She may not have left the public eye, but after the huge double whammy success of dramas My Love from the Star and Legend of the Blue Sea , Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun all but disappeared from our screens. That was until she was spotted making a cameo appearance in Netflix’s surprisingly underwhelming zombie series, Kingdom . Fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief, however, because the top-paid actress in K-drama is finally back. Yes, after a five-year major role hiatus, Jun is all set to star in next year’s hotly anticipated thriller Cliffhanger. So as the nation’s sweetheart turns a year older, 39 on October 30, STYLE looks back at her life before the fame and the career milestones that define her ascent to the top. Jun Ji-hyun vs Song Hye-kyo: who’s the K-drama queen? Before she became Korea’s top-paid actress, Jun was already quite the teen heartthrob Jun’s natural good looks prompted friends to suggest a career in modelling and acting, but her teenage dream was in fact to become a flight attendant. Nevertheless, while she was still in school, she was scouted by an agency and did in fact become a model. In 1997, she got her first break modelling for Ecole magazine. In 1999, she starred in a Samsung Myjet printer commercial, which had her dancing around in a carefree fashion, garbed in an outfit so chic it made her a teen icon at the time. What was K-drama’s Start-up star Bae Suzy like before the fame? After starring in 2001 mega-hit My Sassy Girl , Jun became everyone’s girl crush thanks to her feisty yet cute character Romcom My Sassy Girl wasn’t just a huge hit in Korea – where it became the most successful comedy ever released – but was also a blockbuster in Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, earning comparisons to Titanic and firing the international Korean Wave breakthrough to come. “My role in the film My Sassy Girl is a far cry from my real personality”, the actress told an interviewer on China Central Television (CCTV). “I don’t know how I managed to become so rude during shooting … even (co-star) Cha Tae-hyun was shocked.” Song Hye-kyo is a legend of the Korean screen, here’s why Jun can claim several fashion firsts View this post on Instagram A post shared by 전지현 - JUN JI HYUN (@junjihyun.official) on Jun 12, 2020 at 12:38am PDT Jun has the honour of being the first-ever Korean actress to be featured in American Vogue, and was recently named the first Korean ambassador of a British luxury brand, Alexander McQueen. During her 2011 Vogue shoot, Jun wasn’t photographed by just anyone, but by photographer to the stars Annie Leibovitz. The article was promoting her Hollywood movie Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. 7 best-paid K-drama actresses – and the luxury brands they earn from She’s a “sell-out queen” Whatever items feature in Jun Ji-hyun’s dramas – from chicken to beer to lipsticks – innevtiably become a trend in Korea . In 2014, while My Love From The Stars was still on television, a rumour circulated online claiming that the lipstick she wore in one episode was YSL Rouge Pur Couture in shade No. 52, Rosy Coral. Despite this not being the case, it quickly sold out in Korea and even in other countries across the globe. According to soompi.com, one duty free shopper at Melbourne airport attempted to buy 52 tubes in one go. The LED mask that our favourite Korean stars swear by – does it work? She maintains a healthy work-life balance View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jun Ji Hyun HK (@junjihyun__gallery) on May 18, 2020 at 6:41pm PDT Jun is known for her strict self-discipline and seems to take her health seriously. She has said she wakes up at 6am everyday to workout. In 2012, Jun wed her long-time friend, Choi Joon-hyuk, a banker and son of a hanbok designer. Jun was in fact pregnant with their first child while filming her 2015 film, Assassination. She gave birth to their first son after My Love from the Star , and their second son was born after she filmed Legends of the Blue Sea . Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .