Only second best? These K-Drama second female leads beg to disagree
Seo Dan (Seo Ji-Hye) in a scene from "Crash Landing on You."
'Crash Landing on You' via Netflix, screen grab
Only second best? These K-Drama second female leads beg to disagree
Ratziel San Juan ( - September 10, 2020 - 12:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — Two guys fighting for their dream girl? Classic.

Men in K-Dramas are usually portrayed as romantic and charming not just to win the heart of the main female lead, but the audience's as well.

Related: LIST: K-Drama characters who hurt us so good with second lead syndrome

Fans, however, seldom get to see much of a similar storyline when it comes to women parallels.

While a second female lead going after the main male lead is relatively common, they are often depicted negatively: manipulative, unlikeable, and a plot point to sabotage the main female lead — all of which contribute to them not being rooted for by viewers.

These second female leads are a case in point of an inherent lack in second lead syndrome for women characters vis-à-vis their male counterparts.

Seo Dan in ‘Crash Landing on You’


Known for her impeccable fashion, Seo Dan (Seo Ji-Hye) is the daughter of a wealthy North Korean department store owner and the fiancée of Ri Jeong-Hyeok (Hyun Bin) through an arranged marriage.

Seo Dan developed feelings for Jeong Hyeok since high school, which he never reciprocated. Nevertheless, she still agreed to the wedding out of a sense of duty to her parents.

Initially hostile toward Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye Jin), in whom she saw a threat clear as day to her engagement, Seo Dan eventually gave up on Jeong Hyeok and fell for Seung Joon (Kim Jung-Hyun).

Rachel Yoo in ‘The Heirs’


Rachel Yoo (Kim Ji-Won) is the heiress of clothing company RS International and fiancée to fellow wealthy heir Kim Tan (Lee Min-Ho).

Tan, however, fell in love with Cha Eun-Sang (Park Shin-Hye), the daughter of his family's housekeeper. This caused Rachel to dislike her and attempt to split them apart, as she becomes obsessed with Tan.

Character development and an individual storyline eventually came her way, but Tan’s affection always kept distant.

Oh Soo-Ah in ‘Itaewon Class’


??? love this couple @hv_nara @theswoonnetflix iteawonclass?? #kwonnara #monday

A post shared by ??????? (@kwon_nara313) on


Oh Soo-Ah (Kwon Nara) is the former classmate and first love of Park Saeroyi (Park Seo-Joon). She grew up in an orphanage, which led her to be close to Saeroyi's father.

Soo Ah, however, was employed at Jangga Group, the very company that Saeroyi wants to bring down for personal injustices committed against him and his father in the past. She becomes torn between her love for him and her allegiance to the company.

The sacrifice she ultimately made to give justice to Saeroyi and his father made fans finally love her... but it was already too late as Saeroyi eventually fell for Jo Yi-Seo (Kim Da Mi), the manager of his bar-restaurant who unwaveringly stayed by his side.

Oh Soo-Hyun in ‘Doctor Stranger’


Oh Soo-Hyun (Kang So-Ra) is a cardiothoracic surgeon and the daughter of the chairman of Myungwoo University Hospital, where she works with her crush and fellow surgeon Park Hoon (Lee Jong-Suk).

Park Hoon instead ended up with his soulmate Song Jae-Hee (Jin Se-Yeon), whom he fell in love but lost contact with while escaping to South Korea together.

Even though Park Hoon and Soo Hyun did not prosper as a couple, one could only wonder because of their beautiful friendship and undeniable chemistry. They always have a good time together and are there for each other during tough times.

Seol Han-Na in ‘To The Beautiful You’


[160610] Kim Ji Won @geewonii at Shanghai International Film & TV Festival

A post shared by Kim Ji Won | ??? (@kimjiwon.official) on


Seol Han-Na (Kim Ji-Won) is a renowned gymnast who hails from a rich family. She is also childhood friends with Kang Tae-Joon (Choi Min-Ho), whom she wants to be her boyfriend.

Han Na tried to split Tae Joon and his love Goo Jae-Hee (Sulli) by exposing her true identity and threatening to him to have her as a date as Jae Hee faces the risk of being kicked out.

She ultimately backed down from Tae Joon after severely injuring her ankle during a rehearsal.

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