Smart is the new sexy for male celebs in South Korea
Sharp wit and high IQ are now the draw factor for male celebs in South Korea
We've gone gaga over "flower boys" and six-pack hunks.
But pretty faces and hot bods may not be everything in Korean showbiz any more, thanks to the popularity of a new term - "sexy-brain".
It is used to describe people who may not be good-looking, but are able to gain fans with their wit and intelligence.
Although the term "sexy-brain man" made it to the National Institute of Korean Language's list of popular words in 2014, it was only recently that it was frequently heard on Korean TV, thanks to a slew of popular "sexy-brain" variety shows that with strong viewership inside and outside South Korea.
Talk show Abnormal Summit, for example, features a panel of 11 men of different nationalities living in South Korea who discuss a range of societal issues, from marriage to debt.
Now into its 97th episode, it's responsible for turning Italian Alberto Mondi, German Daniel Lindemann and Chinese native Zhang Yuan into mini-celebrities who have gone on to snag commercial deals and appear in other shows and dramas.
Here are the Top 5 "sexy-brain men" in South Korea who made our cut.
HONG JIN HO
"I am happy and thankful for my (brainy and friendly) image. My character in The Genius reflects my true personality."
The former competitive StarCraft video game player shot to fame as the winner of the first season of reality survival show The Genius, beating 12 others, including professional poker players and entrepreneurs.
It was an achievement for Hong, who is known for not winning any major StarCraft tournaments despite coming in second place six times, thus earning the title King of Silver.
The second season of The Genius airs on Channel M (StarHub TV Ch 824/Singtel Ch 518) on Tuesdays at 6pm and continues to feature participants who rely on both IQ and EQ to strategise, solve puzzles and form alliances with each other.
Hong returns in the second season in an attempt to claim victory again.
But don't mistake the 33-year-old for a geeky keyboard warrior. His turns on variety show Running Man and dating show 5 Days Of Summer have proved that he can be quite the entertainer.
"No matter which country you're studying in, it's important that you have an interest and passion in what you're studying. You don't need to like everything, but you should find something about it that you like."
With more than 279,000 followers on Instagram, the University of Chicago graduate has won over fans with his informed and balanced viewpoints as the American representative on talk show Abnormal Summit.
While pursuing his master's degree in international relations at the prestigious Seoul National University (SNU), the 28-year-old also joined game show Problematic Men, where male celebrities compete to solve puzzles.
Rasch's other achievements include working with fellow SNU students to start webzine Seoulism, aimed at encouraging dialogue between foreigners and Koreans.
JUN HYUN MOO
"I wanted to differentiate myself from others. There aren't many entertainment programme hosts who can speak a foreign language. Since many people can already speak English, I wanted to learn Mandarin."
He's known for his goofy antics, straight-talking nature and even his Botox procedures, but of late, it's the 38-year-old actor's intellect that has been garnering attention.
The former news anchor has hosted three "sexy-brain" shows - Abnormal Summit, Problematic Men and Crime Scene, where celebrities role-play as suspects in a murder case and attempt to solve the case while searching for clues in a mock-up crime scene.
Fluent in Korean, Mandarin and Japanese, Jun holds bachelor's degrees in sociology and English literature from Yonsei University.
"Without (dropping) from first place in the entire school, I pursued music as a hobby with some Hongdae (neighbourhood in Seoul) underground seniors (since) junior high. My personal talent is English in the hip-hop style."
Arguably one of the more popular members of K-pop boy band BTS, Rap Monster - whose real name is Kim Nam Joon - claims to possess an IQ of 148.
The rapper scored among the top 1.3 per cent of students who took South Korea's college entrance examination and reportedly has an extremely high score in the Test Of English for International Communication.
He appeared on game show Problematic Men for 22 episodes before leaving to focus on BTS' world tour.
While the 21-year-old is expected to return to the show after his music commitments end, he may find competition in Park Kyung of boy band Block B. Park initially appeared as Rap Monster's guest replacement, but was later confirmed as a permanent member.
SONG JOONG KI
Then there are a select few who have it all. It almost seems unfair that South Korea's It Guy is one of them.
Not only has he been blessed with looks, talent and personality, the 30-year-old star of mega-popular drama Descendants Of The Sun was revealed to have been a straight A-student in school. He also got a very high score in his college entrance examination, reportedly enough for him to "enter the best university in Korea".
Long-time fans of Song, a business graduate from Sungkyunkwan University, will also remember him as a speed quiz expert when he was a regular cast member on variety show Running Man in 2010.