When you saw this photo shoot plan, you asked your manager to stop us from doing it?
Because I had only done photo shoots where I wear suits, smile brightly until now. I felt uncomfortable because I had to wear a lot of accessoiries and I even had to get a manicure and wear nail polish. I have this friend who gets all fancy like this in his everyday life which is something that always catches me by surprise. He gets manicures (laugh). I got shy because that reminded me of him.
You say you were shy, but you posed like an expert. Did you practice?
If I manage to adjust, I get comfortable soon and I have fun. I usually enjoy changes. What I don’t like is when my environment changes or when people around me change.
You seem more muscular than when you did a photo shoot for Vogue Girl 2 years.
I’ve been exercising a lot and I’ve been playing sports like soccer. These days, I’m preparing the drama “Warrior Baek Dong Soo”, so I do fencing training and I’m learning horse riding. I only eat chicken breast and I reduced my meals. I don’t drink alcohol even if I go to a bar. It’s a saguk, so I feel like there are much more things to prepare than what I had imagined.
So the nice and innocent Dong Hae does drink alcohol? What’s the level of your alcohol tolerance?
From half bottle of soju to one. However, I don’t drink like I tell myself “today, I must drink a little”.
So what do you do when you meet with your friends?
When I see my friends, we go to a coffee shop to get a cup of coffee and talk. Sometimes, we play at a PC bang or we have a soccer game at the stadium. (Which position?) Striker. (When you play basketball?) Center or guard. (It’s surprising. I thought Donghae was more on the defense side) “Smile, Donghae” was broadcast 5 days a week for 8 months, so I realized that people think I’m Donghae. To be honest, I’m quite different from Donghae. He’s earnest while I’m lazy. I don’t think I’m nice like Donghae.
How would your friends describe you?
They’d say I’m someone who likes playing around or someone who gives good advice. When I’m with my friends, I really joke a lot. I talk a lot and I laugh a lot too.
You were awfully shy in the talk show “Win Win” to the point one could wonder if it wasn’t intentional to show more of this nice guy image.
There were many cameras and there was a live audience. I got shy and embarrassed because everybody was looking at me. I still shiver when I think about it now. (Did you say you were shy and embarrassed?) Introducing myself, me talking about good things I did and saying things that makes me look like I’m showing off, it’s embarrassing. When I’m on a stage, it’s the character who moves and speaks, so I’m more excited than nervous, but when I’m in a variety program, I have to show who I am. I’m not good at this.
So when you meet people for the first time, you observe them before showing who you are and only when you figure them out, you open your heart?
It’s not that I observe people, but I only have like one or two friends I can completely be myself with. I don’t really like losing people or having to change the people around me.
How’s your relationship with your family?
There’s me and my mom. My father died early. I was my mom’s only child and family, so she treasured me and I think she also raised me with more discipline. She always worries about me. If only she’d worry a little less now…
Which kind of student were you during your school days?
I wasn’t a trouble maker, but I don’t think I was a model student who listened well to the teacher. When I was in middle school, I studied, but I didn’t know why I was supposed to. I ranked 5th in my class, so I wasn’t a bad student. However, after I started high shool, studying was boring for me, so I just had fun to my heart’s content. I realized that you’re a nice student when you get good grades, but when you don’t, the kid who enjoys playing he’s hated by his teachers and there’s this feeling that something is wrong.
Was it your adolescence?
No. I think that this atmosphere made me feel like it was better to do what I wanted instead of studying hard. I wasn’t a bad student just because I seemed to be one from other people’s perspective. Since my father was dead, I felt a sense of responsibility toward my family. That’s why I wanted to find something I could enjoy no matter what. And studying just didn’t bring me that.
That’s why you became an actor?
I thought it’d be fun to be on TV, so I fearlessly chose this path. I think my biggest time of wandering was when I went to college. I thought all I had to do was to get into college and I’d be sitting on the grass with my friends and I’d be singing while playing the guitar just like you see in the movies. I thought I’d get to keep doing something I enjoy if I was an actor. When I actually started, I realized how hard acting was. I had to study again and read books for my theory classes. During acting classes, revealing everything about myself to others was scary because I’m very shy. That’s why I wasn’t really into the school life. During my freshman year in college, I almost got kicked out because I got an F in all my subjects. Even my classmates would say “it’s easier to find Chang Wook at a bar than in a classroom”.
Interview: Vogue Girl
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.wordpress.com