[April 2014 – Elle] Rookie actor Ahn Jae Hyun – Interview


Today, you’re here as actor Ahn Jae Hyun and not as model Ahn Jae Hyun. 

The word “actor” still makes me feel awkward. I’m just Ahn Jae Hyun. I just wanted to show myself in a new different way to my fans. Getting the attention I couldn’t even expect is awesome. However, I wonder if they’re truly interested in me? I don’t get to walk around by myself these days, so I don’t know exactly.  It does feel different because the old ladies at the restaurant recognize me.

How did it feel to see yourself acting on TV?

It was exactly the same as seeing myself in magazines. If feels like monitoring the outcome of something I’ve worked on.  Chun Yoon Jae was a high school student in his rebelious phase. He was full energy in the first episodes, so it was a bit awkward for me.  I talked about it with the director, and I think  this character changed and turned into a trickier high school student with less energy but a blurting way of speech.

He was even clumsy and had aegyo in the second of half of the drama. 

Jeon Ji Hyun-sunabenim is very good at this kind of acting. Since Yoon Jae Do is blood-related with “Chun Song Yi” (laughs), I thought it wouldn’t be that strange for him to behave like that too. Each person I met while shooting this drama asked me how Jeon Ji Hyun-sunbaenim was in real life.

Actually, I was planning to ask you this question.

Ah well, it was like watching her on a TV screen. When I was sitting with her, I was mesmerized like “wow, she’s so pretty”. When she was on her feet, it’s surprising how tall and thin she is.

You received many role offers in the past, but I know you rejected them. 

I did. Movie roles, drama roles, I rejected all of them. I thought my acting skills were still lacking, that my mind wasn’t ready. I wanted to do only modeling activities.  Acting was something for me to think about once I’d have shown everything I could show as a model. However, I got a lot of offers. One director gave me an offer four times. I was thankful, so I accepted to meet him and I respectfully turned him down saying I couldn’t take on the role because my skills couldn’t allow me to.

So why did you decide to join this drama? 

Director Jang Tae Yoo read an interview of mine and it seems it gave him a good impression of me. He offered me the role. This time again, I met him with the mindset that I would just thank him. However, as time went by and we discussed,  he kept telling me to give it a try. He kept saying “the role is yours” and I kept declining saying “no, I can’t” (laughs). I offered to have a drink another day. The very next day,  he came to see me with the assistant director. He said “you said you didn’t get to prepare much, so I’ll make you prepare”. And he explained to me everything about the drama and the filming process.

So he won you over in the end. 

Yes. I thought it’d be nice to work with such great people. The director truly kept his promise. From the camera angle to acting, he taught me everything one thing at a time. The set atmosphere was also friendly and not one single person on the set frowned.

You were cast as Won Ho in the movie “Fashion King”. 

As soon as the news of me doing the drama came out, the role offer for “Fashion King” came right away. The CEO of the movie company said he had been keeping an eye on me. He said “Jae Hyun, you’ll work with us, right? Please, do it.” And this sealed the deal with no audition. I’m having fun shooting this movie these days.

Your number of fans have been quite exceptional since your model days. What do you think makes you attractive?

To be honest, I started working as a model, but I didn’t have much going on for a while. Then as my fandom increased little by little, I realized that this job was about getting more and more stuff to do that will get you loved for it. I’m thankful that fans give me recognition and they think being a model is a job I’m good at. That’s why I leave comments on my fancafé and I keep communicating with them by making events. The registered users went from 200 people to 2,000, then 20,000. Right now my fancafé has 200,000 members. I feel like my fans and I are growing together.

What did you learn while being a fashion model? What did you gain?

Anything you want to happen will happen if you work hard for it. What I gain is the fact of being surrounded by good people. I don’t really have friends among models or actors. However, I’ve become friends with a lot of office employees, photographers and editors.  I’m friends with a lot of fashion show planners. Of course, there are also my fans. Some people might see their fans as a burden, but I don’t. I’m always pleased to see them. They used to support me by coming to my fashion shows and we’d take pictures together. (The manager standing on the side nods in agreement and says not going to his home is the limit now)

You don’t seem to be the “flames of ambition” type of guy.

I’m not. Money and success are important. However, having “my people” by my side is more important to me. I’m thankful to those who give value to my existence, who are by my side. I want us to keep being happy together. In
order to do so, I think I must get a bit more recognition and maintain this status. That’s why I can’t miss out on opportunities.

It’s not easy for a 20-something man to know accurately what’s precious to him.

Is that so? Of course, being with no money makes you uneasy and is annoying sometimes. However, when you look back at your teen years or in your early 20’s, the times when you put together a few thousands won with your friends to go to a PC bang or to have drink were happier times, weren’t they? Although I have more money now, this time spent back then with my friends can’t be bought. If you only have kimchi for a meal, it’s always tastier to eat it with someone than to eat it by yourself.

You really have no secret bursting ambition?

I am ambitious and it’s fair to be. What I want to hear even when I’m in my 40’s and in my 50’s is “this guy is always as cool as ever”. And I don’t mean just cool from the outside, but also my personality. This is my great ambition. People are bound to change as time goes by. Still, I want to become someone who is always positive and creates a comfortable “safety zone” for others. I try to self-reflect a lot. If you want to be in my “team”, it’s better to be like me. People with a lot of ambition, gloomy people… Everything shows. I like people with a “I have no hostility in me” aura. I really don’t care about their physical appearance.

What about from a dating perspective? As you get busier and more famous, do you take a break from love relationship?

When I look back, I think each woman I dated had their own charm different from the others. I never dated someone I had been friends with for a long time. I’m the “love at first sight” type of guy. The “falling head over heels” type. I never thought “I can’t be in a relationship because of work”. I mean, I think “love” is always the most important thing in any circumstances.

What do you think of the acting world you experienced sooner you had anticipated?

I still feel like I’m getting homework and learning, so it’s hard to say something. I had a sense of fullfillment. When a scene is over and the 50-people staff team say at the same time “okay, this is good”, this compliment was everything to me. When you try to do something for the first time, it’s always difficult. However, when you take the first step, many things turn out to be nothing. I think each person has a different mindset. We’re all the same. Some people will make it, some won’t. Compared to your efforts, there’s the “I’m the boss” feeling caused by a so-called extraordinary success, but these people are just 0,01% of our society.

You also hosted Mnet’s music show “M!Countdown”. Do you enjoy getting so many opportunities?  

I work every day, so I don’t feel it. My schedule is packed until April.  It feels like the day never ends and just goes on and on. I’m also working with jewelry brand (AA.Gban) in my free time.  I’ll also join another mall project in May and we’re planning to sell also in Japan.  I’m working hard so the people buying our products  will go “I was right to buy this” later on. I’m so busy that I feel no longing/no void.  I wouldn’t have started this at all otherwise.

These new opportunities, these different environments, don’t they influence you in your personal life? 

I don’t know. Acting, modeling I see them both as “a job”. A job that can allow me to raise a family and maintain human relationships. I started working before I got into my 20’s, so I earned money early and I wanted to have my own family.  Modeling was my career choice for a job. My rookie days aside, it’s a job I enjoyed freely. I hope acting will make me feel the same way. Because your mind can be at ease even if you have a busy life. “Mukbang” [t/n: peole filming themselves having a meal] is popular these days.  What I hope is to enjoy a delicious meal and have a nice digestion, not to eat fast and get a stomache.


Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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