Pure Pretty: Kim Kang Woo

So recently, I’ve been watching Haeundae Lovers (2012). While the drama itself is a mixed bag with some gaping flaws, I have to give credit where it’s due. This show has reminded me all over again, just how pretty Kim Kang Woo is.

Before, I’d seen Kim Kang Woo in 2009’s Story of a Man (aka The Slingshot), a show which I didn’t end up loving, unlike everyone else. Back then, I’d noted the Kim Kang Woo pretty, but didn’t think to seek him out afterwards and he quietly slipped off my radar.

Fast forward to 2014, when I decided on a whim to check out Haeundae Lovers. When Kim Kang Woo sauntered onto my screen, I hafta admit, one of my first thoughts was, “Oooh.. Prettyyy~”

And that just inspired me to, er, extend the appreciation with this post. 😉

Come gaze with me, y’all.


Before we get into Pure Pretty proper (ooh, check out that double alliteration!), I thought you might be curious about the kind of Kim Kang Woo pretty on display in Haeundae Lovers.

First of all, you know how I love a man who cleans up nice in a sharp suit, and right off the bat in episode 1, we get to see Kim Kang Woo all sharp and handsome in a tux.

Mmm. Very nice indeed.

But that’s not all. We get oiled-up, glistening, shirtless Kim Kang Woo in episode 3:

Not only that, he spends literally – literally! I kid you not! – almost half of episode 3 clothed in nothing but that alluring glisten *cough* and a towel *cough cough*:

Oooh, YUM.

… Aaand that’s about when I decided that further research and investigation was immediately warranted, heh.

Here’s the result of my research for your gazing pleasure. 😉

Edit: Check out my review for Haeundae Lovers here, for more Kim Kang Woo pretty!


Fierce Badass:

I thought we’d start where Kim Kang Woo is most well-known. Well, most well-known in my mind, anyway. I’ve always had the impression that he plays the badass quite often, and I associate him with that image almost as a default.

I must say, he wears the badassery well. Just look at him:


Another look that I dig on Kim Kang Woo is the simmering smolder. It’s just a shade different from badass, and he looks fabulous wearing it, whether he’s got his goatee on (I do love a man who can wear a goatee well!) or just a shadow of it.

I particularly like the second pic. The light and shadows playing on his face as he smolders intently at the camera; the crisp-yet-rumpled white shirt; the goatee. Quite delish, in my opinion.

Plus, he manages to rock that sequined cummerbund even though it looks like his stylist might’ve stolen it off a drag queen. Anyone with enough chutzpah for that gets serious props. Just sayin’.


I also happen to think that Kim Kang Woo wears the smirk really well. His eyebrows become extra expressive (and you guys know how I love a man with expressive brows! *coughWoobcough* *coughTOPcoughcough*) and it totally amps up the sexy.

For my favorite photo in this set, I almost want to pick the one with the red background for Sure, coz he looks nicely badass and sardonic.

But in the end, I think I’m gonna hafta go with the last pic. Coz his brows manage to convey so much quirky irony, even when his face is partly obscured by the bubble he’s blowing. That’s skillz.

 The Piercing Gaze:

Perhaps the look that Kim Kang Woo wears most effortlessly, is the Piercing Gaze. He’s got an unwavering, forceful, penetrating sort of gaze that is so sharp and potent that it sometimes feels like he’ll slice you in half with his laser intensity.

My guess is that the Piercing Gaze is partly why he tends to get offered roles of the more intense, revenge-melo variety.

My favorite pick in this set is the 6th photo, coz, Kim Kang Woo + ocular intensity + pressed white tuxedo shirt = Big Thumbs Up.


After all that intensity, I thought a bit of Cozy Kim Kang Woo would be nice.

Despite Kim Kang Woo’s obvious talent at the Piercing Gaze, he also does do cozy nicely, when the occasion calls for it.

I love the softness in his eyes in the 3rd pic, and I am particularly tickled by the adorkable look on his face in the 6th photo, where he looks like he just took off that pink and white striped shirt that he’s brandishing in the air.

Geeky Preppy:

Another look that I find very refreshing on Kim Kang Woo is the Geeky Preppy look. I mean, when the man is so closely associated with intensity and badassery, it’s just extra cute when he geeks out in glasses, y’know?

My favorite pic is the last one; he looks so approachably adorkable wearing the glasses and the shy smile while perched on that scooter.


We don’t see Quirky Kim Kang Woo very often at all, even though I think he wears the quirk well. I mean, just look at how gamely he embraces these photoshoots, even the most bizarre ones (like in that 2nd pic – what on earth is he supposed to be doing to that goldfish??).

My favorite pic in this set is a toss-up between the 3rd pic (coz he looks so adorably surprised by that mouthful of food he’s got), and the last one (coz, UNICYCLING KIM KANG WOO! In a suit!).


I thought a close-up section would be appropriate for us to admire the pretty in a more.. intimate sort of way. Heh.

Kim Kang Woo’s got great bone structure that includes fantastic cheekbones and a beautiful nose bridge. Just take a look at some of these side-profile pix. My fave is the last one, coz not only does it show off his excellent bone structure, it makes him look pretty ethereal too.

Pensive Thoughtful:

I really like the pensive thoughtful look on Kim Kang Woo, coz it’s one of his quieter, softer looks.

My favorites are the last 3 photos for Nylon; he looks so pensively dreamy and the filters used give him an almost unearthly quality which I really dig.

Also, call me crazy, but doesn’t he look like a dead ringer for Kwon Sang Woo in the 3rd pic??

Rugged Handsome:

Rugged Handsome Kim Kang Woo is one of my favorite versions of Kim Kang Woo. He looks just a touch undone, while continuing to ooze masculine appeal. Yum.

My favorite pic in this set is his cover for Men’s Health; he looks so happy, healthy and strong. And so sexay. Mmph.

Also, another Kwon Sang Woo lookalike moment! Check out the photo just below his 2 pix for Men’s Health. It’s uncanny, seriously.

Rugged Scruffy:

A little higher on the unkempt beast-man scale is Rugged Scruffy Kim Kang Woo, and he’s no less sexy. Just look at that awesome bed-hair in that 2nd pic. Plus, call me weird, but there’s just something about how he’s biting into that apple with extreme gusto that looks very sexy to me. Mmph.


Ahh~ Shirtless Kim Kang Woo is a very delicious being indeed. So much delectable scrumptiousness!

I love this first pic for the sly, sexy, come-hither vibe, with Kim Kang Woo oh-so-casually wrapped up under the covers. Unngh.

I also love the 2nd pic for the casual, I-can’t-help-being-this-hawt sort of vibe. Plus, tummy trail! Sizzle.

And then just a little farther down, there’s the glistening, sculpted back. Oof.

Plus, perhaps my favorite of them all, is the 3rd to last photo. Oiled-up, glistening and glowering, Kim Kang Woo packs a serious, serious punch. Not forgetting, tummy trail! Again. 

I think I need a moment. *cough*


The Sharp Suit:

Another of my favorite looks on Kim Kang Woo is the sharp suit, coz he wears it so darn well! The crisp, clean lines become him, and totally bring out his brand of handsome cool.

My fave pic in this set, is the 6th one. He looks so effortlessly handsome, and that casual smirk on his face is very sexy indeed.


I hafta say, these candids might be my favorite set of candids thus far, among all of my previous Pure Pretty and k-love posts.

Coz when I look at these photos, I feel like I’m getting to see so much more of Kim Kang Woo than what we get to see in all the other photospreads put together.

In the photospreads, he tends to be styled fierce, badass and intent.

But here, he looks so much warmer, so much cuter and so much more lovable, seriously. Just look at his earnest demeanor. And check out that lovely warm smile.

My favorite photo in this set, is the 4th pic, the one where he’s wearing sunnies, and obviously squinting with a bit of consternation as his eyebrows quirk adorably. ❤

Now that I’ve seen this whole other perspective of Kim Kang Woo, I can’t help but want him in a drama, showing us more of that adorable, earnest, slightly dorky side.

And while we’re at it, can we have him tap-dancing too? Coz that’s apparently one of his talents (no kidding!). How fantastic would that be, right???

C’mon, Kang Woo-sshi.. bring on the awesome. Coz we wanna love you more. Moar, I say! 😉

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4 years ago

so handsome .. kim kang woo.. love love 🙂

4 years ago

He really is so handsome! 😍

9 years ago

I remember being afraid at the beginning of the year when you wrote you’ll probably slow down your posting-rythm and I’m like 7 posts late! Kfangurl, you’re on fire at the moment !
About that fine man-subject of this post now. I was about to say that I did not have the opportunity to watch him in anything so far and then it struck me : is he not the younger brother in “A better Tomorrow” ??? Ah, “A Better Tomorrow”, one may not enjoy the plot but one will enjoy the boys, ALL of them. It’s KHotties studded.
At the moment, I’m kind of Lee Jin Wook obsessed because of “The Three Musketeers” (so fun to watch a K-adaptation of a French novel !!!!) and I’m also watching “Nine” but once I’m done I’ll definitely check Kim Kang Woo work. Which drama would you recommend for a good intro ?

9 years ago
Reply to  asotss

Tee hee! I’m so glad to have exceeded expectations, asotss – yours AND mine! XD I did think that I would be posting less frequently, but somehow, it’s worked out better than I thought, and there’re even new types of posts on the blog now, woot!

Yes, Kim Kang Woo is in A Better Tomorrow! If you’re in the mood for revengey melo that’s a little different, a lot of people enjoyed A Man’s Story (2009), which also goes by the title The Slingshot. If you’re in the mood for something light and silly, Haeundae Lovers does serve up a more comical side to Kim Kang Woo. Plus a healthy dose of shirtless in episode 3. If you’re in the mood for something more recent, I’ve heard good things about Golden Cross. But you’d also need to be in the mood for a revenge melo.

Movie-wise, you might want to check him out in Le Grand Chef (2007) – it did quite well at the box office when it came out 🙂

9 years ago

I’ve noticed a trend in a lot of your pure pretty posts- Korean men with big eyebrows! I started watching Surplus Princess and I’m LOVING Nam Joo Hyuk, that boy is gorgeous! And how cute is his satoori? He reminds me a little of Gong Yoo. Have you seen Surplus Princess? It’s hilarious and definitely full of fantasy. It’s such a breath of fresh air. My new crack drama! Too bad it only airs once a week.
I think I’m gonna check out Haeundae Lovers while I wait for the new episodes to air, cuz of how handsome Kimg Kang Woo is. 😀

9 years ago
Reply to  Mae

Giggle. You are so right, Mae!! I DO have a thing for Korean men with strong brows, don’t I?? XD I can’t help myself though, their brows are so.. mesmerizing!

I haven’t checked out Surplus Princess, but I plan to, and I will keep an eye out for the GY vibe when I watch it – thanks for the heads-up! 😉

Haeundae Lovers is fairly fun, if you keep your eyes on the Kim Kang Woo pretty and just tune out anything that’s too annoying or doesn’t make enough sense. At least make it through episode 3, coz he spends half that episode glistening shirtless in that towel. YUM. 😉

Lady G.
9 years ago

Now this is funny, I opened this post and was all like, oh, Kwon Sang Woo just became a father again! How nice. LOL. And halfway down I realize it’s NOT him, it’s Kim Kang Woo. Seriously doesn’t help that they have the same ‘Woo’ in their names. Imagine they played brothers, that would confuse people like crazy. LOL. Very pretty post! I tried to get into Haneundae lovers, but just really couldn’t. No matter how pretty. Gorgeous photos as always!

9 years ago
Reply to  Lady G.

OMG, that is SO FUNNY, Lady G!! XD So it’s NOT just me then, who sees a resemblance between Kim Kang Woo and Kwon Sang Woo! XD It’s not at every angle, of course. They only look alike at certain angles to me. But the fact that you got them mixed up for a good half of the post has me in giggles! 😀

Haeundae Lovers isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. I think context also plays a big part. I think quite a few people liked it when it came out coz there were a lot of melos on the landscape at the time. Kind of like what happened with AGD. Not a great show, but people just appreciated the relief so much that they showered it with love. I didn’t love it, but I liked it just enough to hold on to the end. The Kim Kang Woo Pretty helped too, of course. 😉

9 years ago

Did you see him in A Man’s Story? It was the best drama in 2009, in my honest opinion. I never felt so conflicted in loving the bad guy than him play Do Woo in that show. He is such a great actor and great to look at!

9 years ago
Reply to  extrakun

Hey there Ekun! So sorry for my laggy reply, Real Life’s been hectic so I’ve been stacking comments 😛

I DID see Kim Kang Woo in A Man’s Story, actually! In fact, that’s the first time I saw him. I thought he was very pretty, but I think I was still in my rom-com phase of my drama watching journey, and had trouble appreciating the very NON-rom-com story! Maybe I should give it another try sometime. Although, Park Yong Ha starring in it does make it sadder :/

Have you seen Golden Cross? I’m wondering whether it’s worth checking out. I’m not big on melos in general, but it IS Kim Kang Woo, and he’s SO lovely to look at! 😉

9 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I did see Golden Cross! If you are still in a Rom/Com mood I would not turn this one on. It is not as good as A Man’s Story (IMHO) but I liked it. KKW gave a stellar performance as always. He can do serious and comedy which is rare for most. You can read more about how we (Unnichan and I) felt about the first 2 eps: http://withsubsplease.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/the-distractors-cut-special-edition-golden-cross-bts/

9 years ago
Reply to  extrakun

Oh, sounds like you ladies really enjoyed those first couple of episodes of Golden Cross! 😀 I hadn’t realized that Golden Cross was written by the same writer who did Gaksital. And I LOVED Gaksital. That just nudged Golden Cross up my list of dramas to check out. Thanks! 🙂