Often in dramas, actors will roughly match the age of the characters that they are playing. A conniving step-mom will be played by someone like Hwang Shin Hye, and the adorable side kick will be someone like Nam Da Reum. But there are a few actors and actresses with the skills and the youthful faces to play any age with no questions asked. Here’s a list of actors and actresses who have played high school students in their 30s (by Korean reckoning).

1. Hwang In Yeop – “True Beauty”

Hwang In Yeop stars as the young student Han Seo Jun in “True Beauty.” His youthful looks are out of this world! He portrays a former friend of Lee Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo), with whom he shares a painful secret that has put a strain on their friendship. Although he may be older than the average high school age, he doesn’t look out of place in a uniform. His brooding gaze and troubled aura makes Hwang In Yeop fit the role of a subdued teen perfectly. It’s hard to believe that he is 30 years old when he so easily blends in amongst his younger cast mates!

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2. Ha Ji Won – “The Time We Were Not In Love”

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Ha Ji Won also appears as the younger version of her 34-year-old character Oh Hana in “The Time We Were Not in Love,” which is a stark contrast to her normal appearance. Oh Hana usually looks like a cool, sophisticated woman, but during flashbacks we get to see her as a cute student! Han Ji Won brings a playful energy to the younger role, which could easily have been over the top, but she keeps it fun and cheery with a hint of cuteness. The little touches like glasses and an adorable backpack really create a youthful vibe. Ha Ji Won may have been 38 when filming, but she definitely wears the uniform well!

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3. Ryu Jun Yeol – “Reply 1988”

Ryu Jun Yeol won fans’ hearts when he played the secret sweetheart Kim Jung Hwan in “Reply 1988,” but you’d never guess that he was actually 30 while he was filming the drama! Jung Hwan as a character is usually quite impassive, but he has a secret hidden charm. Ryu Jun Yeol’s take on this role was amazing, and his bare face and simple hairstyle really added to his youthful persona. His cuteness is unreal and doesn’t come across as forced either. Let’s all hope we remain as youthful looking as he does!

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4. Kwon Nara – “Itaewon Class”

Kwon Nara takes on the role of orphaned Oh Soo Ah in “Itaewon Class,” a drama that highlights the “misfits” of society. In flashbacks we see a glimpse of younger Soo Ah, and it’s crazy to think Kwon Nara was 30 when she played this role! Her character is antagonistic but she plays it so well that you still can’t help but to enjoy her story. In current times, Soo Ah’s fashion is smart and neat, a trait that can be seen even when she is younger. Even though she’s in uniform, her neutral bag and simple hair style make her believable as the younger Soo Ah. Her dewy, fresh complexion is something to envy for sure!

5. Eun Ji Won – “Reply 1997”

If you’ve seen “Reply 1997,” you might have assumed that everyone was around the same age and probably a little bit older than the school age. But Eun Ji Won was 35 when playing this role! Portraying the hilarious Do Hak Chan, Ji Won’s boyish charms make up the cheeky, funny best friend we all wish we had. Although Hak Chan is slightly rough around the edges, Ji Won’s performance makes him lovable and a definite favorite. Side note: Eun Ji Won is 43 now and is still looking as good as ever!

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6. Park Min Young – “Her Private Life”

Can you guess how old Park Min Young was when she donned this school uniform for “Her Private Life“? She was 34! Starring as an art gallery curator named Sung Duk Mi, the contrast between her present-day character and younger version are night and day. Duk Mi is a professional woman devoted to her work, so Park Min Young’s youthful portrayal really shows off the quality of her acting skills. Her adaptability to create a sense of growth for Duk Mi over the years is super impressive. And with her baby face and perfectly smooth skin, she could be playing high school students for years to come!

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7-8. Park Bo Young and Kim Young Kwang – “On Your Wedding Day”

Park Bo Young is the queen of baby faces! Her cute features allow her to portray a variety of roles in different age groups. She fits right in as transfer student Hwan Seung Hee in “On Your Wedding Day.” The film shows a love story of between Hwan Seung Hee (Park Bo Young) and Hwang Woo Yeon (Kim Young Kwang) over the course of 10 years, from high school to adulthood. Park Bo Young was almost 30 years old (she was 29) when filming, and Kim Young Kwang was 32! Their budding teenage romance is full of life in the film, and their adolescence is so believable that you’d never guess that they each finished high school 10 or more years ago!

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Which actor or actress is your favorite from the list? Who else do you think could play someone much younger? Let us know in the comments below!

vb2608 is a long time K-pop lover and Shawol. An aspiring writer and K-beauty obsessed, you can see more of her on Instagram.

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