Actor Yoo A-in [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
10: In “SungKyunKwan Scandal,” all four of you were of similar ages. How was that?
Yoo: I was prejudiced about them. I wasn’t able to get close to them in the beginning because of the thought that celebrities will be like this and that and that’s why I usually don’t become friends with them. (laugh) I understand that they can’t help being self-centered, that what they feel is important, and they need to receive more attention. But I rid myself of a lot of them — through Yuchun, my prejudice of idols and Hallyu stars, through Min-young my prejudice of fellow actresses, and through Song Joong-ki my prejudice of actors. So in the way that Jae-shin came out of his shell and came to accept Yoon-hee, Seon-joon and Yong-ha, I myself came to see these people in real life in a good way which means I myself matured as well. I had fun shooting the drama. I just wish we had more honest conversations about acting. But what I thank Joong-ki for is that he gave me a lot of advice comfortably. I came to realize that he’s not just plain sly, he’s sly in the sense that he wants what’s best for everyone.
10: Writing is an act which contains your will to express something that you feel inside. You had mainly been writing on your Cyworld account and started writing on Twitter a few months ago. How has that been?
Yoo: When I’m away from home, I’m in dire need of the time and space that will let me go back to being myself. For three to four months, I felt uncomfortable not being able to live my life as myself. So being able to voice what I think and communicate with people through Twitter as Uhm Hong-shik, as actor Yoo A-in, was very comforting. In a way, it’s a blessing and honor, and I learned a lot from the thousands of responses I receive from my single comment. Of course, some were just light or routine remarks but quite a lot of the responses awakened me and taught me lessons, as well as reminding me of what a closed person I am. So, I’m going to stay on Twitter. (laugh)
10: I actually think it’s not easy to do Twitter because thousands and ten of thousands of people are reading it.
Yoo: A lot of people want me to stay on Twitter but at the same time, it makes me speak up less. And it’s not easy to go against that. It’s not like I was born as an independence fighter or anything of the sort. I like what’s comfortable and I wish I had nothing to worry about. But that really means I would have isolated myself and I know it’ll turn me into a miserable person so I sometimes force myself to write. It’s not because I’m dying to write but because not being able to makes me very unhappy so I’m trying to continuously tell myself ‘I can do it, I can speak up, I will keep speaking, I know you want to put a gag in my mouth but I will keep speaking, I will not lose, I am not incompetent.’ It’s very hard work.
10: So are you saying that it’s difficult to be your real self but you want to continuously make sure that you are being real?
Yoo: Yes, and not just about acting. I think it’s about everything about being someone in his twenties. I actually have a desire to just live a very peaceful life. I want to live comfortably, and of course I also sometimes think that I would like to make money by just smiling pretty but I think I also trying to push such thoughts out and try to force myself to be someone in his twenties. I’m someone who matured early and I know the rules to living life tactfully but I have to let go of them. I’m in the dilemma of being too realistic versus trying not to stay realistic because being mature means that you know the answers so you will stop and settle to protect what you have but that’s immature. I think the true way to be mature is to continuously seek answers, ask questions and go forward as well as fail at times. That’s why I wish people would use the world ‘youth’ in a different way. When people say, “He’s still in his youth,” it usually means that person is immature and a passionate idealist but I wish it could be used to refer to young people who are truly mature and are upright.
10: You’ve also written about labor and human rights-related issues on your Twitter account. And they’re thoughts that anybody with a mind for social issues could have but celebrities are usually branded as being ‘political’ the moment they mention speak their mind on such matters. this could end up being very bothersome for you so aren’t you worried about that?
Yoo: I am. I’m worried and scared to death. I can’t sleep at night after writing such things. (laugh) But from what I judge, someone who can’t do that is dead, or at least partially. I want to live a decent life, not just be alive because I’m breathing. I even think I should be allowed to talk about politics because like actress Ko Hyun-jung’s character says in SBS TV series “The President,” it’s irresponsible to regard politics as a bad thing when we’re all citizens living under strict political control. I won’t do something just because it’s good or criticize sharply just because something’s a social issue. I just think that I can at least play the role of introducing what I can truly relate to, express what I feel feel and share thoughts with other people. Although it’s sad that that’s very difficult to do in the society we live in and the celebrity system I’m in.
10: I think it must be tiring to have to live according to a system or standards of society even when they don’t mean much to you. Plus Korea has very high ethical standards of people who are in the arts in the commercial sense.
Yoo: Because the moment I package myself, I’m not just showing myself to people in a certain way but I trap myself in that packaging. That’s why I’m trying to make the size of my wrapping large and show that I’m someone who’ll curse, who will drink and go clubbing. It’s nothing really but I need to make conscious efforts to do that because it’s as if right now, it’s not permitted.
10: When you create the image of being an ethically faultless person, sometimes that’s all there is left about you.
Yoo: That’s right. As our perspective broadens and our standard for culture heightens, I also want there to be a larger and broader variety of people to exist but I’m just a single 25-year-old actor. That’s why I think it would be nice to have a senior in his 30s or 40s who says this because I could come off as rude. Someone who can show that they can find happiness as a human being even as a celebrity.
10: Won’t that change since we live in times where even actors are changing?
Yoo: I do feel that it’s changing. But the problem is that young actors or singers adjust themselves to the system they’re in. As if it’s only natural. The young kids are thinking, ‘This is what celebrities should do, they should smile and act like this, and celebrities have to wear hats that look like this…’ I think it’s very, extremely bad to get into this business before establishing your moral standards. That’s why I wish young people wouldn’t become celebrities at a young age. I too wouldn’t if I could go back to being young. Also, it’s almost impossible to establish a real sense of your self. Some people may say I regard work too lightly which they’re right about. My work is not serious compared to my life and even more so compared to the real life I live as a human being. So whoever wants to become a celebrity, I hope they starts with the thought that becoming a happy person comes before becoming a happy actor. I just want everyone to be happy.
10: Well if you’ve had a hard enough of a time that you never wanted to be an actor ever again, what has pushed you to move forward so far?
Yoo: I think I’ve been honest. (laugh) I was sure of my convictions and the path I need to take, and the reason I could bear through everything was probably because I wasn’t in a rush. For example, people think they can sacrifice and compromise ten years to achieve a huge and ideal dream ten years later. Going to school is similar. You could spend that time in a happier way but you sacrifice yourself to an extent for the future. But I also think that from that process, you can definitely protect your convictions and take a step closer to your goal while living a life you’re happy with. And it doesn’t have to come when I’m 25 but when I’m 35 or 45. I also think it’s better to remember who I am and take a slower path rather than losing myself while trying to shorten that time period. Although I may talk right now as if I know something, I too am not sure of how I’ll change. But I think celebrities saying that they won’t forget their original resolution is different from them saying they will always be humble. Original resolution should be at the bottom of everyone’s hearts and it’s about knowing what you’re working for, what you’re looking for and what your happiness is about. That’s why although it’s supposed to be most important, it gradually becomes second important then third important… then you start to change. So no matter how tough of a time I’m having, I need to make sure it stays my priority! (laugh) Even if I may let the rest of me become more realistic.
credit: asiae news (part 2)
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