of experience, Lee Yoo-mi only found success recently. In the same Esquire Korea interview, she shared that she has gone for over four to five hundred auditions by her estimate. Looks like Lee Yoo-mi’s hard work and tenacity has paid off, with her skyrocketing popularity. She has also achieved a few Best New Actress nominations and wins.
Besides Squid Game, Lee Yoo-mi also starred in an action-thriller film Hostage: Missing Celebrity in 2021 where she played a shop assistant-turned-hostage Ban So-yeon. To play the role, Lee Yoo-mi reportedly beat a few thousand competing actresses.
She later clinched the Best New Actress win at the 2021 Korean Film Writers Association Awards for her role in Hostage: Missing Celebrity and Young Adult Matters (2021).
While we can’t imagine anyone playing the detestable Lee Na-yeon except Lee Yoo-mi, the actress revealed to Cosmopolitan Korea that she thought she had failed the interview as she forgot many of the lines. Eventually, she found out that she was cast because of her performance in Young Adult Matters.
Lee Yoo-mi’s path to being an actress began with the 2007 film Herb after she was awestruck by the performance of Kang Hye-jung who played a mentally challenged character. She then set out to join an acting academy and the rest is history.
Before the success of Squid Game, Lee Yoo-mi made ends meet by working part-time as a rider for a food delivery service in South Korea named Coupang Eats.
Her appearance and features has been likened to fellow actresses Jeon So-min and Chun Woo-hee as well as singers Minah and the late Sulli, all of which she is grateful to hear as they are beautiful.
The two got close after filming Squid Game together as they are the same age and share similar interests. They have continued their onscreen friendship by staying in touch, and would often get coffee or tteokbokki together. Jung Ho-yeon also revealed that she is thankful for the friendship, stating that Lee Yoo-mi is “a good senior, friend, and colleague”.
In an interview for Cosmopolitan Korea with fellow All of Us Are Dead castmates, Lee Yoo-mi shared that she has three dogs named Flower, Sun and Sprout. Lee Yoo-mi also stated in a 2017 Showbiz Korea interview that she has three cats as well. She even has an Instagram page dedicated to them!
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Lee Yoo-mi said that she has a preference for works like the 2000 American mystery thriller film by Christopher Nolan as they are “stimulating and have twists in their plots”. She also likes bloody and grotesque gore films, and has watched most of them.
Not much has been revealed about the movie yet, except that it’s titled Rain Angel. So give Lee Yoo-mi a follow on social media and keep your eyes peeled on any new information.