Meet Kang Tae-Oh, breakout star in 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo'

Ameena Navab, South China Morning Post

Posted at Aug 02 2022 12:49 PM

Kang Tae-Oh is the latest heartthrob of K-dramas, notably in Netflix's 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo.' Photo: Instagram/@kto940620
Kang Tae-Oh is the latest heartthrob of K-dramas, notably in Netflix's 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo.' Photo: Instagram/@kto940620

Netflix’s new show Extraordinary Attorney Woo has taken audiences by a storm for its compelling storyline, unique characters and, importantly, for shining a positive light on autism.

While Park Eun-bin has been praised for her portrayal of main character attorney Woo Young-woo, Kang Tae-oh, who plays Lee Jun-ho, has also come out of the show as a superstar.

According to PinkVilla, the show has consistently ranked No 1 on lists of trending K-dramas, with Kang also taking first place as most buzz-worthy actor during the third week of July.

So, who is the 28-year-old heartthrob and how did he get where he is today?

He belonged to the first all-actor K-pop group in South Korea

If you ever thought that Kang boasts looks striking enough for a boy band, you aren’t off the mark. In 2013, Kang became part of the first-ever South Korean all-actor K-pop group, 5urprise. It was formed by talent agency Fantagio, the brains behind Astro, and Kang’s fellow members include Yoo Il, Seo Kang-joon, Gong Myung and Lee Tae-hwan.

Kang was active in the group until its disbandment in 2020. On top of acting, the members modelled too and released three single albums during their active years.

A decade-long career

Extraordinary Attorney Woo may have made Kang famous to the world, but the actor has already been in the industry for almost 10 years. He made his acting debut with the web drama After School: Lucky or Not in 2013 and has since continued to act in series like Doom at Your Service, Evergreen and The Tale of Nokdu. He also co-starred with SNSD’s Sooyoung in the drama Run On.

And it’s not just South Korea that saw his acting potential. Kang was also cast in a lead role as the character Lee Jun-su in Vietnamese drama Forever Young. His talent was so well received that it even launched a second season, as per the Philippines’ Preview.

Award-winning star

Kang has already earned a number of awards. In 2017, he landed the Rising Star Award at the Asia Artist Awards for his heartwarming performance in the drama You Are Too Much.

In 2019, he landed another gong from the KBS Drama Awards as best new actor for a completely different type of character – a historical Prince Neungyang in The Tale of Nokdu. He was even nominated for a best couple award along with his co-star Jang Dong-yoon for the same drama.

And his winning streak didn’t stop there. He achieved an Impressive Actor nomination by the VTV Awards and became the first Korean actor to receive the best actor award at the Vietnam Drama Awards for playing the lead role in both seasons of Forever Young. This lead him to be nicknamed as the “Prince of Vietnam” by the country’s fans.

He attended the same university as BTS’ Jin

Kang reportedly studied film at Konkuk University, a private institution that has hosted some of South Korea’s biggest names in showbiz.

Some of the most famous celebrities that attended this university include BTS’ Jin, Twice’s Nayeon, Lee Min-ho, Song Kang, Shinee’s Minho, Hyuna, Girl’s Day’s Hyeri, and Yoo Ah-in, among many others, per Koreaboo.

He is the opposite of his character in Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Kang plays the character of Lee Jun-ho so well that you’d almost believe that’s his real-life persona.

In a YouTube video uploaded by Korea’s Singles magazine, Kang was asked various questions about how he compares with his character’s personality.

In the interview, Kang mentioned that his character is an active person while he himself is more of an introvert homebody who’d rather just sleep and eat than go out. Nevertheless, he enjoyed reading the script and playing Lee Jun-ho, as he feels the character brings a sort of “healing” feeling around everyone he meets.

According to Sportskeeda, Kang may be taking a hiatus from acting soon though, so that he can enlist for his nation’s mandatory military service. It could be as early as August or September as his agency has reportedly already confirmed his departure, per Zoom TV Entertainment.

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