It’s your first photo shoot since the end of your drama. How does it feel to be no longer “Shin Joo Yeon” and to be back as Kim So Yeon? It doesn’t seem easy to say goodbye to a character.
The aftereffect of “I Nee Romance” is much bigger than I thought it would be. The drama itself wasn’t on the same level as a very dramatic role, but it had a big impact on me on a personal level. To be honest, I grew up as a maknae [t/n: the youngest in a group], so I lived without really being aware that I was an adult. So, yes I knew I was getting older but in a way that didn’t make sense to me. (laugh) So as I was only living as a maknae either with my friends or with my family, I think that I wasn’t really aware of the reality of being an adult. But doing this drama really made experienced something similar to adolescence. It’s not about being sad just because the drama was over, but I went through a phase where I was confused and felt like I could nothing. Should I just throw away “Shin Joo Yeon”? It’s something I worried about. I don’t know why, but I felt sad and a little bit bitter because of her. You know, love isn’t here forever, so I’m also curious to know if Joo Yeon and “Sweet Potato” (nickname of Sung Joon’s character) could last forever. I also feel like I broke something with “Shin Joo Yeon”.
Your character “Shin Joo Yeon” felt real like a friend we have in real life more than any other character you had done until now, so viewers sympathized with her a lot. It seems that you also felt more attached to this character.
From the moment I was offered the role, I had an endless affection for “Shin Joo Yeon”. To be honest, just the fact that I was accepted for this role made me happy. I mean, when you’re an actress, isn’t this a role that anyone would have wanted? I had this cold and sharp image, so I had some concerns like “how come I was cast for this role?”. However, while I played this role, I came to understand why. Like me, Joo Yeon seems different on the outside from who she really is. She has the tendancy to be a heodang [t/n: someone who gets easily confused in real life situations], she’s less sophisticated on some aspects, she can be weak too. So, I understood how she felt and I think I cared even more because of that.
When it comes to the romance genre, the main question is how well the lead girl’s brightness and loveliness are portrayed. Considering this kind of expectation, you must have felt slightly burdened.
I think it was somehow unfair that the viewers felt that the lead girl wasn’t lovable in the first episodes. However, Shin Joo Yeon isn’t a lovely character even in the last episode either. Somehow she learned what love is and it’s something precious to her in the end, though. Since the show had the romantic comedy characteristics in the beginning, I also thought I should act to look pretty. Instead of that, I got into it with too much strength, so it seemed awkward. That’s why I tried my best to keep a flexible mind and remain natural in order to get into character. I received a lot of help, especially from my partner Sung Joon. We’re both very shy, so Sung Joon was the first to joke around and be affectionate towards me which made me felt at ease in no time. Thanks to that, I was able to get easily into character.
I think the synergy with the persons you work with is very important.
It is. You can really feel people’s energy as days go by. It’s true especially for this drama. The actors I worked with are really nice people. The energy they gave me was just amazing, that’s why I was excited even when I was on my way to the set. Although I’ve been in the entertainment industry for a long time, there weren’t many celebrities I was close with, but I’m at ease with them so I can call them on the phone and see them. It’s even weird how I feel they will always think well of me. Besides, the director is just one year older than me. It’s my first time being able to talk frankly like this with a director, I felt like we were creating this together and it was something nice to get close like this. Filming this drama was a precious experience. I’m so thankful for meeting such valuable people.
After each episode, keywords like “Kim So Yeon blouse”, “Kim So Yeon coat” ranked high in real-time search engines because every outfit you wore became a hot issue. Things like your lipstick and accessoiries brought interest too as it became the new hot style women wanted.
To be honest, I felt a bit responsible for this. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it was intentional, but the lead girl of “I Need Romance” needed to fashionable, so it had to be shown. From the day we started filming, the stylist and I brainstormed and prepared outfits, we received the green light from the director. He has a sense for this. People around me are also interested in fashion, so they have a sense for fashion and helped me a lot. I was worried that it’d bee too much or lacking, but the reactions were good, so we were relieved. As an actress, it’s a real honor to receive praises for your fashion style. To be honest, until then I was the one doing my make-up, but I hoped for Shin Joo Yeon to look pretty even if it was just a little, so starting from the middle of the drama, I woke up at dawn and borrowed the help of an expert. Was it that different? My mum actually scolded me when she told me “you handled it on your own earlier, didn’t you?”. The first day I wore fake eyelashes, they were so heavy that it was hard for me to keep my eyes open, but I got used to it. I usually hated this kind of feeling and I was convinced it’d get in the way of my acting. It seemed that it was just about me saying “I can’t do it”. That’s why I think it might have also made me grow as a celebrity.
You have nice clear-cut features which I think give you a strong but restrictive image. As an actress, this must have often been a disadvantage, is it something you have already been upset about?
Why shouldn’t I have been? I was craving for this. I always felt it was unfortunate. What should I do to show various images? How to show my real image? It’s something I was anxious about. Should I say I was obsessed about this? But at some point, I just thought of each moment with satisfaction and happiness. I think it might have been while doing valuable projects like “Doctor Champ” or “Prosecutor Princess”, I started changing without even being aware of it. This might be a little bit clumsy of me to express it this way, but when I think about it, I’m a happy actress. I got to play lovable characters, conceited characters, wild characters. I even got to do action scenes. I don’t know which path I will choose next, but the important truth is who I am in the present, and that I’m here today with no regret.
I want to clap my hands for you who believed in yourself and have become so strong inside. Playing Shin Joo Yeon in “I Need Romance 3” must have made you even stronger.
I think so. “You must break that wall” are the words I heard a lot after my debut. It was like this for acting, when I talked to people on set or in real life too. But this was something really hard to do. I didn’t know which wall they were talking about, so I couldn’t know how to break it. But I think I have broken one or two of these walls now. I don’t know how many of them they are. I think a lot of them still remain, but even I think that the woman I am today did grow up. So there’s something I want to say to myself. “You did a good job”. You made a lot of mistakes, but you managed to hang in there during this period of time that wasn’t short. And this is also something I definitely wanted to convey through this drama and tell to people. This woman lived in a shell and kept all of her emotions inside, but she learned how to walk together with her colleagues in the end and she turned into someone being able to say “I love you” to the one she loved. Things turned out well for Shin Joo Yeon, so even if it takes time, things will be okay for you too. Don’t go through a hard time on your own, I hope that you and I would live while giving love and being loved.
Original article: 1stlook