Q: Director Lee Kyung-mi said, “Kong Hyo-jin is someone who’ll make you get excited when you’re with her” and when I read your book, I could feel that you were a very postive person who grew up receiving much love from your family. Your dad in particular seemed to be very affectionate towards you.
GHJ: I got a call from my agency one day saying that the head of my fan club had said a man named ‘Hongkonggong’ was pretending to be my dad. So I text messaged my dad to ask if it was him and he said no at first but then said he was ‘HONGKONGGONG’ in English. The last place my dad did business in was Hong Kong (laugh). So he’s revealed his true identity and is very active on my official website. You know how fans send food to the set of movies and dramas right? My dad said he paid 200,000 won this time!
Q: (laugh) I’m guessing your positive attitude comes from such love as well. But when it comes to art, there are people who believe that certain things can only come from pain. And to some actors, it also serves as their source of energy.
GHJ: That’s how it is with Seung-beom. He says that actors have to carry a time-bomb-like sadness and loneliness within them. But such things really don’t exist within me because I’ve lived an easy, well-rounded life. Even when I was filming “The Greatest Love,” one of my greatest fears was that I’d lose my positive energy. That I’d form this weird attitude to defend myself. Because the excessive charisma you sometimes see in actresses comes from them telling people not to mess around with them and to protect themselves. I’m scared that I’ll become more spiteful with age, not easy-going. And it’s what I’m most heeding attention to. Even my personality now has changed a lot from when I was in my early twenties.
Q: In what way?
GHJ: I used to be bad at turning down or rejecting things. I used to be positive to a senseless point. I would say okay to everything, even if it would be a hassle or was a loss for me. And mid-way, I had to do things even if I didn’t want to, because I had to. But I’ve come to be able to draw the line and not look back on my decisions. From the smallest decisions such as taking a photo or signing an autograph to big decisions. And it may mean that I’ve become cool-headed but sarcastic as well. I’m no longer in my twenties though. I’m a grown-up. I’ll need to fight harder for my life, I’ll become more of an adult and I’ll experience more things. People will look forward to more, be let down more, and I’ll be put in more embarrassing situations. That’s why I’m at a time where I’ve come to think a lot about what’s more important in life.
Q: Aren’t times like nowadays the scariest? When people love you?
GHJ: I thought the world would change after I won the award for best actress for “Crush and Blush” but nothing happened. (laugh) And I was thinking, why am I not in high demand, why am I so unlucky, but I’ve changed my mindset. I’ve decided to put away my worries regarding things that won’t happen to me right away and just enjoy the moment. I’ve been lucky and I want to believe that I’ll stay lucky. Of course, I’ve been through a period of recession but because of it, I know how to react and have found ways to go about it. I’ve come to realize that whatever happens does not affect the general situation of things so having a cool and tough attitude rather helps me be confident. I also want to live more of my own life. Ah, I wish the Jisan Rock Valley Festival would start soon! The Chemical Brothers are coming!
Q: Speaking of which, you were chosen as the actress who goes well with rock festivals the best.
GHJ: Wow, really? That’s amazing! I recently took first place in a poll asking which celebrity you’d want to be family with. (laugh) I think going to rock festivals is the most exciting time of the year although I can’t enjoy it fully drunk because I’m not good at drinking alcohol.
Q: But don’t you have to start filming your movie soon?
GHJ: I’ll start filming a movie called “Love Fiction” with actor Ha Jung-woo in about a month’s time so I guess I’ll try to tell my agency to leave those dates empty. (laugh) I think this movie will be a lot of fun though. I fell in love with it as soon as I read the script. I’ll show you what being coquettish is about! And I’ll be shooting a bed scene as well, for the first time.
Q: Do you want to become a good actor or a good person? Or do you think the two can co-exist?
GHJ: Well if I had to choose between marrying at a suitable age then living a stable life and doing everything I want to do as an unmarried actress… I might change my mind but I think I’m slowly leaning more toward the latter. I keep thinking that I want to be recognized as a good actress and make my name known more. It won’t be able to do well at both. Although it may be possible. Ah… What do you think would be good? It’s really hard to me to answer that question right now.
Q: It definitely seems like you want to achieve more as an actress now though.
GHJ: Yes. For sure. I think the reason I can’t give you an answer right now may be because I’m scared of choosing wanting to be a good actor over wanting to be a good person. Because before, I would have 100 percent chosen the latter. I had a bigger desire to be a good mother, a good wife and live a healthy life. But these days, I’ve been wondering what it will be like if I filmed a valuable movie that the whole world will take notice of even if I may have a bit of a hard time. That’s why I’m hoping I’ll get to work on a movie that’s that powerful. A movie that’ll make me want to gain more with confidence, a movie I can completely throw myself into.
Vietnamese translation: here