Her Private Life, adapted from a Korean novel ‘Noona Fan Dot Com’, is a South-Korean television series that aired on tvN. Directed by Hong Jong-Chan and produced by Bon Factory Worldwide, it stars Park Min-Young, Kim Jae-Wook and Ahn Bo-Hyun in lead roles.
Park Min-Young plays the role of Sung Deok-Mi, an art museum curator who is seen to be a competent and a hardworking professional. Behind that professional, pantsuit-wearing Deok-mi is a fun and bubbly woman who is secretly a super-fan of idol Cha Si-An (Jung Jae-Won) of White Ocean, a fictitious kpop band. She takes her fangirling life very seriously and has her home hoarded with Cha Si-An’s pictures, paintings, albums and even has the confetti from concerts safely saved. She is also the proud manager of the popular fan site- ‘Si-An is my way’.
Kim Jae-Wook is the new director at Deok-Mi’s art museum. He plays the role of Ryan Gold, a genius artist who is first seen reviewing artists in New York. He comes off as arrogant or prickly at the beginning, but just like all other K-Drama leads, he is a kind and loving person underneath all that. He also suffers from ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ that he developed early in his life due to his disturbing past.
Nam Eun-Gi is played by Ahn Bo-Hyun. An Olympic silver medalist in Judo, he is like a brother to Deok-Mi’s they are both brought up together by Deok-mi’s mom after his single mother decided to abandon him in the hospital. He is the second lead in the drama who later develops feelings for Deok-mi even though she considers him as a brother figure.
Her Private Life had us hyped up the very first time we saw its trailer. We had just gotten our K-Drama dose of romance, comedy and sentiments in ‘What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim’ (starring Park Min-Young and Park Seo-Joon). We knew we hadn’t gotten enough of Park Min-Young when we finished the series. Just when we were wondering what to watch next, Her Private Life flashed right before our eyes and we just knew that this was what we were going to watch.
The plot of a secret hardcore fangirl making her way through life was everything that was needed to get us hooked. We had our own set of expectations before starting to watch the drama and we think it would be safe to say that we were not at all disappointed. Throwing light on Deok-Mi’s life as an idol fangirl, the drama, though surprising, made sure to project fangirling in a very positive perspective. Rather than the typical stereotypes about fangirls, Deok-Mi is seen to have a well-paying job, good friends and also does not live off her parents’ money. She genuinely loves her idol and supports him throughout. Such representation of fangirls in Korean media was nothing less than a blessing for all the K-Pop/K-Drama fans out there.
Another major reason why we think it’s an amazing drama is how the story projects the romance between the two main leads. It definitely does have its own clichés (like the leads having a childhood past together or PMY falling for her hot boss) but the way their relationship was portrayed was beautiful. It did not have the usual drama, fights, break-ups (only to dramatically reunite in the end) or any form of toxicity. The romance between Deok-Mi and Ryan Gold was purely healthy, happy and honest. The way Ryan Gold was supportive of Deok-Mi’s fangirling and even adored her for it, made every fangirl in front of the screen blush and tear-up at the same time. They were both supportive of each other and were always ready to lend their shoulders to the other person. Right from helping Ryan Gold to get through his traumatic past to saving Deok-mi from sasaeng fans who tried to hurt her, they both stood together through it all.
(*Sasaeng Fan – An obsessive fan who indulges in activities like stalking and disrupting the privacy of idols or artists. Some sasaengs also go to extents of physically hurting the idols/artists and other fans. Basically toxic fans.)
The drama broke many barriers by positively showcasing a fangirl’s life, openly accepting the LGBTQ community (when Ryan mistakes Deok-Mi and her friend to be lovers and try to protect her all the while) and lastly, projecting a healthy and non-toxic relationship between the two leads.
Two of our most personal favorite dialogues in the drama would be when
i) Ryan Gold asks Deok-mi to teach him how to fangirl so that he could become her fanboy ~~
ii) Deok-mi’s best friend Seon-Joo (played by Park Jin-joo) says “Someone you must absolutely meet in life is not your soulmate but your fan-girl mate.” I mean, don’t we all need a fellow fangirl with whom you can shamelessly blush on as you talk about your favorite idol/s?
As the drama progressed, during the last few episodes the actual plot, kind of sidelined from showing Deok-Mi in the spotlight to Ryan’s past trauma. However, it did not feel forced or draggy at any point. But the story plot of Eun-Gi (Ahn Bo-Hyun) having feelings for Deok-Mi felt unnecessary as it seemed like forcefully bringing in the popular K-Drama element of a love triangle. I felt like it did not go well with the main plot and the efforts of building that arc ended up being pointless.
Other than a few drawbacks like these, the drama was altogether a great watch. The plot was not over dramatized and was managed to keep it real, honest and raw. The side characters like, Seon-joo (Park Jin-joo) who played the role of Deok-Mi’s best friend and “fangirl mate” and Cindy (Kim Bo-ra) who was seen as a rival fangirl to Deok-mi and whose intentions were to expose her, did a really wonderful job in adding new colors to the drama. The OSTs in the drama also hits us right in the feels be it in the emotional scenes or fun and cheery ones. Our favorites would be ‘Maybe’ by Lee Hae Ri, ‘Smile Again’ by RUNY and ‘Floating’ by Hong Dae Kwong.
Her Private Life is a refreshing rom-com that sets a high standard for all the other dramas of similar genre. It is also a easy-to watch drama as it is available on both Viki (for free) and Netflix (with subscription) with only 16 episodes to it, making it the perfect drama to binge. We would personally recommend this to beginners who are clueless about where to start. It does not force your way into the drama and gives you the good old ‘K-Drama experience’ and well, it gave us the classic line, “Once a fan girl, always a fan girl”.
You can watch the trailer below and watch the drama on Viki.
Have you watched this drama? What are your thoughts about it? Do let us know.
Written by Contributory Writer – Poorana Porkalai