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In modern entertainment history, it became a tradition for Korean media to pick three era-defining female actors per decade. Dubbed “troika,” from the Russian term denoting a vehicle pulled by three horses, the three were picked based on their popularity, their work, the number of commercial deals they clinched, and other metrics.
Kim Tae-hee, Song Hye-kyo and Jun Ji-hyun were the top actors in the 2000s in terms of clout. They became collectively known by the acronym “Tae-Hye-Ji,” which took a syllable from each of their names.
The trio played key parts in taking the Korean Wave to the next level, with many of their films and dramas garnering pan-Asian popularity.
Kim rose to stardom in the early 2000s through her role as a villain in the 2003 hit Korean drama “Stairway to Heaven.” She then took lead roles in 2004 SBS campus romance drama “Love Story in Harvard” and 2009 KBS action thriller “Iris.” She is married to Rain, a Korean singer, and they have two daughters.
Her most recent work is ENA’s “Lies Hidden In My Garden,” available on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others, in which she played the leading role.
Another member of the troika, Song saw her breakthrough in 2000 KBS drama “Autumn in My Heart,” which was a massive hit at that time. She starred alongside top actors Song Seung-heon and Won Bin as a tragic heroine who becomes diagnosed with leukemia.
She then proceeded to star in more trendy shows including 2003 SBS drama “All In” and 2004 KBS drama “Full House,” which both achieved pan-Asian success and made her an A-list Hallyu star. She has continued to prove her influence with successes like “Descendants of the Sun” and most recently “The Glory.”
Last but not least, Jun entered the limelight with the 2001 romantic comedy film “My Sassy Girl.” The film's popularity spread across Asia and remakes of it were made in the US, China and Japan.
She also appeared in the film “Assassination" (2015) in which she played a female sniper from the Korean independence army in Manchuria, China.
Bae Suzy or simply Suzy, whose latest drama “Doona” has been sweeping Netflix's viewing charts, has wowed with both her acting and singing prowess. Born in 1994, she first debuted as a singer as part of girl group Miss A in 2010.