Jeong Ryeo-won was not an It girl when she was a singer in the group Chakra a Korean all-girl band. When she turned her career path to acting, she didnt draw much attention at first, and it was common at the time for many singer-turned-actors, many far more famous and popular than her, to become the target of harsh criticism for their low-grade acting. But with the success of Hello, Francesca, a situation comedy, My name is Kim Sam-soon, a drama, and Whats your star?, another drama, she made a soft-landing as an actress.
Now, she has made her debut as a movie actor. In her first movie, My girl friend has a double personality (a tentative title), soon to be released on September 13, she appears as a person with an identity disorder. In the movie, she plays a naïve and dreamy girl named Ani, but suddenly turns into the violent Hani. Actor Bong Tae-gyu played her shy but generous boyfriend. The movie is reminiscent of My Sassy Girl to an extent, but it has a cartoon-like fun factor and it is enjoyable to watch the two extreme personalities played by Jeong. Jeong said, I like acting so much that my heart beats fast. She seemed like a nerve-wrecked student waiting for the result of an exam.
Q. This is your first leading role. You must be nervous.
A. At first, I turned down the role. It seemed to involve enormous burdens. But I thought that without taking on such a challenge at this point, I couldnt grow further as an actress. Buying a house while being overstretched eventually turns out to be a better choice than renting a house.
Q. You said at the movie premier, it had been your dream to stand before an audience at a premier.
A. I always thought, when can I do that? I go to Megabox at Coex to watch a movie three times a week. And I stand before movie fans at this theater! Two days ago I came here alone to watch Ratatouille.
Q. The fighting and swearing character strangely suited you.
A. I am not a violent girl like Hani, but nor am I a girly-girl. I was struck when people were surprised at my acting skill. I realized that people thought of me as a frail girl who always needed protection. I am like a strong sunflower, not a fragile flower.
Q. Were you at all confused while playing two completely different personalities?
A. I had to change my personality with a blink of an eye. But when you put your mind to something, you find out just what you are capable of.
Q. In your movie, there is a line that reads: If God exists, he should guarantee a recall, when his creature is flawed. Do you want any part of you recalled?
A. I suffered an inferiority complex. I thought I was always unhappy in the past but not anymore. I read from a book that people are happy when they are content with what they have. (lifts a cup) If you are born as a cup like this and there is no point of being jealous of a bigger cup.
When I said, Youre right, but it isnt easy, she responded, You can brainwash your own brain. You can. She seemed a stronger person than I expected. She said when she had returned to Korea after 9 years living in Australia, she didnt want to speak with awkward pronunciation like those who spent long years overseas so that she practiced Korean pronunciation from a book all day.
Q. Part of your impressive image is the fact that you are a fashionista. You dont look so dressed up. Your not-too-overt but chic layered look is absolutely fabulous.
A. You think jeans and T-shirks look cool enough? Thats a lie. You dont look so fabulous wearing just plain jeans and a shirt. You have to wear jeans and shirt that fit you well. To that end, you should know your size and shape. If you have narrow shoulders, you choose a loose-fit shirt. You can create your own style when you know yourself well. I have lots of ideas about fashion. Sometimes I go to the whole sale market to buy materials and I make my own accessories.
Q. I saw you gorging Korean pork barbeque in the movie. And here you are eating ice-cream.
A. I gain weight easily so I have to work out hard. I jump rope 1,000 times and walk 10 km every day. I exercised during the movie shooting too. I think fame requires responsibility. When celebrities are asked a secret of flawless skin, they answer with the same old lie. Please; They get facials!