‘Elle’ Magazine Interviews Sooyoung on Her Acting, Role in Girls’ Generation, and Hopes for the Future
Elle: You finished your first drama as the lead, ‘Dating Agency; Cyrano’. I was honestly surprised at your acting that didn’t hint at you being an idol.
Sooyoung: I wasn’t expecting to hear people tell me that I did well at all. Because I ran into a lot of limitations while filming.
Elle: From the way she talked, to her gestures, ‘Gong Minyoung’ was really lovable.
Sooyoung: That’s a relief. The way I look or my personality aren’t on the ‘lovely’ side, so I thought it would be awkward to force a lovable appearance. When I see actresses who are good in romantic comedies, like senior Gong Hyojin, they don’t try to look pretty. I tried to let myself go comfortably.
Elle: I think it’d be difficult for an idol to not act pretty.
Sooyoung: Last year, I took the role of a patient with a brain tumor in my first drama, ‘The Third Hospital’. I was a bit disappointed at first when I had to wear a patient’s gown and didn’t get to wear a lot of makeup. But after meeting actual patients who were fighting an illness, I felt pathetic thinking like that. I think throwing out wanting to look pretty made my acting a bit more natural. Still, I got surprised watching TV. Because I came out looking so ugly. (laughs)
Elle: I’m aware that you prepared for a long time to become an actress.
Sooyoung: What I’ve wanted to do from the start is act. When my future was opaque during my trainee days, I tried out for a lot of auditions in order to go down the road of an actress. While I got far away from that [road] through official activities as a singer through Girls’ Generation, I always treasured my dream of acting. While watching my other members find their own domains one by one, I waited for my chance. I received lots of scripts, and there were a few works where I was a strong candidate for the cast, but they all weren’t meant to be.
Elle: You must have sharpened your ‘sword’.
Sooyoung: When I was a trainee, I failed so many auditions that I’m trained in letting go of what isn’t ‘mine’. Of course, there was a time when I sharpened my sword. I don’t know what work I was expecting, but whatever falls in my plate, I was going to do it properly. But it’s fair that I wasn’t the target for casts. Whether it’s a producer or director, they must think a lot before assigning roles to actors. How much of a risk would it be casting me, who doesn’t have any experience. So I’m really grateful for those who trusted me and gave me a chance.
Elle: There are people who think it was a position you gained easily because you’re in ‘Girls’ Generation’.
Sooyoung: That’s true. I think that the negative views on idol actors is something I have to endure. If I started alone, they are opportunities that might not have even come to me. Both dramas didn’t necessarily have high ratings, but on the one hand, I feel more at ease because of that. Either way, it’s true that I am gaining more opportunities because I am [a member of] Girls’ Generation. But I don’t feel sad or get stressed out because of it, and instead try to work hard with a happy state of mind. The other members probably think the same thing.
Elle: You acted out a bright and cheerful young lady both times. Is there a kind of role you want to attempt?
Sooyoung: I want to act out a definite character. A girl you could find near you, ordinary, but is self-centered. Not a character who is openly evil, but someone who makes self-centered choices when it comes to work or certain situations. For instance, like the role Kim Minjung unnie played in the drama ‘New Heart’?
Elle: You’re named one of the most stylish idols in everyday life. You’re the icon of airport fashion as well.
Sooyoung: It’s become such a burden that I tried dressing roughly once on purpose. But when it didn’t become a hot topic, I was disappointed. (laughs) It shows when I get sponsored clothes. I choose and dress myself, but I open my closet door and worry for an hour. Other than the rule ‘don’t overdo it’, I don’t have any special things I adhere to with fashion. I just try to look for a chicness that others haven’t thought of. Not clothes that look pretty upon first glance, but I’d like to dress differently and give off a ‘cool’ feel. But I don’t have enough confidence to take risks yet. What if I was to match Stella McCartney’s oversized jacket, slingback shoes, with a clutch bag that I wore during the photoshoot? While it may fit on the streets of Paris during fashion week, I’m not sure for airport fashion.
Elle: It turns out you have the highest seniority in Girls’ Generation. You debuted first in 2001 in a Korean-Japanese duo group in Japan.
Sooyoung: Yes, it’s been over 10 years since I joined SM. At an age where I didn’t know anything, I started with one ‘talent’ that I felt I had. I went to and from Japan, riding a plane by myself at age 12. While watching BoA unnie get number 1 on the Oricon charts, I thought to myself, ‘I’ll probably become number 1 if I go to Japan too’, but I couldn’t do that in reality. While riding the subway, handling schedules, I went to do all sorts of auditions. At the time, I had a hard time not being able to attend school well and because it felt like I wasn’t receiving as much training as the other trainees in Seoul. But thanks to it all, I’ve gained the valuable asset of ‘Japanese (language)’, as well as a completely different point of view of the entertainment world. If I had started as Girls’ Generation, I think I would be a lot more different from the me today.
Elle: When you visited Japan again as a Girls’ Generation member, you must have been filled with emotions.
Sooyoung: Yes, I honestly almost cried. When we got off at the airport, there were a lot of fans waiting. I was deeply touched thinking, ‘What I couldn’t achieve alone, I now can because I’m together with my members.’ At the time, I had fallen into a slump. My position in the group was unclear, and I was becoming an observer by myself. Even if work came in, I got into the habit of thinking, ‘That’s probably not for me.’ But while advancing into Japan, I felt the preciousness of my members, I was finally able to help the team. Before then, whether it was my singing or dancing, there wasn’t anything that I could do to help my team receive attention. It was only to the point of making my face known with impersonations on variety shows. I was happy being able to give my team help by at least being good at speaking Japanese. I was thinking I was moving backwards, but turning around, I was going in the right direction.
Elle: You learned that efforts aren’t in vain. Along with the wisdom of waiting for an opportunity.
Sooyoung: If you were to draw Girls’ Generation’s past as a graph, there were good stimuli at proper times. We’re a team with very good luck. While we were gaining popularity with a a hit song in Korea, our Japan activities started. We got a breath of fresh air working in the Japanese entertainment world, which has a system completely different from Korea. After that, we went to the United States and started individual activities. If it all came at us in one push, there wouldn’t have been the feeling of taking steps.
Elle: There were differing opinions regarding the new music style in Girls’ Generation’s ‘I Got A Boy’ album, which was released early this year. What are your thoughts?
Sooyoung: When I heard the song for the first time, I thought it would be a success. I thought we’d be told it would be ‘as expected, it’s Girls’ Generation’. (laughs) But while all 9 of us were getting in tune, it was really difficult for us to sing the parts separately. If one person sang, we would have controlled the changes in pitch like starting strong, loosening up midway, and going back to the climax. My members couldn’t help but give off the same energy in their own parts. I was a bit disappointed that balance didn’t come out clearly.
Elle: Your worries must get bigger whenever you release an album.
Sooyoung: I know that wearing the same outfit and doing a group dance is what suits us the most, and that it’s what we do the best. Still, we can’t do the same thing forever. First of all, what Girls’ Generation aims for is doing music that suits our age. As time goes by, we’re going to continue to make new attempts by sharing the members’ ideas.
Elle: I heard you’re quite a stay-at-home person.
Sooyoung: I don’t really like going around late at night. Also, my mom really hates life without ‘order’. She always told me, ‘No matter how much money you make or how famous you get outside, you’re only ‘my daughter’ at home.’ So things clashed a lot at the start of my life in the entertainment world. I want to act like a baby and comfortably unwind at home. But now I think I understand what my mom meant. She was concerned that if there isn’t order in your home, it would be apparent when you go out.
Elle: You confessed on television that your father is suffering from a vision disorder.
Sooyoung: That wasn’t my original intention, but the focus seemed to be on ‘Sooyoung’s father’s illness’, so I’m disappointed. It wasn’t about who my father is and what I’ve learned through him. But I knew that would happen based on the characteristics of television. That illness (pigmentary degeneration of the retina) itself progresses so gradually that you live without being well aware of it. Furthermore, my father never shows a defensive side. I learn a lot seeing my father study about his own illness, giving lectures, and helping other patients.
Elle: What do you regard as being the most important guideline living as a celebrity?
Sooyoung: Objectively, looking at yourself. Honestly, even when I’m not at that level, if people around me keep complimenting me, I’ll misunderstand that I’ve become something. This is something all the members agree with. Not to become a big frog in a little pond. I especially think it would be important knowing what people my age do. When we’re together, we think the world we’re in is everything, but it’s different if you step out just a little. There are people who take a bus to work every day at the break of day. There are some people who study hard, earn a scholarship, and go to college. I try not to forget those scenes of life.
Elle: Is there something you want to perfect on your own?
Sooyoung: I’m jealous of people who have their own, unique world. Also, not something that’s dramatized or imitated, but real for people. I don’t like people being uncomfortable because of me, so there are a lot of times where I say I’m okay, when I’m actually not. But things being good all around never really is good. If you look at Lee Hyori unnie, if your own world is definite, and you think that you are right, you don’t have to compromise. I want to bring up that kind of ability.
Elle: What is your future, not as a girl, but a woman?
Sooyoung: If you’re a woman, you’d dream of having a happy family. I’m the same. Imagining the families of my 8 members being next to me in the distant future was really touching. If I would be able to see my Girls’ Generation friends getting married and having kids by their sides, I think that alone would be a miracle.
Elle: 24 years old. Isn’t this the moment when you’re prettiest in life?
Sooyoung: When I was 20, people said ‘you’re prettiest when you’re 20. Then others said that the 30’s are the start for a woman. (laughs) Once time goes by, I think I will feel sad. Not living to my heart’s content and living in self-restraint and self-control. However, I will have to make it so that eventually, I will think it was a good decision.
Sources: Elle Magazine, je-kwon
Translated by: ch0sshi@soshified
Edited by: bhost909@soshified
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