Singer-Actress Yoona Talks About Her Character In The K-Drama ‘Hush’

In the Korean drama Hush, Lim Yoon-a, known to fans as Yoona, plays a reporter with no illusions. During the job interview, her character Lee Ji-soo describes her motivation for becoming a reporter as simply wanting to put food on the table. Her lack of lofty goals is fine with the journalists who decide to hire her. However, Ji-soo might be more idealistic about the importance of journalism than she realizes. 

It’s not the first time Yoona played a reporter. She was also a reporter married to South Korea’s prime minister in the drama Prime Minister and I, with co-star Lee Beom-soo. As a member of the internationally successful k-pop group Girls Generation, a top-selling solo artist and an award-winning actress, she’s had many opportunities to interact with reporters. She learned more about the profession when preparing for those roles.

“It was very meaningful to learn about the job of a reporter through acting in dramas,” said Yoona. “If I were a reporter in real life, I would probably put a lot of thought into the questions I ask in order to develop a new perspective on the topic that I’m covering.”

Yoona described her Hush character as “charming, confident and persuasive.”

 “I would say Lee Ji-soo is cooler than me,” she said with a laugh. “She is not afraid to speak her mind and has a strong aura of confidence that makes her very attractive.”

Alongside her singing and acting career, Yoona is also one of Korea’s most popular commercial models, representing brands such as Innisfree and Michael Kors, and in 2019 she became the first female celebrity to serve as an ambassador for the Korean Tourism Organization. She has been busy, but happily so, since her debut with Girls Generation.

“Since the early days of our debut, we had many opportunities to try various activities from singing to acting, modelling and more, which naturally made me able to juggle different things and be a multi-player,” said Yoona. “Rather than focusing too much on maintaining a balance, my priority is to try my best in everything that I do with no regrets. I think this has helped me build my career to where I am today.” 

Yoona launched her acting career the same year she debuted with Girls’ Generation, playing a minor role in MBC’s 2007 drama Two Outs in the Ninth Inning. She had her first leading role in the 2008 drama You Are My Destiny, a role that earned her Best New Actress awards at the 23rd KBS Drama Awards and the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards. She added to her popularity with roles in Love Rain, with co-star Jang Geun-suk in 2012 and The K2 with Ji Chang-Wook in 2016. 

Yoona has not appeared on the small screen since The King In Love in 2017. She was drawn to Hush for a few reasons, including the chance to work with actor Hwang Jung-min. In the drama Hwang plays her mentor, veteran reporter Han Joon-hyuk. Originally an idealistic reporter Joon-hyuk has sacrificed some of his ideas for more pragmatic goals.

“There was no reason to miss the opportunity to act alongside Hwang Jung-min,” she said. “Also, over the years, I’ve done a lot of bright and cheerful acting but never got to play a serious, heavy-toned character like this before. The drama itself is also different from what I’ve done in the past, so it was a new challenge for me to showcase a different side as an actress.” 

During her hiatus from television dramas, Yoona appeared in two of South Korea’s highest-grossing films: Confidential Assignment, with co-star Hyun Bin, and Exit with co-star Jo Jung-suk. Her role in the action film Confidential Assignment earned her the AFA Next Generation Award at the Asian Film Awards and the Newcomer Award at the Korean Film Shining Star Awards. She will soon reunite with Hyun Bin and actor Yoo Hae-jin in the film’s sequel Confidential Assignment 2.

“Many people loved the character Park Min-young from Confidential Assignment, so I’m very much looking forward to its sequel, Confidential Assignment 2,” she said. “I really enjoyed filming the first movie. The character that I play is very bright and cheerful and there was great chemistry between the actors. In the second film, you can expect stronger chemistry among the cast and a more mature side of Min-young, so I hope everyone looks forward to it.”

A very different film from Confidential Assignment, Exit has been described as a disaster action-comedy. In Exit Yoona’s rock-climber character must survive a sudden disaster with a man who previously had a crush on her. The film demonstrates her talent at comedy, but when choosing roles she does not prefer drama or comedy.

“I don’t prefer one over the other but I definitely don’t want to miss out on both,” she said with a laugh. “But, it seems like many people like seeing me play bright and cheerful roles so when I receive casting inquiries for such characters, there is less pressure when making a final decision.”

Hush is based on the 2018 novel Silence Warning by Jung Jin-young. The JTBC drama was praised for its hard-hitting look at the life of a Korean journalist and Yoona for her portrayal of the bold intern Ji-soo.

“As an actress, I want to try more diverse works, something that I haven’t done before,” she said. “Besides that, living a fulfilling life as a person, as Lim Yoon-a, in good health is also very important and something that I’ll always work towards.”


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