“A Better Me”

She is not staying still in the shining now, and taking big smart steps forward. A girl who was like a white flower blossom is becoming an elegant young woman who fits various descriptions. Actress Im Yoona’s shine that deepens another level.

Even if she’s not the ‘center’ of a brilliantly shining stage, even if she’s not receiving flashes in a glamorous dress, Yoona is a person that stands out whenever, wherever. Her slender and long body, milky skin, a deer-like deep and transparent eyes that center her narrow face, and her refreshing smile. Aside from one’s likes and dislikes, she has pretty looks acknowledged by anyone and with a unique mood, when she first appeared before the world, she had the role of a ‘girl who is particularly pretty among pretty kids’.

However, Yoona has been able to show that beauty unchangingly by not staying as just a slender girl, but by working hard with a healthy energy and with a warm heart. Even though she is an idol that can capture the public’s gaze in one breath, she didn’t rest on the laurels of that name, and Yoona has sincerely and smartly taken steps forward. Recently, the tvN drama <The K2> which ended popularly was an even more meaningful piece for Yoona and had special meaning in her walk of life.  As she lived as ‘Go Anna’, a girl with dark wounds and a complicated inner side, which is opposite of her given image, she cried and was hurt countless times, but she overcame it with her own firm ways, and in the end, she brought a splendid conclusion to fruition.

In this moment where she has silently walked over a huge mountain that appeared treacherous, Yoona does not get prematurely excited or ahead of herself, and carefully takes in the compliments she receives. She smiles silently saying that this is only the beginning of the process to become actress Im Yoona who has become a bit better, and has grown a little more. When we thought this appearance was a bit unexpected, Yoona said, “It’s time for me to experience even more changes. I have so many more faces that I still want to show.”

<The K2> ended while it was popular. You must have some thoughts now that it has ended.
Has it been almost 3 years? It’s a piece that I’m showing for the first time in a while, so while we were filming, it was fun and my heart was anticipating it a lot. It was fun to experience the lively energy of the location, and it was refreshing to wait for the viewers’ reactions with a fluttering heart. More than thoughts of it being difficult, I liked that I was able to participate in an amazing piece, and that I could attempt a lot of things within that. There were incredible actors that I could learn especially a lot from, as well as passionate staff, so I was able to enjoy it twice as much.

In previous works, you mostly showed us bright and confident sides, so when we first heard the casting news, we were surprised. We’re curious how you came to decide on a drastic attempt.
It wasn’t on purpose, but while I was waiting for a piece that captured my heart, the gap ended up being long. I wanted to meet a character that I could play really well. While I was on a break, I was one step away, so I was able to seriously think about acting. If I do a piece, what kind of side I could show, how viewers would take the character I’m acting, what direction I should take going forward, and so on. While I was hesitating about whether I should show more of what I’ve been showing or if I should attempt something new even if it’s unfamiliar, I received the script for <The K2>. Most of the scripts that come to me are candy characters similar to <You Are My Destiny> but Anna was completely different. As soon as I read it, I had the conviction of ‘I don’t want to miss this. I have to do this one’. I thought the clothes wouldn’t fit exactly, but that unfamiliarity pulled me in strongly. Along with an understanding of ‘Why did I not think of a direction like this?’ even though I was very concerned about it. It was a character who threw a lot of emotion in the way of Actress Im Yoona, who is coming out in front of everyone for the first time in a while.

Anna, who experiences a lot of bends and pain in life, is not an easy character to express. Especially in the beginning, we see her unsociable side, and as the story unfolds, she comes and goes to the extreme ends of emotions. There must have been a lot of difficult aspects.
There were many scenes where emotions had to be brought out and expressed. Normally, I rarely ever yell but I needed to scream and I shed a lot of tears too. In the 1st episode, which was filmed in Barcelona, Spain, I had to run around barefoot covered in blood. She lived secluded from society and oppressed, like a shadow, and as she meets ‘Jeha (Ji Changwook’s role)’, she opens her heart and depends on him, and showing this process in a convincing way was not easy. When I look back, the boundaries of emotional change should have appeared a bit more delicate, so I think in many ways, it was a bit lacking. I do have some regrets, but to me, it was a very good experience. I learned a lot. If I had to take on Anna alone, it would have been incredibly difficult, but the sunbae actors I worked with had very solid skills and energy, so I was able to pull out more than what I possess alone. I’m very thankful and happy.

What is the most memorable scene, or a moment that you remember from filming?
Every scene was special, so it’s not easy to narrow it down to one. Of course, the scenes filmed in Spain’s exotic environment were memorable, as were working with (Song) Yoona sunbaenim, who had an antagonistic relationship to me. Since before I joined the project, the fact that I could act with Yoona sunbaenim alone made me nervous. More than anything, the scene where Anna meets her dad (Jo Sungha’s role), who she has wanted to meet, touched me the most. All of the complicated emotions that Anna has built up over time in her heart surged up my whole body, so for a take that went on for more than 15 minutes, I cried. I cried to the point that my eyes swelled up so much that staff worried whether I’d be able to film the day after. Personally, it was a special moment where I was able to show and also fill up to my heart’s content.

There were a lot of people who said ‘We saw actress Yoona’s potential’. You must be proud to receive such good praise about your acting.
I’m thankful that people are seeing me positively. Every person has a different standard but honestly for me, rather than thinking I did well, I think more about the many aspects where I’m still lacking. Even if I have to go through more severe hardships, I promised myself to improve. Because I want to become a good actress. Through <The K2> I think I mostly got rid of my fear toward new attempts. It’s not confidence, but should I say that I have developed faith in myself to continue to show a new face within projects going forward. Before, I was very aware of and concerned with people’s assessments. Because of that, the breadth of my movement became narrow. Now, rather than being shaken by others’ gaze, I want to center myself and walk the path I want to walk, find the path I need to walk. I want to put down my burdens and anxiety. If I build my efforts continuously like that, I’m sure I will become a good actress.

Through Anna, it feels like you’ve stepped deeper into the path as an actress.
My will toward acting has been elevated, and my curiosities have increased too. I’ve started to ask myself questions like what kind of acting is more natural and will evoke an even deeper emotion, how diverse of a role will I be able to pull off, and what kind of a person is a good actor. Going forward, steadily and diligently, I am going to find those answers. Truthfully, my personality is not one that sets a distant goal and dreams big. I tend to place importance on things right in front of me, and putting my best into achieving that. When I’m doing SNSD activities, I pour all of my energy into the stage, and when I act, I try hard to pull out as much as possible in front of the camera. If sincere steps are piled up over time, even if progress is slow, I believe that I will be better bit by bit. I must be becoming a bit broader, and a bit deeper. I hope I will be able to meet myself who is definitely a bit better than I was yesterday.

I heard you already confirmed the next project? I was surprised once again hearing that it’s a historical drama. We’ll be able to meet pretty Yoona wearing hanbok.
It’s a historical melodrama called <The King Loves>, broadcasting early next year. As the daughter of the wealthiest man in Goryeo, it will be a romance with Im Siwan oppa. I’ve done a historical drama in China, but it’s my first one domestically, so I’m curious and I’m really anticipating it. With this piece too, I wanted to show a new face again. Through <The K2> I’ve overcome my fear and worries toward new attempts, so I want to attempt a transformation even more proactively. Regardless, I want to continue to have diverse experiences. Whether it does well or not, whether I receive good feedback or not, I don’t want to become caught up in that and courageously get into a new role. Also early next year, I will be able to meet everyone through the big screen. My first movie <Confidential Assignment> will open. I don’t have a big role, but it’s meaningful because it’s my first.

You’re hardworking. As an actress, I wonder if this is an era where you take leaps with each step. Now that we look back, it has been 10 years since your debut.
Before we looked at sunbaenims who got to their ‘10th year’ and thought it’s cool and amazing but now that I encounter the number ‘10’, it’s hard to believe. It doesn’t seem like that much time has passed, but it feels awkward. But when I look back, I worked hard and I was happy because I received a lot of love. As a person who is in their ‘10th year’, I still have many areas where I’m inadequate, but I think I have become very natural among people and in society. It must be because I was beside good people, and fans, who warmly look at me without change. I’m very thankful for that.

Since we saw your potential as a good actress, we’ll expect a lot more from Yoona from now on. We are cheering on the start of your new plan.
When I look back in the last 10 years, I was participated in five projects. I think there will be a lot of people who think that it’s a slower progression than they thought. Truthfully, I was scared of shattering or breaking so I held back a lot, but now I want to take bigger strides. I still get nervous and shaky when I go on set, but it’s still fun and enjoyable. One thing I wish for is to be able to always show a new face to the public. I want to be a person who generates curiosity and anticipation of, ‘What side of Yoona will she show next?’. Even after a long time, becoming an ‘actress people are curious about’ is a current dream of mine as an actress.

Source: 1st Look Magazine