[Herald Interview] Sung Yu-ri finds comfort on camera

By KH디지털2

After 13 years as an actress, former K-pop star says she‘s found confidence

  • Published : Nov 3, 2015 - 17:21
  • Updated : Nov 4, 2015 - 11:40

Singer-turned-actress Sung Yu-ri has been living in the limelight for half her life. The 34-year-old actress debuted in 1998 with girl group Fin.K.L, and debuted as a TV actress in 2002. Despite her long successful career, she says it’s only now she truly feels she‘s found her comfort zone as an actress.

“I really didn’t have enough confidence in the past,” she said in an interview at a restaurant in Seoul. “I‘m sure there are points where I’m lacking even now, but I‘ve realized that the audience only feels comfortable when I’m confident in myself. The years of experience have brought me a level of comfort.”

Actress Sung Yu-ri (Yonhap)

She says part of that comfort was being able to embrace her pretty image as a former K-pop star, a member of a group still fondly remembered as “fairies” by the Korean public.

“I used to actively try to break that image in my acting,” Sung said. “I felt like I had to show the public a different side in order to establish myself as an actress. Maybe it‘s because I feel less pressure, but now I believe that having that past image can actually be my weapon, my strength.”

That image, in fact, may have been what made Sung the right fit for the role of haughty actress Seo-jeong in the omnibus drama film “Summer Snow,” directed by Jeon Yun-su. The original Korean title of “Summer Snow” literally translates to “I’m sorry, I love you, thank you,” and the film follows three different stories, each corresponding to one of the phrases. Sung‘s story of Seo-jeong and her longtime manager Tae-yeong (Kim Sung-kyun) is the love story.

According to Sung, while watching the film at its official preview screening, she sensed a difference in the depth of her acting, perhaps because of her stint as host of SBS talk show “Healing Camp,” where celebrities shared their life stories and opened up about their most difficult moments.

“I got to hear so many people’s life stories ... and when veteran actors came on the show, I could see that they all had their struggles, their painful moments.”

She also said that through the film, she had a newfound appreciation for her TV work.

“Of course, shooting a movie is convenient in a lot of ways,” she said, pointing out that TV dramas can be stressful because the scripts are often being written while filming is already in progress. “But through this experience I realized that I want to have a better-rounded repertoire, not drawing lines between TV and film work.”

Actress Sung Yu-ri (Yonhap)

Sung’s goal next year is to act in both a TV drama and a movie, and she’s currently looking at potential projects, without much apprehension about the lack of available parts for actresses her age.

“Before, when I would see other actresses my age in new films and dramas, I was anxious because they had found something and I hadn’t,” she said. “Now, I’m just really happy for them. And it gives me comfort knowing that we’re still needed.”

Sung says she’s ready to take in the potential criticism for her role in “Summer Snow,” which is perhaps her first role as an unkind character.

“I think the criticism I find online is what brought me this far,” she said, joking that reading online comments about her was her hobby. “When I first started out, a lot of the comments were just mean-spirited. But my online trolls are growing with me, and they’ve gotten really good at analyzing my performances and criticizing them objectively,” she said, laughing.

“Of course, they hurt my feelings. But they really do help me, a lot.”

“Summer Snow” opened in local theaters on Oct. 28.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)