Cha Eun Woo (Photo: Mok Jungwook)

Hailing from South Korea, Lee Dong Min – or more affectionately known as Cha Eun Woo – is no stranger to the spotlight. Since making his debut in popular K-pop boy band Astro, the multitalented star has become quite the household name thanks to his breakout roles in hit K-dramas like My ID is Gangnam Beauty (2018), Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung (2019) and True Beauty (2020).

With his top-notch visuals (he ain’t dubbed the “face genius” of the group for nothing!), all-around talent and charming personality, it’s no surprise that the idol-actor has cemented his status as the Internet’s latest obsession. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about this dreamy heartthrob!

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1. He got scouted… outside a toilet?

Unlike most K-pop stars who enter the industry through auditions, Eun Woo got his foot in the door in a pretty unconventional way. In an appearance on the singing competition Immortal Songs, the idol revealed that he was approached by an eagle-eyed agent when he was heading to the bathroom. He shared in an interview, “At that time, my dream wasn’t to be a singer. But someone followed me to the bathroom and ended up casting me.”

Sounds a little creepy, but boy, are we glad that he took up the offer!

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2. He was a model student with an IQ of 142.

There’s more to Eun Woo than just his dashing good looks. Proving that he has both beauty and brains, it turns out that he’s equally gifted in the academic department with an IQ level of 142. On top of his excellent grades, he was also the class president as well as the captain of the basketball and football team, he said in an episode of variety show Knowing Brothers.

Bonus? Watch him show off his basketball skills in the basketball reality series, Handsome Tigers, where celebrities get trained to participate in a tournament by professional player Seo Jang Hoon.

As if that’s not enough to impress, he also swept a string of awards for English, writing and debate competitions during his school years. Back then, he had aspirations of becoming a doctor, judge or prosecutor.

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3. He’s part of the 97-line squad.

Born in 1997, the 24-year-old has formed a tight-knit group of friends with other fellow 97-liners, including BTS’ Jungkook, NCT’s Jaehyun, SEVENTEEN’s Mingyu, and GOT7’s Yugyeom. When they’re not hanging out backstage, the boys can be spotted having dinner and enjoying bowling together despite their hectic schedules. Talk about squad goals!

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4. He’s one of the highest earners in his agency.

With a never-ending stream of comeback promotions and solo acting projects, there seems to be no slowing down for Eun Woo – but we’re glad to hear that his hard work has paid off.

In 2020, it was reported that he’s earned a total of $2.576 billion won, which makes him one of the highest-earning artistes in his company, Fantagio Entertainment. His group, Astro, also recorded $6.314 billion won in sales, making up 38% of the agency’s overall sales revenue.

5. He wants to break out of his acting mold. 

Eun Woo had his first acting stint as a supporting character in the 2014 film, My Brilliant Life. Since then, he has taken on a variety of roles from the handsome college senior in My ID is Gangnam Beauty, to the charming prince in Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung. But it wasn’t until his lead role in True Beauty that he managed to prove his acting chops and successfully make a name for himself.

Despite overcoming the stigma of ‘idol-turned-actors’, Eun Woo expressed his desire to branch out into new genres beyond his usual portrayal of devilishly handsome, but tsundere characters. In an interview with Sports DongA, the actor shared that he hopes to play an action or comedy role one day. He added, “I want to break out of the judgment that I can only play cool-looking characters. There are a lot of things that I haven’t been able to show yet.”
Meanwhile, Eun Woo is currently in talks for starring in a new drama adaptation of popular webtoon, Dak Gang Jeong (sweet and sour chicken). It seems like fans can look forward to seeing him on screen soon!

Still can’t get enough of him? Be sure to check him out in the upcoming October issue of Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore!