10: What do you think you were like before you started acting? About ten years ago?
Yoo A-in: I think I was similar to who I am now. I was the ordinary loser who blended in well amongst the other 40 to 50 students in my class but when I delve into more detailed memories and proofs of who I was in my past, it makes me think that people's nature does not change easily. (laugh) I once came across something I wrote for evaluation during ethics class when I was around 14. I had written about how I would achieve my dream but it wasn't about 'what' I would become. "I think it is people's job to find true happiness," is what I wrote. I think it was because that's all I needed to think about back then. And school was a much smaller and stable form of society than society actually is. Not that I liked school that much either. (laugh)
10: What did you not like about it so much?
Yoo: Because a lot of things about it was unnatural. I had never opted for any of the things that happened to me but they just happened as if they were natural occurences. Of course, education is mandatory which is why my mother sent me to school and I would have been in big trouble if she hadn't. (laugh) But I don't think schools teach you how to think. It's a thought that comes to me when I'm writing as well. I write mainly for myself on my Cyworld account and to communicate with others through my Twitter account but it's not because I need answers. And even if I was seeking for an answer, I don't think you should expect to find it easily. I wish people would not say, "This is difficult. I don't know what this is about. Please explain in a simpler way," after taking a mere glance at what I write. What fun would there be in finding what the answer to something is as soon as you look at it? Words are easy to written down and be shared but not light. So if you are someone who visits my accounts because you are interested in me, I'm hoping you will figure out your answer to what I have said through me rather than find it easily and make conclusions about me. I am the most important person to everyone.
Yoo: (laugh) Yes. Regardless of what I'm doing, I do think I've managed to maintain some of what I felt at the bottom of my heart back then so I'm extremely satisfied. And by satisfied, I'm not saying that I have more and am richer but that I'm not ashamed because I have managed to uphold the roots to what is at the bottom of my heart. I would be embarrassed if that was empty ten years later even if I may become rich throughout Asia and make millions. Of course, when I say this, the response is, "Bottom of your heart? Talk again, after you make millions!" (laugh)
Yoo: Hm, it might not exist. But if it did... I do think I'd be a pretty awesome person if I could look back on myself when I was 25 and not feel ashamed about who I am at 35. I'm hoping that the path I've been on so far will have paved a way for kids like me.
10: You said before that you feel like you're becoming ill when you do interviews that aren't really about communicating with the other person or go on television. Everyone ends up having to do things that they don't want to at one point in their life but there are people who are particular sensitive about such things and have a tough time with them. Do you think you've gotten more used to it with age?
Yoo: It's still difficult. But while in the past I rebelled against the logic that I should do whatever I'm told since I'm a newbie, I think now, I'm sometimes mistaken as having become arrogant because my name is better known. As if I have changed when I've actually always just been this way. (laugh) So I clashed with the agency the most in regards to this. I'm thankful that my current agency accepts me as who I am and we have found ways to compromise because I too want to work at an equal level with them. Of course, it's all possible only when you become famous. And I'm not saying that I've become popular. It's just that after working on this drama, it feels like my agency understands me much more. (laugh)
Yoo: Yes, it's very important to me. Freedom was the word I mentioned the most when I was around 21. And I looked very hard for it because until I turned 20, I was deprived of freedom for the three years after I arrived in Seoul and worked. I think freedom for people who are out in society is about how well they control what they feel inside. I think I can control about six things out of ten inside me after working on "SungKyunKwan Scandal," compared to having controlled five before. It means I have gained the freedom to be able to control one more thing that's important to me.
10: If having the freedom to be yourself is important, if that time and space is important to you, what sort of place is the home that you live in right now?
Yoo: The house itself is like any other house. What's important is not what sort of house it is but that I have my own space. But I easily get bored of living in one space so I move every year. It's very bothersome. (laugh) How I've changed from the past is that these days, my friends visit my place often and sometimes even stay for days. I've come to be able to do my own thing even when others are around me, not just when I'm alone and isolated. I think that's at least how comfortable I've become with people I'm close to.
Yoo: For most sons, dads are such uncomfortable people. It's particularly difficult when you're from the Gyeongsang Province and the men talk in short and concise sentences. (laugh) But we have become able to understand each other better. I've experienced the domestic troubles that every child goes through but I think I've come to accept and forgive my father better than I used to.
10: I remember you having written on your Cyworld account that you didn't willingly accept how kind the woman at your convenient store was and then regretted it the day the store shut down. It made me think that you're still awkward when it comes to people who are nice to you unconditionally or praise you as a celebrity.
Yoo: Yes, it drives me crazy. (laugh) It's gotten worse because a lot of people watched our drama but I just can't stand it! Of course, as an actor and celebrity, it also feels good and I'm proud in a way. I'm so happy and thankful when ladies at restaurants come to me and ask for my autograph, saying that their daughters are my fans. But anything more than that is uncomfortable. I wish they wouldn't even say, "A-in, you're so good looking!" but keep it at around "I'm having fun watching your drama." I feel like dying when people tell me things like, "All the girls ever do when they get together is talk about you!" I just don't know how to respond to that and it doesn't seem right to say thank you. Or should I just be bold and say, "Yea, I was cool in it, wasn't I?" Anyway, it's hard for me to deal with more extreme forms of expressions. And it's not just me as an actor -- I think I don't feel quite comfortable with such things even when it comes to love or the person I'm dating.
10: You may increasingly feel more uncomfortable in the future.
Yoo: It's not that I want my privacy to be respected because I'll protect it whether others respect it or not. But I do think that it'll be more uncomfortable to go outside now since I'm actually the type that used to go walk about easily and go to Myungdong without my hat on. I wish it would be easier to do. But I guess I should be thankful about even being able to say this right now and I feel grateful and happy about it.
10: Last question. What is the furthest you think of when it comes to the future?
Yoo: I think it's tomorrow. I think it is possible that I cease to exist any moment and there was a time when I used to live every day of my life engulfed with that thought. I wasn't thinking that I want to die but there was a time when I thought I don't need to wake up the next day. That I wouldn't feel sad or bad in particular if I didn't get to see another day of my life. I was in despair. But I overcame those times and I'm alive. (laugh) I do think though I could get through today but not exist tomorrow. That's why today, this time right now and what I'm doing right now is much more important to me than what I'll be doing in ten years. I came to realize that after I spending such times.
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