If we could draw out the distribution of celebrity ages into a graph, we would most certainly see the graph peak in the 20s age group, but unfortunately, all of us know that only a few of those young and fresh 20s stars will get to enter the spotlight.
From those lucky few, even fewer will become household names, and only then will they be able to make the big bucks. Enews has picked out the top seven richest celebs in their 20s.
If you thought Jang Geun Suk the hallyu CF star was rich, take a look at these filthy rich stars! Read carefully, unless you don′t want to ask yourself that question: What were you—or are you—doing in your 20s?
No. 7 – Park Shin Hye
Park Shin Hye debuted at 13 with a role in legendary singer Lee Seung Hwan′s music video, and later took on the child role for Choi Ji Woo in the drama Stairway to Heaven. Though she became one of the most handsomely paid child stars at the time, earning a 700 million won CF contract, Park′s all grown up and has become a hallyu star in her own right.
At 18 she was already receiving 12 million won per drama episode, the same amount Kim Sun Ah received when she starred in the smash hit My Name is Kim Sam Soon. Her following drama You’re Beautiful and film Cyrano Agency were both huge successes, which means Park Shin Hye earned around 2 billion won in advertising alone. It helps that the girl can act, and isn′t just a pretty face, which means her stock is relatively stable.
No. 6 – Park Tae Hwan
Park Tae Hwan was the first swimmer in Korean history to win an Olympic gold medal, and this achievement brought him profits of more than 7 billion won in lifetime pensions, advertisements and prize money from sponsors.
Unlike some Olympic athletes, Park didn′t settle after winning one of the most coveted athletic prizes. He went on to win three gold medals in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games for another 10 billion won. According to an overseas source, Park Tae Hwan is paid 800 million won for CFs, 100 million won more than Park Ji Sung’s contracts yield him, making him the most expensive sports star in advertisement.
No. 5 – Han Hyo Joo
Han Hyo Joo made her debut in 2003 after winning Grand Prize at a beauty contest against the staggering odds of 4000:1. At the young age of 17, she was modeling in magazines, in 2006, became a rising star and emceed a music show, and after her successful big screen debut with My Boss, My Hero 2, which brought in over 6 million moviegoers, she started to see a huge spike in her fortune.
With the drama Shining Inheritance, Han became an advertising blue chip, receiving 100 million per CF, and at the same time, saw her drama fees double, recording a rise from 5-6 million to 10 million won. After the success of her drama Dong Yi, she went on to receive 15 million won per drama episode, and became the queen of CFs with a 300 million won rate per CF.
No. 4 – Choi Si Won
The members of Super Junior had it hard in the group’s early stages, as the 13 members had to divide up the group’s profits into 13 equal parts, and despite being in the center of every stage, Choi Siwon was no exception.
At the time Choi only received 200,000~400,000 won for every Super Junior schedule. But soon he broke away from the group and started to build his own career as an actor with the drama 18 vs. 29, and gained recognition as an actor in the Korea-China-Japan collaborative film A Battle of Wits. Starting from 2009, Super Junior started producing major hits with every album it released, bringing in 19.6 billion won in profit, and the group even earned 10 billion won through its Asia concert tour, Super Show.
Choi Si Won began to rank high on the rich idol charts (even without his originally affluent background), becoming the fourth most expensive male idol group member to sign a CF contract, at 600 million won per CF. Athena : Goddess of War added to his success, earning him 11.4 billion won in Korea alone and crowning him as the next hallyu star.
No. 3 – Nichkhun
Nichkhun was randomly scouted by JYP while studying abroad, but after making his debut with the group 2PM, he started to earn about 4 billion won in album sales and advertisement fees. He was bombarded with even more exclusive solo advertisement offers after he appeared as f(x) Victoria’s virtual husband on We Got Married, and with his active solo and group ventures, he is estimated to have earned a total of 6 billion won in 2010 alone.
In 2011, 2PM released its new album Hands Up to explosive responses, selling more than 70,000 copies, and is continuing its successful string of promotions overseas. The numbers added up say that Nichkhun would have earned about 10 billion won this year.
No. 2 – Lee Min Ho
Lee Min Ho made his debut in 2006 with the drama Secret Flower Garden, and for a while seemed settled at the bottom, receiving 200,000-300,000 won for minor roles. He finally made it with the drama Boys Over Flowers, becoming a top star overnight with the ‘Goo Jun Pyo syndrome’.
He went on to film CFs in electronics, clothing, communication, etc., and earned 2.5 billion won in CF profits for the first half of the year alone. Estimates for his total yearly profits for the entire year of 2009 would of course, surpass that amount.
Boys Over Flowers was not only successful in Korea, but was also exported to 10 more countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan and the Philippines, making Lee Min Ho a new hallyu star who is about to break through 1 billion won CF contracts in Asia and 10 billion won in profit per year.
No. 1 – Yoona
Girls’ Generation′s Yoona has already earned a record-breaking profit of 50 billion won in the first part of 2011 alone.
When she was still a trainee, she received about 300,000 won for each drama and music video she starred in, but after she made her debut in Girls’ Generation, she started to soar far and high. She was cast as the main lead for the drama You Are My Destiny, and started to earn 900 million won per drama episode and 300 million won for every solo CF.
When it looked like things couldn’t get any better for her, the group blew through the roof in 2009 with Gee, and began to shoot an average of 25 CFs per year. Yoona received more solo CF offers than any other member, and earned about 2 billion won only for herself. Girls’ Generation as a group also earned 12 billion won for profits in Japan, and a total earning of 34.8 billion won in the first half of 2011. Altogether, we could say that Yoona is earning more than 50 billion won at the young age of 22.
So we′re at the end of the list, and the top star is still in her very early 20s – but no worries. Just think, they must not be very…oh, who are we kidding. We′re about to take a swig and buy a product endorsed by someone old. Very old.
Additional reporting credit: Kim Hye Jeong, Kim Young Ju, Lee Ji Eun
Translation credit: Erika Kim
Credit: CJ E&M enewsWorld by Kim Ji Young