Kim Seon Ho – ELLE February 2021 Interview

The fragrant moment of Kenzo Perfume with Kim Seon-ho in the ordinary but beautiful daily life.

We Prefer Kim Seon-ho

You are humming to yourself.

It’s because we have finished filming safely. There’s a delicious gukbap restaurant somewhere nearby. Maybe that’s why I’m pretty excited. (laughs) I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday in order for this photo shoot to come out nicely. The weather is nice today.

It is a cold but bright day. If you could go on a date on a day like this…

I’d be thinking about this and that while spraying the perfume. If I’m to go out on a date, I also need to prepare myself for interesting things to be talked about.

What kind of perfume do you like?

I use different ones according to the changing seasons. I have about 20 different ones that I received as gifts and they took over the whole rack to store them. I like woody scent during winter. Last summer, I enjoyed using L’eau Par Kenzo pour Homme; it was refreshing with a light smell, so I would always carry a bottle around to be sprayed from time to time. It made me feel good when people complimented me, saying that there’s a nice smell coming from me. From that moment onwards, I’ve enjoyed using perfumes.

On the other hand, what kind of scent do you like for the women?

Soft, mild flowery scent, just like Flower By Kenzo. I think there’s this unique scent to Kenzo’s line of fragrance that will make people recognize it just from catching a whiff of the perfume.

You have been so busy these days. There are lots of fans who have chosen you as their ideal type after Start-Up. Have you ever imagined that you would receive this kind of ardent support from the public?

It was like a lie, like a fairy tale. But still, I am happy. Phew, perhaps this can be regarded as being successful. I even saw someone uploading photos from my Daehak-ro days and calling them ‘boyfriend pictures’. Where did they find those photos? Gifts are even frequently delivered to our company. I wonder if this is a dream or reality. I should do well from now on.

What was it about Han Ji-pyeong that made him steal people’s heart like this?

There’s his background story of being an orphan and his relationship with Grandma Won-deok, so people might have pitied him from the get go. Although he probably acted like a bad guy, he also had a soft side to him. Seeing how people cheered and loved Ji-pyeong, I feel again how happy and glad I am to be able to portray a character people could relate to.

If there was a moment Kim Seon-ho fell for Ji-pyeong…

If I were him, it would be not easy for me to make the decision to help Nam Do-san. But then, Ji-pyeong helped him and wished him to do well, as if nothing happened between the two of them before. ‘Wow, where is the end to his manners? Is this how cool he is?’ That was what I thought of him. But then, Ji-pyeong did not see himself as someone admirable or with cool manners. I wanted to portray him in a simple way.

Perhaps, there was a fragment of your real self, buried deep in Ji-pyeong’s character.

There are many similarities between me and Ji-pyeong when it comes to human qualities. Plus, when I had a scene with Grandma Won-deok, I would act while reminiscing about my maternal grandmother. My grandmother had always adored and treated me so well, but I was always distant. I was such an immature and clumsy child. I really liked my grandmother and wanted to be pampered by her too, but it was not easy to act according to my heart.

So, when did you got matured and grew out of that phase?

It was when I became older and went to the army. As I was a drill instructor in the army, I had the chance to meet several people for consultation sessions. If the recruits happened to cause any problem, then they would have their leave days cut off, hence a drill instructor had to do his best in order to advise them into avoiding such problems. However, there were lots of people who faced severe difficulties; after listening to them, my own concerns and worries seemed nothing compared to theirs. Do you know what is the best way to carry out such session? It is by sharing your own stories first.

You said it before during your interview with ELLE one year ago that you are not the type who will talk about your own self. It must have been difficult the first time you did it.

That’s right. But it would turn out to be something bad if I did not enjoy the process.

What has changed over the year, and what has stayed the same for you?

There are times when I still feel frustrated at myself after watching my own acting. I can see all the parts I have missed and what I lacked at that moment. On the other hand, I experienced many new things; one of it is having more friends, for someone who lacked them.

As you have gained popularity and became widely known, do you have any secret concerns and anxieties with regard to them?

Frankly speaking…I am happy, but all of a sudden, I am worried if I happen to view things differently after this. I’m afraid if the first thing I think of when I choose my next project is, ‘Will this turn out well?’ ‘Will the ratings be good?’ ‘Am I going to save this project?’

So, have you found any way to beat those thoughts?

I made a promise to myself again. I’m going to do the project with the scenes I have always dreamed of doing. I will accept the project if there is someone who reaches out to me first regarding it.

Have you really never tried to guess the ratings before your projects began airing?

I’m still a young hatchling who still couldn’t grasp the situation well. I still need more experience and time, so I don’t pay attention to it. Actually, I had a difficult time when we were in the early stage of filming Start-Up. Ji-pyeong just won’t get into my head fast enough. I think that was the most monitoring I did for one single drama among my past projects. ‘Let’s just show what I got first, even if I’m going to be criticized later.’ I just decided to do my best. The moment I got to stop worrying was when I watched (Nam) Joo-hyuk and the Samsan Tech family’s acting. They were actually enjoying the moment. There were many scenes in which Ji-pyeong was only by himself. In the early stage of filming, it would be slightly okay whenever there was a scene that required me to act with someone else. As the drama went on broadcast and the feedback came pouring in, telling me that I was doing well, my confidence started to grow.

Are you the type who is always doubtful of your own acting?

I never get 100% satisfied with my acting. Back then, I always felt strange seeing my own self appearing on the TV. This time, it’s always about questioning myself, ‘Am I really doing well?’ It is something that I have gotten used to and allows me to think about it properly and objectively.

These days, what is your own charm that appeals to you personally?

The free and easy side of me, just like the photo shoot I had with ELLE one year ago; that natural and slightly dishevelled look back then. I liked that kind of vibe: witty with a hint of softness and warmth.

In the end, the right timing for everything only came for the main couple in the drama.

If Ji-pyeong did confess to Dal-mi a bit sooner, then the love line might be different. Hence, I thought that if they were meant to be, then a confession might not even be necessary in the first place. Ji-pyeong was not fated to end up with Dal-mi. Do-san was the right match for her.

Do you believe in fate?

I believe that fate is something that is meant to be.

So you are not someone who goes out to find your fate and destiny.

I’m a coward when it comes to love. “Maybe someday?” I wait for this kind of feeling. Although I liked someone, I think I never told that person first about it. Then, there would be one time when I get this sudden vibe from that person, saying ‘Confess! Confess!’ I would say that I liked her at that moment. If such moment didn’t come to me naturally, I don’t think I would be able to confess my feelings. ‘Come out at this time to this place. I want to confess to you!’ I’m someone who can’t do this kind of thing.

You are someone who prefers to meet someone in a natural way!

I’m totally that. I believe that the fated one for me is somewhere outside there.

You have invested a lot of your time for acting. About the revenue you have gathered up until now…

The first pay I received per appearance was around 18,000\. No matter how many shows I did, I could only earn about 800,000\ monthly. After deducting the transportation costs and bills, I didn’t have any balance for food expenses. Still, I was so happy since I was still immature. I never thought of doing it for money. I was already 28 years old at that time, so you could probably imagine how upset my mother was at that time. This is actually a shared concern between people who acts. ‘It makes me happy to be able to act. But then, people around me is suffering because of me.’ Start-Up’s Han Ji-pyeong made my name known out there. I can’t express how happy I am to have a character that will come to one’s mind when someone mentions Kim Seon-ho. It’s the biggest profit for me up until now.

On the other hand, you have become the ‘biggest star’ in the world of theatre. The ticketing war for the recently opened Ice was incredible.

I’m still doing stage plays consistently. Ice was a project I decided to do at the same time I started filming for Start-Up. I think I might only be able to do one play each year from now on, but I will try to do it as long as I can. When I stand on the stage, I feel that my skills get slightly better. I also get to unload my thoughts. That kind of greed makes me want to continue doing it.



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