[June 2016 – Grazia] Lee Sung Kyung – Interview


I was a bit worried until I came to the set. I wondered if it was okay to call you “Sung Kyung-ah” like before.

Ayyy, why do you worry about things like this? (laughs). You don’t know how happy I was when I read your name.

You’ve lost some weight I wasn’t aware of.

On the contrary, my weight increased. Is it because I work out a lot these days (laughs)?

Are you dieting?

More than that, I realized my body was in pain every day because I didn’t have stamina. I wasn’t in good condition and I was tired whatever I did. I was scared before the drama shooting started because I was thinking about the filming sessions that would last all night. I started in order to take care of my stamina.

What do you think about exercising now that you’ve tried it?

I don’t know if it’s because my blood circulation is better, but I’m in a better mood and my body is more flexible. To be honest, I wanted to build my body fast because I was impatient, but I’m going at the right speed for me without being greedy or forcing myself.

I heard you’re busy filming the drama “Doctors” these days?

I started filming not long ago, so I’m busy filming right now. I play Jin Seo Woo, a doctor from a wealthy household. At the hospital, she meets Hye Jung who had a rough life and she’s confronted to pains she didn’t know and to an inferiority complex. I think she will go through a bumpy path to learn and grow as a person.

It’s the first time you portray a doctor. Wasn’t it difficult?

Technical terms are usually in English. This drama turned them into Korean, so it was actually harder. There are many words difficult to pronounce like cerebrum, cerebellum, mesencephalon, so I often make mistakes.

Is it a character very different from Baek In Ha you portrayed in “Cheese in the Trap”?

It’s a character completely different. I’m nervous about what people will think. Because I feel like Baek In Ha comes out regardless of the role I play. Because people said that I was like Baek In Ha even when I stayed still… However, starting with the voice tone, this character is completely different from Baek In Ha. I can be sure of that. I have many worries because I still don’t like my acting, but I’m anticipating this project because I enjoy working with good sunbaenims.

At some point, you went from modelling to being an actress. Is there a specific occasion that made you decide to start acting?

I think I really started on impulse like “waaa, this is crazy”. What worry? I didn’t think about them at all. I just said “yes, yes, yes” and only looked forwad and followed through. I just went with the lucky flow.

I heard your dream was actually to become a musical actress.

There’s a reason why I didn’t dream of being an actress. I wasn’t confident about living as a celebrity, I didn’t wish it. That’s why my dream was to be a musical actress. It was a coincidence that I ended up acting. I could have done it once and left it at that, but it would have been meaningless. My “since I’ve already started, let’s have fun with it” mindset got bigger.

So did you find what makes acting interesting for you?

Giving life to a character is what is fun about it. It’s nice to be a part of so many people gathering and working together to complete a project, to bring emotion to the audience, to make them cry and laugh. New things I couldn’t imagine happened to me because of that and it’s awesome.

Receiving the rookie award for your second project “Queen’s Flower” was one of these things you couldn’t imagine?

At first, being called an actress sounded unfamiliar. One day, here’s what I thought. “Isn’t the life of those who call acting their job about worrying when you read a script? So am I living my life as an actress? Have I already become an actress?”. It’s a role I’m thankful for that made me getting used to be “actress Lee Sung Kyung” and not “model Lee Sung Kyung”.

I think the burden that comes to portray a lead character must have been as big as it happened quite fast for you.

“Doctors”, which I’m shooting right now, has even more of this toxic aspect. I did feel stressed out until then, but I had fun creating my characters. However, with this role, it’s the first time that I feel this emotion similar to a burden, a sense of responsibility and to feel uneasy.  To the point I feel the worry building up especially on the days I’m filming.

You didn’t feel this way while working on your previous projects?

No. I had some confidence about myself, so it was a job I enjoyed doing. However, the things I was confident about are things giving me doubts now. I think it’s a day-to-day thing that happened and can’t be compared to the past. Will it be this way in the future? Will everthing just change every day like when a child grow up? As an actress, I’m still very inexperienced.

Why do you have such worries now?

I worried a lot once I decided to accept the role. I wondered if it was a character I could handle, if I had the shoulders for it, so it was the first time I played in a traditional character. For “Cheese in the Trap”, I often heard that the way I spoke, my facial expressions felt like I was Baek In Ha. Although it sounds involuntarily conceited, I felt like Baek In Ha. That’s when I realized. Being remembered for a character is something to be very thankful for, but it’s true that changing to turn into another one was my responsibility.

I think it’s probably because “Cheese In The Trap”‘s Baek In Ha is very close to your real-life image.

The character totally brought it out. More than saying Baek In Ha brought out Lee Sung Kyung, it’s more that it brought out different sides of Lee Sung Kyung when happy, when flirting, when being funny. I mean, I did all I could to create it. Because this was what the director wanted to see.

Which aspect do you worry about the most when acting?

I hope the emotions I express seem real. That’s why it really gives me a hard time when there’s something I don’t get about the scenario or the role. I don’t want my acting to look forced. My acting is still rough and I’m clumsy about the way to communicate with the audience, but I’m really working hard and trying my best.

And here you are. You’ve been acting for three years. How does it feel, to be an actress?

There’s a bit of inconsistency. When I’m going through hardships, I’m okay even when it’s a difficult situation. However, it’s hard when I get hurt and get weaker. I’m very scared and I feel like I’m a weak link in this society. Still, I often say to myself “ah, I’m an actress who can have a positive influence on a lot of people. I must be thankful and be generous.”

What has been the biggest change in your life since you became an actress?

When I was a model, I still enjoyed what I did although it was a tiring job. Now, I can’t feel emotions like these ones. After quite some time, I noticed that I can’t figure out the moments when I can say “ah, I’m enjoying this!”. I’m always worrying and my head, my mind aren’t at ease as I feel stressed out.

It’s safe to say that you match everything the audience wants to see. Exceptional skills in singing and dancing, and you even have good variety skills. You overflow with talent.

Well, you know there’s the word “heungbooja” [t/n: someone very enthusiastic]. I noticed this expression is used to mention me sometimes. I just do things that I like.

Liking something and being good at it are two different things.

I want to do well because I like it. Because I want to do well, I will put efforts into it and give it a try. This was my reasoning to practice. I think I got lucky and slowly improved as much as I practiced.

The song “Sweet Kiss Like Coffee” you sang recently with Eddy Kim was a hot issue.

One day, he suddenly called me up and asked me to do it. He said he’d let me listen to the song first, which I did and it was the kind of song that I like. At first, I was too shy, so I freaked out. It was an honor to be given this opportunity to sing this masterpiece. My desire to not ruin it was big.

If the opportunity comes, will we get to see you as a singer?

I don’t make specific plans for it. My mindset is to to join whenever the project can be fun and interesting. As I must enjoy what I do for the outcome to have a happy energy, I won’t leave out an offer if the situation and the circumstances are something I can enjoy.

What do you think is the reason for you to receive so much love and attention?

First of all, it’s luck. And my fans’ love is really big… I feel like they’re blinded by love. I’m thankful because they see me in a special way, although it feels like I’m wearing clothes that aren’t the right fit. I think there’s also the fact that there are people around me who care about me. It might be a cliché answer, but I truly mean these words.

Your experience as a model was an advantage, but I feel like there might have been a negative side about it.

If I try to list the negative aspects, there will probably be many. However, I think I was able to become an actress because I was a model. Of course, the unconventional and non-mainstream images of my model days when I was younger come up a lot. However, they’re only my past. It’s a painful side of my past, so I try to not think about it and to just let it go.

What helps you to overcome the moments when you feel down?

Myself. Unless I don’t overcome myself in a wise way, who will do it for me? There’s no one who can do this for me. I know it’s meaningless to expect otherwise.

It’s a very realistic answer.

People think “I hope someone will grab me and pull me up”. I think the opposite. “Reality doesn’t carry me the way I want to”. That’s why I really struggle.

I know oh too well what you mean. I can totally relate to that.

As I’m getting older, I’m giving up on things a little bit faster. Instead to avoid wasting my time, it can give me also the necessary energy to use.

And you can put this energy into something else?

Can it be? Let’s think about it. Saying you give up and put this energy into something else. You might not do something. You’d just give up on everything.

Really? This is kind of sad.

I think it’s right to give up fast, but on the other hand, there are times when I think “don’t you give up a little too fast? Even if it won’t work out, shouldn’t you try to stick to it?”. And then I realize something. Just like children say “ah, this is precious” about something they can forget about the seoncd after, I must have this pure child-like mindset. While moving forward and experiencing things one by one, the way I think is changing a lot.

This will bring you growth, right?

Will I check myself? As I experience many things, I go “ah, this is how I was” and I feel that I realize it once again.

Won’t you test this soon?

Indeed. And every time I overcome a crisis, I will say “oh? Seems that I made it through? Wow, it’s over” (laughs).

You always give off this positive energy when I meet you.

My body got in better condition as I started working out and looking after my health. My mood followed suit.

They say that your mind doesn’t feel good when your body doesn’t feel good.

It’s really true. My health got better, but meeting a good manager also seems to play a role in this.

Hahaha. Your manager’s expression lightened up.

I’m sincere. The staff I met are second only to the Avengers. I’m used to them now. And we got to know each other well. Starting off with the right staff for me a long time ago puts me at ease and makes me feel good.

Which hobby have you been into lately?

I really like cooking, so I cook every time I’m home.

Which kind of meal do you usually cook?

Have you tried putting truffles in an omelette? Put a lot of them and it’s truly delicious.

Actresses need to watch their weight.

I cannot not eat at all. It’s fine if you eat moderately. You should eat slowly without being a glutton (laugh).

I remember reading by chance a text called “Lee Sung Kyung, the star whom women in their 20’s want to be”.

Really? Why did the writer exaggerate like this (laughs)?

Do you agree with this opinion?

It’s too much. I’m honestly embarrassed because I’m actually not like this in real life, it’s only because people see me in a positive way. Hmpf (laughs).

How are you in real life?

I’m just a regular person. Still, if people say I’m pretty, I think nothing but “I’m not pretty, why do they say that? Even looking at my real nature, can you say somthing like that?”.

I wonder what your teenage self was like when she dreamed.

Even with an unpretty actor/actress, their image gets highlited with a charm and completed in the specific scene of the movie. This is when a different charm of the actor gets revealed. I thought to myself: “if my life is a movie scene, even if I lack charm, won’t my life become special? So, won’t I become someone special, won’t my life turn into a special movie?” That’s how each aspect of my life became precious to me. That’s when I made up my mind. Let’s live like I’m in a movie.

Like three years ago I couldn’t imagine what you would look like now, I’m anticipating what you will be.

I hope it will feel nice that people remember me for me and not just be famous. There are people like this around me. People whose just by being who they are heal you, make you feel warm inside. For instance, someone like Yoo Jae Suk. I want to become someone who gives a positive energy to people. I’ll try my best to become a good person.


Translation: @thesunnytown


One Comment Add yours

  1. kfangurl says:

    Ooh, this turned out to be an interesting read, thank you Sunny!! I’ve only ever seen her in character on my screen, so this was my first glimpse of Lee Sung Kyung the person, and I’m rather liking what I see! I mean, I like her down-to-earth nature, and how she’s clear about her shortcomings and yet, working hard to improve herself. I think she’s doing a decent job of her roles, and I’m curious to watch her grow as an actress 🙂

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