Kim Sun Ah is finally back with a new drama! Known as a versatile actress, she is returning to the silver screen through the new thriller drama, Secret Boutique.
In Secret Boutique, Jenny Jang (played by Kim Sun Ah) appears to be an elegant owner of a small boutique called J-Boutique.
J-Boutique looks like a normal clothing and accessories store from the outside but in reality, J-Boutique is a façade for a law firm serving the rich and powerful.
We had a chance to talk to Kim Sun Ah about her new and past dramas, challenges as an actress, her experiences and more in our latest exclusive interview. Read on for more!
Q : What made you pick “Secret Boutique” as your comeback drama for 2019?
Kim Sun Ah : Since ‘The Scent of Woman’, I’ve always thought that it would be nice to work again with director Park Hyung-Gi. I picked ‘Secret Boutique’ not only because of him, but also because I really enjoyed the script when I first read it. It was also interesting that Jenny Jang is not like the other roles I’ve played before.
Q : How would you describe your role of Jenny Jang? What do you think is the appeal of this character?
I have never seen a woman like Jenny Jang in my life. She is so charismatic and doesn’t give up the fight against men. She’s always a leader and whatever she does, she stays calm. She knows the time when she needs to stand up and bow down. She never stands on pride unnecessarily. She’s determined and strategic.
Q : Are there any similarities that you have with her? What do you like best about Jenny Jang?
Jenny Jang makes everything clear when it comes to her work. She’s a good leader who is very determined and believes in her choice. She is a driven person works hard to reach her goal. She is faithful and tries to keep the secrets of her customers. I really like that part.
Q : In the drama, you climb from the bottom to the top, beginning as a bathhouse worker to a CEO. What did you have to do to prepare for this character? What is the most memorable or challenging scene that you had to act?
In addition to acting, I’ve prepared a lot give the right appearance of the CEO of a boutique. It took me 2 to 3 weeks to find clothes and accessories which were suitable for Jenny Jang. I’ve tried both short and long hair styles, and I finally decided to have my hair cut short and bleached since the director said it looks better. I tried to wear and get used to watches, rings, and heavy earrings in advance. The most challenging scene that I had to play was a underwater scene which will be shown at the latter part of the drama. It was much tougher than I had expected, and I ended up having hypothermia. I even had sores inside my mouth. I was probably biting my mouth down so hard under the water without knowing it. After a few days, my skin developed hives and turned red like I had frostbite.
Q : In the trailer, your character mentioned, “In this world, there are people who live in two different times – those that live while looking towards the future, and others who live while stuck in the past.” What kind are you? Please explain why. Do you dwell in the past or look forward when a problem occurs?
I used to be a person who dwell in the past like everybody does. It was not easy to heal my wounded heart no matter how much I tried. After going through that, I think I’ve learnt so many things in that process. I try to control myself but still, sometimes I cannot handle it because I’m a human being too. But I can say that I’m not a person who dwells in the past anymore.
Q : Please share your experience working with Jang Mi Hee and Kim Jae Young.
It’s not just Jang Mi Hee and Kim Jae Young, every actor and actress in the drama are very nice. It’s been six months since we’ve been shooting together and we’re working together in perfect harmony. We are even considering gathering regularly. We have such a nice atmosphere on set!
Q : How would you grade your chemistry acting with Kim Jae Young? As the noona-dongsaeng line in this drama, are there any challenges that you faced while acting with him? Also, acting with a younger actor this time around, can we expect a love-line?
On our first day of shooting, director Park said Jae Young and I looked good together. There will be a love triangle between Kim Jae Young, Kim Tae Hoon, and I. Please look forward to that! The director said that it seems like a separate romance drama when he thinks of the story between Tae Hoon and me. I think viewers can enjoy various stories from one drama.
Q : Jenny Jang has a wide range of life experiences and emotions. What challenges do you face portraying the role?
Jenny is a person who does not reveal much of herself. Hiding her feelings always, she speaks in different tones in every different situation. I try to act like a chameleon because Jenny Jang acts different when she is with different people. She seems like a real maid when she’s with Yeo-ok. She does not tell about herself to even Sun Woo whom she cares the most, nor to Jung Hyuk. I thought that maybe the most comfortable person for her would be her friend Yenam. I tried my best to portray the mysterious side of Jenny Jang that people can’t assume.
Q : You shot to stardom with the romantic-comedy My Lovely Sam Soon, but these 2 years, we have seen you doing mainly melodramas like ‘Should We Kiss First’. Do you have a preference for more sophisticated roles now? Do you feel such roles are more suited to your age and life experience now?
When you watch ‘Should We Kiss first’, it’s very bright at first but it gets darker as time goes by. It’s not easy to define this drama. Bokja in ‘Woman of Dignity’ was not a hilarious character but she could be seen as a extraordinary and funny person. Of course, the genre of the drama is thriller so it could be felt dark. The heaviest drama among recent ones I did would be ‘Children of Nobody’. Among my old filmography, it could be ‘The Five’ or ‘Fighting Spirit’. I think there are no viewers who only cried or laughed watching my dramas/films. I don’t have preference for some characters. I would say I’m just acting as an actress regardless of genre or my images. I’ve tried my best to make my dramas worth watching. I still have so many characters that I want to try to portray. I’m so blessed to be able to participate in this good drama and I think it is my duty to return something to the viewers. If I have one image, it’s not important for me to break that image or not. There is no better thing than acting well for an actor or actress.
Q : In your various works so far, you have always been portraying women who have unique and strong personalities, would Jenny Jang be one of the strongest women you have acted before? How would you differentiate this character from others?
There were some who had strong personalities among the characters I’ve portrayed. I would say each character has different type of strong personalities. Jenny Jang never talked back right away when someone says something. She looks far ahead and thinks before she talks. She’s a person whose actions are faster than her words. She gets everything done so fast. She is smart and keeps her faith. As a lobbyist, this is her huge weapon. She keeps the secrets of others and keeps widening her influence.
Q : When playing such heavy and intense roles, are your emotions affected when filming? How do you de-stress?
I try my best not to get stressed while shooting dramas. I even relive my stress while shooting. Working is like a medicine to me. Analyzing the scripts and talking about the drama gets rid of my stress. On the drama set, my stress goes away.
Q : Named as the “Secret Boutique”, what are some of the secrets that you can share with your fans that you have yet to share? Are you one who can keep secrets well or do you tell your close friends about them?
I won’t tell you because it’s literally my secret. 😊
Q : Having been in the industry for 21 years, what further challenges do you seek as an actress？
I always try to be better at acting than I’ve done so far. I’m a type of a person who push myself not to be indolent and lazy. In that sense, I’ve been taking acting lessons for 20 years. I always do my best, hoping to act as much as I did last year in this year. It’s not about to being better than anyone else, I’m just focusing on myself hoping to be better than the old me.
Q : Would you want to do a romantic-comedy again? If yes, which actor would you like to work with?
I love romantic comedies and romance dramas. People keep telling me to do dramas like ‘My name is Kim Sam Soon’ for years. I would love to look out for another role in a good romance drama.
Q : Following your awards end of last year, do you feel any stress while choosing a new work for the year?
I didn’t feel any stress while choosing ‘Secret Boutique’ because I picked it way before winning the award. I didn’t expect it at all that I would win the grand prize. At that time, I was shooting ‘Children of Nobody’, so I took the invitation to the awards as a meaning of ‘take some rest while shooting’. Talking with other actors and actresses, suddenly people stared at me and I wondered why. I was so surprised to be called since I didn’t expect it at all.
Q : What kind of actress would you like viewers to remember you as?
I would like to be remembered just as the roles in my dramas like Sam Soon in ‘My name is Kim Sam Soon’ and Jenny Jang in ‘Secret Boutique’. Even though viewers don’t know much about myself, I would like to be remembered as the characters. And I will keep acting, hoping to be remembered through as many characters as possible.
Q : To survive, your character Jenny Jang can do anything. What about Kim Sun-Ah, would you prioritize survival in the harsh world over other things? What is your limit in sacrificing for survival? (Say, cannot give up ____ even for survival)
Cannot giving up acting even for survival. I would like to portray as many characters as possible in as many dramas as possible. I would like to live a lot of different lives as an actress. It is my job to live different lives in different dramas and films and show them to the viewers. I really want to act.
That’s the end of our interview, and special thanks to ONE HD for this opportunity. The drama looks promising, so don’t miss it! ‘Secret Boutique’ premieres on 19th September 2019, and airs every Thursday & Friday at 8.10PM on ONE HD.