Lyrics taken from “DIVINE“.

Ask what comes to mind when Choi Sooyoung is mentioned, and the answer might be anything within a range of characteristics: she’s outgoing and charismatic, has a surprisingly sweet singing voice that is often overlooked, and is now recognized as a talented actress rising steadily through the ranks of those appearing on Korea’s silver screen. Sooyoung is a perfect package in many ways: someone who seems born for the spotlight, and benefits just as much from standing on a stage as the audience does from watching her perform.

Because Sooyoung is someone who, to put it simply, is happy when others are happy. In other words: she has a big heart. It’s a trait that often gets lost under the glitz and glamour of being a public figure, and Sooyoung doesn’t make a point of pushing it to the forefront of what she does. Instead, she works on ahead, quietly, regardless of who might be watching.

In an industry that focuses so much on the individual, it would be easy to let the fame seep into self-perception, inflating egos and and coating thoughts and attitudes with a glaze of condescension and entitlement. Luckily, there are plenty of people who don’t let the glory get to their heads, and Sooyoung has shown time and time again that she is definitely a member of the latter group.

Sooyoung has always stood out from the rest of the crowd — quick on her feet and quicker with her words, she immediately draws attention with her talent and witty banter. She’s the type to naturally take to a leading position, even if it’s something that she never considers or actively seeks. In fact, she often shuns the label, stepping aside for the untapped or overlooked potential standing just behind her. It might be slightly baffling at first, to have someone who constantly finds themselves in the spotlight to immediately direct it somewhere else, but that’s exactly the sort of person Sooyoung is.

It only takes a minute of pause to really realize the breadth of Sooyoung’ s heart. Her relationships are strong at worst and unshakable at best, whether it’s with her sister or her fellow members. She supports foundations not just in name but also with her presence, always pushing at the front lines: whether for her father and his imminent blindness, or a former professional athlete bedridden with a crippling disease. Even when she herself is hurt, Sooyoung’s first thought is — genuinely — to ease everyone else’s worries concerning her as soon as possible.

From this, we can see that Sooyoung’s true strength lies in her ability to connect with everyone around her. It could be the briefest of brushes, the smallest second of eye contact — but that moment is more than enough to read the sincerity that motivates her with a relentless energy that is unlikely to see an end.

So yes, Sooyoung is indeed the perfect package: a beautiful person inside and out, wrapped in undeniable wit and humor, with a magnetism that can only be described as irresistible. And just underneath the surface lies a warmth that unites those around her, and lets her leave the world in a little better shape than when she’d found it.

Happy birthday, Sooyoung. Thank you for showing us that even though kindness is not always returned in full, opening our hearts is far from the worst thing that can happen.

Written by: moonrise31@soshified

Originally posted on February 10th, 2020.