Many of you already know all about my fangirl love for Gong Yoo, and my pretty robust crush on Jang Hyuk. Those were the two big k-loves in my k-life for quite a nice long while, both of them occupying a sizable chunk of my fangirl heart and my fangirl mind.
And then one day – like a bolt out of the blue – Kim Woo Bin came and snuck up on me and now I’m officially head over heels in love with Woobie. ❤ I didn’t even see it coming, to be honest (sneaky Woobie).
So today I’m gonna tell y’all ALL about how I fell in love with Woobie.. Come squee, ogle & swoon with me!
Encounter 1: A Gentleman’s Dignity
The first time I set eyes on Kim Woo Bin was when I decided to check out A Gentleman’s Dignity.
After a somewhat rough and reluctant start, I found a way to enjoy the show, but didn’t take a whole lotta notice of Kim Woo Bin.
I mean, look at the poster featuring the ensemble cast. Kim Woo Bin’s not even in it, even though fellow supporting actor Lee Jong Hyun gets a spot in the lineup. That already tells you that his role is, well, really not very big.
I thought Kim Woo Bin had some nice moments in the show, like so:
But I wasn’t too taken with the crazy curly mop of a hairdo that they gave him throughout the show, and I mostly just thought of him as the requisite rebel high-schooler who nursed a crush on his teacher:
Despite the measure of squee that I’d heard around the dramaverse over Kim Woo Bin, he barely blipped on my radar here.
Of course, now with fangirl lenses firmly on, I think he looks all kind of adorable, but that’s another story and perhaps necessitates a selective second watch of A Gentleman’s Dignity, heh.
Encounter 2: To The Beautiful You
I love Japan’s Hana Kimi, so when Korea decided to make its own version in To The Beautiful You, I knew I had to check it out.
Kinda like A Gentleman’s Dignity, this was a show that I had to figure out a way to enjoy, AND, whose poster of the ensemble cast didn’t even include Kim Woo Bin. Of course, this time, Kim Woo Bin had more of an extended cameo than an actual supporting role.
Maybe it was the better hair, but I liked him better here than in A Gentleman’s Dignity. Not enough to be blown away like everyone else, but enough to understand his appeal. Sorta. Coz the weak writing in To The Beautiful You introduced his character rather clumsily, and that bothered me.
I did find him rather interesting overall, particularly for an extended cameo lasting just two episodes. And I noticed that his screen presence was strong:
Again, my fangirl lenses have now clued me in on how handsome Kim Woo Bin is in a tux (Eeee!), so let’s take a nice long look, just coz we can:
Given that I have a general weakness for men in crisp white shirts, I couldn’t possibly leave this one out either:
Looks like a re-watch of episodes 9 and 10 of To The Beautiful You is somewhere in my future too.
Blown Away: School 2013
It was only in School 2013 that Kim Woo Bin officially blew me away with his screen presence and acting chops.
I don’t know what it was – as in, why now & not earlier.. maybe there was something in the water I was drinking that day? – but when Kim Woo Bin first appeared on my screen at the end of episode 3, the potency of his screen presence made me gasp out loud. Literally. I mean, just look at him, all fierce and badass:
That’s when I realized that his screen presence is formidable.
It’s a very male, dominant, forceful, compelling, magnetic sort of presence. All he had to do was show up on my screen, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. And that, when I wasn’t even crushing on him at the time.
As the story progressed, I was really impressed with the layered nuance that Kim Woo Bin brought to his character. He was clearly full-on into his character and his delivery, and that immersion really showed, from big emotional scenes, to small subtle beats.
He was just so, so good.
Up till this show, I used to just see him as the go-to actor to play the rebellious kid, coz he’s got the total bad-boy look and vibe about him. Or maybe coz he did the bad-boy rebel so well in A Gentleman’s Dignity.
In School 2013, though, he outright blew the lid off what I’d used to think of him as an actor. I realized that he’s way, way more than the token bad-boy actor. He acted with so much nuance and brought so much intensity to the role that I found him completely masterful.
He showed so much, with so little. In some scenes, with hardly any change in his facial expression, he managed to communicate so much with just his eyes and the very minor muscle changes in his face, like he did in this scene:
It’s outstanding, and Kim Woo Bin shot up my mental list of brilliant k-actors because of this.
At the same time, I also became completely invested and totally smitten with his character’s bromance with Lee Jong Suk‘s character.
From tempestuous tension-laden scenes:
To exhilarated I-got-your-back bromantic scenes:
To the uneasy state of truce in between:
Both Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk approached the bromance with bold, barefaced emotional potency, and I was completely and utterly sucked in.
Honestly, I cared more about their bromance than about many a romantic love-line that I’d encountered in other dramas. These two had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath for them during the Oh-no-what-now stretches, and squeeing out loud at the moments of pure cute like this one:
Eeeee! I just wanted to squish them! Seriously. How adorable are they??
In the spirit of not being overly spoilery, I won’t showcase any more screenshots of them here, just in case you haven’t seen the show (it’s awesome though, so go watch it!).
Suffice to say that long after the credits rolled, these two characters and their bromance continued to linger with me. Big time. Which led me where I don’t go very often – I started hunting for interviews and variety shows featuring these two together.
Soaking Up the Awesome: Interviews & Variety
At this juncture, I think it’s important to mention that I wasn’t yet in love with Woobie. I was just really, really taken with the bromantic awesome between him and Lee Jong Suk, and I wanted to soak it all up. And I was intoxicated from all the awesome I found.
Firstly, I was very much taken with the fact that Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk were already friends, but became real-life besties during the filming of School 2013; their easy, bromantic chemistry was a true pleasure to watch. Secondly, I was also very pleasantly surprised to find that Kim Woo Bin is full of substance – way more than his roles have shown. Put those 2 things together, and I was glued to my screen, lapping up his various joint interviews with Lee Jong Suk.
I love that Woobie’s got a comfortable, spontaneous vibe during interviews. He manages to be funny, witty, thoughtful and tactful, which is no easy thing, even for a seasoned celeb.
In joint interviews with Lee Jong Suk, he often is the one who finishes Jong Suk’s thoughts when Jong Suk’s at a loss, and he does so with finesse, in a way that shows depth of thought, capacity for humor, and sensitivity and respect for others. I love it.
It also turns out that he was a much better student than the characters he’s played, and that intelligence totally shows. His answers always sound so robust, even when the questions seem thrust at him from out of the blue, and that indicates that he’s thought about a lot of these things before. He strikes me as a more thoughtful person than one might imagine him to be, given his bad-boy image.
And he speaks well. His bad-boy characters so far have been more reticent in general, but when Kim Woo Bin speaks to answer a question, you can tell that he’s articulate, confident and well-spoken. And I love that too.
When faced with a question that is offensive, he deflects it with humor, not offense. Like, he’ll laughingly say things like, “What’s with these questions?” or “That’s too much.”
And it all comes across as so spontaneous, along with the little bits of off-the-cuff humor that he throws in. All in all, I feel like I’m getting to see the real him, not a manufactured version of him. This is particularly pronounced when it’s a joint interview with Jong Suk, and I believe it’s coz their friendly rapport makes him truly relaxed.
On top of that, he comes across as comfortably affectionate, which I really, really love. I notice that in interviews with Lee Jong Suk, Kim Woo Bin’s usually the one who will be more handsy. Like how he thwacks Jong Suk in the chest whenever Jong Suk says something to rib him. So cute!
These are 2 of my favorite joint interviews of Woo Bin with Jong Suk.
In this one, I love how Woo Bin keeps having to finish Jong Suk’s thoughts for him:
And in this one, I love their easy banter and affectionate sparring. And the hints of handsy we get from both of them:
I don’t watch Running Man regularly, but check out episodes selectively, based on who’s guesting. Of course, when I found out that Woo Bin and Jong Suk guested together on episode 138, I eagerly eyeballed the 2 of them on my screen, practically exploding from all the cute.
I particularly loved how affectionately handsy they are with each other.
I noticed that Woo Bin’s usually the one who is more affectionately demonstrative, not only with Jong Suk, but also with Lee Jong Hyun, who acted with him in A Gentleman’s Dignity. In the speed-eating snippet on Running Man, Kim Woo Bin’s almost always got his arm hanging around Jong Suk’s shoulder, and he doesn’t hesitate to clap Jong Suk on the shoulder, or hold onto his arm, or crash into Jong Suk while cracking up with laughter. And there is nothing gay about it, either. You can easily tell that he’s just very comfortable with being affectionate, and I love that. So much.
Here’s a short snippet of Woo Bin and Jong Suk during the speed-eating segment:
Edit: The link to the full episode that I’d posted previously no longer works (sadface). The good news is, you can still watch the full episode on kshowonline here.
For those who are able to read Chinese, here’s the full episode with Chinese subs:
Falling in Love Part 1: Dreamland
In the midst of checking out all the joint interviews and Running Man of Woo Bin with Jong Suk, I was in full-on spazz mode over their wonderful bromance. I wasn’t actually crushing on either of them, although I did find Woo Bin more attractive.
And then, one morning, after gorging on the bromance on Running Man the night before, I had a dream. Of Woobie.
Those of you who’ve read my Liebster post would already know a little about the dream, but I’m going to describe it a little bit more here.
I dreamed that Woo Bin climbed through my window into my room to visit me. It wasn’t my actual room, it was some other room, which had an attached bathroom but only curtains instead of doors, and he climbed into my room to cuddle and talk with me. In bed. Swoon. ❤
The feel was cozy and unhurried, and he put his arm around me as I laid my head on his chest. I think my face was resting on bare skin, and I remember slowly tracing his bare torso and leg with my hand as we talked. We talked about the hard times he’d had, and the things he’d had to bear with because he couldn’t afford certain things. I comforted him and stroked his leg and torso as we cuddled and talked some more.
Afterwards, I asked if he would visit me again, and he said that he would, as long as my window was open. That statement felt figurative as well as literal.
Most of all, I love how the cuddling and talking in bed felt. It felt so real and so intimate. Intimate, not so much in the sexy sense, but in an emotional sense. I loved that sensation. So melty and so swoony. So lovely. ❤
When I woke up, I was completely taken with the dream, but I wasn’t yet in love. Let me explain.
I think it’s important to mention that I’m an equal opportunity k-dreamer. What does that even mean, you ask?
Well, I have k-dreams fairly regularly, and while I do dream of my k-loves, I also often have dreams where random k-people show up, and sometimes, it’s romantic. Like, I once dreamed that TOP was my boyfriend and was driving me around in his car, and then he brought me to a secret exhibition that he’d prepared for me and surprised me with it. He also kissed me on the cheek. Lovely. I also once dreamed that Lee Byung Hun showed up on a motorbike and gave me a ride.
I know, I have some pretty cool k-dreams, don’t I? ;)
So, when Kim Woo Bin showed up in my dream, I didn’t think it necessarily meant anything. Boy, was I wrong.
Falling in Love Part 2: More Interviews & Variety
I loved the dream so much that I spazzed enthusiastically and endlessly about it with my friend Michele, in the midst of hunting out more interview & variety tid-bits on Woo Bin.
And the more I found out about him, the more he endeared himself to me. By degrees. Until I suddenly found myself in unexpected serious like with him.
I totally didn’t see this k-crush coming, since I pretty much was smitten purely with the bromance between him and Lee Jong Suk. It’s just that the more I ate up the bromance, the more I saw of Kim Woo Bin, and he just impressed me more and more.
I love that he’s the outward bad-boy with a ton of substance and affection. And I think I love him all the more because he crept up on me.
Usually I start crushing on an actor because of his role, and then as I discover more of his real self through interviews, I get (mostly) disillusioned and disappointed with his lack of personality and lose interest.
In Kim Woo Bin’s case, though, the only reason I’d been checking out BTS clips of him and watching him in variety, is because I wanted to see more of his interactions with Lee Jong Suk. And along the way, he snuck up on me and stole what turned out to be a pretty whopping chunk of my heart. And I love that.
By the end of that day, I was all, Ahhhh!! Kim Woo Bin, you lovely, lovely boy. I think I kinda love you. ❤
I dived headlong into more interviews and variety, and here are some of my favorites.
I really enjoyed this interview that Woo Bin did for Sina.com. Again, he manages to come across as thoughtful, humble and genuine, which I love. I particularly love the bit where he addresses his parents and thanks them for believing in him:
I also really liked this clip, which shows how serious Woo Bin is about acting, and yet how modest he is about his acting ability:
I don’t follow Hwasin / Strong Heart 2, but watched episode 7 because Woo Bin guested, and what a lovely episode that turned out to be.
The topic of the day was the lies that men and women tell one another, and that led into a side topic of each individual’s struggles. The tone was honest and thoughtful, which I found really refreshing in the sea of competition- and gag-heavy variety.
Woo Bin was the youngest among the guests, and I loved that he held his own, while remaining respectful to his sunbaes in the room.
The honest sharing by everyone in the room was touching, and I was particularly moved when Woo Bin teared up while describing his early days of trying to make it as a model, where he often had to go hungry because he didn’t have money for food. Aw, poor baby..
Here are a couple of screenshots of Woo Bin during the sharing and discussion:
One of the highlights of the episode for me, was this moment, when host Kim Hee Sun asked Woo Bin how he would respond if his girlfriend were to say “I love you.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Woo Bin answered, “I love you too” while everyone else in the room squealed at how naturally it comes to him. Adorable!
I loved the entire episode, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again, even.
I couldn’t find a link for the episode on YouTube, but if you live in the US, you can watch it on DramaFever here.
And if you don’t live in the US, you can get ahold of the episode and subs files here.
Other Interview Snippets
Here are some links to various interviews that I enjoyed reading:
Star1 interview: “I want to be a good person” by Actor Kim Woo Bin here
The Korea Times: Crisscrossing Runway and Screen here
Cosmopolitan interview, September 2013 here
Translated article from CINE21.com here
Sports Seoul: 30 Questions for Kim Woo Bin here
Perhaps my favorite bit of all, is question 19, from the last link.
When asked “What do you want your girlfriend to be like?” Woobie answered, “I want to be able to learn a lot from her. As for looks, it’s fine as long as she is beautiful in my eyes.”
Omomo! How sweet is that?? Swoooonn~~ THUNK.
Head Over Heels In Love
By this time, I was head over heels in love with Woobie, and as all determined fangirls do, I set out to watch him in everything I could lay my hands on.
Uh-huh. Even Runway Cop:
Where Woobie’s appearance is so fleeting that if you blink, you might miss it:
I know. I wish I could find a better screenshot too. But that’s the best I could find, and I’ve already deleted my copy of the movie coz I don’t see myself watching it again, Woobie or no.
The Things I Watch for Woobie: White Christmas
I also resolved to watch White Christmas, despite my aversion to scary shows.
In my mind, I’d thought that White Christmas was a really scary show, since most people I know advised not to watch it alone &/or late at night.
Thankfully, it turned out to be a lot less scary than I’d imagined.
Another big plus was that Woobie was quite wonderful in it.
I really enjoyed Woo Bin’s portrayal of Mi Reu, who was intensely intimidating, affably adorable and badass brilliant all at the same time.
I loved how Mi Reu could, in the blink of an eye, go from this:
And yes, I loved the little flash of shirtless that we got as well:
The only thing I hoped was that Woobie didn’t actually have to make real cracking sounds with his jaw. Coz, badass as that made him look, I worried for his jaw. :P
Here’s a quick taste of the Mi Reu awesome:
The Things I Watch for Woobie: Vampire Idol
Vampire Idol is a show that I’d originally wanted to watch based on the general good reactions that I’d read, about how it was a lot of campy, ridiculous fun. But after I heard that it got unceremoniously sliced in half due to poor ratings and that the series had a dangling ending, I’d given up the idea.
That is, until I fell in love with Woobie. That changed everything. Coz now I just had to watch it, sliced in half or no, and with lack of English subs to boot.
Thankfully, I can read Chinese, so I’m making do quite nicely with Chinese subs.
I’m not even halfway through the show as I type this, but I will say that it is lots of campy nonsensical fun, and Woobie is hilariously adorable at times.
I love that his character is a hopeless romantic, and falls in love with a bunny mascot because she gave him a present (a balloon, hee!) and took a photo with him. He doesn’t even realize that there’s a girl inside the mascot costume, and it’s all kinds of adorable and hilarious:
I’m going real slow on this one, so that I have fresh Woobie on hand even while waiting for his next projects to go live.
Yes, I’m going to watch Heirs, even if it turns out to be a stinker. [Edit: Yes, I watched it all. Review is here.]
And you can be sure I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Friend 2 as well. I mean, look at him, all sharp and handsome in that suit:
A Growing Photo Collection
Of course, while all that drama watching was going on, I also managed to amass quite a lovely collection of Woobie photos, which I’ll gladly share a sampling of with ya.
I’m splitting them into several different looks, for our easy enjoyment.
One of the things I really like about Woobie is how his real-life personality seems quite shy and gentle. It’s extra fascinating to me, given that he basically made his name playing fierce bad-boy rebel types.
Fierce &/or Broody
Of course, we know that he’s fully capable of putting on his fierce or broody face when needed, and these are some of my favorites.
Perhaps one of my favorite looks on Woobie, is the sharp suit. It’s partly because of his height (6’2, or 1.88m, baby!), but it’s also a lot to do with how he carries it. And he carries it gorgeously well. I think I might hyperventilate just a little, if Woobie showed up in front of me in a sharp suit. Or melt into a puddle. Or both.
Although, 2 days after my first dream of Woobie, I had another dream of him, and he did show up in a lovely sharp suit. Not only that, he was my boyfriend too! Ahhh.. My lovely dreamscape, how much do I love thee, for bringing me Woobie? ❤
Gorgeous, gorgeous man. ❤
In Model Form
Of course, we can’t forget that modeling is a big part of Woobie’s career, and was what got him interested in acting in the first place. I don’t like every single thing that he has had to wear on the runway – they make him wear some really weird avant garde stuff sometimes! – but here are a few of his modeling shots that I do like.
One of the things I find quite fascinating about Woobie is that he used to be really, really skinny. That’s possibly part of the reason why all his classmates were disbelieving when he said in school that he aspired to be a model.
But Woobie’s worked really hard to beef up, and here are some of the results.
I’m looking forward to even more tantalizing shirtless pix, as he continues to work out and bulk up ;) Goooo, Woobie!
Sporty & Athletic
Just a little more evidence of Woobie’s sporty side.. And I must say, those very firm biceps had me rather mesmerized ;)
Because bromance is such a large part of how I fell in love with Woobie, and because the bromantic photos are just so cute and so much fun to look at, here’s a nice sampling of Woobie-Jong Suk pix.
Of course, Woobie can be plenty adorable on his own too.
I mean, just take a look at this face:
Love, love, LOVE. ❤
And check out the cute here:
This is another one of my favorite sorts of Woobie pix: the candids. Or at least, the casual shots that appear candid.
It’s a mix of cute and cool, and I love it coz it makes me feel like I’m getting a closer glimpse of Woobie the person.
Gasp! Phone Invasion!
Y’know, despite my years of fangirling, no k-love has ever managed to make it onto my phone. Not even at the height of my fangirl love for any of my major k-loves.
I just thought it was, well, kinda undignified. Coz in my mind, that’s something mostly reserved for screaming teenage fans.. Or so I thought.
Ha. Watch me eat my words now, coz Woobie’s invaded my phone good and proper, and has usurped wallpaper status on a permanent basis. Just take a look at the various ones I’ve had so far:
Yes, I know. That’s a lot of wallpaper. And a lot of words to eat.
What can I say? I love having a little bit of Woobie gazing at me out of my phone at any given moment.
Can you blame me, though?
Look at that smolder:
And just look at that adorable smile:
Sigh.. Sometimes I think Woobie’s just plain beautiful.
Just look at this:
Melt, and melt.
Lovely, lovely Woobie.. In my dreamscape, you’re all mine ❤