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The first fashion show you attended during this Paris fashion week was the Saint-Laurent “2019 S/S women collection” set in the Trocadero park in front of the Eiffel Tower. Your outfit today uses the Manhattan skyline as a background and it was also in the Saint-Laurent menswear 2019 S/S collection. How does it feel to enjoy the Saint-Laurent style more than anyone else before the season starts?
Really? I just thought the jacket I’m wearing today was pretty. That’s what I had in mind when I was watching the show too, the stage really left a deep impression on me. It felt like the sky of Paris that day and the atmosphere made the show perfect.
What does Paris mean to you?
It’s the first place I traveled to all by myself. This trip gave me the opportunity to take a real break for the first time. It’s special. I also have friends in Paris. Paris is the kind of place in which you can feel something new when you start getting bored. The setting is very different even when you go into the suburbs just right outside of Paris. And I also got to walk in the vineyards. Even the walking paths are interesting. I wonder if I should try to find some countryside neighborhood I don’t know about.
That’s unexpected. I thought you were a city girl.
I like quiet activities. When I’m on a break, I just stay at home. To the point that I even think cleaning my home all by myself is a healing activity for me. I paint too, I play the piano. However, I’ve been going out lately to meet and have fun wuth my friends, which is also something I actually enjoy doing as well. (laughs)
The runway is a space where you get to show yourself in a limited space. Is it something similar to acting?
You convey your energy to people who are watching you. It’s the same with acting. However, the energy is kind of different. Acting is about subtle and constant research. Modelling is about that specific moment when you’re free and happy on the runway, although it required a lot of preparation even right before the show. This moment only exists when you feel it. On the opposite, what’s important with acting is the on-going making process, so each second is filled with tension. You can’t feel the ecstasy the model feels while cutting through the winds. I must think and think again because regardless if it’s comfort or joy or sorrow, people must relate to the human feelings I convey in order to feel all these emotions too. It’s true that I enjoy this process, but my head is always filled with many thoughts when I portray a character.
You seem to overthink.
Do I? Let alone the project, the scene, the character, I have questions about me being able to get my partner to be immersed into my acting when I work with someone else, questions about being someone motivating their acting partner.
Does it mean that you also gained a mindset free enough to look at those around you?
I wasn’t aware at first. I didn’t know. As time goes by, I gain a sense of responsibility. My vision is broadening. I feel how big my shortcomings are. Because you must be professional before you pull the shortcomings excuse card. That’s why I’m happy when the character immersion is complete. I can feel the ecstasy. I make research about my character. I wonder about the message the character tries to convey, how it will blend with the overall story. You must become a good actor when you try to do good projects, because wanting to become a good actor is also to participate in good projects at the end of the day.
Are you saying that the more acting experience you get and the more difficult acting becomes?
That’s right. However, worrying over such thing while acting is something to be thankful for. I even enjoy the thinking process itself. It’s like a blessing.
Is this how you’ve come so far in such a short period of time?
I was very lucky. I got to find the right roles, the right staff and the right acting partners. Everything worked out smoothly.
Are you a hard worker?
I always try my best in everything I do. Yet, I can still be seen as lacking. More than my efforts being acknowledged, I received hard truths as well because I also acknowledge what I should work on.
Do you protect yourself?
My mindset is “let’s do my best when I rest”. People must rest so they can take a new leap. Even when I can’t take a break, I must relax one way or another. While relaxing, what I must think about and my heart get to pick the burdens I must carry. That’s what I do in order to not get swayed, to not have regrets. I cannot not keep my balance in anything I do.
What has changed the most since you began acting?
My efforts to express authenticity haven’t changed. I have a lot on my mind, so it’s hard. When I had nothing, this was my weapon. Now that I’ve gained some experience, there are also moments when I make the distinction between authenticity and purity/simplicity. Experience is important, but I always think about how to find the balance between the two.
I didn’t know you worked so hard.
I always have thoughts lingering in the back of my mind. For instance, I ask myself “what if the viewers can’t feel my authenticity starting with small details such as figuring out if the priority goes to what I feel or to what my partner feels? Is this the right way to express it? Isn’t it what authenticity is?” This is really complicated. It’s not easy.
However, it seems you don’t have regrets.
No one knows how thankful I am when people can relate to my acting and find comfort in what I show. There’s this joy you can feel only when you’re completely immersed into a character. To me, it’s a very special and precious moment. When I’m done filming a project, I enjoy getting feedbacks by people calling me by my character’s name and not by my real name. They don’t talk about Lee Sung Kyung, they talk about Bok Ju who cries. If the role can convey a positive message, I’ll play any character.
You began acting with your role in No Hee Kyung’s drama “It’s Okay, That’s Love”. Is there some anecdote about your casting process?
I was told they really liked my energy. She said she really liked me since they needed a fresh face and not someone people are used to see.
I felt it too when I saw you in Paris.
Really? I’ve been a fan of “Dazed” even when I was a model. “Dazed” has this carefree vibe. It has this intensity. Even without trying to, it gives off this intense vibe and I think it’s the “Dazed” effect. The fact that you can be free in whatever you do. That’s why I also did things the way I wanted to today. (laughs)
Have you already gotten into your feels in a big way?
The follow-up question is “do you believe in the power of love?”, right? I believe in the power of love. A lot. Instead of talking about the power of love, I’d say I feel its strength/intensity. Family, neighbors, pets, love relationships, work… Love is something that can transcend, regardless of what kind of love it is. Because love can cover any flaw. Love can even make impossible things possible, it can change people. Love can blind you, it can open your eyes. The power of love is amazing.
Have you felt it recently?
Always in my daily life. It might be because I’ve been working with this staff for a long time, but it feels more like we’re a family than close friends. What we feel is no different than love. We didn’t force the fact that we laugh, we cry, and enjoy good conversations. Our hearts must be together and communicate for this situation to happen. That’s why my energy when I work is something special and this makes me happy.
Do you express it often?
When I was a kid, I often said the words “Love you” to the people around me. Even now, it’s how I end a phone conversation with my parents before hanging up. Because it can become the last words they hear from me. That hadn’t always been the meaning behind my action, but no one know if starting this behavior might change the world. Because, if I remember someone I love even if I get smaller, the vitality of this feeling can still be felt. I healed through love. Regardless if we’re talking my family, my friends, my staff, my fans, all these people who love me, I keep thinking about each piece of the love they give me. Being alive and giving love to someone, being loved and feeling love, it’s such a great feeling.
So you’re done filming for now. What will you do with your time? Which image of you will we see in Spring/Summer 2019?
I plan to take a long break and travel around with my parents. Even if I wear myself out, I decided to go all in when I’m able to spend a bit more time with my parents, even if it’s just a little. And I’ll watch the movies I have yet to watch. Once I build back a healthy body, I’ll try to find interesting projects. Because taking a break is also about the process of getting ready for another project. I’m setting things up exactly how I want to.
Will you also love?
Of course. I must create more and more memories, I must laugh and get along with those I wasn’t able to see because I was too busy with work. (laughs)
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Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com