Actress Jang Nara said she has been overwhelmed by the level of support that fans have shown after she returned home to star in KBS 2's "Babyfaced Beauty" following her long absence as she focused on her acting career in China.
"I didn't have high expectations, because I had been away for so long", said the 30-year-old, who made a successful return to the Korean TV series after departing for China six years ago. "So I was so nervous and worried, but I am grateful for the support and love that viewers have shown me".
In the soap, she plays the role of a 34-year-old single woman who manages to land a coveted job in the fashion industry by lying about her age and pretending she is nine years younger.
Since it first aired in May, "Babyfaced Beauty" has maintained favorable viewer ratings of around 10 percent. The series, which runs until Tuesday, highlights the difficulties that many Korean women face in today's tough job market by shining a light on the issue of discrimination by age.
Jang suddenly left Korea in 2005, when her acting career was at its peak following her appearance in a number of popular sitcoms and TV series. Over the last six years, she has managed to replicate her strong following at home by adding three major Chinese TV series to her acting portfolio and emerging as one of the leading lights of the Korean Wave.
Jang said she struggled at times and missed home but refused to return until she had buttressed her decorated career in China.
"I wanted to come back when things got tough, but I felt that, as I had embarked on these new goals, I should work harder to try and achieve them, so I held on", she said.
She said she felt frustrated by being pigeon-holed as the classic girl-next-door character in Korean soaps.
"The reason why I enjoyed my time in China is because I was able to portray various characters, from an innocent and naive girl to a more sinister and vicious character", she said. "Now I'm hoping to take on many different types of roles in Korea as well".
"I would love to play a sexy femme fatale. I think I could pull it off. I have a burning passion for acting", said Jang, who is also preparing to release her new album.
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2015 51st PaekSang Arts Awards