|PHOTOGRAPHED BY SEO JI-HYE
“EVEN IF I achieve my goal as an actress, it is not the end. No one can stop me from acting!" Since her debut in 1993, Kim Ye-ryoung has been acting for 25 years, appearing in a total of 33 dramas and 14 movies. She is always trying to maintain humbleness while steadily acting with her utmost desire. Throughout the interview with *The Yonsei Annals*, Kim gives hopes to students who are passionate of achieving their goals.
Annals: You have majored in trade, which is not related to acting. What led you to start acting?
Kim: In fact, I have been offered several times to become an advertisement model when I was in college. But at that time, my house was very conservative and my father told me it was frivolous to see entertainers on TV. I was influenced by his thoughts and rejected all the offers to become a model. However, after I graduated, the turning point of my life cameone day in a hair salon. A hair salon staff told me that a reporter from the *Korea Daily* sitting close to me wanted to ask me if I wanted to model for a wedding magazine. I took the offer, and luckily, my photograph decorated the cover page. From then on advertising agencies constantly contacted me. Generally when people first start as an advertisement model, they take on extra roles. However, I was always the main model. As a result, I earned a lot of money, which helped me cope with my financial difficulties. The more I worked, the easier the work felt to me.
Consequently, I continued working as an advertising model, and I was also casted in a movie called *A Foolish Lover*.I thought I was doing well because the movies I participated in were nominated in film festivals. But they never received any awards and were not very popular. This is probably why I was not very successful in becoming a movie star. Still, I wanted to try my best in order to succeed one day, so I kept on working hard. I never gave up. Furthermore, I started to find out the charm in acting. Being able to live as diverse characters in films was amusing. I think I was able to become a talented actress due to my endurance and because I was good at immersing in my characters’ emotions.
Annals: When do you feel the most excited as an actress?
Kim: Usually, the most rewarding moment as an actress is when I accept a role that I have been longing to act for. Especially, my heart starts to pound from the moment I started to read a script.I feel overwhelmed by the fact that I get to play a role no matter how important the character’s role was in the film. Every day, I think about how to act out my character. When I see people similar to my character, I closely observe them and try to think from that person’s perspective. I ask to myself, "How would this character feel and what would the character say?”
For instance, the moment I was casted as the daughter of a rich household in the drama *The Stars are Shining*, I immediately thought that this was my role. My role was about a woman who moves into a slum after her rich family breaks down. The slum is a completely different place from where she originally lived in, and she is discouraged at first. But she gets back up for her children. Strangely enough, I could sympathize very well with the character. Thinking of how this character truly felt was heart-rending. I cried all the way up to 20 episodes. I cried so much because my heart ached for the regretful decisions that my character made.
Annals: What are the goals you want to achieve as an actress?
Kim: My goal as an actress is to get an award at one of the three biggest film festivals in the world: Khan, Berlin and Venice. It would be one of the most glamorous moments for an actor. Additionally, this will also be the happiest moment for the people I love and the people who love me. I want to be able to thank all the people I love on the stage and share the glory with them. Likewise, I want to become an actor who can share happiness and joy in people's life.
Annals: Finally, is there a word of advice that you would like to give to students in Yonsei University who are working hard to achieve their dreams?
Kim: Everybody these days seems to dream of becoming a star rather than becoming an actor who truly loves to act. You really need to judge for yourself whether you really want to become an actor or a star. If you want to become a true, passionate actor, you can do it by enough effort. However, in my opinion, if you want to become a real star, you should not try unless you have a unique or special talent. You cannot become a star just by trying hard. A star has to be truly gifted. I keep repeating this, but being good at acting can be accomplished with enough practice and experience.
For Yonsei University students who have dreams that they truly want to achieve, I want to say that you can succeed if you plan thoroughly, learn well, listen to important know-hows, and build helpful relationships. But most importantly, I think enjoying what you do every day is what really leads you to become successful in life. I have once been to a newly opened Japanese bar totally managed by the owner himself. The owner did not seem to care about the amount of dishes he sold every day. He rather enjoyed watching customers enjoying the food he made. He has been working this way for many years, and he was able to succeed. He became a CEO with many franchises. From his success, I realized the difference between a happy worker and a forcefully working worker. When I used to have less interest in acting, it was so annoying for me to wake up early in the mornings for my schedules. But after I realized the importance of loving one’s work, I began to enjoy acting. It is still hard for me waking up early, but I am happier than ever.