I'm thinking about adding a few translated articles and interviews that I think are fun or inspiring to read. Since the layout features the gorgeus and talented Won Bin, let's start with on article with him! :)
I suppose this is an old article. I don't know if it was really Won Bin that wrote it, but I suppose it was because I've read a similar article written by Rain. So maybe these articles were part of a magazine section or something. But anyway, it was fun to read it. Here's the translated article:
A Star's Confession
This weeks star of - A Stars Confession is Won Bin (23 years old).
Won Bin started his career as an actor in a KBS Mini-series, Propose in 1997. And it was through KBSs popular drama, Kok-Ggi, which ended 10th of last month that he roses as a promising actor who will lead the screen.
From a sensitive gloominess modern character to a rural scamp, Won Bin is widening his performance day by day. In A Stars Confession we like to reveal everything about Won Bin, his past and future.
"I feel fatigue. I can't remember how I went thought my life past 6 months. It's like the feeling of emptiness that you feel after you accomplish something very big. Maybe it might be a little too much to say if I say like I just went through the most hardest time of my life.
Oops, sorry. I just enumerated my feelings from the beginning. You might have thought what is he talking about? However, if you know my present feelings, you might have understood why I enumerated my feelings.
Now it's 4:00 P.M and I am sitting in front of a journalist. I just got back from recording last scene of Kok-Ggi. Just a moment ago, Sung Hyo Sung, the director of Kok-Ggi came down to the studio and said, everyone did a great job!?with his thundering voice. As I heard his saying, tears stood in my eyes. You know, well ... I can't think of a right word to describe the feeling of .... that right, the mixed feeling of joy and sorrow. That's right! The phrase mixed feeling of joy and sorrow just passed my mind.
From the face of Park, Kun Hyung, yelling me, come on, that's how you act? Do it again in front of me!?to the scenes of fighting with Lee, Jung Won, the sweet kiss with Park, Jee Young (I was absolutely absent minded then ~), those drama scenes started to come into my heart just like seeing faded old black and white pictures."
"Last January, when cold winter wind hit our faces, I spoke lightly to Lee, Ho Yul, who was working at the management company I belonged.
I want to play a role as a real scamp. Ho Yul stared at my face for a while and instead of giving me an answer, he asked me seriously, Do you think you can really play such a role? At that moment, I regretted that what I just said to him without thinking. However, I had to answer if they give me such a role. You know, I like to play a kind of scamp who has warm-heart.
After listening my answer, Ho Yul seemed kind of surprised. I felt that he thought of me as a guy who cannot walk is trying to fly. I was ashamed.
However, unexpectedly, Ho Yul said, If you are willing to throw out everything, I will try. Do you know what I mean? I had a vague idea of what he meant but I did not talk about it anymore. I just nodded in assent.
One day, after having such conversation, Ho Yul brought a script. On the top page, it was titled, Kok-Ggi. As soon as I got the script I read the script through at a sitting. A character named Song, Myung Tae caught my attention. After finishing reading the script, I said to Ho Yul, I want to be Myung Tae. Ho Yul smiled and said, Potato-Rock can see script, wait. And he left.
Since coming to Seoul, my nickname, Potato-Rock never sounded so good as the time. By the way, why am I a Potato-Rock? Lets step aside from my story, and lets rewind my tape. Do you know about the legend of the Potato-Rock?"
"Because of my appearance, many people think that I am an only child of a well-off family in Kang-Nam (a district in Seoul, which represents Beverly Hills in Korea). In other words, people misunderstood that my life was easygoing, become an actor by chance, and got popularity easily.
However, here, I am breaking those people¡¯s preconception. I was born and raised in a hamlet in Jung-Sun, Kang-Won-Do, where snows piles up to waist in winter time. I mean, I am an original bumpkin!!!
Therefore, I am far beyond Beverly Hills culture (Kang-Nam culture) and can¡¯t deal with those stuffs. Moreover, I am not an only child. I have a big brother and three older sisters. I am the last one among five. My parents were usually busy so did not care much about me.
Now, I will start my story slowly just like dusting those old albums. Before I start my story, I like to make it clear that since I have such a bad memory despite of my young age, my story might be sometimes wrong. If you want to correct it right, please e-mail to the journalist who is writing my story of Won-Bin¡¯s Confession.
(Journalist Jo, Sung Jun, you might have a little bit hard time correcting them all he..he..he..)
My birthday is September 29, 1977 (according to the lunar calendar). I was born in Book-Myun, Yuh-Ryang 1 Ri, 2-Ban, Jung-Sun City, Gang-Won State. People usually call this place Nearby Ah-U-Ra-Gi. I don¡¯t know the detailed story of my birth. I don¡¯t know what kind of dream my mom or dad or anyone had when my mom got pregnant. I don¡¯t know at what place I was born at all. Well, I better say that I never tried to know such things. When people made a joke on me that my parents found me under some bridge and raised me, I just ignored them and thought. It doesn¡¯t matter if I was born under a bridge, all it matters is that my parents raised me with love and I really appreciate about it. Right, I truly think I am weirdo."
"I often have loneliness in my face. It's because during my childhood, I was alone most of times. You can ask me in return what kind of loneliness you would have, who has brothers and sisters? I didn't mean that I was alone because I did not have any family but what I meant by 'I was alone' was because my parents were busy working and my siblings were busy playing so they did not have time to take care of me.
Like most other peasants, my parents went out right after breakfast to work at mountains and farm lands When my parents were out, my brother and sisters went to school and I was all by myself. It was just like the movie 'Home Alone.'
I was so boring playing with puppies and drawing pictures on the ground. Time passed so slowly. One good thing was the night came early in the mountain range. On sunset, my family members came home one by one and with joy. I started to cry.
I had to go out! out! I couldn't just stay at home and play by myself all the time. As I grew up I dreamed of outside world. I wanted to get away from home. To me, outside world was nothing but only outside of home.
When it was about the time to go to elementary school, I started a life of wild-forest-living. You might wonder that how I could, who was not a savage, live a life of wild-forest-living. However, it was a true wild-forest life.
Digging medical plants, river fishing, and even catching and eating snakes, etc, I came up with every method of playing with the nature. I even sold some of those medical plants I dig and earned some money. After selling the medical plants for two or three hours. I was able to earn about 5000 - 6000 won (about $5-6) and worried because I didn't know what to do with the money. Oh, my beautiful, simple past!!!"
"In the year of 1984, when I was enjoying 'wild forest life' with my friends, I finally started my elementary school life, which I was longed for a long time. I don't mean that I longed to get into elementary school because I was eager to study, but what I meant was because of my lonely life, I thought it would be much fun to play with more friends in elementary school.
The elementary school, Yuh-Ryang Elementary School, was near the village. Yuh-Ryang elementary school was familiar place for me because I used to visit there often because my brother and sisters went there. Especially teachers at Yuh-Ryang knew me very well because I often hid my self outside of the classroom where my brother and sisters were in and shot pebbles with a wooden toy rifle and sprinkled water into the classroom. They remembered all those evil (?) deeds I did. At that time, I was chubby and such a mischief although I am very slim and introvert person now.
Even when I was only an elementary school kid, I valued friendship between guy friends. I did not have any interest on girls at all. I did not show any interest to many girls who were hitting on me, because I had more fun with my guy friends. About 360 days out of 365 days, I went out to mountains, fields, and rivers with my friends and played until sunset, came back home with black and dusty face.
One day, I experienced an accident. When I was in a second grade, I was watching a cartoon and suddenly wanted to play fighting game with my brother. You know, when you watch pro-wrestling game or a cartoon, you want to do just like they are doing. I jumped myself up and attacked my brother. My brother, who was best among the best troublemakers and best in athletics, stroke me back. At that moment, I heard some kind of breaking sound with great pain on my right shoulder"
"I did not want to be defeated, so I tried to attack my brother again. However, I felt so much pain on my arm and couldn¡¯t even to move right arm. I had no choice but accepting my defeat.
Few hours later, when my parents got back from work, we had a family dinner together. I tried hard to overcome the pain and tried to hold sthingy with my right hand. Without my will, I could not hold the sthingy. As I expressed my pain, my mother asked me what was wrong. My brother was sitting next to me, glancing my parents and me alternately with fear, and my sisters seemed confused.
I told my mom that nothing was wrong and went to my room. I tried to sleep. The pain got worse and worse and I groaned more and more as time goes by. My parents heard my groan and came to my room, started to ask me what happened during the day. I was afraid of telling them the truth, but I couldn¡¯t endure the pain anymore.
I told them the truth. I lowered my head and waited for some kind of punishment. But.....unexpectedly, my parents did not say anything. They put some clothes on me and took me out. It was very weird. They should¡¯ve scolded me because I made another trouble by playing fighting game with my brother. However, my parents did not scold me nor showed any reaction. I was very curious about their action.
At midnight, I went to Emergency Room of the biggest hospital in my village and found out that my right arm was cracked. When my dad heard that my right arm was cracked, he told me quietly. "You cannot use your right hand for a while, ok?"
At that time, I could not understand my father.
My parents usually scolded me on small things, but did not say anything on a big accident. Although I could not understand the reason at the time, I think I can understand them now. It was my parents true love ..... "
"In the year of 1990, my troublesome times the elementary school have passed and I entered 'Yuh-Rang' middle school.
There wasn't much difference in the middle school than the elementary school. Since 'Yuh-Rang' middle school was a small sized co-education middle school, everyone was familiar to each other. As for me, who did not care much about studying and school work, even after I entered middle school, I continued concentrate on my after school activities and life. However, I continued participating in the track team, which I was in since I was in elementary school. Like many other children in mountain village, I've always run through mountains and hills like a wild sheep, thus I was so confident in running that I was second to none. Also, there is no need of any kind of expensive, fancy equipment for running, what we all need is just a running shirt, shorts and a pair of running shoes. I liked running because it did not give any economic burden to my family.
I ran and ran, both long and short distance. Was I a famous super-star-runner? No. Then, why should I even bother to think about anything? So, I did not. I just ran and ran. Regardless of ranking and record, whenever coach asked me to run, I ran like a wild bull.
Although, I occasionally went through hard times, when I think back now, the back time exercises and running help me a lot my present life as an actor and entertainer. From running, I learned endurance and patience. Moreover, from my friends, who practiced more than I did and ranked higher than me. I learned the precious value of sweat. Because their higher ranking and records were earned by the sweat of their brow. In this reason, I like kinds of sports, which are soaked with sweat, such as soccer, basketball, and running. On the other hand, I do not like kinds of sports with selfish wiles and pretty guile.
Along with running, something else also captivated me during my middle school. It was a girl with a long hair, who had a handsomeness in jeans. She sprinkled sweet dews to my hardened heart the girl ... ah ... I miss her!"
"The kind of girl I like is still the same as before. My ideal girl must have a long hair and jeans must fit well on her.
The girl (from now on, I will just call her 'K', because I don¡¯t think it is a good idea to reveal her real name since she has her own privacy) was the one. She was my ideal girl, who perfectly had those two conditions of a long hair and handsomeness in jeans. Furthermore, she was even cute and bright, so whenever I looked at her, I was unconscious of the passage of time.
However, I never spoke to her. I could have treated her comfortably as a little sister since she was a year younger than me, but I was not even able to open my mouth in front of her. Since I have several older sisters, it shouldn't be hard for me to feel comfortable with girl, but strangely, I became a speechless in front of her.
Though, I could not just seat, stay, and do nothing. I proceed some 'action' in my own way, without giving any kind of burden to "K". I started to care and protect her at a distance. This was mainly my "action". Although I might seem a little bit passive, what else could I have done? It was the only way I could think of. If you associate this with me in my recent CF, you will get better idea of this. You know, the scene in the CF with me yelling out "I am your guardian angel~"
However, every time "K" looked at me, whether she knew I liked her or not, she had such a clam expression of her eyes. You know, those meaningless eyes expression, which makes you feel suffocation.
Finally, I had a chance to talk to her. Well .... It will be better to say that I made a chance to talk to her. It was the snowy graduation day. I gave her a letter full of my love to her. Her eyes became like a rabbit's big eyes. She seemed very surprised but soon smiled. As I saw her smiling, I felt like I was going to fly to the sky. To me, her smile seemed like an approval.
Thereafter, I entered "Choon-Chun Mechanical Engineering High School" and we exchanged letters for a year."
"There is an old saying, "out of sight, out of mind." Based on my own experience, it is very true.
As I entered "Choon-Chun Mechanical Engineering High School," which was pretty far away from my village, I was busy hanging out with friends there, and "K's" face started to fade away in my mind. Wait a minute, I don¡¯t mean that I had another girl friend. Even after entering the high school, I was a "lonely jackal," who did not give any attention on girls.
Silently, we were getting more and more distance. Eventually, I did not get any letter from her and I heard no more about her. At that time, I accepted the separation very naturally, rather than experiencing any pain or broken-heart. Thereafter, after I became an actor, I heard about "K". I was happy to hear that "K" lives very happy and healthy life.
Since I was young, I concerned more about becoming economically independent than studying. Thus, when I entered high school, I started to learn automobile repair skills. I thought if I won an auto repair shop. I could learn much money and have more free time than other jobs. However, once I started, repairing automobile wasn¡¯t easy at all. Especially, when you repair cars in cold winters - as you know, winter in Kang-Won-Do is freezing cold - your hands does not only freeze but also stuck on the cold metal parts. I was about to die. Furthermore, as those dirty black oils in my nails stayed there for days and weeks, it turned to even black color rather than getting cleaned.
Gradually, I was losing my interest in studying, I meant, in auto repairing. As I started my sophomore year, my four other best friends and I started to smoke. We were also very into auto-cycles. Although it wasn't an expensive auto-cycle, when we drove the auto-cycle through winds, we felt so good and it took away all of our worries.
One good thing was that I could not drink genetically, like all of my other family members. Thank God that I couldn't drink, because if I were able to drink, my high school life would have been a drastic."
"When I was not with my friends, I stayed in my room and did nothing but watching TV. One day, a light passed my mind. It was about my future career.
Every time when I watched TV, I thought that TV star is one of the easiest jobs in the world. Those TV stars, who seemed to enjoy their break time in other countries, after they finish each film, drama, or album, changed me, who spent break time in oily auto repair shop, and drove me to give up my dream as an auto mobile repairer. However, after I became a TV star, I realized how foolish my thoughts were.
"d**n it, should I just become a TV star?" Once I changed my mind, I did not even want to go near automobiles. So I changed my major to "electrical maintenance", which requires less work with automobiles. At the same time, my appearance also started to change. My chubby cheeks were getting more and more slander and I grew more and more. I became a best looking guy in ¡°Choon-Chun Mechanical Engineering High School¡± (I feel a little bit embarrassing saying this by myself ... ^ ^ ).
However, what else could I have done? I merely had idea of becoming a TV star, but I couldn't think of any way to achieve that dream. Those TV station faculties or managers wouldn't come down to Choon-Chun and pick me up as a star nor I could afford to go to Seoul and apply for Acting Academy.
There was no way for me to become a TV star, I decide to give up my dream as a TV star for a while and instead, work at an automobile repair shop in Si-Hung (a city), Kyung-Gi-Do (a different State, which is near Seoul), where my uncle connected me. It was the year of 1995, when I only had a semester left from my graduation."
"I tried to endure. But, the lonely and desolate life at the automobile repair shop started to break down my patience gradually. I stayed in my older sister's house during the time I worked at to the automobile repair shop. To go to the work in the morning, I had to take a bus before sunrise and arrived to the shop around the lunch time (with a little bit of exaggeration). Moreover, there weren't any young people around my age at the shop, only people who were a lot older than me. This gave me, who was a shy and introvert guy, even more hard time. Everyday, I went through hard times physically and mentally.
During those hard times, I dreamt about extrication, a way to escape from those painful days. One day, I happened to read an ad in a sport section of a newspaper. The ad said that some drama cable channel station named Jae-Il Station (which now became, Dramanet), wanted to recruit new actors and actresses.
I opened my eyes widely. "This is it!".
Without any hesitancy, I told my sister about it. After listening my plans, my sister carefully said, "Dogin (my real name was Do-Jin Kim), I heard that becoming an actor is not easy at all. Do you think you are going to be ok?" However, I, who always do whatever I decided to do regardless of what other people say, did not care about my sister's advise.
Among the few clothes I had, I dressed on a best outfit. Then, my sister and I went out to an empty lot in front of our house. My sister was a hairdresser, so her sense of aesthetic was best among my siblings. She enthusiastically took pictures of me with a red brick wall as background. Usually, I did not like taking pictures, but that day, I posed as if I were a model or something.
Now, when I think back then, I realize how reckless idea it was. While other people spend millions of won (Korean currency; million won is about $1,000) for professional profile pictures to send to broadcasting station, my profile pictures were taken by a cheap, small camera, as my neighboring wall as background. Furthermore, I proudly sent them to the station with my application ... .
"Ignorance makes people brave" was exactly what describes myself back then."
"I guess the application I sent without any expectations happened to be caught by eyes of faculties in Jae-Il Broadcasting station. After application process and interview, I was selected as a full time actor at Jae-Il Station. It was in November 1995. However, unfortunately, I could only tell this joyful news to my sisters, but not to other people. Because back then, I was a student and if my school hears about the truth that I quitted the automobile repair shop, I had to go back to the school right away. It is because of the rule of the vocational schools including my high school, "Choon-Chun Mechanical Engineering High School." Students at such high school start to work during second semester of their senior year, but if they quit, they have to go back to school until they find another job. Therefore, if my teachers found out that I did not work at the automobile repair shop, I had to take train to "Choon-Chun" and went back to school.
Since then, I started two different lives. I went to the automobile repair shop in the morning and went to the Jae-Il Station in the afternoon to get acting training. During that time, I appeared in several dramas. However, there was no performance fee for the new actors like me. There was only monthly payment of 120,000 won (approximately $100).
When I got my monthly payment, I gave my older sister 50,000 won (approximately $40) for living expenses and lasted a month with left over, which was 70,000 won (approximately $55). There were always several dimes in my pocket and with this amount of money, it was impossible to hang out with colleagues of Jae-Il Station.
I could have feel irritated by this but I did not. Now, when I think back, I feel lucky that I was not depressed or frustrated during those times of economic hardness. It is not because I was smart or had strong will. For me, who was born with nothing, had no desires at all. I just faced everything without fear.
One day in December 1995, one of the producers (PD) hastily called me.
"You have seen designer Andre Kim on TV, right? He wants to see you tomorrow.""
"Frankly, I didn't either know who "Andre Kim" was nor what he was.
However, everyone told me that he is the most famous and popular fashion designer in Korea and me, taking a part on his fashion show is one of the most honorable experience as an actor.
I thought, "since people say it is a good thing, I will just do it."
I still thought it was not a big deal when I went to see Mr. Kim with one of the station staff. Andre Kim gladly welcomed me. It was very impressive that every time he talked to me, he showed such a respect toward me. He even talked very formally to me, who was just a new ?fledged actor. Here is the conversation I had with Andre Kim.
Andre Kim : "Hello, Mr. Kim. Nice to meet you. I saw you on TV very impressively."
Me : "Oh, thank you"
Andre Kim : "I want you to come to my fashion show if it is possible"
Me : "Oh, yes ... whenever you need me, I'd love to"
Finally, it was the day of the fashion show. The show was held at Seoul H. Hotel. I only heard about the name of the hotel, but never been there before because it was a deluxe hotel. Unlike its magnificent atmosphere of the stage, the backstage was like a messy market place. Female models changed their clothes regardless of presence of male models and famous actors and actresses ate Chinese noodles on the floor. These scenes were unfamiliar to me so I just sat in the corner quietly.
However, I saw Jang Dong Gun walking into the backstage. I was a fan of Jang Dong Gun, so I held back my shyness and said "Hello" to him. He stared at me with his big eyes and said to me, "Hello, but ... do I know you?". I felt a shame by his reply so just left him.
Later, we met again at the same management office (Star J) and laughed together about our first meeting at the backstage.
Once again, the old saying, "Ignorance makes people brave" is a very true. Although it was Andre Kim's fashion show, which even experienced models get nervous, I was not nervous at all. I mean, I could not get nervous because I did not know anything. I just walked on the stage back and forth with my eyes open widely and then the show just ended. I thought myself that 'well, fashion show is nothing'.
However, there was a person who observed me carefully. That person was Jung, Young Bum (I just call him Young Bum brother when we are alone), who was the president of a management company, Star J, where I belong to right now. He picked me and since then he helped me both materially and spiritually. He is like a benefactor to me.
Young Bum brother came to me after the fashion show. He said to me, "I saw you through the monitor," and wanted to talk to me sometime. There was no reason for me to say no, so I said ¡°Yes¡± meekly. Few days later, Young Bum brother and I met together. He immediately asked me to work together. I was a little bit embarrassed, I thought, 'why does he want me?' However, when I saw his face, I felt some kind of faith in him. Maybe it was because he was a little bit younger than other managers. Anyways, I had a good impression on him, so I said to him, "I will think about it carefully."
Few days later, I signed on a contract. Young Bum brother asked me to absolutely trust him and follow him. I also told him, "You know, I don¡¯t do things I don't want to do even if you kill me, ok?" As he listened, he smiled as if he already knew about it.
Ever since then, Young Bum brother and I continued to keep a good relationship together. Of course, time to time, whenever I become stubborn about some stuff, he says, "You stupid moron!!!!!!." With a deep sigh
Credits: AsianFanatics + china888 of Faithful4ever