Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
The Actress at Heart
Kong Hyon-bin Editor  |
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승인 2004.11.05  00:00:00
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LIVING UNDER the limelight for decades is not an easy job. Yet Suh Seung-hyun (Suh Ok-ja, '61, Dept. of Inst. Music) has had an impressive career. Currently in her 37th year of acting professionally, Suh's friendly smiling face is one of the best recognized amongst the middle-aged celebrities in Korea. For November's "People of Yonsei", The Yonsei Annals met Actress Suh Seung-hyun to ask about her life as a Yonseian and as an actress.

   Although Suh has always been famous as an actress, she actually began her career on the stage as a musician. As a child, she sang in the KBS (Korea Broadcasting System) choir and afterwards was trained professionally in singing. She began playing the piano in middle school and obviously showed potential, as she would eventually major in that instrument at Yonsei Univ.

   Suh claims that her experience at Yonsei fundamentally changed her life. As a freshman, she worked for YBS (Yonsei education Broadcasting Station) where she would read out commentaries on the air. In the second year, she was "forced" by her elders to join the acting club Yonhee Theater. "I could never imagine myself acting on stage-I was very wrong, wasn't I?" jokes Suh. Her first taste of acting was obviously satisfactory as she continued on acting throughout the remaining three years.

   After graduating university, Suh wanted to pursue a career for herself, and supported herself by giving private lessons. She never really considered becoming a professional actress seriously until she saw that TBC (the former name of KBS) was recruiting the 4th team of new actors. Suh recalls, "I remembered what fun I had acting back in university. I just thought that I would try out." Seizing her chance, she nailed down the audition and to this day has continued acting with passion.

   Throughout her 37 years of acting, Suh has just about covered all existing parts; from a Buddhist monk to a taxi driver. Suh states that her favorite part would have to be when she was "Ddoksooni's Mother" in Daldongnae, the hit drama aired on KBS in 1981. The success of this drama was tremendous; to this day, she has many fans calling her by this name.

   What is so attractive about acting to Suh? "For me, the whole principle where one can magically 'transform' into someone else is so appealing," was the answer given. Suh    has a lot of passion for her job. She especially misses her acting days of the past, as many things were different back then. When she was younger, she acted in many "live dramas," where actors had to act out live on television, just like a play. To perform these dramas, they had extremely long rehearsals, which were different from the brief ones today. Besides actors back then did not have coordinators, which meant that the actors themselves had to prepare their props. Suh says, "Back then when playing 'Ddoksooni's Mother', I rummaged around markets to find baggy pants that countrywomen wore." They became her prize possession; she still has them to this day as a souvenir.

   Suh is currently in her sabbatical period. Although Cheer Up, My Mommy!!! finished in May, 2004, the image of her as a hilarious taxi-driver was so strong that she feels that it is blocking her from making another great transformation. These days, she volunteers at her local church and occasionally makes appearances on television programs as a guest star.

   To the younger Yonseians, Suh has one thing to say. "When you become my age, you realize just how important living everyday to the fullest is." Suh is yet undecided on when to return to acting but plans to make her comeback with a brand new image. I look forward to seeing her future performance, as it will surely be another inspiring moment.


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This is such a poignant topic for young ppeole. Being in my early 20 s, like many of my peers I had a devastated self image, and low self esteem caused mostly by not having perspective in social circles. I think in the end it all comes down to that. Everyone is human and everyone is full of shit to one degree or another. Why should anyone give a fuck about what other ppeole's opinion of them are especially if they aren't obligated to that person in some way. Like the old addage goes They don't pay my bills . As a caveat I would like to point out most ppeole realize there will be opposing forces towards them regardless of of anything they say or do. This is realized for sure by puberty, the problem is to counteract this one usually reacts in a equally abrasive way. It takes time, maturity, and worrying about the viccistitudes of your own life to simply not give a shit what every jack and jane's verdict is of you. Ironically its the ppeole who take this genuine approach to heart the most that seem to gain even the begrudgeon respect of their foes.
(2012-03-13 19:48:24)
This intruodecs a pleasingly rational point of view.
(2012-01-06 10:19:45)
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