By Ji Woo Jung
Several years ago, Ji Woo Jung set out to study and live in the US hoping to return with an arts degree in Acting and Theater Studies.
“At that age, I wanted to dance and paint and spread joy with my work. Nowadays, I feel that I can do it but through performance art and acting.”
After living in Massachusetts and Michigan from the age of 12 until 18 years of age, Ji Woo Jung was perfecting his art skills in the Fay School and the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
“By 17 years old I had already participated in several plays, and the teachers at my school, in Interlochen, were encouraging me to reinforce my studies in acting and dramatic arts in my higher education. That's how I embarked in this creative journey and moved to New York in 2015 to the best school in this industry, NYU Tisch School of the Arts.”
As a citizen of South Korea, Ji Woo Jung had to leave his studies from NYU in his second year of college, to do two years in the South Korean military. He was part of the 703 Special Assault Commando and had the most rigorous job as a proud Korean citizen and as a soldier.
“It was very tough. I went through a lot of hardship during those years. I was throwing myself off helicopters, walking for 26 miles, and hiking in the freezing mountains and all I could think about was, ‘when can I get back on the stage again?’ I left the army with a lot of gratitude and a new sense of self--deeply hungry to pour my heart out in my acting career.”
His parents have always supported Ji Woo Jung’s decision to become an actor and perform and, this is why, after graduating, they motivated him to apply for his OPT and work in the industry.
“After graduating I was saying yes to everything: any student short film, any music video, any theater play. I just wanted to get my feet wet and learn as much as I could. After a long time of always demonstrating my love for the craft and my effort and professionalism in each assignment that I received, I was recommended to play a leading role, Grant, in the play, “Wyoming”, by Brian Watkins. This play was under the direction of Broadway star Caroline Neff who won the Jeff Award for best actress and so my acting career took off and I haven’t stopped. I also got the pleasure to work with Kathleen Capdesuñer (director who has worked with Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Anthony Lee Medina and more) in the play, “Everybody” and entered the film and commercial scene working in a commercial with Crocs X MSCHF and in a commercial with Grammy Award-winning singer, The Weeknd in collaboration with MSCHF.” Many doors are opened for me today and I feel like my dreams are close to coming true.
Ji Woo is heavily impacting the United States film and theater industry with his truthful and heartfelt performances. Not only is he an actor but he also help his friends in their pursuit of their dreams. Ji Woo Jung helped produce the one-woman show, “Sunny and Dawn” at the OffBroadway Theater, Soho Playhouse where the play took place during the summer. “I really love acting but I also love producing and devising work with my friends. I studied producing at NYU as well and that’s why I created a collective called Aliens Go I Go, made up of Korean actors, writers and directors. We write plays and perform stage readings of them in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. I love surrounding myself with creative people.”
Currently, this brilliant actor who has been living in New York for several years, and definitely with an established acting career, is very happy and fulfilled since his film, Sunkissed Sky, was selected by the DisOrient 2023 Film Festival circuit. In this film Ji Woo Jung plays the lead role, Henry, and made every audience member in the movie theater feel a very deep longing for love with his groundbreaking performance. This wonderful film landed him other roled in the film world like Noah in “Say Something”, Nick in “Bing Xiang (Fridge)” , Michael in, “The Sandwich Line” and had the honor to act in “ Happy For You” , along side Netflix star Kayli Carter, who got nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.
“I was blown away by all the amazing opportunities that were coming my way. After you say yes to one project and you work well with the people on the team it is so wild and magnetic how you keep orbiting the same artist with amazing projects and detailed work!”
Ji woo Jung most recently obtained the lead character in, The Vibe, music video with artist and rapper, Earl Hondo, where Ji Woo not only got to show his dancing and acting skills, but also his stunt choreography skills, which was obtained by the stage combat training back in NYU. Additionally, he acted in the, “I’m The Drama” music video where he played the lead church choir singer, for the three-time Korean Music Award, four-time Golden Disc Awards and threetime Seoul Music Awards winning girl group, Aespa!
“I really enjoy when I’m able to exercise different skills I’ve acquired in life all at once. The Vibe music video was very demanding but I was able to show moves I learned in the army, paired with the stage combat choreography I learned in college all in balance with truthful acting. Simultaneously, for the Aespa music video I was asked to sing a Christmas song for a scene and I had to be ready to do that—I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The quality of his work has also been recognized in important local media such as The Korea Daily and others. The best is yet to come!
“One of my dreams is to be able to cross barriers and do a theater production in South Korea. A country that has given me a lot over the years and where I cultivated my love for the artistic medium. I am infinitely grateful for all the blessings in my personal and professional life. I will continue to work very hard to continue achieving my dreams.”
Ji Woo Jung is a Korean actor, producer and director living in Brooklyn who graduated from NYU Tisch Acting School in 2022.