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29 August 2010

[Trans] 100823 Changmin’s WKorea Interview “Be a Smart Man”

Choikang Changmin, who has matured well with a soft smile on his face, has become an actor who conveys his emotions to the camera with an intense gaze. Five designers, who expect great things to come from him in the future, presented him with their signature looks.

This is what defines a twenty-three year old guy. Being irresponsible as if there is no tomorrow, in deep self-conceit as if the world exists for him so that when you see him, you feel he is pathetic yet his immaturity feels like proof that he is very much alive. At least, that’s what the majority of guys in their early twenties that I’ve seen are like. But Choikang Changmin, the man who stepped into the studio on a hot Sunday morning, was different from the other twenty-three year old guys I’d seen. Even though the photoshoot began early in the morning during a weekend, his expression was bright. Though he didn’t say much, he would occasionally joke with a sly face, and though he’d run away when given a compliment, he would look the photographer straight in the eye when spoken to. This youth, whose every move was calm, felt more like a boy who had matured earlier than his peers than a regular twenty-three year old. But the muscles that could be seen through his gray shirt were obviously not those of a boy. He said that he recently began boxing. According to his manager, who started with him but had now given up, boxing is a sport that is so tiring that you’ll be drenched in sweat by the end. As boxing only tones the shape of the muscles, Choikang Changmin also does weight training at a health club. When I told him that he was living too strenuously when he’s supposed to be taking a break, he said to me, “I’m the kind of person who torments himself. I always desire success, and push myself to think of ways to become better. I can’t be easy on myself.” I could feel a sort of manliness from the firm tone of his voice more than from his muscles.

Recently, a change has come about Choikang Changmin, a change as big as that of his exterior. He was able to try acting for the first time through the drama named . When asked if there was a special moment that convinced him to appear in the drama, he explained that, “I read the synopsis and felt it to be comfortable and fun. The role I play is a guy who, on the outside, looks like he lacks in nothing. He’s handsome and has a pretty good background but is in fact a guy who acts frivolously and is too honest about his emotions so he could seem like he’s ‘missing a couple of tools in the shed’ at first. I felt a sort of connection with him.” It felt too much of a simple reason for a decision to appear in a drama for the first time since his debut. One would think he would be a bit haughty because he had gotten the lead role in his debut drama, but he felt pressured and nervous because it would be the viewers, not his fans, who would be watching. He confessed that he worried a lot that he might become a burden to the staff and other actors. He repeated one thought over and over again, as if it had crossed his mind constantly as he faced the wind and rain of Jeju island for many months. “For the past seven years as a member of a group, I thought that being considerate of others was the most important thing. I would lower myself to make others stand out. I’m not saying that I regret it though. But as I had to act and express every emotion from the smallest to the most dramatic ones in the drama, I realized just how clumsy I was at expressing myself. When I was working with the staff and my fellow actors, I had to become the main character in each situation. I worried a lot.

He’s been a singer for seven years now. Those seven years were seven years spent as the best, with all that time passed on stage and in the rehearsal rooms. When I said that it must have been very hard to debut at such a young age, he added that, “Because I started working so young, my knees ache when it rains. Before, I used to have an indecisive personality and because of it, I couldn’t answer when asked what I wanted to eat and would follow others even if they were going to eat something that I didn’t like. But this kind of job makes you think about yourself more than any other kid your age.” It seems as though working in society from such a young age had a positive effect on him. He wore a total of five outfits for the photoshoot. They were suits of various impressions that mirrored his current status as a boy maturing into a man, who is neither boy nor man but is also both at the same time. When asked which outfit was his favorite, he picked the suit that was most formal and least flashy. “I was walking down the street once when I saw a man with a long beard that covered his face and he looked good. But it wasn’t that I wanted to do the same thing. I think I still feel the need to look more mature than the other guys my age because I started working so early on. I’m not saying that I want to look like that guy right now. I want to slowly change into it."

These days, Choikang Changmin is busy rehearsing for the SMTOWN Live performance. Even on the day of the photoshoot, he had a choreography rehearsal ‘with an unknown end’ scheduled. He couldn’t hide his anticipation as he said that he didn’t yet feel nervous though he said he would on the day of the concert where he would stand on a domestic stage for the first time in two years. Has he changed much since his first experience on stage seven years ago? “At first, the best I could do was to show what I had prepared without making a mistake. I had no room in my mind to think of anything else. I would monitor our performance and see the audience’s response only after I stepped off the stage. But now, I’ve slowly but surely found a way to perform at my own pace. Should I say that I now have complete control? Now, I can see myself, the audience’s reaction and what’s happening around me on stage. It may be that I’ve found my composure.” This composure that opened his eyes up to the audience when he stood on stage also showed through when he talked about girls and dating. When asked “Do looks count 97% when you look at a girl?” he replied 99.9% “It would be a lie to say that looks don’t matter or that all she needs to be is nice. I know that looks aren’t everything but one can still hope. I like a person who has an innocent and intellectual charm and can understand my job.” I thought he was finished but he said, “If I were to add an option,” and kept going. He said that he would prefer that she be an active person because he likes sports. He expressed that he wanted to be able to have a glass of beer with his girlfriend as they watched a match at a baseball stadium. This slowly transitioned into talk about his love life. He truthfully replied that he actively approached and held onto his first love, but that people sometimes call him a bad guy these days as he has become quite sly though he tries to be considerate to others. Those around him tensed up as questions about girls and his love life came up. But he himself had the relazed expression that only a singer with seven years of experience under his belt can possess. This was the moment he truly looked like any other twenty-three year old other than when he said that he would be in a bad mood till midnight on days when his favoirte baseball team lost.

At the beginning, I asked him what he was up to these days. He began by saying, “This is going to be an obvious answer,” and said that he was into band music and had recently begun to teach himself how to play the guitar, something he had always wanted to do but had been pushing back. But what I was curious about was something else. So I asked him again near the end of the photoshoot. How he’s been faring. What meaning this moment has for him. “For the past six-seven years, there has never been a time when I had this few official activities. I needed time to adjust because my life patterns had changed. But I like things the way they are right now. Because I’m learning and enjoying the things I never had the time to do before. Before, I wasn’t able to express myself well, but now, I want to be able to express myself, not only through song and dance, but also through my words and expressions. I believe that these times will be essential for that. I believe that all the things I’m doing right now will affect me positively in the future.” His answer was one I had expected. Usually, I would have pushed him to tell me something fun instead of such a boring answer. But I didn’t do that this time. Because of his firmer than muscles tone, that showed he was a man, not a boy.

source: [W Korea magazine]
translation credits: jeeelim5@tohosomnia.net
shared by: tohosomnia.net
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