After its highly publicised rocky start, new K-Drama “The Privileged” aka “Chaebol’s Daughter” has finally arrived.
And who better to take on the lead role but K-Pop idol girl group After School’s UEE (real name 김유진)?
UEE has been a member of After School since 2009 and has acted in various K-Dramas including “Queen Seondeok” (2009), “Ojakgyo Family” (2011), “Jeon Woo-chi” (2012), and “Golden Rainbow” (2013). Although she originally desired to be an actress anyway (hence the acting roles), she went to many auditions and debuted as a singer first.
Fun fact: UEE was a member of the girl group Five Girls (오소녀) under Good Entertainment, which also included Yubin, Jun Hyoseong, Yang Jiwon, and G.NA. The group starred in a reality show on MTV called “Diary of Five Girls”, but disbanded before their scheduled debut due to Good Entertainment’s financial troubles.
In one of her first lead roles as Sung Mi-soo in 2011’s “Birdie Buddy”, UEE played a country girl who desired to become a professional golfer. The drama’s director, Yun Sang-ho, praised UEE’s “flawless acting”, saying, “I believe actors from idol groups such as UEE and Luna (of f(x) fame) improve more quickly because they have so much talent and passion”
And yup, “The Privileged” is UEE’s current project and the next stepping stone for her foray into the South Korean film and TV industry.
We caught up with her real quick recently, thanks to our friends from ONE HD 😉
Here’s what went down:
In the drama, you play a chaebol’s daughter who is looking for true love. What do you hope your true love would be like in real life?
It has been a long time since I broke up with my last boyfriend. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of memories about my past relationships. I don’t think the relationship was deep. Maybe I have not met my true love yet. (laughs)
What will you be like if you’ve finally found your true love?
Well, actually I am a really shy girl. I prefer not to make it public, or to display my affections in the public. I do not really know what will happen when I am in a relationship. (laughs)
Do you have an ideal type? Which actor would fit the bill?
My ideal type is Hyun Bin. I have to see him in person, at least once in my lifetime. (blushes and laughs)
Tell us more about your first encounter with Sung Joon.
When we first met, we went like “Hello I am Sung Joon”, “Hello I am UEE noona”, and then right away, he said “Should we start?” and we just shot the kissing scene for the teaser. After that, we were really comfortable with each other.
How is Sung Joon like as a co-star?
One of his great points is that he makes his co-star feels relaxed. If I make a mistake during the filming of a scene and apologise, he will assure me and tell me not to worry about it. He is the kind of guy who’s capable of making you fall in love with him when you are acting. (laughs)
You are a singer-turned-actress. Acting in dramas would some time require you to cry and look “ugly”. Is that a concern for you?
I would not go into acting if that is a concern at all. My goal is not to “look pretty” but to deliver believable characters. I want viewers to be able to see me portray the characters realistically. This is why I chose characters like Kim Baek Won in “Golden Rainbow” and Jang Yoon Ha in “The Privileged”. These characters are very laid back and easygoing too.
There is a stigma that idols-turned-actors cannot act…
Yes, I am aware and I want to break through the prejudice against idol-turned-actors. I am working hard and I put in a lot more effort in my acting.
You seem to be putting a lot more attention on your acting career than your singing career.
Honestly, I feel that I don’t have too much time left. I used to have a lot more passion for singing and dancing. The idea of performing on a stage thrilled me. But over the years, I feel that I’ve changed and that the time is coming for me to graduate from After School. Not that I should do that immediately, but eventually, I would pass on my position to my juniors. I would want to focus on acting.
Since acting is now your priority, do you have a role model?
I love Ha Ji Won’s acting. I have watched all her projects, from movies to dramas. I hope to be able to see her in person someday. It would be even better if I can be in the same drama as her. I also really respect Kim Suh Ah and Gong Hyo Jin. I think their acting is very natural and I want to be like them one day.
Since your acting debut in 2009, what would you say is the most memorable acting experience?
It was when I filming Ojakgyo Brothers. I spent approximately 8 months with my co-stars. I really appreciate the director (Ki Min Soo), who gave me the wonderful opportunity to work with so many seniors when I was just starting out in my acting career. I was so happy when I lived with them, I was really well taken care of. I remember that I cried during the last day of shooting. That was how memorable the experience was! I am also becoming more aware of my weaknesses as an actress. Through the experiences, I learnt how important it is to be detailed with acting. I have heard that I am good with crying scenes, but that’s all I have heard.
What are some important life values you keep?
I try to be polite and punctual, and not let any success grow in my head.
A few years ago, you were invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game but you showed up 5 minutes late and it didn’t happen…
That was a bitter experience for me. Since then, I have never been late for any appointments. I developed the habit of arriving 2 hours earlier, so I never feel stressed or anxious about not making it in time.
How is After School different from other girl groups?
After School has a different vibe as compared to the other sexy girl groups nowadays. After School emphasizes on both the sexy and powerful aspect of performances. Moreover, we can’t do overly sensual choreography like some other girl groups. If we do it, they say it is too dirty. (laughs) We could wear the same tank top and shorts, but the other girl group would pass the review, and we wouldn’t.
Do you want to act in movies?
Why not? I have been offered movie roles but they (the roles) were a bit too much for me to handle, so I had to turn them down.
How are you like off-screen?
In the past, I only spoke to other After School members. I enjoyed being alone and would keep a distance from people. But through the years, I have learnt how to interact with people and not be scared of them. If I was invited to attend gatherings in the past, I would turn it down but now I enjoy them. Also, I am actually very goofy, and I get scolded on set for being loud. (laughs)
“The Privileged” also stars Sung Joon, Park Hyung Sik, and Lim Ji Yeon. The K-Drama airs every Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:55pm, first and exclusively on ONE (Astro B. yond Ch 393).