At first sight, actress Ha Ji-won
seems to have a lot in common with the stubborn and proud woman she played in the SBS TV drama "What Happened in Bali".
"I will never tell you that I love you, because that's my last pride", her character declared.
In reality, Ha is admittedly more fragile and reserved. Her only stubbornness is in her dream: "Becoming an actress who can suck the audiences into the screen".
"I envy and admire people who can always say their thoughts out loud. I tend to hide my own feelings and try to avoid arguments", said Ha with a shy smile. "I can be firm and strong only when it comes to work. I guess I was born to be an actress".
Since her debut in the teenage TV drama "School 2" in 1999, Ha has been on an acting Marathon
without a break.
Sometimes as bouncy and lively as the sexy aerobics performer in the movie "Sex Is Zero
" and sometimes serious and full of sorrow as the Joseon Dynasty policewoman she portrayed in the TV drama "Damo
", Ha has tackled a multitude of roles, sallying between movies and dramas.
In her latest movie "Love So Divine
", Ha played a perky woman who falls in love with a priest-to-be. She is now working on the movie "Daddy-Long-Legs
", based on a well-known book by the same name.
"I am also preparing for my next movie 'The Police Inspector,' which is based on last year's TV drama 'Damo
.' While taking acting lessons that includes vocalization and physical exercises, I am realizing that acting is much more difficult than I had thought", said Ha.
The 26-year-old actress hates her conservatism. "Sometimes my conservatism works as a barrier", she said.
However, it also seems to provide motivation, pushing the actress to hone and elevate her craft.
"My motto is to become an honest person", the 'conservative woman' said. She explained that in order to make audiences sympathize with her characters, she must act honestly.
"What I mean by that is 'acting' and 'pretending' are totally different. When I pretend to be sad, I can never make the audiences cry with me. But when I become the character that I am acting and cry for real, the audiences cry with me".
With almond-shaped eyes, long eye lashes, a sharp nose and sturdy lips on an oval face, Ha Ji-won
is striking. But her allure comes from her aura, not her beauty.
"I have never thought of myself as a pretty person. But now that I think about it, that was another factor which made me work harder", Ha said. "Everywhere I looked, there were actresses a hundred times prettier than I was. I realized that in order to survive among them, my acting had to perfect".
Ha recalled the time she first stepped into the world of entertainment as the most difficult moment of her five-year acting career.
"Although I worked harder preparing for the debut, it was after the debut that was really difficult. I am usually slow at adjusting to changes. Everything seemed so strange to me that I used to get hurt over nothing then", said Ha.
"But once I do get used to something, I rarely give up. Now that I have adjusted to this career, I plan to give my best and never give up easily".
Ha is also a sportswoman who enjoys various sports such as golf and horseback riding. "Other than acting skills, I think it's important for actors to improve their body strength. Also, when you learn sports, it sometimes helps in playing the roles you land upon".
Since Ha already could ride horses, she was able to spend time on polishing her acting while others took riding lessons for "Damo
"By the time I am 40, I can see myself as a housewife with a wonderful husband and kids", Ha said. "As much as I love my work, I can never say that I will be an actress for the rest of my life. That could be a lie because one can never tell what will happen in the future".
Ha hopes to open a nursery or an orphanage. "I come from a family with two sisters and a brother. My dad especially loves kids, and I do too".
"Lee Myong-se, the director of 'The Police Inspector' told me that my acting was rough. He said that I had strength in acting due to the roughness, the strength that can grab people's attention at first try.
"I plan to polish up the roughness while maintaining the strength", Ha said.
Ha's humble words and shy smiles seemed to prove that her good acting skills come from natural talent as well as hard work.
The glitter in Ha's eyes seemed to say, "You just watch and see. Not long from now, I will be acting so honestly that you will cry with me when I cry and laugh with me when I laugh".
By Shin Hae-in