You’re in your 3rd year of middle school, but your face looks so mature… Everybody thinks I’m in my 2nd year of high school. I also think it’d be great if I were in high school. Looking older when you’re actually quite young makes things a little bit ambiguous.
I don’t think you will say that ten years from now.
I know, right? I will be missing the good old days, right?
You were so quiet when you first walked into the studio that I was worried you wouldn’t speak at all during the interview. Are you quiet by nature?
I’m not. When I’m in my school uniform and I go to school, I’m never quiet. It can change a little depending of the circumstances. When I’m on a set, I just try to make efforts because I lose my concentration if I can’t focus.
You said you’re living in Yongin? Isn’t it difficult to go back and forth when you have to do a variety show or be on a set?
Many of the film locations are far away, so I’m thinking about moving.
Work aside, what do you do?
When I don’t have to go filming, I stay at home and I read books or I listen to music. Ah, I have had some singing-related activities lately, so every time I get some free time, I go practice to the rehearsal room of the idols unnies who are in the same agency as me. I sang for the original soundtracks of “Suspicious Housekeeper” and also for the OCN drama “Reset” which is currently airing.
From music show MC-ing to OST singing, you’re a Jack of all trades!
To be honest, I’m not the kind to do better when I don’t have someone to tell me “try to do it!”. Even when I want to do something, I’m not daring about it. If someone actually tells me “do it”, I practice because I must do it anyway. I came across this good opportunity this time again, so I got to challenge myself.
Aren’t you the type to push forward?
My interest depends on wether it’s my field. It must be entertaining for me to strive forward.
Somehow it seems that you have a sister.
I have a little brother. We are one year apart, so we go to the same school. All our friends know we’re brother and sister. My little brother isn’t a “male Kim So Hyun”. We have the same eyes, but my brother looks more like a Westerner. He’s a guy, but he has thick double eyelids and long eyelashes. He never talks about me when he’s at school. He doesn’t brag about his older sister.
He’s going through puberty right now. He doesn’t really speak at home. When he does something wrong, I ask him why he did and he actually gets mad. I can’t win against someone who has a bigger build than me, so I just try my best to talk to him a lot like a friend.
Are you going through puberty yet?
Me? I don’t think this phase came. No, it feels like it didn’t come… I’m not sure (laugh). There’s no signal. I have some serious emotional highs and lows these days. When I’m alone or when I’m taking a shower, many thoughts come to my mind. I talk to myself as if I’m doing an interview. It happens nearly every day when I’m taking a shower and it feels good to organize my thoughts.
Are your thoughts mostly about work?
I’m still young, so talking about work is a bit embarrassing for me. I try to figure out what I want to do with my future, if there’s something I want to do besides acting.
Being 16 is quite complicated.
Thing got more complicated especially while filming this drama. I’m the youngest in “Reset”. I get to learn a lot because there are many sunbaenims and veteran actors, but I feel that I’m lacking a lot. At first, I just blamed myself, saying I wasn’t good, but I got better as I listened to the advice the sunbaenims gave me. I like listening more than talking because I want to learn many things.
In “Reset”, you play Seung Hee, Woo Jin (Cheon Jung Myung)’s first love, and teenager Eun Bi at the same time. Eun Bi is a rebellious girl which is completely different from your usual image.
She has a strong presence since the beginning, right? She has heavy eye make-up, so it all runs out when she cries begging him to prove her innocence from the murder she’s accused of. There’s a scene that doesn’t actually come out in the drama, but the setting is me being drugged at a bar. Just like Eunbi, it’s something I have never experienced, so when I had to act and express some emotion, I was quite worried to do it right. I felt precisely how my experience was lacking. I feel it’s too big. If you start acting when you’re already an adult, you must have experienced this tough worl while working part-time. My mom doesn’t say “okay, okay”, but I’m raised in an environment that is being handled well for me and with no discomfort, so I don’t have a hard time. That’s why I’m trying my best to watch people around me.
“Reset” has a strong approach with the chase after X whose identity can’t be known.
It isn’t a drama that can be done in a happy mode. The content gets darker with each episode.
The pace is fast because there are only 10 episodes. It’s your first time playing in a thriller, right? Is there something you particularly focus on to immerse yourself in the character? When I look at my acting in episodes 1 and 2, there are many things I’m not satisfied about. We don’t shoot only during daytime. The filming can go all through the night and until dawn, so if I don’t have the stamina, it’s hard for me to stay focused the way that I should. That’s why I started thinking that I should have better stamina and I’m going to the gym now.
I heard there’s a 19-year gap between you and your co-star Cheon Jung Myung.
What’s surprising is that I have a 20-year gap with (Noh) Hong Chul-oppa. However, it doesn’t feel like Jung Myeon-oppa and I have such a big age difference. He has such a baby face and I look slightly older than my age, so it’s a combination that looks natural.
Shouldn’t you call him “uncle”?
He’s an oppa (laugh). He scolded me.
You must have been getting many great things on the set.
More than that, how to match him, what will happen if I do this or that, he talked to me about it first. He quietly reads the script on his own when we’re on the set and he thinks a lot. I think this image is charismatic.
I heard you have no specific method to detach yourself from the script in your hands as you practiced with your mom while sitting in your kitchen.
I’m the kind to read the script a lot at home more than I read it on set. The set has this special scent. It’s like this tree scent, if you feel it, I guess we can say it’s relaxing. I want to go on the set with a calm mind, so I mainly read the script at home.
There are so many cameras to ignore. I think that you can’t do it if you’re not crazy.
I don’t feel it when I shoot. At first, I was quite aware of them. Even now, there are still times when I feel the cameras on me. Once I’m immersed into my acting, I tell myself that all eyes are on me, so my acting must be even better.
When did you start acting?
I’ve been acting since I was 8. I feel like I’ve played more than 100 roles. After only getting small roles, I got to play a lead role for the first time in 2008 with “Hometown Legends”. I was 10.
For your first audition, were you the one who wanted to do it?
I was curious at first. It was more than just wanting to act. I started out of curiosity by thinking “will I be on TV like these people?”. As a child actress, I went to an actor’s academy everybody knows and I even went to auditions. I think my interest just kept growing.
Which audition left you the biggest memory?
My second audition wich was for the movie “Man of Vendetta”. It was a 5-round audition. The final cut was acting on a theater stage. I guess I was so nervous that once the audition was over, I started crying while I was in the subway. However, before I got home, I received a phone call. I was asked to come back because I had passed the audition. I was so happy. I think it was the role I made the most efforts for.
Being able to focus like this on something is great.
Thinking about it now, I kind of feel like I’m crazy because I stay up all night for a few days and get these dark circles under my eyes.
Experts who have been gaining experience in a field for a long time say the most important thing is to know how to endure. Anyone can start something out of passion, but this determination disappears as time goes by.
True. When I was a kid, one of the hardest things for me was how uncertain my future was. I was in my mom’s car and went around and spent her money as it nothing mattered. I wondered how long things had to be this way and if I’d ever be able to become an actress. I was sorry toward my mom and my little brother, so I cried almost every night. If my mom hadn’t told me “you can do it. You’re clearly doing well even now”, I wouldn’t have been able to endure it.
Still, when someone says “Kim So Hyun”, everybody knows who you are.
It always makes me uncomfortable. Are there so many people who are still pretty and good actors once they’re adults? I think now is the time to take good care of myself.
You had a strong presence in “The Moon That Embraces The Sun” as you portrayed this ambitious and hateful Bo Kyung well.
I really felt sorry for Bo Kyung. She couldn’t receive love from her parents and not from the boy she loved either. Once the first episode aired, I went to the DC gallery. It was quite brutal over there. From the beginning to the end, there were only insults. There was stuff like “Bo Kyung is so ugly, I hate her”. The sunbaenims told me “you really made her evil, so you get all these insults. Good job.” These words made me feel better shortly after.
It seems that you play many roles that require crying. Especially in “I Miss You”. You had great synergy with (Yeo) Jin Gu who was your partner.
I really wondered about how to shoot this drama. It was so sad. There’s a rape scene in the last episode with the child actors. It was hard to find the right emotion. I was going crazy trying to figure out how to understand and express this bad incident just through fear. There’s this scene where I’m lying down, covered with blood. It’s the final scene and we shot it for two days. If just one tear rolled down my face, it was over. That’s why it was so exhausting and it didn’t really go well. Thinking about it now, this role brought me self-awareness and made hope such bad thing would no longer happen in our society. I feel that it really made me grow as a person.
It seems that your “emotional line” is special.
I can identify easily with others’ emotions, so I can’t really watch sad movies. I couldn’t watch the movie “Don’t Cry Mommy”. Before, when I felt down, I’d listen to sad songs and I realized how it makes you feel even more depressed. I thought it was not the way to go, so I listen to happy songs now.
Which songs do you have on your playlist these days?
I listen to Korean songs a lot. I also like idols’ songs because they’re addictive. The ones I listen to the most are Brown Eyes, SG Wannabe, Bruno Mars.
Which celebrity are you close with in the entertainment industry?
I’m close with SHINee’s Minho-oppa that I work with on MBC’s “Music Core” and Im Siwan-oppa that I worked with on the drama “The Moon That Embraces The Sun”. Siwan-oppa leads such a disciplined life. He even speaks slowly like a grandfather. Something about him is just not idol-like.
Do you have any role model?
I definitely have one. Son Ye Jin-unnie. I want become an actress who often takes on challenges and overcomes barriers by trying out new genres just like she does.
Original article: Elle
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.com