5 things to know about Squid Game’s Lee Jung-jae, a star of the hit Netflix K-drama – and former fashion model, interior designer and real estate tycoon
Lee plays the kind-hearted gambling addict, Seong Gi-hun, who winds up joining the high-stakes game. He soon won our hearts as by showing his empathy for the other money-hungry participants.
Even before starring in Squid Game, Lee was already a household name in South Korea. As the 48-year-old actor navigates his new-found international stardom, let’s get to know him better through these key facts.
He was scouted as a model while working at a cafe
Acting hasn’t always been Lee’s bread and butter. Though he grew up in a wealthy family, he started working from a young age at a local cafe in Apgujeong, Seoul.
It was there that a designer named Ha Yong-soo discovered the young lad’s smouldering looks. After being a fashion model for a couple of years, Lee jumped into the acting scene and made his debut in the 1993 Korean TV drama Dinosaur Teacher.
He owns a string of businesses
Fortunately for this prolific actor, he would never have to join a sadistic competition like the one in Squid Game IRL. Even if Lee calls it a day as an actor, he will continue to rake in money from his businesses.
He owns a chain of upscale Italian restaurants named after his hit film, Il Mare, and a real estate development company called Seorim C&D. Lee also founded the entertainment label, Artist Company, together with his long-time actor friend Jung Woo-sung.
He has a keen eye for interior design
He has applied his design skills to his real estate development company and Italian restaurants.
He made history at the Blue Dragon Film Awards
With a career spanning almost three decades, it’s no surprise that Lee has a plethora of accolades under his belt. According to Koreanfilm.org, the multiple award-winning actor claimed a rare achievement at age 21 by bagging the best newcomer awards from the three most prestigious award ceremonies in Korea – the Blue Dragon Film Awards, the Baeksang Arts Awards and the Grand Bell Awards.
At 26, Lee also became the youngest to win best actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards with the film, Sunrise City.
He’s dating an heiress
Sorry, but this oppa isn’t available for a date – that’s because he has already set his eyes on his long-time girlfriend, Lim Se-ryung.
- He’s the boyfriend of heiress Lim Se-ryung, daughter of Daesang Group’s chairman Lim Chang-wook, and the ex-wife of Samsung chairman Lee Jae-yong
- At 21 he won best newcomer at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards and Grand Bell Awards, and has an entertainment label with actor Jung Woo-sung