10: This is the first drama you're appearing in since "Kimchee Radish Cubes" a year and a half ago. The break was relatively long this time considering the fact that you debuted in middle school and had appeared in several dramas and films throughout your high school years.
Park Shin-hye: I had taken only very short breaks after appearing in "Stairway to Heaven" in 2003 so I wanted to take a rest and go to school after "Kimchee". There were some achievements I made while showing myself to people but I myself had a hard time. I'm still young but I was even younger back then. And if I come to think about it, I was just so happy and was having fun about playing the lead role in a movie when I was in high school but if I think about it now, I think I just went for it without knowing anything. I just had so much fun acting back then, not knowing anything about the reality of the entertainment industry or what TV is about. I sometimes think I must've been very stupid or simple-minded. (laugh)
10: I think you were able to be under relatively less stress and have more freedom compared to other celebrities your age because you debuted and spent your teens under singer Lee Seung-hwan's company, also your former agency Dream Factory.
Park: Lee didn't like making young people do this and that. He was always under the belief that I would make it even if my ratings were bad so I think I too was able not to be pressured about it. I also believed that I needed to experience everything that people my age to in order to express it in my acting and everyone -- my parents, managers and Lee -- all supported me in that aspect. No matter how much I would hang out with my friends, go watch baseball, go to the theatres and amusement park, they all believed in me. And that I wouldn't cause any trouble. I don't think it's good to keep myself trapped up too much before I turn 20. No matter how often people recognize me and point at me, I like it that I can be just myself when I'm with my friends. And I think it's a blessing that I can have people around me who help me to do that.
10: You got into Joongang University's acting major last year and it became a sensation because there are a lot of actors including Ara, Kim Bum and Kim So-eun.
Park: All four of us went to our classes so well during our first semester of our first year that people around us thought it was weird. That's how much we were attached to our school life. Ara was even shooting a drama during that time. And then as Bum and So-eun took leaves to shoot "Boys Over Flowers" and I saw that everyone else was acting, I became a little worried because I was the only one left in school. But I think everyone has a time when they get to do their thing.
10: Then how did you spend your past year in school?
Park: I prepared for exams, wrote reports and was busy in my own way with friends. I also learned to do a bit of swimming, dance ballet and Chinese characters. And I watched a lot of plays at work but also stagework behind the scenes which was a lot of fun. I'm on a leave right now but I'm going to go to my classes well once I return last year.
10: You have been called an 'up and coming star' for the past couple of years but I think you must have also worried about having to grow as an actor.
Park: I did a lot. Back then, I used to think it would be advantageous taking on roles older than my age, and I actually still do, but I hit a wall because I was trying to act out some things I had never experienced before. I felt that even more so when shooting "Kimchee Radish Cubes" and on the other hand, I didn't want to play the role of someone who is depressed. I know some people may have thought it would have been better if I had taken on an older role but I thought I would be going around in circles. I really wanted to do "Minamishineyo" because it's about people my age and my actual personality is very similar to my character's. (laugh) So I think it actually may take me a step forward from being an 'up and coming star'.
Park: I had a friend in a similar situation. Two guys liked one of my friends but she was the only one who didn't know about it. Mi-nam's personality is very similar to hers so there actually are parts where I gained ideas from her. Having seen the process myself helps in trying to understand and imagine the emotions.
10: You must have been pressured about the rating though since this is your first drama in a while and you're the main female character.
Park: I would be lying if I said I hadn't been in the beginning but I think we're doing pretty well now. And it's continuing to go up so I'm thinking that we just need to keep trying harder. Thankfully, the evaluations are good and people are talking about it so I think that pressure has gone now. I don't have time to worry about the ratings anymore anyway so if I keep working hard, I believe it will be reflected in the drama.
10: "Minamishineyo" could be set as the start to the second chapter of your acting career. What dreams do you have, now that you're just about to enter your 20s?
Park: I'm going to be an adult soon so I want to try going on a backpacking trip. And I think I've slightly surpassed the point of being called a 'up and coming star' in regards to my work. So it's my goal, for this year and the years to come between the years of 20 and 25, to become an actress who can do a wide range of acting with my own character. I want to show more of my possibilities as actress Park Shin-hye.
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun email@example.com
Photographer : Chae ki-won firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Jessica Kim email@example.com, Lee Ji-Hye firstname.lastname@example.org
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