Park Jung Yeon – COSMOPOLITAN April 2021 Interview

Actress Park Jung-yeon came to us like a fresh fruit.

THE BIRTH OF A FRESH ROOKIE, PARK JUNG YEON

This is your first photoshoot session, so how do you feel about it?

I couldn’t sleep a wink last night. I wasn’t going to be, but it turned out that I was nervous. So, how did I deal with that? I continued to lie on my bed, but I couldn’t sleep well and woke up from time to time over the night. ‘I should get some sleep so that the photoshoot will go smoothly, so sleep.’ I tried thinking of that, but it only made it even more impossible for me to fall asleep. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t think of trying to sleep.’ I did exactly that and spent most of the night staying awake.

I was worried that the props – tomatoes and broccoli – I bought from the mart would be too ordinary, but you really made them turned out so cool.

Wow, so you went to buy them yourself! I didn’t know that I’d be holding tomatoes for the shoot, so I was surprised at first. But then, the photographer did a good job at it. Even when I was standing there, the photos turned out so pretty. It was such a fun thing to do.

People would mention celebrities you bear resemblance to like Son Yeon-jae and Kim Tae-ri when they are referring to you. People tend to do that when it comes to unfamiliar face, associating that person with someone s/he bears resemblance to.

Ah, I didn’t know what to do or say when I heard that. Haha! I’m someone who doesn’t think much of what people say about me. ‘Ah, so that’s how they see me,’ I’d have that thought and get over it.

The webdrama Must You Go is a drama adaptation of a webtoon of the same title. Isn’t it difficult to portray a character in a drama based on a webtoon? Perhaps, the webtoon readers might have their own version of the character ‘Min Yu-jeong’ in their mind, so you might have to compete with that imagination of theirs when it comes to the character.

I actually had a lot of concerns regarding that in the first place. I wondered if I should act out the character of Min Yu-jeong as close as possible to the webtoon version of it, or seek to do something different with the character. However, the director suggested that I should unravel the character a bit differently from the webtoon; thus, I made an effort to paint my own version of Min Yu-jeong and decided to let go of the burden I had in the beginning.

Since it is a time-slip romance drama spanning over the course of 600 years, you have to act across two different times: the past in Joseon and the present in modern times. Between historical and modern version, which one you are more comfortable of when it comes to acting?

In the past setting, Min Yu-jeong only wore one type of clothing for her appearance, while she had various types of different stylings for both hair and clothing in the present time. Because of that, I think I’m more comfortable with the past setting. Perhaps, I have more worries regarding the modern setting because it’s my first time in a modern drama.

You are portraying a character who is musically gifted; in Joseon, you are well-versed in pansori and gayageum, while in the present, you are busking too. It turns out that you yourself really enjoy music even in real life. You frequently share videos of you playing guitar while singing on your Instagram as well.

I’m someone who enjoys music, although I’m not good at it. I liked how I got to try out different types of musical instruments through the drama this time around. I have acquired a vague yearning for our country’s traditional music. Thanks to this project, I got learn a bit about gayageum and haegeum, enjoying the process of learning them and acting with the instruments.

I was shocked when I tried searching for your past videos. You turned out to be the lovely little girl who appeared on Yoon Do-hyun’s Love Letter and Yoo Hui-yeol’s Sketchbook with your father, singer Park Hak-ki, singing the song Vitamin! Ever since you were younger, you seemed to have grown up under the influence of your father’s job as a singer. How do you feel about it?

When my father was home, he would always playing the guitar and practicing his songs. I would also tag along to his concerts. I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but now that I think about it, I was indeed heavily influenced by him.

You even because a trainee to become a singer at one point. How did you came to switch your career path to acting?

I happened to discover my passion when I received acting lessons. It was during my high school years, and acting itself was like a brand new world to me. ‘What is this feeling?’ I had that kind of thought and I acquired the intention of finding out more about it. I was looking forward to every acting classes and that was when I started building my dream towards the path of acting.

What is the moment you have the thought that ‘This is my path’ as you continue to act?

I’m actually the type of person who can’t seem to have a definite goal towards something. I’m the style that continues to doubt myself along the way, asking myself over and over again, ‘ Is this the right thing to do?’ Rather than having the kind of thought like, ‘Ah, this is it!’ I think of doing this job for a long time. There’s no such thing as me when I go into acting mode. I like how I’m able to do something I’m unable to do in my real life when I’m acting.

So, when you are in character, you are able to do the things you cannot do as your own self.

That’s right. There were many things I couldn’t do as Park Jung-yeon. I like how I get to do those things while I’m acting, at the same time getting to know myself more in the process. I have always wanted to find out more about my own self and the things I like; it seems that acting gives me the opportunity to realize that through the experience.

What are those things you are unable to do in your ordinary life?

Even when I compare myself with Must You Go‘s Min Yu-jeong, there are many differences between the two of us. She’s a sassy and cheeky character, hence there are many things about her that I envy of, at the same time wanting to be like her. Those sides of her came out alive when I was portraying the character. But then, whenever I go back to reality, I couldn’t seem to act like ‘Min Yu-jeong’, returning to my usual shy and bashful self. When I look at myself, I realize that people just don’t change easily, since I would always return to my original self even after showing another side of me through acting.

The main theme of Must You Go is about ‘fateful love’. Love that transcends time. Have your views on love changed as you acted in the drama?

I shouldn’t meet a Joseon man who comes from 600 years in the past? Hahaha! I think that it’s impossible for me to be in a relationship where the ending is predictable. It’s not even something like ‘I’ll return to you after completing my military service!’; it’s a relationship built on the course of fate transcending different eras. That person might disappear all of a sudden, plus there’s also the possibility of being unable to see him ever again. I thought that it’d be courageous to experience such kind of love. Of course, it’s still a fantasy which is impossible to happen in reality, but I can’t help but to wonder, ‘If such thing is happening to me, will I be able to be in that kind of relationship? I think I won’t be able to do so.’ Because of that, Min Yu-jeong is such a courageous character even to me myself.

What kind of love do you wish to happen in reality?

A relationship based on unconditional trust. I think that itself is a kind of love. If there’s someone like that who is able to recognize me for who I am and have faith in me, the fact that such person is beside me makes me feel less nervous to live in this world.

Have you ever met someone like that before?

My sister is the person with such kind of existence to me. Although we grew up fighting a lot with each other when we were younger, she somehow became the person who had unconditional trust towards me and someone who is there for me. When I feel like losing confidence or nothing goes my way, my sister would magically tell me the words I need to hear during those moments. “Since I’m someone who will trust you no matter what happens, don’t worry as I will be here for you.”

I think that you are already quite firm in both acting and your inner self. What kind of actor do you wish to become?

I frequently think about becoming an actor who is familiar but fresh. After all, there’s this strong influence of being familiar to people. Even I would be looking for familiar things frequently myself. Even for the general public, they would feel assured to see actors who are familiar to them. Hence, I’d like it if I could be familiar but at the same time appear fresh to other people. It might be greedy of me to wish for something like that, but it can be considered as something I pursue and I wish to become an actor like that.

©COSMOPOLITAN KOREA

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