[Full Interview] A Pink′s Jung Eun Ji Talks About Pregnancy and Talking Like a Grandma
Was the girl that I met today Jung Eun Ji or Yoon Yoon Jae’s first love, Sung Si Won? After sitting down with Jung Eun Ji and looking at her porcelain skin and wavy hair, I couldn’t help but think about my first love.
You’re done filming tvN’s Reply 1997. What’s the first thing you wanted to do once it ended?
I want to sing. While I was filming the drama, I really wanted to be on stage with the A Pink members. I think it’s because I had to focus on acting and didn’t have much time to practice singing. As soon as it ended, all I could think about was singing my heart out.
You’ve become the icon of people’s first love. Has it hit you?
Of course. When I was first shooting the drama, I had no idea I would get this much love. I was exhausted from acting and recording but once the drama began to air, the response was so amazing. Do you know that feeling? Even if you’re tired, you forget all about the difficult things when people start liking you. I realized what that feels like through this.
The way you talk is very mature. I’m sure you’ve heard that you’re mature compared to other people your age.
My nickname when I was little was aeneulgeuni (someone who acts and looks older than her age). When I was living in Busan, I’d sit on a bench with the grandmothers in my neighborhood and talk to them. I think that’s why I talk like an old person.
Can you hold a conversation with them?
They usually talk about their children or farming. Or that they’re worried because they planted beans and it won’t grow. I chime in here and there and that’s why I learned to speak like a grandma. I don’t use words that young people use (laughs).
You’re really cute when you speak in a Busan dialect. You must have been really popular with the boys when you were going to school.
Not at all. I’m a total Gyeongsang-do kind of girl. Even my friends say, ‘You’re the most manliest in Reply 1997. Sung Si Won is tomboyish, and I also act like a guy too.
Aren’t you a little sad that you don’t get to dress up in the drama like you do on stage?
The Si Won that I know doesn’t know how to dress up. Actually, she doesn’t know just how lovable she is. I think if Si Won thought she was pretty, she’d pretend to act cute and then she wouldn’t be lovable. The director thought so too. He said a girl who doesn’t know how pretty she is the most lovable. I didn’t feel the need to dress up because of that. I thought it’d be best to show off the most natural and loveable side to the character. She was a girl loved by two guys.
Yoon Jae and Tae Woong. Who is closer to your ideal type?
I like a guy like Yoon Jae. Although we’re the same age, sometimes he’s like an older brother and also like a friend. I like being with someone who makes me comfortable.
In the drama, Seong Dong Il plays a dad from Jeolla-do while the mom is from Gyeongsang-do. That was really fun to watch. Their love story was a big part of the drama too.
I think their story made Sung Si Won’s character more believable. At first, Sung Dong Il was going to play a father from Gyeongsang-do, but he thought it’d be fun to play a character from Jeolla-do. Although it’s different now, it was rare to see a Jeolla-do man marry a Gyeongsang-do woman. I think the plot was really interesting because there was a lot of interesting and new elements like that in the story. The funny thing is Seong Dong Il is from Seoul!
I heard you give birth in the last episode.
(Laughs) I think I’m probably the first idol star in Korea who gave birth. Everyone was worried and doubtful. But on the other hand, they thought Sung Si Won would be able to do it since she’s had her hair chopped off and was an obsessed HOT fangirl (laughs). It’s so funny now that I think of it. It was an interesting experience. I had to wear a maternity gown with a prop that made me look pregnant. As soon as I wore the the hospital slippers, I really felt like I became a mom. It felt like I had something moving inside my stomach. It felt kind of a good as a woman. I don’t know what people will think when hearing this since I’m only twenty, but my heart fluttered.
How was it pretending to give birth?
When I was on the operating table, I thought about how scary it must be to actually give birth. When I was on the bed, Yoon Jae and Tae Woong were both next to me. It’s so hard to express how I felt. When I thought my real husband was there next to me, I cried my eyes out.
I can tell from your face that you were really into it. You seem like you really did give birth.
Like I said before, I watched a lot of documentary programs like Hospital 24 and Human Theater and it seemed to have influenced me.
The theme for today’s photoshoot is ‘First Love’. Have you gotten your makeup done like this before?
No (laughs). There’s a lot of blush on me and I’m wearing girly clothes. I think this is the first time I’ve done this by myself. I’m becoming interested in makeup but I don’t put on that much. I think I know how to do it myself. I do my own makeup when I do interviews that don’t take pictures. But I go to makeup shops and get it done professionally when I have a photo shoot or go on TV. Oh, I’m not great at it though.
You still talk in a Busan dialect. I feel like I’m talking to the real Sung Si Won.
(Laughs) I don’t change my dialect on purpose. It’d be unnatural if I force myself to fix it, and the agency never told me to speak in a Seoul dialect. Is it weird?
I think that’s your charm. It was almost impossible to differentiate Sung Si Won from Jung Eun Ji.
I’ve never learned how to act. I did get one lesson from a teacher right before the drama started, but I looked unnatural because I was imitating [the teacher]. A lot of people in tvN’s Reply 1997 were from Gyeongsang-do and that’s why I was able to act natural. The viewers liked it too.
The atmosphere during filming must have been fun. I can feel it while watching the drama.
How did you know? Everybody from the director to the writers, and even the cast, were the best. I honestly didn’t know what it was like since it was my first time on a drama. I thought the atmosphere while filming dramas was always good, but I heard that’s not necessarily the case so I’m thankful. It’s all thanks to the great cast and director.
It seems like you want to act in a drama again.
If it’s a similar environment to Reply 1997, I want to do it again. But I still feel a lot of pressure. I was so loved in my first drama that I’m worried my second drama won’t do as well. If I were to act again, I think it’ll take me a long time to choose a piece. Reply 1997 was such a big piece for me.
Actors usually cry when a drama ends.
I didn’t cry (laughs). I tried my best not to cry. During our last shoot, I saw the director and he had tears in his eyes. When I saw him, I felt a lump in my throat. When I finally looked around at the staff, everybody was holding it in. If I had cried, I think it would have been weird. It was hard keeping it in though.
You must really be similar to Sung Si Won. You were especially natural when you were cursing and getting mad at Yoon Yoon Jae.
No that’s not me! I’m not that aggressive. I still have to keep my A Pink image (laugh).
I was so curious to see who the father would be when I saw the ultrasound on the drama. Can you let me know who the father is?
You must have watched the drama from the beginning! I can’t tell you (laughs). You’ll probably find out when this issue of First Look comes out.
I thought I’d be talking to a tough young girl, but a quiet twenty year old girl came out instead. Where did the loud and aggressive Sung Si Won from tvN’s Reply 1997 go? Jung Eun Ji smiled brightly at me when I told her she was pretty. Her innocent smile has the power to move people.
Editor Park Seong Hui (Styling), Kim Royce (Interview), Photographer Kim Tae Eun