In the drama “Love Rain”, Yoona went naturally from a 1970’s college student to a gardener living in the year 2012. She balanced it out between being composed and outgoing, easygoing and graceful, and mature and cheerful. Standing in front of a camera in a studio for the first time since the drama ended, she shows a variation of black (editor Ahn Dongsun, photographed by Kim Sangon).

On the way to interview Yoona, I was flooded with requests for her autograph. I headed to the studio carrying a recorder and autograph papers for the photographer’s brother-in-law, who wanted to come to the photoshoot, my assistant, whose boyfriend has Yoona as his iPhone lockscreen background, and to complete the mission given to me by my younger brother on “KakaoTalk”. While they say a person’s looks are just superficial, there are time when their looks are transparent and show that person as they are. When you meet a celebrity you’ve only seen on TV in person, the person’s image seen without any medium tells you a lot. I look at Yoona standing under the high lights. Her straight forehead, tranquil eyes, and the slim, long lines that make her body. (I don’t know if someone will be able to find any traces of Photoshop being used, but we did not make any revisions to make her legs longer or arms slimmer.) The first interview and photoshoot, being done months after the drama “Love Rain’ ended”. While many different emotions may be rising from within, such as being unfamiliar, feeling greedy, having fun, and feeling tired, a relaxing silence is encircling Yoona like a cloud. In one word, she was mature.

When asked how she felt about “Love Rain” not being able to gain a lot of attention in Korea, while gaining a lot of popularity being aired on Fuji TV in Japan, Yoona did not lose her sense of maturity.

“I wasn’t distressed over viewer ratings not being high from the start. Of course, it would have been nice if the ratings were high and caused a social boom. But the fact that it was director Yoon Sukho and writer Oh Sooyeon’s drama was something satisfying in itself, regardless of the ratings. I feel very thankful that it is getting much attention in Japan. I also think that gentle sensibility also suits the Japanese peoples’ emotions well. People of various ages come and ask for a handshake when I go to Japan while ‘Love Rain’ is currently airing, telling me that they’re watching the drama well. It’s amazing and I feel good.”

An actor attempting a work that they don’t think they could ever accomplish predicts their fulfillment, and “Love Rain” was like that for Yoona. In this drama, which was her third time acting as the main character, she took on the role of an innocent university student in the 1970’s, Kim Yoonhee, as well as a cheerful gardener in the year 2012, Jung Hana. As if it wasn’t enough acting out the role of someone who was born twenty years before she was, she had to play two different characters and juggle Girls’ Generation’s schedules too. She had to go through a repetitive schedule of going down to Daegu at dawn to film the scenes taking place in the 70’s, and, in order to appear on music programs, she would come back up to Seoul, and head back down to Daegu again.

“In the drama, Yoonhee is sick. But there wasn’t any reason for her to act sick. Because she was already exhausted.”

Like what her manager said [in the previous quote], there were days that she had to endure hardships both physically and mentally.

“But, what’s fun is that, after suffering like that filming as Yoonhee, it was really easy filming as Hana later on. I guess you really gain hard-working skills through work (laugh).”

In the summer of 2007, a month before Girls’ Generation debuted, Yoona made her face known through the drama “9 Ends 2 Outs”. After that, she became the heroine that even elders liked: Saebyuk in “You Are My Destiny”. Then, she made another attempt at acting, this time as a brave designer who goes about the Dongdaemun market in “Cinderella Man” alongside Kwon Sangwoo. And now her first work in two years. Yoona learned a new method of approach to dramas through this.

“In the past, I had a tendency to just go at things, but I think I approached this character after a little more analysis. Before, when it came to emotional scenes, I would listen to sad songs and recall sad things that I’ve encountered. But this time, I substituted myself in the place of Yoonhee and Hana, and acted out the emotions as is. And so it was really difficult acting as Yoonhee. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t live in that generation, but it was difficult trying to understand those analog emotions, too. I had endless thoughts as to what I may have been like if I were Yoonhee. When it came to Hana, she was a bright, easy-going character, so it was a relief that there were so many similarities between her and my actual self. Anyway, approaching acting like this was different and it was interesting.”

Now that she’s beginning to earn a taste for acting, when asked what kind of character she wants to play, Yoona answered within three seconds. Her reply of wanting to play any role, as long as it is written by Kim Eunsook, flew out.

“I really, really, really want to try [acting in her work]. Of course, I will have to improve my acting skills so that I don’t make her work one that fails (laugh).”

Yoona’s voice got one tone higher when “On Air” and “Secret Garden” were mentioned. She had said she enjoyed watching those two dramas the most.

“I like how the characters in writer Kim Eunsook’s works aren’t too excessive or restrained. While it seems like what you hear in a drama, it also really seems like everyday life. So you gradually agree with things and focus on it without having to try to understand it. Also, I really like the script! Because of the lines that come into your ears so easily, you can’t miss a word.”

It was the moment when Yoona, who only appeared calm and mature, turned into “heartily laughing Yoona” (something her fans call her when she laughs loudly with her mouth wide open). Yoona’s real charm is actually these unexpected things. When you just look at her, she appears feminine, coy, and seems like she’d be quiet, but people around her attest that this is not true at all.

“Whether she’s sleeping or eating in the middle of filming, if the cue sign is dropped, she’s the type who just looks into a mirror briefly and then gets in front of the camera.”

“She’s a total comedian off camera. From ‘Kim Kkot Deu Rae’ and ‘Nahp Deuk Yi’ (characters in the ‘Gag Concert’ segment “School of Mental Breakdown”), she imitates all the characters in comedy programs. All the members of Girls’ Generation are funny, but the top three are Yoona, Sooyoung, and Hyoyeon.”

[Translator’s note: the two previous statements were not said by Yoona, but her manager/staff.]

Sure enough. Once she got used to the studio, when the monitor showed that the bandage on her leg was visible through the slit in the Gucci dress (something the photographer worked the hardest on), she laughed saying, “Ah, look at that, that’s something you want to see, Isn’t it? Heh heh.” She’s a cheerful young lady who knows how to pleasantly caricature herself.

Going back to the beginning, I think the calmness and tranquility you feel from Yoona are the essence of a professional’s concentration skills. After joining SM Entertainment when she was in middle school, she spent her trainee days improving her details. She spent her days training, trying to reach the goal she had set. At that moment, time had probably stopped for Yoona. Then five years after her debut. The moment she gets on stage, she gains the confidence that what she’s trained for thus far manifests itself. The clock that stopped moving while she was training started moving again. Through all the ten years or so, I think Yoona was able to realize how to handle her well-trained self for music, acting, and poses without knowing it. When I told her that this was what I thought while looking at how she poses in front of the camera without difficulties or forcing it, Yoona took in the words with a deeply engaged facial expression.

“I’m not sure. During my trainee days, I devoted myself to learning without any worries. While every now and then I did worry about all this hard work not being able to bloom into a flower later on, I realized something while I stood on stage and acted. Each and every minor gesture I made a long time ago and the acting lessons I received are all left somewhere within me. But, I’m still not yet entirely sure as to where those things are, and what I have to do for them to come out. There are also times where it feels like all those things have disappeared. I hold a belief that, as I get older and gain more experiences, I will be able to get closer to acting.”

But when I asked what film left an impression on her recently, she said it was the Indian film “3 idiots”, which she had watched on the plane. Shouldn’t she go to the movie theaters and date so that she gets closer with acting?

“When I’m not promoting an album, I’m doing a drama. When the drama ends, overseas activities would follow right after. There have been a lot of times where I think, ‘I really want to rest!’, but when I actually do get a vacation, I don’t know what I should do. There are times when I think being busy is a lot better. For some odd reason, after resting for a week, I want to rest more and I lose that drive. I want to go to the movies and date, but I can’t just be free within the public’s eyes. But I think that’s a weight you have to deal with from the start if you want to become a celebrity. And I’m happy that weight is a lot lighter than the love from fans.”

Yoona has returned to her mature mode again. At that moment, the balancing device somewhere inside her body started blinking brightly once more.

Sources: ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ Magazine, kchopper
Translated by: ch0sshi@soshified
Edited by: moonrise31@soshified, bhost909@soshified

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