There are many ways Korean stars can be scouted – from Chae Eun-woo and Bae Suzy being discovered outside a toilet , to the stories of Exo’s Suho and NCT’s Jaemin being plucked from obscurity whilst doing volunteer work. So it’s clearly not always the most obvious routes to fame – typically hopeful auditions followed by years of arduous idol training – that produce the brightest stars. One path to success that’s perhaps among the most tried and tested, however, is when established names shower praise on would-be idols, using their own fame to bring fresh talent to the spotlight. In short: having friends in high places can really pay off when it comes to K-pop and K-drama, it seems. Here are our favourite instances of K-stars “discovering” K-stars. 4 K-drama reunions that drove fans wild Song Joong-ki saw the acting potential in K-model Lee Hye-jung Of all the hit dramas Song Joong-ki has left his mark on, Vincenzo is the one that truly broke on a global scale and set K-drama fans’ hearts aflutter . It just so happens that Song was the one championing Korean model Lee Hye-jung to take a role in the drama too. Fans of the crime romcom series will know her as Jung Do-hee, the director of Ragusang Gallery. Would-be Olympians? 5 Korean stars who trained to be athletes first According to Topstarnews , Lee Hee-joon, who also made a special appearance in Vincenzo, is another close friend of Song Joong-ki’s thanks to the fact that they both starred in the film Bogota , and it was this friendship that saw him get a part in the show. During her appearance on MBC’s Radio Star , the actress said she happened to contact Song Joong-ki on the day she dyed her hair red, and Song directly recommended her to Vincenzo ’s director for a part. View this post on Instagram A post shared by MODEL / HYE JUNG LEE (@sweetyhye) Lee added that she had only expected to put in a cameo appearance, but was extremely grateful that Song championing her talent resulted in a larger role with a greater impact. Are BTS playing fair to dominate the US Billboard chart? BTS’ RM got his big break thanks to Korean rapper Sleepy It seems the world’s K-pop fans might owe a debt of gratitude to the rapper Sleepy, who was the one responsible for leader RM’s debut with BTS. During his appearance on MBC’s Radio Star , Sleepy revealed that he first met Rap Monster at a rapper crew audition, back when RM was a middle school student. Sleepy said he immediately fell in love with the aspiring rapper’s style, and directly asked for his number, which he duly held onto until he was asked to recommend a rapper. Sleepy later passed RM’s contact to a producer at Big Hit Entertainment – now known as Hybe . RM became a trainee for BTS and the rest , as they say, is history. BTS burns: 4 times the K-pop supergroup struggled on their way to the top As you might imagine, the pair’s friendship has been solid ever since. In 2018, during his appearance on MBC’s Section TV , Sleepy sent a photo of himself with a cardboard cut-out of RM, who replied instantly, writing, “Thank you, hyung (older brother).” Sleepy jokes that he has one of the best relationships with megastars BTS despite their huge fame, and that he’s always grateful to his “ dongsaeng ” (little brother) for responding to his texts. 4 K-pop idols paving the way by coming out as LGBTQ+ Lee Sun-hee knew Lee Seung-gi could become a great singer Lee Seung-gi , aka the “King of Ballads”, was also discovered by an older and more experienced singer, Lee Sun-hee, known herself as a “national diva” for her immense popularity, commercial success and vocal ability. During her appearance in SBS’ Healing Camp, Aren’t You Happy , she shared the story of her discovery of Lee Seung-gi as a singer . Lee Sun-hee made her debut in 1984 and, with a string of hit songs under her belt, soon invested in a small theatre. By chance, Lee Seung-gi was one of the performers in a band at the theatre. Just a high school student at the time, he sang a song by renowned Korean rock singer Kim Kyung-ho, which evidently impressed Lee Sun-hee, who described him “a real rocker”. Which Olympic athlete ‘has a crush on’ BTS’ V and Jin? Spotting his innate talent, Lee Sun-hee asked Lee Seung-gi to become a trainee. But in that same Healing Camp episode, Lee Seung-gi admitted that he hadn’t recognised Lee Sun-hee for who she was at first, and declined the offer. It was in fact his mother – surprised to hear he’d turned it down – who pushed him to reconsider. Phew! Which K-pop songs have been played at the Tokyo Olympics? Lee Sang-woo waited more than a year to get Han Ga-in to take to the big screen Did you know that Han Ga-in – the K-drama and K-movie diva who’s starred in everything from Architecture 101 to The Moon Embracing the Sun to Bad Guy – was initially discovered by Korean singer Lee Sang-woo after appearing on a news segment? In 2000, two years before her debut, Han Ga-in appeared on KBS News as part of an interview about the failures of Korea’s education system. Despite it being an extremely short appearance lasting no more than 20 seconds, Lee Sang-woo decided right then and there that Han would make a great actress – and decided to track her down. Who’s the smartest Korean idol? IQ scores ranked, from BTS’ RM to Song Joong-ki However Han was known to be one of the cleverest teens at the school, and her parents were reluctant for her to discontinue her education to pursue a career in acting. In the end, Lee said it took more than a year to persuade Han and her parents she had a shot at the big time. Lucky for us they eventually saw the light! Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .