[Interview] Choi Kang Hee, Unaffected By Men and Time
Known almost as much for her baby face, as for her acting, Choi Kang Hee appears to be unaffected by time.
Though we met her for the first time in three years, it seems like we just met her a few days ago, she′s changed so little.
Because of her unpredictable and innocent girlish charms, she seems to have transcended her physical age.
When asked about her baby face, she answered, “I feel a little pressure about the label of ‘baby face’. I’d better start to work in another drama as soon as possible. People normally don’t notice friends, who they meet every day, getting older. I don’t want to hear people saying I look older all of a sudden. If I appear on TV every day, people might not notice that I’m getting older.”
But of course, every girl wants to stay (or at least, look) young.
“Even though I feel pressure about the label, I’d be sad if I lost the label someday. I want to maintain my baby face forever.”
How she plans to do that isn’t through anti-aging creams, or regular facials (though we’re willing to bet she uses those too). Her secret to staying young comes from veteran actor, Park Young Gyu.
“Park Young Gyu teacher said actors should maintain their youth in their minds even though they get older physically,” said Choi, “He said at the moment when you try to say only right and correct things, you start growing older. I want to maintain my youth in my mind.”
Fittingly, though it’s been 10 years since she debuted, Choi still contemplates each question and answers in an unexpected way, giving off a fresh pleasant vibe.
So it′s no surprise that in her latest drama, SBS′ Protect the Boss, she played the darling of two handsome guys, Cha Ji Hun (Ji Sung) and Mu Won (Kim Jae Joong).
Most actresses in that situation could have been the subject of jealousy from female viewers, but fans ended up being amused, rather than envious, causing Choi Kang Hee to surprisingly feel a little disappointed.
“Many people said, ‘I’m lucky’ but I don’t know about that. The two guys received my kiss and hugs too…(laugh) Actually Ji Sung and I are the same age. Kim Jae Joong is younger than me,” said Choi. “But fans were not jealous of me at all, and they were just amused. I guess it might be because I have a friendly image, but I still regret it a little. (Laugh.)”
Though she laughed, she seemed a little overexcited, letting on that she probably had been slightly disappointed. But she expressed her happiness and satisfaction about the drama as well.
“The atmosphere on set was so friendly and harmonious that I thought I could never meet such a nice cast, staff, and workplace environment again,” the actress said. “These days I′m enjoying happiness to the fullest.”
“Ji Sung is so good at acting and smart as well. He performs in a very steady, convincing and comfortable way,” said Choi. “Kim Jae Joong is rookie. Usually I like to act with rookies. They accept things in a pure and instinctive way, and their confusion and nervousness make scenes more realistic. I really enjoyed working with the two actors.”
Because she enjoyed happiness and satisfaction to the fullest over the past few months, she bid farewell to the drama in a calm way.
And upon reflection, Choi Kang Hee is the rare actress who isn’t hated by female viewers even while working with popular actors. Case in point, her most recent experience working with Kim Jae Joong, who’s a member of JYJ, one of the most popular hallyu groups in Asia.
“I feel good and bad at the same time about that. Many people said they were envious of me because I worked with Ji Sung and Jae Joong, but there were no malicious comments. I was a little worried that people might not feel like writing bad comments because I didn’t give off some dynamic energy to the viewers. Even one of Jae Joong’s fans commented, ‘Please look at Jae Joong oppa (brotherly figure) with warm eyes once again,’” remarked Choi. “There was even a fan of Ji Sung who said, ‘Why don’t you date Ji Sung?’, even though Ji Sung has a girlfriend. It might be because people feel a friendly vibe from me, but sometimes I wondered what exactly that feeling was.”
It’s definitely not easy living and working as an actress, especially in Korea, but Choi Kang Hee is receiving love from not only men, but women, and pretty much anyone who watches her work.
“I have few regrets. I feel a little emptiness and sadness, but I rather like the feeling. Currently, I feel perfect. I guess I can’t have a relationship because I already feel happiness from every work.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Gwan
Translation credit: Misun Lee