Is a vegan diet the secret to Im Soo-jung’s youthful beauty? The Korean drama star looks 20-something but just turned 41 – really

South Korean star Im Soo-jung wrapped up the drama Search: WWW last year, leaving us with just memories of her best girlboss moments as a strategic manager at one of Korea’s top portals. But in real life, she has been looked up on plenty of search engines, as people want to know the secret behind her youthful, ageless beauty. Although she looks like she’s in her twenties, she turns 41 on July 11; as we mark her birthday, we take a look into how her vegan lifestyle may be the secret behind her youthful girl-next-door appeal.
Why she chose to be a vegan
She’s the most famous vegan K-star, and the beginning of this tale dates back to five years ago, when she found out that she was allergic to animal protein, especially dairy. Sharing her story in an interview with Sports Chosun, Im Soo-jung explained that it was challenging to eat out when she first became vegan, but now she enjoys it more and more and feels healthier.
She’s still a foodie
She loves her food! On her Instagram, you can take a glance into her hunt for the best vegan restaurants in South Korea and beyond, from tofu scrambled toast in the Netherlands to vegan burgers in Hawaii. She also loves going to vegan gourmet festivals. If you are looking for vegan options in Seoul, check out her feed because she also suggests her favourite places to go out.
After hearing that Hollywood stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain are vegans too, and that Cumberbatch visited South Korea for the Avengers: Infinity War premiere, she reached out via Instagram saying, “If he comes to Korea again, I’d like to tell him some good vegan restaurants in Seoul,” and added, “I’d really like to talk about vegan life with them someday.”
She’s a vegan beauty products advocate
She’s not just vegan when it comes to what she eats, but what she puts on her skin, too. Im Soo-jung collaborated with Melixir, South Korea’s first vegan skincare brand, and released their vegan relief facial cream in May, a plant based hydrating cream featuring hemp seed. Her role included choosing the ingredients to the product design.
“After going vegan, I became interested in animal protection and environmental sustainability, and my lifestyle started to change,” she said. The brands she models for changed as well: she was the face of SK-II for seven years, but decided to switch to a brand that matched her beliefs.
She hopes to produce a vegan documentary one day
At first Im Soo-jung thought that a plant based diet was just about eating greens, but she soon realised that vegan meals can also be filling and more varied and enjoyable after dining in Europe and Japan, where there are larger vegan populations. Hoping to deliver the same experience to many who might feel the same way, she wants to produce a documentary showing how going vegan isn’t too difficult and that you can enjoy the process, and the food. If she can’t find a director, she’s willing to produce it herself someday.
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (, the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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