Hong Kong Films Awards in April, Chanel Cruise Collection in Singapore in May, Super Show 5 in Jakarta, Indonesia in June… You were really everywhere. But your condition seems to be good.
I returned to Seoul yesterday after Jakarta concert. Next week, I have to go to Hong Kong. There’s Super Junior’s concert there. Because I have gotten used to going overseas often, I don’t find it hard anymore. I eat every meal, and exercise often. That is how I manage my conditions.
In the first half of this year, you acted in “Lord of the Dramas” and did activities as Super Junior-M member. What do you have prepared for second half?
There are no albums planned. I think I will have schedules for acting. It’s not confirmed yet, but I am thinking about few works in movies and dramas.
In 2005, you debuted as Super Junior’s member, and you now have 6 official albums. If you include singles and overseas releases, there probably are many more albums. When did you feel your achievements the most?
Every moment. I feel that I have many uses. When I hear that fans get encouragements by watching me perform on stage, I feel hope. And I grow more responsibility. To talk about recent events, we toured 4 countries in South America. In end of April, we went to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and became the first Korean artist to do a concert tour South America. The seats were filled by people from there (South Americans). The seats were filled for all 4 concerts. It was a surprising experience.
You are also continuously working as an actor. Which one do you think you have more talent in, singing or acting?
I find both fun. But as time pass, I feel more responsibility than finding it fun. Many people watch me, with great attention. I don’t know which one I have more talent in. I do my best in every situation and roles given. And I judge myself very objectively. I know what my good parts are. I work to improve that. I also constantly checking for my bad parts to fix it.
Let’s talk about your first work. “A battle of wits” was Kor/Chi/Jap collaboration movie, and you worked with many actors like Ryu DukHwa, Ahn SungKi, and others. If you were to look back at the memories now?
The actual debut work (as actor) was 2 years before that movie. It was “Eighteen, Twenty Nine” drama in 2005, and I was the younger role of the main character. After that was “A battle of wits”, and I didn’t purposely chose a collaboration movie. I didn’t have a choice. No, I shouldn’t be the one to say “that I had a choice”. The movie producers gave a sub-main character to a rookie actor who’s skills haven’t been confirmed yet. It must have been an adventure for them, and I am still thankful about it. I don’t know how I did in the movie. Even now, I still feel worried when talking about foreign works, but back then, I didn’t have any worries. It felt like a dream.
How did the actors of “Battle of Wits” and staffs treat you?
They first found me interesting. I was young, a new face, and I talked in their language, and made jokes with them. Even when I didn’t have my recording scene, I would go to eat packed lunch with them, and ride horses. They quickly found me friendly, and we were all very close. Last year, I was recording in China for a drama, and one of the staffs called me, saying that he’s in the region. We met after about 5 years.
Are you a philanthropist? Or at least a guy who has great affection for the world and people? In January, you passed 3 million followers, and recently, the picture you took with Jackie Chan and Ryu DukHwa was a hot topic. And your attendance at a friend’s wedding in China was also known later. You seem to have long-time friends with many different backgrounds.
As for followers, to be exact, it passed 3.6 million recently. (Laugh) I work hard to live a religious life, and post good sayings on twitter and weibo daily. In hopes that those who follow me can also look back onto themselves and receive strength. Instead of a philanthropist, I would say 敬天愛人 (worships heaven, and love people). You may think I’m saying this to appear cool, but it’s really how I feel.
Do you love yourself as much as you love others?
I love myself. But I don’t work hard to “make my own world hard”. Then, I’d get trapped in it. I think “others are better than me”. Even if I have to make the decision myself, I ask around for advice first.
Are you the type to “act according to emotions”, or “act logically”?
I try to balance it. I’m emotional type so I do this job (singer/actor), and I work to be “logical”.
Why do you work so hard? In past, Super Junior members joked about ‘Choi Siwon’s Day’.
Time management is very important. I manage it very carefully. I hate wasting time more than wasting money. You can control wasting money to certain levels, but you can’t control the time you waste. Because the type of job I have requires me to “displaying myself”, it is tiring. In times outside work, I use the time wisely and efficiently. I do this myself; I’m not the type anyone could control.
What is something you do everyday?
I pray 3 times a day, at 6AM, 12PM, and 6PM. No matter where I am. And also exercising. If I forget this, my body feels stiff, and I can’t sleep well at night. There is the “amount of energy” you should use. If I don’t use that much, my body doesn’t feel balanced. I like all kinds of sports; recently, I started learning tennis, and I’m researching to try cross-fit.
You probably know that you have a strong image of ‘perfect man’. Do you have it in your mind when you do something?
No. If I were to work to match others’ expectations, there would be no end. I do my best in all I do, and I focus on being satisfied with myself. I have something else I pursue. I am a man with a story. I was raised in a good environment, lived a life without lacking anything… but that doesn’t matter at all. I hope to be a man with a “twist”. James Dean wouldn’t have been handsome everyday. In front of friends, he would be funny, weird, or maybe nothing special. The same goes for George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
So “normal human” charm?
Like Bruce Wayne in “Batman”. He is the hero character I love the most. Heroic, chic, and cynical. Different than other superheros who have supernatural powers to shake the world.
That reminds me of “Lord of the Dramas”. Uncommon hero. Well, your role wasn’t a hero, but you definitely betrayed our expectations. Instead of “cool guy”, Kang HyunMin was weird and funny.
It was a turning point for me. At first, Kang HyunMin wasn’t that kind of role. I changed the tone after talking with the producer. For comedy in the drama. And it had a bit of “real me” in the character. No, in real life, I play even better. Super Junior members and managers said “I met (a character that’s perfect for me).” The company of course, wanted me to act more “cool” roles though.
It’s been 8 years since debut. How does it feel to live as a celebrity?
“Bubbles” (expectations of live as celebrity) disappeared, and get worn out quickly. You end up having a more realistic view of the world, and have a different perspective compared to peers. A good part about me is that I could adjust to any environment while working as a celebrity. No matter what show you send me onto, I can mix in well. Making music, appearing with other guests on shows, etc. Doing photoshoots like this also feels new every time. Each time, you meet with new people to work together.
Are you shy in front of strangers?
I am really bad. Others think I wouldn’t be shy. I don’t have any problems with meeting people for first time and exchanging words. It just takes a long time for me to reveal my true feelings to them. But I try my best to approach them first. And hope they would see me trying.
What kind of son are you at home?
I’m more of a son that does what a son should, than a close son. I try my best to be “friends” with my parents. I understand my father because he is my father, and also because he’s a man. But the phrase ‘You’ll understand your father more as you age’ is wrong. I still don’t understand many parts. We spent more time in different worlds. When I was growing, I was already in this (celebrity) world. So we try to understand each other more through having more conversations, and we’re becoming more and more like friends. I have a hyungnim that’s close friends with me, and he calls my father “hyungnim”. Our relationship is interesting.
What do you do in your free time?
I am more busy on days without schedules. If I am to make schedule of tomorrow: Go to early morning service, return and have coffee, read bible, eat breakfast, study foreign language, play tennis, pray, eat lunch, go to afternoon workouts, pray, then eat dinner. On days with schedules, I have to go to many places, so I do many things when I can be in seoul.
Do you enjoy driving?
Of course. I started driving at 20. My first car was Audi TT. I was Audi PR in past, and I went to TT launching show then, and bought the car. I rode it over 4 years. Now, I ride Audi R8 Spyder. To add meanings to it, when the car changed to a bigger car, I feel like I have also grown. Both body and heart.
How does Audi R8 Spyder feel when you drive?
To express in one word, it’s a “great car”. I feel that Audi R8 Spyder’s best part is when you drive in high speed with “sports mode”. Without “sports mode”, it feels a bit like Sedan. It just feels that great. I feel that 2013 model feels more smoother than previous models.
What is a car you want?
I like classical cars, so I want a muscle car from 1960’s. I actually have looked into it before. I am also interested in S series in Audi models. Ah, I also want to make Audi R8 Spyder like Bruce Wayne’s car. It’ll take lots of money though, right? (Laugh)
The Audi R8 Spyder you have now looks like batman’s car already. You brought your R8 Spyder today and did photoshoots with it. Where do you often go with your car?
I have my favorite driving course. From HanNam bridge, to Sports Complex, to Jamshil, and return through SungSoo bridge. Sometimes, I go to GangDong KyungHee University and return. I get on GangByeon highway, go to Yeouido, and return using South Bridge. When the road isn’t busy, I speed a bit. I have gotten few tickets.
From now on, if I see R8 V10 Spyder passing by with loud sound, I’ll think it’s you. Who’ll be sitting next to you?
I don’t have anyone to drive with. Driving alone in the city. Ah, I do sometimes drive with my mother.
I’m suddenly curious about this. What is your greatest weakness?
Affection. I should be more firm about cutting off connections, but many times, I find it hard. I’m working on it. Having a heart-ache for a short time is better than having your whole life change because of it.
You must have broken up recently?
I had a girlfriend, but right now, I don’t. I feel that right now is the time to prepare to meet a better person.
Do you have plans about marriage?
To be honest, I want to marry right now. But I don’t have the confidence to do so.
Then that means marriage is still far away. What do you think of most during the day?
I feel that every moment is for learning and realization. There will be times when things may not go well, or be involved in a bad situation. But I learn from those situations. Continuing to learn and realize, that’s how I am living now.
This has been an interview, but just talking to Choi Siwon is really fun.
That’s it. If (you felt that way), then (I was successful). (Laugh)
What plans do you have now?
I will watch ‘The 90th Le Mans 24 Hours Race’ in end of June, with Audi Korea’s invitation. I think that it is one of the top 3 races in the world. It has a long history. And this is my first time going to watch a race, so I am excited. I think it’ll be fun. And I will have chance to learn more about cars. I have already prepared a jacket to wear.
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