The Fangirl’s End of Year Countdown – Favorite Actresses of 2017

There have been some amazing performances this year by various leading ladies.  Come check out our favorites and see if yours made our list.


Bae Doo Na – I have a feeling that anyone who watched Forest of Secrets will choose Bae Doo Na as one of the best performances of the year.  Rarely do you see a female in a cop role play it so effortlessly.  Remaining both strong and feminine without being overshadowed by her male counterparts.  If you want a drama with a strong female focus than this is a must watch.

Jung Ryeo Won – Her character in  Witch’s Court is one of the most unique female characters i have seen in years.  She is loud, rude, brilliant, and has a personality that jumps off of the screen.  I can’t get enough of her performance and I wish all female drama characters were as equally layered as Ma Yi Deum.

Park Shi Eun – I have to add Park Shi Eun onto my favorite actress list.  Sure she was only in 5 episodes of Seven Day Queen as the younger version of Shin Chae Kyung  but she was AMAZING.  I could have happily watched Park Shi Eun for a full drama and I can’t wait until she is old enough to take on regular leading lady roles.  Sadly, that will still be a couple years, but until that time comes, I will follow her youthful career  since she shines at anything she does.


Bae Doo Na – She is wonderful playing police officer Han Yeo Jin in Forest of Secrets. She was so good and real, I followed her intently whenever she was on screen; tough in a fight and tender in dealing with families of victims. Watching her face you can see her thinking, taking in clues and figuring them out, taking stock of personalities. She paid attention to Shi-mok’s nuances of expression when no one else did, and could tell what he was feeling and connect to him as a friend.

Lim Soo Jung – In Chicago Typewriter Lim Soo Jung  really shows her range by portraying two different incarnations of her character, one physically braver than the other, but both with gumption. She always has an active expression, be it interested, suspicious, infuriated, or amazed. I found her warm in cheerful scenes and convincing in extreme scenes after having been beaten up or when crying. She hasn’t been in many dramas, but I can see why she’s been in so many movies.


Lee Si Young-She filmed her own action scenes in Lookout, and she was pregnant! I loved everything about her in this role. For once we had a leading lady who wasn’t a total idiot in an action scene.  She wasn’t funny and cute, she was strong both physically and emotionally.  Yes, there were typical Kdrama shenanigans, but over all she gave as good as she got.  I was on the edge of my seat week after week with this one.

Karie the Maknae:

Lee Sung Kyung – Sung Kyung just baaaarely squeaks in because Weightlifting Fairy ended in January. But having watched her performance in Cheese in the Trap first, I had NO IDEA that Bok Joo was played by the same actress at first. Her range impresses me.

Park Bo Young – Same here. Contrasting her performance in Strong Woman  versus Oh My Ghostess, I was impressed how well she pulled off polar opposites.

Jung So Min – I don’t know what else Jung So Min has been in, but she’s earned a spot on my list because I don’t hate how she cries. You can laugh, but that’s a deal breaker for me. CLKTTA-She showed up on my radar this year too. I haven’t been in love with her in previous dramas, but I’m loving her in Because This is My First Life.

Drama Geek:

I have to start by saying that if you know me then you know that Bae Doo Na is my girl crush so it’s easy to guess that she delivered one of my favorite performances this year. But everyone else has already sung her praises so I will pick my other favorites.

Lee Yu Ri-Where has this actress been during my drama existence? Her portrayal of Byun Hye Young on Father is Strange was one of the most enjoyable and memorable of the year. She was both feminist in her thinking of marriage and also the most dutiful daughter and eventually daughter-in-law. She took the trope of the overbearing mother-in-law and subverted all the things that made me want to fast forward that storyline. She was compassionate and smart as a whip and she really was the lead of the kids, even after Joon Young Oppa came into his own.

Lee Honey-I have always liked her performances, but this year her portrayal of the gisaeng Nok Soo in Rebel was not only visually breathtaking, but also emotionally enthralling. Rarely is a gisaeng’s story told in sagueks in a way that puts into perspective of how much these women suffered, and how trapped they were, and Lee Honey made me feel every bit of her pain. Her dancing and singing were also the highlight of the drama.

Seo Ye Ji-I have to admit that I wasn’t that excited when she was cast for Save Me. She just hasn’t stood out in her other performances. This was just the right kind of character paired with the right director. Ye Ji gave Sang Mi a steely inner strength that shone through in every expression and word she uttered. I knew that no matter what this girl was going to save everyone.

Kdrama Jen:

Some of my absolute favorites have already been mentioned. Lee Si Young was awesome in Lookout and I was also drawn in by Park Shi Eun as the younger version in 7 Day Queen. Since I watched so many Chinese dramas this year, though, I want to call attention to a few Chinese actresses:

Zhou Yu Tong: Zhou Yu Tong was the leading actress in the Chinese time travel/vampire drama The Journey. I was impressed by her versatility as she dropped into different time periods, sometimes having to play her role in a way that made us think her character was not good at blending in, but when you realize it is an actress playing someone who is bad at acting and she is quite good at it, then it just confirms the actress is actually very good at her craft. Was that confusing? I kind of was swept away by Ma Ke as a heartbreaking vampire, so the fact that Zhou Yu Tong also captured my attention is high praise indeed!

Zhao Liying: While I lamented the 60 HOURS of my life I devoted to Princess Agents, it was worth it to discover the acting talents of Zhao Liying. She transformed from slave girl to hardened warrior almost effortlessly, but her steely gaze was absolutely perfect for her character throughout. I am not sure if I fell for the actress or the character, though. I will be seeking out her other projects to see for myself!

Dilraba Dilmurat: She definitely shines as the mischievous fox cousin in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms nursing an unrequited love. Then, she became the King’s Woman. There were definitely flaws in the show itself, but I thought her portrayal of the object of the King’s affections was spot on.

There you have it.  Our picks for outstanding actresses of 2017.  Did your favorite make our list?  Let us know in the comments and be sure to follow us as we release our end of the year lists over the next several weeks.

Til next time,

The Fangirls

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