From a military prosecutor seeking vengeance to a student whose crush for a teacher turns into obsession — Jo Bo-ah has played the most versatile roles across TV shows and movies. Needless to say, her filmography is quite exciting and extensive — earning her a reputation for being one of the industry’s most versatile actresses. Here’s our pick of her best titles.
With a degree in Performing Arts and a stellar work ethic to her name — Jo Bo-ah has conquered the South Korean entertainment industry. Her work is a smorgasbord of hit titles, exploring a range of genres — hair-raising action thrillers, magical fantasy romances, heart-wrenching melodrama, the works. It all began when she landed her first titular role in the musical coming-of-age romance Shut Up! Flower Boy Band, in which she stepped into the shoes of a former rich girl who falls for a rocker.
Reflecting on her choice to be an actress, she told Straits Times, “At first, I was not confident. But I met many good people who helped to encourage me. As time went on, I started to gain a thirst for acting.” She further added, “The more I acted, the more I learnt, and the more I wanted to continue. Acting can be fun but is difficult at the same time.” Her latest venture Hong Rang — set to release in 2024 — will see her looking for a missing half-brother, who goes missing at the age of eight. If you’ve yet to be acquainted with her acting prowess, here’s a look at Jo Bo Ah’s most exciting movies and TV shows.
Best TV shows and movies with Jo Bo-ah
Directed by: Kim Tae-kyun
Cast: Jang Hyuk, Jo Bo-ah
Release date: April 10, 2014
Synopsis: Former rugby player Joon-ki (played by Jang Hyuk) has a fairly ordinary life as a physical education teacher at an all girls’ school. While he’s accustomed to advances from his students, he’s married with a first child on the way. Things take a turn when student Young-eun (played by Jo Bo Ah) boldly confesses her feelings to him. What began as a crush soon turns into obsession and begins viewing everyone in his life as an obstacle. The farther he tries to keep Young-eun away, the more intense her emotions get.
About the show: This movie marked Jo Bo Ah’s first appearance on the big screen. Her compelling performance quickly put her on the radar of fans and industry experts alike. Reflecting on the experience, she told Chosun, “I have been working hard on this movie for a long time, so I’m feeling quite nervous. I hope viewers like it.” She elaborated that she had many challenging scenes in the show, including one that involved her sharing a bed with the lead. “There was quite a lot of pressure, of course, but I never planned on backing out of this scene as it was very important to the story. I wanted the character to be seen as a girl who was genuinely in love with this guy. Even though she may appear crazy, this was the way in which she expresses her love.”
Directed by: Joo Sung-woo
Cast: Kang Ji-hwan, Sung Yu-ri, Park Ki-woong, Claudia Kim
Release date: 28 March, 2016
Synopsis: Lee Guk Cheol (played by Kang Ji-hwan) lost his family, wealth, and inheritance to his greedy uncle. When he has the opportunity to assume a new identity as Kang Ki Tan, he endeavours to exact revenge and fight back. Along the way, he meets Do Gun-woo (played by Park Ki-woong), the illegitimate son of a rich chairman as well as Oh Soo-yeon (played by Sung Yu-ri) an alluring young woman. Also in the picture? The spoiled youngest daughter of a rich chairman Do Shin-young (played by Jo Bo Ah) who has a crush on him.
About the show: For her performance, Jo Bo Ah bagged the Best New Actress title at the 2016 MBC Drama Awards. She noted that she found the plot quite intriguing. Reflecting on her role, she told Straits Times, “My character Do Shin Young is insensitive to those around her, reckless and princess-like. Audiences will see me portraying a haughty and arrogant Do.” She further noted that the preparation for her role changed her own character. “I felt that I was slightly influenced by her negative traits in real life. For instance, I accidentally became impolite to friends and family.”
Goodbye To Goodbye
Directed by: Kim Min-sik
Cast: Chae Shi-ra, Jo Bo-ah, Lee Sung-jae
Release date: 26 May, 2018
Synopsis: Seo Young Hee (played by Chae Shi-ra) separates from her husband after he has an affair. Jung Hyo (played by Jo Bo Ah) has a boyfriend who wants her to get an abortion, despite her desire to keep the baby. The two betrayed and hurt women end up living together.
About the show: The drama was a wild success, making Jo Bo Ah a household name. She also won the Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama title at the 2018 APAN Star Awards, Best New Actress title at the 2018 Seoul Awards, and Excellence Award, Actress in a Weekend Drama title at the 2018 MBC Drama Awards for her role. Reflecting on the plot, she told Chosun, “I think it’s a story anybody can relate to.”
Directed by: Oh Jong-rok
Cast: Park Hae-jin, Jo Bo-ah
Release date: 29 January, 2020
Synopsis: Kang San Hyeok (played by Park Hae Jin) is a bold and efficient emergency service worker who’s saved countless lives. However, his memory is not quite the best, particularly when it comes to his childhood. Meanwhile Jung Young Jae (played by Jo Bo Ah) is a dedicated young surgeon who’s posted to a mysterious forest. The former’s mission sees him cross paths with the latter and the two are drawn to each other. Soon enough, they realise they share a secret past and the longer they spend time together in the woods, the closer they get to unravelling it.
About the show: The show was a hit, with Jo Bo Ah bagging the Netizen Award, Actress at the 2020 KBS Drama Awards. In an interaction with Korea Herald, she reflected on the experience of shooting the drama, “We travelled almost 20,000 kilometres in total to find spots to shoot scenes.” She further added, “The scent of phytoncide all around the set itself was a healing experience for me, and I hope that our viewers will be able to share the moments with us through the drama.”
Tale Of The Nine Tailed
Directed by: Kang Shin-hyo, Jo Nam-hyung
Cast: Lee Dong-wook, Jo Bo-ah, Kim Bum
Release date: 7 October, 2020
Synopsis: In a world where monsters are dismissed as urban legends, talented television producer Nam Ji Ah (played by Jo Bo Ah) hunts down supernatural creatures through a show. Along the way, she crosses paths with Lee Yeon (played by Lee Dong Wook) — an intelligent, good looking nine-tailed fox who’s only recently moved to the city — who does well to keep her off his trail. Until his blood-thirsty step-brother Lee Rang (played by Kim Bum) shows up.
About the show: The show is wildly popular, with an almost cult-like following to this day. For her role, Jo Bo Ah earned a nomination in the Popular Star Award, Actress category at the 2021 APAN Star Awards. In an interview with Viu Singapore, the actress explained why she chose to do the project, “The script was very interesting. I also felt very unique about the male nine-tailed fox.” When asked to describe her character she stated simply, “Girl Crush.”
Military Prosecutor Doberman
Directed by: Jin Chang-gyu
Cast: Ahn Bo-hyun, Jo Bo-ah
Release date: 28 February, 2022
Synopsis: Do Bae-Man (played by Ahn Bo-Hyun) becomes a military prosecutor for money and fame. Meanwhile Cha Woo-in (played by Jo Bo Ah) was born into a rich family, choosing to become a military prosecutor to seek vengeance for her father’s death. The two join hands to take down corrupt forces.
About the show: The show continues to be one of her more popular titles. In an interaction with Korea Times, she noted that her role had tapped into her tough side. “It was my first time doing real action sequences, my first time playing a service woman and getting such a short haircut. While everything was new and I had to go through a lot of changes, it was comforting and more enjoyable.” She further added “I zoomed in on my tomboyish side to create the character of Woo-in. And now I feel like I’ve come to be like Woo-in in real life.”
Destined With You
Directed by: Nam Ki-hoon
Cast: Rowoon, Jo Bo-ah, Ha Jun, Yura
Release date: 23 August 2023
Synopsis: Lee Hong-jo (played by Jo Bo Ah) is a hardworking civil servant whose ordinary life takes a turn when she finds herself the owner of an old wooden chest. Along the way she meets lawyer Jang Shin-Yu (played by Rowoon). The former realises that she has the ability to lift the curse that’s placed on the latter and his family and decides to help him.
About the show: The drama received acclaim for its engaging storyline. Reflecting on her role, Jo Bo Ah told Korea Times, “The character of Lee was really lovely and charming. I felt I could give off positive energy with the character. Instead of creating something new, I felt it would be fun to build the character based on my own personality. So I decided to take the role.”
Which of these movies and TV shows with Jo Bo Ah are you adding to your watchlist?
All images: Courtesy Netflix
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– What is the Instagram ID of Jo Bo-Ah?
Jo Bo-ah’s instagram ID is: @xxadoraa
– Who plays Ji Ah in Tale Of The Nine Tailed?
Jo Bo-ah plays Ji An in Tale Of The Nine Tailed.