10 Years from Now, I Want to Become a More Valuable Person

We met a woman who is at a new inflection point, celebrating 10th anniversary since her debut. However, the air around Sooyoung was unexpectedly very ordinary and peaceful. “I thought about how I would become a person of even more value as time passes and it made me enjoy the time that I have now.” Easygoing stories we shared with Sooyoung, who has become a level more mature.

You seem to be in good condition today, how have you been?

I spend every day filming a drama. Filming, and filming again. Yesterday, I received a massage to relieve tiredness and it felt refreshing after getting my neck and shoulders massaged.

We heard you are diligently practicing yoga these days.

I’m learning authentic yoga, and it really makes me sweat. It’s just called yoga but it’s basically hard training. If you include the brief period of rest, you do it for almost 2 hours so the amount of exercise of no joke.

On your most recent day off, how did you spend it?

I’ve been scheduling my daily life around the drama, so even on my days off, I didn’t know what to do. I’m mostly busy cleaning my room that I had messed up over time. I read letters that I received from fans and organize items that have been sent to me from here and there, and that alone often takes up the whole day.

When we observe you, we think you’re inwardly a homebody.

That’s right. A lot of people think that I would go out a lot, but I am inwardly a homebody.

Do you not shop these days?

Truthfully, when it comes to shopping, you need a place to go to in order to do it, right? But these days, I basically live on set and I have drama schedules until February next year, so I don’t even have places to go wearing them, even if I buy new clothes.

If you’re filming until February, you should be preparing for winter?

I’m fixated on items like padded jackets, long underwear and hot packs these days. Typically when you film a drama, you spend the season with 1 or 2 padded jackets. So I’m carefully looking over today’s shoot with padded jackets.

Is there a styling tip unique to Sooyoung that you’re recently fixated on these days?

As a basis, I pursue comfortable fashion that is not far from reality. Now that I have short hair, I don’t think clothes with a chic or feminine mood suit me that well. So these days, I tend to dress casually. The wide denim pants that I wore to the shoot today were bought on sale for 40% off recently, and I like them a lot. It’s good to wear together with colourful knits.

What item did you shop for recently?

Recently, I only occasionally shopped on the internet. An item that I bought, I think it was perfume? Not too long ago, I went out all day and carefully purchased one perfume, but it was so expensive that I regretted for a week (laughs). But the scent is good, so it did change my mood.

The drama <The Man in the Kitchen> is entertaining because we could see a new side of Choi Sooyoung.

I wanted to do a family drama that could be watched by people of all ages, and I really had a strong desire to work with and learn from sunbaenims who had years of experience. Luckily, the director picked me and created that role, so I got this opportunity.

On set, are there any differences due to the fact that you are an idol turned actress?

Not at all. Everyone treats me well, and interacts comfortably. Especially Kim Misook teacher-nim, who plays my mom, gives me a lot of advice.

Truthfully, you expectedly(?) tend to be very quiet on set, right?

Even at home, I’m a son-like daughter. At first, Kim Misook teacher-nim said, “You’ve never done aegyo to your mom, have you?” so I responded “Aegyo is not my style, I’m a son-like daughter” and she said it seemed that way.

It seems like you’d be lively and bright so it’s unexpected.

When I’m with members or unnies, I’m very chatty, but when it comes to a place where I’m working, I think I get nervous. It might be because I started working since I was young when I didn’t know anything.

What is your chemistry like with On Joowan, who is your partner on the drama?

Before working with On Joowan, he did musicals with my unnie for a long time. I heard a lot of stories about him from unnie and that might have been why we got close quickly. First of all, he has a good personality and when I act, I tend to have the same concerns as oppa. We talk for a long time before about blocking or reactions so that we can bring scenes that the writers wrote to life in an even more entertaining way. I like that we get along well in those areas.

Do you tend to get along well with other actors that you work opposite in dramas?

Yes. More than anything, I think it’s important to speak a lot with actors that you work opposite. The more you do that, there are lots of ideas, and when I act a certain way, you need to know ahead of time that there isn’t anything that makes the actors that you’re working opposite uncomfortable in an emotional way. When we filmed <A Person You Could Know>, a short series that broadcast recently, I got very close with Shim Heesup and Lee Wongeun, even though it was a short period of time.

Was it your dream to be an actress originally?

No. My dream was to be a person who sings and dances. I liked being on stage. When I received acting lessons as a trainee, I became curious about acting and I entered university as a theatre major. As I do dramas, I’m able to live and express another individual’s life, and depending on how I express it, this individual appears this way or that way, and that was fascinating and entertaining. I like that feeling so I want to continue to act.

You’ve become a member who has been long-running in various fields.

If you see me like that, I’m very thankful. But do you think you feel that way because these days I’m on TV every weekend (laughs)? It has been 10 year since my debut, and I’ve continuously stood on stage. The long-running image must have been created due to SNSD activity.

Of things you’ve heard recently, what made you happiest?

Regardless of project, when I hear “I would like it if Sooyoung did it”, it really puts in a good mood. Whether it’s an editorial or a drama, the fact that someone thought of me feels like it means ‘Sooyoung as a person has this image and that charm and is good at this’ so it makes me happy. Whenever I hear words like that, it always feels new. I’m very thankful that I’m getting even more various opportunities due to an opportunity that someone gave me.

For several years, you continuously participated in Fashion Week overseas.

I went to New York for 4 seasons in a row. This spring, I went to Firenze to see collections. Regrettably, I wasn’t able to participate in this Fashion Week season due to drama shoots.

We like Sooyoung’s personality because the gap between your up and down is not huge.

I’ve never thought ‘I should be the best’ or ‘I want to be the best’. These days, I have a lot of thoughts about being thankful for what I’m given. Even now, I’m satisfied and busy each and every day with everything I’m doing. I think that gives a sense of satisfaction.

Are there any new areas that you want to attempt?

I want to write a book and I also have thoughts about opening a photography exhibition. However, it’s too early right now. I think it will all be possible a few years from now. As we prepared for the 10th anniversary fan meeting, I often took photos of the members with a camera, and at drama sets, I enjoy taking photos of the staff’s faces. When directors look at monitors, their wrinkled eyes look cool. Members’ bare faces when we practice are the prettiest. When Linda McCartney’s photo exhibition opened in Korea, it left a deep impression on me. Like how value increases as time passes, I feel like the same applies to photos. Many years down the road, I hope I have an opportunity to open an exhibition with photos that I took.

What do you think you will be like in 10 years? What titles would you want in front of Sooyoung?

I hope I am a person who does my share. Like I said before, whenever I hear “I would like it if Sooyoung did it”, it feels new. The heavy sense of responsibility in those words are electrifying. I want to have the ability to do my share that I’m given so that people who have given me opportunities have no regrets. But I can’t learn all of that at once. My mom collects antique items, and those items go up in price as time passes. It means that time is value. I wanted to be in my 20s forever, but then when I think ‘What if I become a more valuable person as time passes’, I’ve come to enjoy the now. When I’m 38, I hope I am someone you want to continue to see, like an antique.