10 unconventional Korean female leads who diverged from the norm!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
New Update
unconventional Korean female leads

These fearless women broke every stereotype and the idea of ‘perfectionism’ that lies in Korean culture and we love them for that!

In K-dramas, you might have often noticed that women are nothing more than a love interest but with the changing times, women are the ones running the show. But it’s not just the women-centric stories that made these K-dramas stand out, it's also the unconventional characters that break so many stereotypes. These trailblazers broke the mold and were absolutely secure with being perfectly imperfect. Be it taking revenge for being bullied, taking control of your life in your 40s or overcoming a mental health problem, we love these characters for being different from the usual and for challenging the idea and the obsession of Korean culture which heavily influences this toxic idea of being the best all the time.

Also Read: Sassy female characters onscreen that are a true form of boldness

Here are our favorite female characters who taught us to embrace our imperfections!

Moon Dong-Eun - The Glory

Having suffered extreme bullying as a teenager that scarred her for life, Moon Dong-Eun plans the most satisfying revenge plan there is. Usually, in K-dramas, we see the one getting bullied just hide and do nothing, but she stood up to her abusers and gave them the fate they truly deserved.

moon dong-eun

Kim Bok-Joo - Weightlifting Fairy Kim-Bok Joo

Having unrealistic beauty standards and looking perfect all the time is a huge part of Korean culture, which is also why plastic surgery and skin treatments are so easily accessible there. But in an era where young girls are only thinking of how to perfect themselves, Kim Bok-Joo was a weightlifter who had to eat to gain weight. When she participated in competitions, she felt rather insecure about which angles of her face people are focusing on. But soon enough she realized that if someone really loves her, he would love her regardless of all this. 

kim bok joo

Naa Hee-Do and Ko Yo-Rim - Twenty Five-Twenty-One

These two were fencing champs and each other's archenemies in court but were the best of friends in real life. They were sporty, loud and had absolutely no filter when it came to voicing their opinions. K-dramas have often pitted women against each other but Naa Hee-Do and Ko Yo-Rim knew how to draw the line between competition and friendship instead of pulling each other down.

na he do and ko yu rim

Gil Bok-Soon - Kill Bok Soon 

She is a dedicated career woman and a mother by day but a bounty hunter by night. She seems to be having this normal life when she actually kills people for a living. And in all of this she makes sure her daughter is never harmed because of her profession. She tries to make sure her daughter doesn't know about it. She seems like this really ethical person but you can’t ignore what she also does otherwise. Which is why she is the perfect gray character who portrays the fact that there’s more than just black and white. 

kill boksoon

Jung Da-Eun - Daily Dose of Sunshine

Showing mental health is a huge taboo in Korea and Daily Dose of Sunshine shatters that rule so well. Each episode deals with a new mental health disorder but in the center of it all is Jung Da-Eun, who takes care of patients in a psychiatric department of a hospital and learns to deal with all sorts of problems. In the process of that, she also goes through depression. For the first time ever, there was a protagonist with a mental health problem who people resonated with. 

daily dose of sunshine

Woo Young-Woo - Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Woo Young-Woo was on the autism spectrum and there were many people who underestimated or judged her because of that. But she worked hard and became the smartest lawyer anyone could ever hire. Before her character was introduced, nobody thought that someone with autism could outsmart so many people in court. 

woo young woo

Jin Young-Soon - Good Bad Mother

Young-Soon might’ve not been the perfect mother but she loved her son to death. She used the tough love method to get her son to work hard. It's triggering, scary and uncomfortable to watch at times but when she is faced by a situation in life where she has start with a clean slate, she is given a chance to redeem herself.

good bad mother 2

Doona - Doona

K-Pop idols are always portrayed as really good looking and super kind-hearted people who can't go wrong or do any harm. Doona revealed the true side of it. She smokes, she is in a situationship with her neighbor and she has major anxiety. That is who K-Pop idols really are, and that is also what makes them more human, which is what we love about her character.


Doctor Cha - Doctor Cha

Most Korean women give up their career after having a child. But after 20 years, Doctor Cha chooses herself for once and decides to pick up her medical practice again. She is the perfect definition of how it's never too late to start over and do what you love. Being a woman is making your own choices instead of being a beacon of sacrifice all the time.

Doctor Cha

Yeo Da-Kyung - The World of the Married

While infidelity is not something we condone, it is also important to show the fact that there are also sorts of women in society. Yeo Da-Kyung had an affair with a married man which eventually led to his divorce and starting a new family with her. She definitely isn’t the nicest person to be around but she loved the ones she cared about and would go to any extent to save the world she has created.

Yeo Da kyung

Which amongst these is your favorite unconvential character? Let us know in the comments below!

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