Jeon Ji-hyun (b. October 30, 1981) first became well-known as a commercial model and as a TV actress. Although she made her film debut in the little-watched White Valentine in 1999, it was not until later in the year when she was featured in an advertisement for an audio system that she became a popular sensation. The dancing and attitude expressed in the ad made her into an icon for Koreans in their late teens and early twenties.
After continuing her TV and modelling career, Jeon made her first well-publicized film appearance in late 2000 with Il Mare. A handsomely-shot melodrama set on Kanghwa Island, the film did respectably well at the box office (despite opening on the same day as JSA) and solidified her status as a star.
Jeon's breakout film was comedy My Sassy Girl, which became a huge hit both in Korea and throughout Asia with its tale of a gullible college student and his slightly unhinged girlfriend. The film spent two weeks at #1 in Hong Kong, and turned her into Korea's most recognizable star in the Chinese-language market. Two years then passed before she appeared in her next film, an "occult thriller" titled The Uninvited which wowed critics but failed to catch on with viewers. Throughout this time she was a constant presence in TV ads and on billboards in Korea and also in other Asian countries.
2004 saw her return to the big screen in another film by Kwak Jae-yong, the director of My Sassy Girl. Windstruck cast her in the role of a policewoman, but many viewers felt it was too similar to My Sassy Girl. There were also signs that her popularity had started to suffer because of overexposure in advertisements. Nonetheless, Windstruck became the best-performing film ever in Japan, where My Sassy Girl was not as well known.
Jeon's next project Daisy teamed her with Jung Woo-sung (who frequently appears together with her in advertisements), and drew attention for its 100% location shooting in the Netherlands, and for using the Hong Kong director Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs). Nonetheless the film disappointed at the box-office and drew weak appraisals from viewers.
In late 2006 it was announced the Jeon would be making her long-predicted jump to Hollywood to take the lead role in Blood: The Last Vampire. The international co-production is the live-action adaptation of a popular Japanese anime.