[October 2018 – Elle] Kim Tae Hee, By Our Side Again – Interview



It’s been a while since you’ve done a photo shoot as an actress all by yourself. How do you feel? It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done a photo shoot like this and not just ad campaign pictures. And it also had a vibe a bit different from the fashion photo shoot sessions I had in the past, so I enjoyed it.

This white t-shirt and jeans, I heard this outfit was an idea you wanted to try. To be honest, I just went along with the trends when I did my my previous photo shoots. I wore what I was told to wear or what people around me wanted me to wear. This time around, it’s about presenting myself to the fans after a long time, so I wanted to show them the image I wanted to show, I wanted to show them something similar to my true self. In my daily life, I often go barefaced and I usually wear a t-shirt with some jeans.

When people say “Kim Tae Hee”, the word “pretty” comes to mind like a knee-jerk reaction. Since you’re an actress, the word “pretty” may be seen like an outstanding quality or gift and there must be times when it feels like an opinion you must overcome. It’s something I’m thankful for. Hearing “you’re pretty” is something always nice to hear. I never wanted to be oppressed or be restricted to the pressure of having to always look pretty. Still, there are times when I stand in front of the camera and I do want to look my best and I think to myself I should meet people’s expectations. If I didn’t, wouldn’t it show through stuff like neglecting my self discipline? I do wonder sometimes if I’ll be able to handle being criticized after getting only compliments so far. However, aging is a natural process. I decided to love my wrinkles. It’s not about forcing myself to get specific facial expressions so my wrinkles don’t show. Even if I seem less pretty, I want to look natural and comfortable, regardless if I’m in an acting situation or not.

You talk easily about it, but do you feel a great change about your appearance? Right now, I just want to let go (laughs). I think this image set in an artificial way is no longer attractive. My regular self doesn’t wake up right away with a strong gaze. The opposite happens more often. I really want to show my regular facial expression in a non-awkward and natural way.

What do you like the most about yourself? I feel like I wasn’t indulgent with myself all these years. I’d say the fact that I tried hard to be nice? I’m not talking about being nice just for the sake of it. There was a time when I worried if being professional wasn’t about being a bit more selfish.  Right now, I just consider this worry as being natural.  Anyone can make mistake and can hurt others. If there are people who feel responsibility and won’t tolerate such situations, there are people who will tolerate it. I don’t want to live as the latter.

Is there something you do to get a healthy body and a healthy mind? I always exercise. I’ve always enjoyed working out, so I kept up with a physical training routine for a long time. However, I started doing Pilates because my back hurts from the work-related injuries that got my body and shoulders messed up. Chae Yung Ahn-unnie introduced me to a teacher when we were filming “Young Pal” together. And it was a nice way to exercise. As I find my body balance through Pilates, things such as the pain I was talking about earlier completely disappeared. I had no other choice but to take a break from Pilates, but I’m currently getting back to it.

Do you prepare for your comeback? Don’t you miss being on a filming set? It’s more about the thirst of a new project than the longing for a filiming set? What I’m truly longing for is the thrill of when I read a script that just “sticks” with me. I hope I’ll get to find a rpoject like it’d be destiny… I must wait (laugh).

When browsing through your filmography, one can see you unexpectedly tried out various genres such as action, melo, or sageuk. What thoughts do you have on your path as an actress? I’m loyal to the present. I don’t really look back at the past and I don’t plan my future as well. There are projects I did because I looked back to what I hadn’t tried yet and it seemed I hadn’t shown this kind of image, but most of the time I just picked up my projects by following my heart and I acted with my heart. From an outsider’s perspective, it may have looked like careful and calculative moves, but it’s absolutely not the case. You’d be very surprised once you get to know me (laughs). I’m a very emotional, spontaneous and honest person.

If you were to choose a role in your past projects that is specifically meaningful to you? Each role has a specific meaning to me. The project that I had the most fun with is “My Princess”. It’s a romantic comedy, so filming also had many moments where I laughed and had a good time. The project that stings like a bee is “Jang Ok Jung, Living in Love”. It hurt because the viewing ratings of the first episodes didn’t meet the expectations and we got a lot of negative reviews. Still, I still tried my best until the end to finish the project. Just like they say “hardships make you stronger”, this experience also taught me something. In that aspect, this is my most precious project.

Do you watch a lot of movies or dramas?  I do. I watched almost every film recently released. The drama I enjoyed the most lately was JTBC’s “Misty”. I totally love the story and I even thought that I’d want to portray this kind of role one day. My standard is simple. I watch it if I enjoy it. If I don’t find it interesting and if I can’t focus, then no matter how fancy the production is, I just can’t watch it.

Which kind of role are you hoping for?  I always picked projects I wanted to give it a try to. And I still do. I want to portray a character in a solid story or portray a realistic role that can show my regular self like the concept of today’s photo shoot. I’d even say I wish I’ll be able to play even in my 50’s. I hope the audience will still want to see me until then and there will be projects needing me.

How did you feel about the past year and a half as you experience life-changing moments? Is there something different about the way you look at the world or about the way you approach life? Since you’re asking, of course I get to wonder about what changed in my life. I get to feel greatly joyful, happy and wonderful emotions that I had never felt before. Meanwhile, I also get to feel emotions such as worry,  anxiety, anger, discomfort a few times as well.  This gets me to think my life also got much fuller and I go “I’m really an adult now”. Isn’t it what being human is about? Isn’t it what living life should be? I just try my best to live each moment to the fullest as I say to myself “let’s not have regrets in the future”.


Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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