It has already been six years since the Wonder Girls came into this world. During that time, they became a top K-pop group, turned into adults, took up an unforgettable challenge in the U.S., and leader Sun got married. No girl group has gone through as much as they have. But despite the changes they have experienced, Sohee has stayed the same. She is still pretty and took responsibility for choosing to pursue singing, dancing and acting over ordinary school life. She is now preparing to take her next step as an actress. Below is TenAsia’s dialogue with her through which you can find hints to where she may be headed next.
“Acting goes down to what I do with my role”
I think I still feel awkward on variety shows. Of course it’s fun to be on them. But… things just move so quickly sometimes that my mind goes blank (laughs). But I’ve always liked and been interested in acting. Even when I auditioned for JYP, I did singing, dancing and acting. Hence I had dreamed of pursuing both singing and acting. Acting is… a lot of fun. I get to express characters that may be similar or different from me. When I’m on stage as a member of Wonder Girls, I show the audience the singing and dancing that’s been set in advance and express what I want to within those boundaries. But acting goes down to what I do with my role so I think that’s the fun thing about it. I’m not at the stage where I can tell you that I’ve chosen a role but I’m definitely looking hard.
“I was too young to be scared while filming ‘Hellcats’”
I actually don’t have a lot of experience acting. I’ve done three movies – a short film, “Hellcats” in 2007, and “The Wonder Girls” that my group shot all together, so I really want to do more. I still watch “Hellcats” from time to time these days. And I was 15 when I shot it but I think I tried my best to understand the character, and quite boldly as well because I was too young to be scared back then (laughs). I remember when actress Lee Mi-sook corrected my acting. In the movie, I played Kang-ae who is the daughter of Lee’s character and there was a scene where I was supposed to talk as if scolding the mother. But I talked too softly so she said, “You! You shouldn’t talk like that there!” (laughs) I’m a soft speaker so I think I talked too quietly then as well. So it was fun getting to let out my voice like that for acting.
“It’s sad that I missed out on school life”
I do want to act but I want to try playing all sorts of characters rather than a certain one. I think it’s because I don’t have much experience. I’m open (when it comes to possibilities). Oh, I can’t watch horror films. So I’m interested in everything except that genre. I imitate everything that’s in the films I watch (laughs) and think about them. But if I had to choose a role, it would be a student. I want to play a role that fits my age, which would be a student. I think I’d be good at expressing a character of my age. But I debuted when I was young so I didn’t get that many opportunities to wear a school uniform or go to school. It’s sad that I missed out on school life. So I think I’d also get to come in contact with and learn things I hadn’t been able to before.
“I become loud when I watch a fun movie”
I like watching movies. And I become loud when I watch a fun movie (laughs). I also go to the movies a lot because I try to watch even the movies that premiere. I watched “Les Miserables” this time and it was fun. I’d never considered musical films before but I really want to be in one after watching this movie. I liked Anne Hathaway’s character in particular. I was amazed at how well she pulled it off because it couldn’t have been easy for her to decide to take the role. I want to try playing a unique and tragic character as well, rather than one where I try to look pretty.
“I cried a lot watching ‘Cherry Blossoms – Hanami’”
I usually receive recommendations for films or find them myself. If I like a movie, I usually look up things about that movie or other projects done by its director or cast. I’ve probably watched all of Stanley Kubrick’s films as well because I was originally recommended “A Clockwork Orange” which I loved. He paid attention to not just the actors and story but each and every small detail as well. From the wardrobe to props to music, everything heightened each scene so I think it moved me even more. The movie was made a long time ago but I like that it doesn’t seem old. There was also a time that I got tired of Hollywood movies so I looked up German and Italian movies. And that’s when I came across “Cherry Blossoms – Hanami” by director Doris Dorrie. It’s about an old couple and I cried a lot watching it. I don’t know why though (laughs). It just left a strong impression.
“It’s fun finding movies I want to watch that day”
I mostly watch films at home by myself. I’ve always liked watching them by myself. It’s comfortable. And I probably watched a lot of movies when I first went to the U.S. because I needed to adjust. But I don’t get bored or lonely. I like being alone. I have fun. I’m with a lot of people when I work so I try to be by myself when I’m home. I think I need time alone. And it’s fun finding movies I want to watch that day. That’s how I find music as well. I really like English band New Order these days. The instruments they use are great and they mostly use a synthesizer but make music with it that is unpredictable. I’d like to try doing such music if I got the chance to.
“Each and every small thing is more important”
I pay a lot of attention to details (laughs). I’m not a perfectionist but I think each and every small thing is more important. I think I’ve also been influenced a lot by films and music because I watch and listen to them a lot. I’ve come to want to express more and there are several types of characters I want to try playing. There’s something that’s accumulated within me from watching a lot and learning a lot. So I’d like to express a lot of that if I get the opportunity to. I’m not expressive through words but I tend to be more active on stage or on screen. And I think I express myself more honestly that way. I don’t think too much even when I have photo shoots. I just express whatever I feel that day. I think that having too many thoughts rather gets in the way. I just go with what I feel.
“I try my best not to change”
When I see people my age go to school, I envy them. But they are very stressed as well in their own ways. So it made me wonder, ‘Would I have been able to handle it?’ (laughs) It’s sad that I didn’t get to experience school life… but I don’t regret it. Because more than anything, it was my choice. During the time that everyone else studied in school, I chose what I wanted to do and learned much doing that. I learned a lot while I was in the U.S. as well. I guess I’m just the type that doesn’t compare myself with others that much. And I try my best not to change. When I compare myself from the past to now, I just… I think I just like being myself. I like Wonder Girls’ Sohee and actress Sohee, but as myself An Sohee the best.
“I want to learn ballet”
As of now, my goal is to do various kinds of acting. And if I like something, I’m the type that does it right away. But I think of acting so much these days that I think it can be stressful at times. I also think I need to pay more attention to the people around me. The work I do always involves a lot of people, including the staff. So I’ve tried to take better care of them but I think I need to try harder because I’m not the mature type (laughs). And I want to learn ballet! I want a hobby. Something that is active. I came up with ballet after thinking of what would be exercise, heal me, and be fun as well. I don’t have good posture but I heard ballet helps with it so I really want to try it out.
Reporter. Lie Jae Won firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer. Chae Ki Won
Translator. Jessica Kim