Mask Girl: Who Are the Actresses Playing Kim Mo-Mi?

Nana as Kim Mo-mi in Mask Girl
Credit: Netflix

Nana as Kim Mo-mi in Mask Girl
Credit: Netflix

When Netflix revealed its slate of upcoming K-drama shows for 2023, it included the hit webtoon Mask Girl. Not a lot of information was revealed, so when three Mask Girl actresses were announced, it shocked viewers.

Many got curious about this and why there was a need to cast three different women for the role.

If you haven't read the webtoon yet, you may have the same question in mind. We're here to explain why three actresses played the lead role.

Lee Han-byul as Kim Mo-mi

Lee Han-byul as Kim Mo-mi in Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

Let's start with the first actress we saw in the show: Lee Han-byul.

In her bio, Han-byul is described as a rookie actress who was specifically cast for her resemblance to the webtoon's depiction of Kim Mo-mi.

Not much is known about Han-byul. On her AsianWiki page, the only show credited to her name is Mask Girl, making it her debut project.

Before the show got released, Netflix kept her identity secret.

On the subject of Han-byul getting cast in the show, director Kim Yong-hoon explained to Naver:

“I met Lee Han-byul fatefully among many actors during auditions. Her strong desire to act resonated with the emotions that Kim Mo-mi feels.”
Lee Han-byul as Kim Mo-mi as Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

Naver also reported that Han-byul broke the competition rate of 1000:1. Since the audition phase was done at the height of the pandemic, the aspiring actresses submitted a video clip of their profiles for a virtual audition.

Han-byul also shared her thoughts about playing the role:

“Through encountering various characters and stepping into unknown places on the boundary between what one has and what one doesn’t have and wants to have, my vulnerable side was revealed as I wanted to be loved and to love as I am.”

Online, though, the avid fans of the webtoon have shared their appreciation for choosing Han-byul for the role as she was perfect for Mo-mi.

Nana as Kim Mo-mi

Nana as Kim Mo-mi/A-reum in Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

The next actress who plays the Mo-mi role is Nana, a gorgeous singer/actress who is part of a girl K-pop group called After School.

Mask Girl is not Nana's first movie or TV series. She was part of another Netflix series, Glitch, which came out in 2022. Meanwhile, her first TV series was The Good Wife, which aired on tvN in 2016.

Nana has three movies to her name: Confession, The Swindlers, and Fashion King.

She has won the Excellent Actress award for two consecutive years at the 2019 and 2020 KBS Drama Awards.

Ko Hyun-jung as Kim Mo-mi

Ko Hyun-jung as Kim Mo-mi/Prisoner Number 1047 in Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

Lastly, the final actress to land the role of Mo-mi was Ko Hyun-jung.

Hyun-jung is no stranger to the entertainment industry. She has been part of TV shows since 1995.

She won the Daesang Grand Award for The Great Queen Seondeok at the 2010 BaekSang Arts Awards.

Her notable movies and TV shows include The Actresses, The Queen's Classroom, and Reflection of You.

BONUS: ZiZian

ZiZian as Mask Girl Kim Mo-mi
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Credit: House of Impression and Bonfactory

Days after the success of Mask Girl, it was revealed that there was actually a fourth person who played the role of Kim Mo-mi.

But unlike the three other actresses, this fourth person did not really do anything acting or change the role. Instead, she simply put on the mask and dance in front of the camera.

The South Korean model, ZiZian, stood in for Han-byeol as she pretended to be Kim Mo-mi. She is the person who appears to be drunk in front of her livestream.

To prepare for the role, Zizian had to spend several hours practicing the dance scene. She spoke to KBIZoom about the role:

“I started practicing choreography in January last year and finally filmed in August last year as the dance stand-in for Mask Girl Momi.”
“I still vividly remember practicing 2~3 hours a day, 3~4 times a week with Han Byeol and YGX’s Heeyeon until March. The whole song didn’t come out in the drama, so it didn’t look that hard, but if you dance to the whole song once, you’ll be drenched in sweat. I often fell down on the floor of the practice room and gasped like a paper doll.”

ZiZian danced to Kim Wan-sun's Dancing to Rhythm that was actually a tough song to dance to. While preparing for the role, the model lost around eight pounds for the scene.

Why Are There Three Actresses Who Played Mask Girl?

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Mask Girl actress
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Credit: Netflix

So, for the golden question: why are there three actresses who played Kim Mo-mi in Mask Girl?

The Netflix K-drama followed the story of Kim Mo-mi as she went from being an ordinary office worker into an internet sensation. We also see her as she becomes a troubled woman who needs to survive no matter what.

Finally, we see Mo-mi as a strong and determined mother who will stop at nothing to protect her daughter. We encounter various actresses portraying her role through all these seasons of Mo-mi's life.

Lee Han-byul as Kim Mo-mi in Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

Lee Han-byul is the shy Kim Mo-mi, an ordinary office worker with a hidden identity at night. She later gets plastic surgery done on her whole face, which allows her to achieve her dream of becoming beautiful.

This is where we meet Nana as Kim Mo-mi, or A-reum, a screen name Mo-mi has chosen when she becomes a performer at a bar. Despite having a new face, Mo-mi cannot find peace as she helps a friend escape her abusive boyfriend.

This is also when Mo-mi learns that her victim's mother, Kim Kyung-ja (played by Yum Hye-ran), is looking for her. Kyung-ja has taken matters into her own hands after getting disappointed by the progress of her son's Ju Oh-nam (played by Ahn Jae-hong) case.

Nana as Kim Mo-mi/A-reum in Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

After giving birth to Oh-nam's daughter, Mo-mi leaves Mi-mo (played by Shin Ye-seo) with her mother. She then turns herself in and serves prison time.

Despite trying to live a quiet life in prison, she is regularly locked up in solitude as she harasses the queen bee's right-hand woman. When she finally earns the respect of An Eun-suk (played by Lee Soo-mi), they decide not to fight anymore and live peacefully in the confines of Huiseong Penitentiary.

Ten years later, we meet the last version of Mo-mi, played by veteran actress Ko Hyun-jung.

In prison, she is called Mask Girl or Prisoner Number 1047.

Ko Hyun-jung as Kim Mo-mi in Mask Girl
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Credit: Netflix

After spending a month in solitude trying to escape, she repents and seems reformed after reading the Bible. She also volunteers to donate one of her kidneys to Eun-suk's daughter.

But after a surprising encounter with Kyung-ja, she learns that her daughter is not safe, so she escapes just in time to save her.

All in all, the three actresses show a different side of Mo-mi with every phase of her life. Each actress has performed outstandingly, bringing Mo-mi's character to the screen.

Check out this video from Netflix for more:

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