[September 2014 – Marie Claire] Pretty boys without borders – [1/3]

Marie Claire - September 2014

So dear @yearoftherat had recommended “Unusual Summit” to me a couple of weeks ago. I do want to watch more Korean variety programs, but I just don’t have time. I just read the summaries on Nate. It does seem to be a fun show. And there’s a French a guy in the cast, so…

Marie Claire - Esna

Enes Kaya – Turkey

When I listen to what you say, I feel like you’re the one who are the most similar to a Korean person among the cast. How did you get to know Korea?

I started college in Korea back in 2002. I had taken the college entrance exam in Turkey and was waiting for the results when my father asked me if I’d like to go to college in Korea. I said okay and I was in Korea just a week later. I did various jobs from being a translator, to play in movies and doing variety programs. I was street cast by coincidence in 2007. I worked as a model after that. Agencies contacted me. Then, I did various programs as a foreigner who can speak Korean. And I worked as a soccer team interpretor and right now, I’m doing TV activities.

It seems that your popularity is at its best nowadays. Do people recognize you?

Not a lot of people try to talk to me. However, I have 5,000 Facebook friends and I have 2,500 pending friends requests. A lot of my friends are Turkish. Thanks to the Hallyu (Korean Wave) also flowing in Turkey, there’s a lot of interest about Korea. I think that the fact I’m doing TV activities right now gets people to recognize me because my face is also seen in Turkish news.

Looking at you during the photo shoot earlier, I guess you have a good body because you’ve worked as a model.

To be honest, I do almost nothing to stay fit. I don’t exercise. I believe in eating moderately and not gain weight. However, I get a lot of sponsorship requests these days. Like for cosmetics or massage spas. To be honest, I only apply skin toner.

What do you do on your days off?

I’ve been running a trade consulting company. I almost have no day off because of my TV activities and because I’m running this business.

I know you’re married to a Korean woman. I’m curious to hear what you find charming about Korean women.

To be honest, it’s hard to answer to this kind of questions because it’s hard to compare women from different countries. I went to an all-boy boarding school in middle school and high school, so I dated when I came to Korea and Korean women are the only women I dated. My father told me that marrying a Korean woman was a great thing.

I’m curious to hear about your future plans.

First of all, I think I’ll be in Korea for a long time, so I want to leave a good image as a Turkish person. Why don’t I have something like this? Something like the “Nation’s sweetheart” title. My goal is to be called the “Nation’s brother”.

Marie Claire - Sam

Sam Okyere │ Ghana

I was surprised during the photo shoot. I thought you were just a funny guy, but your body and face are on a model level.

It’s great to hear things like that. When I first came to Korea, people were scared. I think they thought of Black people as scary people who always have the hip-hop style. I hear more and more that I look like Will Smith now.

Good-looking people usually embellish themselves more. I think hearing such compliments will make you do the same.

I have no interest about taking care of my body or my skin, but I cannot not care now that I’m on TV. I sometimes go get a massage, but it’s the exception. Not long ago, my older sister who is in Ghana sent me make-up for my skin.

Your body does look like you take care of it.

I don’t particularly exercise. I work on my abs and do some stretching when I have time. I mostly work on my abs in the morning. I eat oatmeal, eggs and bacon and I exercise. This shows good result and that gives me energy for the day. Men in Ghana are used to do most of their own cooking, so I mostly eat what I cook for myself.

It seems that you totally became a Korean person. How long have you been in Korea?

It’s been 5 years. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d come to Korea one day. My father convinced me to apply for a scholarship. It took about a year for the result to come out. I thought I wouldn’t get it, but once the result was out, it didn’t take more than a week for me to be in Korea.

You came here as an exchange student, now you’re almost a TV personality. Did you want to do this type of activities in the beginning?

I didn’t. When I actually started doing it, it was fun and I think it can help the relationship between Korea and Ghana. I also want to do this kind of work when I’m back in Ghana later on.

This is something that was surprising because you haven’t been in Korea for a long time. It seems that you completely adjusted [to Korea].

I’m adjusted to some things, but I have yet to adjust to the drinking culture. Alcohol is a part of Korean culture and I don’t drink alcohol. It’s for religious reasons and also to maintain my body. When you’re young, you’re okay even if you drink alcohol because your body is strong, but it ruins your body afterward. However, people in Korea always drink alcohol and they offer you to drink, so things like this are little bit hard to handle.

There’s something I’m always curious about when it comes to foreign men. What do you think of Korean women?

First of all, they’re very pretty. I think they really care about their body and they take care of it. So that’s why there seems to be a lot of women who did plastic surgery. I think you can see right away when a woman got plastic surgery. I don’t know why they do it. To me, their image before the plastic surgery and after is similar. Being pretty or not isn’t important. I think what’s important is how much self-confidence you have. No matter how pretty you are, you have no charm if you don’t have self-confidence.

Will we be able to keep seeing you on TV?

I think I’ll keep working on TV. I’m planning to study Korean even more because what I’m doing right now can be possible and opportunities come to me because I’m able to speak Korean. I want to try to write poetry later on. I have already written a couple of things, though. I like teacher Ko Un, so I want to become a poet like him.

Original interview: Marie Claire
Translation: @onesunnylady – http://www.thesunnytown.com

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