Lee Min Ho (SportsKorea)Lee Min Ho is, without doubt, one of the most recognizable Korean celebrities today. The handsome and talented Hallyu star had his biggest break after starring as the iconic Gu Jun Pyo in "Boys Over Flowers," the Korean version of Japan's "Hana Yori Dango" and Taiwan's "Meteor Garden." Since then, Lee Min Ho has made excellent career choices which further strengthened his stature in the competitive and unforgiving world of Korean entertainment. Lee Min Ho's career trajectory offers a good study of what young stars must do in order to remain fresh and on top of their game.
Well-paced Quality Projects
After the worldwide success of his drama "Boys Over Flowers" (2009), Lee Min Ho remained careful and strategic with his project choices. Unlike other young actors who would pounce on any potentially good and financially rewarding drama and/or movie projects, Lee Min Ho resisted the temptation and completed only two dramas, one a year, after "Boys Over Flowers."
"Personal Taste" or "Personal Preference" (2010) was Lee Min Ho's follow-up drama to "Boys Over Flowers" and in this drama, he played against type. The actor deliberately chose a more mature role in the form of "Jeon Jin Ho," an architect who was initially mistaken for a gay man. In this drama, Lee Min Ho proved that he is not only a "swoon-worthy" young man but that he is a "swoon worthy" man period.
His next project, "City Hunter," is one of the most successful dramas of 2011. In "City Hunter," Lee Min Ho showed his action prowess aside from his much lauded dramatic style and comedic timing. "City Hunter" appealed not just to his female fans but Lee Min Ho also gained the attention and respect of the male set.
Studying the variety and pacing of Lee Min Ho's projects, it is clear that he and his team understands that quality comes first. Even if his fans, the Minoz, have to wait long for his dramas, Lee Min Ho never disappoints them. Quality definitely wins over quantity.
Due to his popularity and influence, Lee Min Ho has also become a favorite model and endorser for various high-end brands including Toyota Camry, Lotte, Samsung, Etude House, Dunkin Donuts, Pepsi and Trugen among others. What is most admirable about Lee Min Ho is the fact that whenever he signs a contract, he gives his all for the product. The star even won an award for an endorsement. Lee Min Ho took home the MTN Broadcast Advertisement Festival Most Popular Advertisement Model for his iconic Trugen commercials back in 2009. For Dunkin Donuts, the actor donned an apron and played barista for a day. His latest commercial for Toyota Camry featured a mini-drama titled "The One and Only." With his looks and charisma, Lee Min Ho can turn any product he holds into commercial gold.
Close Fan Relationships
Lee Min Ho is one of those idols who knows how to create a loyal fan community. His fans, called the Minoz, are never at a loss for something new from the star. A visit to his official website is a testament to how much effort he (and his management team) puts in establishing relationship with his fans.
Long before Korean stars started utilizing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Lee Min Ho established official accounts for himself and interacted with fans. He even conducted a live chat on Facebook and regularly posts holiday greetings for his fans. He also holds periodic fan meetings to interact and spend time with the Minoz. Lee Min Ho's ability to sustain a close relationship with the Minoz is probably the reason why there were no significant fan fallouts when news about him dating "City Hunter" co-star Park Min Young broke out. The couple has since broken up.
If Lee Min Ho, currently 24 years old, continues to make excellent career moves as he has been doing, there is no doubt that he is well on his way to becoming one of the top male actors of his generation.
Photo courtesy of SportsKorea
Catherine Deen blogs for Yahoo! Philippines OMG! She lives, eats and breathes Korean music, cuisine, telenovelas, and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter @cathsdeen.