After setting up our meeting at 12pm, Lee Soo Hyuk appeared at 12:03pm. He wears black skinny pants and, despite being covered with layers of clothes (a black leather jacket, a round-neck white t-shirt under a black hoodie), his overall figure was slim. Sure enough (although I don’t know if he’d like it), he’s a manifestation of Hedi Slimane. After a furtive glance around the café, he strode forward as if he had decided which way to go and approached my table. “Hi, I’m Lee Soo Hyuk.”
His voice low as a contrabass seemed even deeper in this empty café. We met in the café on the first floor of Wooyoungmi’s Flagship store. Lee Soo Hyuk personnally chose this place. “It opened not long ago and I come here every now and then because it’s close to where I live and I can smoke here. I used to look for and go to the hot restaurants or to the popular cafés, I’m tired of this now. I meet my friends in places next to my house. This neighborhood is my home… And I did my hair for nothing.” What he called an elaborate hairstyle was simple yet chic. Lee Soo Hyuk really didn’t know that no picture would be taken today and he smiled shyly. He started talking about his trip to Paris.
“I went for a photoshoot for the Baliencaga lookbook. I had to change clothes about 300 hundred times a day. No matter how much I love clothes, it was physically tiring. When I’m in Korea, I have managers to help me out a lot. I was so tired that I grew annoyed without even noticing it. A few days later, I received my pay check and I felt it wasn’t much either. I thought “I went through all that struggle for this much?” and I let out a heavy sigh. A model friend of mine who had come from England beamed at me and said “it’s nice to earn so much for working just a few days”. These words really left a deep impression on me and they gave me the opportunity to change.” The Ice Americano and the brownie he had ordered arrived. He must have been thirsty because he drank half of his coffee. Keeping a steady expression, he talked again about the positive energy he found in Paris.
“I feel like my values are changing these days because of what I’m experiencing as I grow older. Before, I thought I’d never wear sneakers. However, I feel like there’s nothing more comfortable than wearing sneakers these days. When I see my old interviews, I freak out sometimes. (laughs) I mean, I freak out when I get embarrassed by some standards I used to talk about. I think that’s what’s hard when you do an interview. You never know if your taste and your thoughts will change, but they get printed and don’t go away. Anyway, I was struggling for awhile, even for the smallest things. I kept telling myself “I’m doing the job I obviously like, but instead of enjoying it, I must do more, whatever it is”. When I came back from Paris, many things changed.”
Lee Soo Hyuk said he recently filmed the movie “Scary Story 2”. It tells the story of two men falling over a cliff and are isolated from the world. He smiled as he said he played the role of a jerk (?). “I wouldn’t have taken this kind of role just a year ago, but it’s fun to show an image of me that I have never shown before.” He said that he really wanted to play in a school drama or a drama about young people. As he said he wanted to immortalize on picture the young boy who is slowly disappearing, his expression was quite serious.
When he seemed to brag about the boy he was who loved “Sciences day” and Lego rallies the most, he really looked like the boy of his childhood. The young Lee Soo Hyuk who had appeared in less than a second was also gone in the blink of an eye. Before meeting Lee Soo Hyuk, his manager told me that there was nothing more important than Lee Soo Hyuk’s opinion. This interview too, it happened because Lee Soo Hyuk wanted it to. I asked him about this.
“I make the decision, but I don’t have that much standards. I just hope that I can do well at the right time, at the right moment because a positive energy comes out when you do the things you want to do. If not, I feel like the moment itself is hard and it’s tiring. If I’m in this state of mind and there’s something I don’t want to do, nothing good will come out of it. I’d rather prevent this from happening. When I’m willing to do something, I work hard. I have this sense of responsibility.” I wonder why the picky Lee Soo Hyuk willingly (and I have no confidence using this word) accepted this one-page interview.
“I did many photoshoots for ‘Vogue Girl’ before and I still think about it. I’m thinking a lot these days about “recording my youth”. As time goes by, these moments of my youth vanish, but I want to save many more of them. I think many people wondered if I was done with my modelling career after I started acting. I still do some modelling. I want to keep this identity until the end. I hope to get more roles and do more photoshoots. This is something I’ve been looking forward to say it, I’m glad I was able to do it today.” Lee Soo Hyuk stretched out his body to cut off a corner of his brownie with a fork. “Oh! Did I do that?” His outfit had left a black stain on the white wall he was leaning against. It’s the all-black trace of himself you can see when you open his closet, his traveling bag. We lowered our voices and decided to keep this a secret. Woo Young Mi, if you read this, I hope you will turn a blind eye. I’m saying this because you might come to the store to see it for yourself.
I remember the final scene of my lunch with Lee Soo Hyuk. The ashtray in front of him he had used for the Parliament cigarette he had taken out from a vinyl limited edition pack with his very thin fingers is gleaming. I don’t remember if his cigarette was lit up, if his teeth were clenched on it. Somehow, more than his face, the impression that remains is one of those characters painted by Egon Schiele.
Original Editor : Na Jung Won @ Vogue Girl
t/n: I’m not very familiar with his work, so my descriptions might be off.