Chae Jong-hyeop plays a YouTuber with a cooking show in the recent K-drama hit, “Nevertheless.” Based on a webtoon story, this K-drama has stirred up quite a fandom — no surprises there given its fantastic cast.
Chae’s role in “Nevertheless” earned him the nickname Potato Boy but in a recent interview with a Korean media company, he admitted that he doesn’t smile as much as his character does in real life. “… and I’m also not good at cooking,” he adds.
“Nevertheless” follows “Hot Stove League,” where Chae shot to stardom for how he mastered South Korea’s favourite sport — baseball — and how good he looked in the outfits.
— chae jonghyeop archive (@chaejharchive) August 25, 2021
Before being a star, however, Chae was an international student. Fun fact: his adopted English name is Jimmy which stemmed from his studies abroad. His friends still call him that. Here are three interesting facts and figures you may not have known about this K-drama star:
Born and raised
Chae was born in South Korea in 1993 and lived one year in Thailand during middle school. During a trip to Thailand, his mother gave him a ring and revealed that she wanted him to stay there and study. To this day, he still wears this ring on his left hand because his hand feels empty without it.
He then graduated from the fashion department of Seoul Arts College and debuted as a model on the runway for Kim Seoryong, one of the country’s most renowned menswear designers. As a professional model, he’s appeared in magazines like “Harper’s Bazaar Korea” and “Indeed.”
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Afterwards, his father sent him to study in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. He revealed that he felt anger towards his father at first when he asked him why he was sent abroad. “Rather than staying in Korea, I thought that experiencing other cultures even just a little would be of help to your future,” his father reportedly said, as related by Chae in an interview with Cosmopolitan. He was confused because he would have to live somewhere he couldn’t communicate.
However, Chae rose to the occasion by listening to pop music every night to improve his English. He also frequented the gym since it was too dangerous for him to go out alone at night and grilled meat in his front yard while looking at the stars.
He appeared in “No Bad Days” (2017), “Come and Hug Me” (2018), “Hot Stove League” (2019), “Sisyphus: The Myth” (2021), “The Witch’s Diner” (2021), and 2022’s “The Speed to You Is 493 km”.
For his role “Sisyphus,” he impressed fans with his English-speaking skills. Although, it’s not a big surprise because this stems from his international study abroad experience in Thailand and South Africa.
Next year’s K-drama “The Speed to You is 493 km” will have Chae play a badminton player who falls in love with the sport again after he meets a former aspiring Olympian. We love a bit of sports romance!
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He was in advertisements for FERRERO ROCHER, the chocolate brand and the cosmetics brand BRO&TIPS. He’s the same age as Park Bo-gum, another K-drama actor and someone he’s compared to quite often because of his charming smile.
He’s approximately six foot two, which makes him the same height as his co-star in “Nevertheless,” Song Kang. For those who are keen on knowing his star chart, he’s a Taurus.
His music taste is more inclined towards western artists which perhaps comes from his study abroad experience. His current favourite is Nigerian-Scottish singer, Tayo Sound.