Meet North Korea's
most famous female

These North Korean actresses and musicians are the nation's favourites

“Men from the South, Women from the North (남남북녀)”

This is a famous saying in Korea, meaning that men from the south are handsome and women from the north are beautiful. The saying pre-dates division. Does this Korean saying hold true today?

While no southern part of the country is known as the birthplace of beautiful Korean women, many northern places are traditionally associated with beautiful women, for instance: 'Kanggye beauties' (강계미인 | 江界美人)·, 'Hoeryong beauties' (회령미인 | 會寧美人), and 'Hamhung beauties' (함흥미인 | 咸興美人).

In Pyongyang today, there are many women named Pyong Mi (평미 |平美), which is an abbreviation for 'Pyongyang Beauty' (평양미인 | 平壤美人).

North Korea has plenty of celebrities whose looks are admired as much as their talents. Тhеrе аrе а numbеr оf North Korean actresses who have won the hearts оf the audience, with their beauty, acting skills and artistic talent.

Here are some of the most beautiful and talented North Korean women.

1. O Mi Ran

O Mi Ran was born in Pyongyang in 1954. She began her career as a dancer with the Pyongyang Art Troupe, then switched to acting in 1979. She made her debut in the movie Fireworks (1980) . Subsequently, Mi Ran proved her acting skills to her fans in films like The Nation and Destiny, The Broad Bellflower, Morning Star, A Life Full of Ups and Downs and Their Life Continues.

In 1987, she shot to stardom for her performance in the award-winning North Korean film The Broad Bellflower, which won her the Best Korean Actress in the inter-Korean film festival (New York) in October 1990. A book published in North Korea at the time described her as “a comrade who kindly guides the audience to the film world by her elegant and delicate expression, clear voice, and passion.”

When she was diagnosed with cancer, she was sent to the finest hospitals in Pyongyang. Many fans were devastated after her death in 2006. She was buried in the Patriotic Martyrs’ Cemetery along with many veterans of the Korean independence movement.

2. Hong Yong Hui

Hong Yong Hui is an actress who is commonly regarded as one of the best North Korean actresses of all time. She was born in Kaesong, Hwanghae North Province in 1955. In 1972, at age of 17, she made her debut in the famous movie The Flower Girl, which earned her the title of 'Merited Artists' (1972) and at the same time, made her a national star.

Since then, she has featured in many other North Korean movies as a protagonist, such as We Met Again on Mt. Myohyang and Silver Harpin. She obtained the title of 'People’s actress' in 1980 and has won several medals including the 'First Class of the National Flag'.

She is the one of the most influential actresses in the North Korean film industry, and considered to be one of North Korea’s most beautiful women.

3. Kim Ryon Hwa

Kim Ryon Hwa was born in Pyongyang in 1973. After graduating, she ventured into acting and played various roles in movies like: We Live Here and Trunks Grow From Roots. One of her most famous roles was her portrayal of a highly trained spy in the series Red Balsam.

4. So Un Hyang

So Un Hyang is known as the most beautiful North Korean woman of the 21st century. She is a vocal trainer at the Pyongyang Music University and often participates in musical performances.

5. Jang Son Hui

Jang Son Hui was born in 1964 in Pyongyang. Son Hui worked as stewardess after her graduation. After embarking on an acting career, in May 1983, she starred in Love, Love, My Love (1984), a North Korean version of Romeo and Juliet.

She went on to be lauded for her range in playing diverse roles. She starred as a teacher in the 1989 art film Poet Jo Ki Chon. In the 1991 film Nobody Knows she portrayed a heartbroken woman who was waiting for her husband in the front line. In Harang and General Jin, she performed a charismatic army general, which reminded many viewers of the Chinese story of Mulan.

She is also known for playing Japanese roles, such as in The Nation and Destiny. But her most well-known scene is in Rim KKok Jong, where she tries to seduce KKok Jong by singing the now famous karaoke song, 'Do You Know My Heart?'.

6. Sonu Hyang Hui

Sonu Hyang Hui was the first violin and band leader of the famous all-female Moranbong Band.

She was previously was the Samjiyon Band in the Mansudae Art Troupe. Moranbong Band is now the most influential and popular band in North Korea, and also has an overseas fan club.

Read more about North Korean film on our Manse for Chollywood blog.

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