Jin Kyung Took the Slow Route to Stardom

  • By Lee Ki-moon

    February 18, 2017 08:19

    Jin Kyung

    Since 2013, the films of actress Jin Kyung appeared have drawn a whopping 38.75 million viewers, more than those of superstars Son Ye-jin, Kim Hye-soo, Ha Ji-won, Jun Ji-hyun and Jeon Do-yeon.

    This may be because she has played small parts in many films including "Veteran" and "Assassination," which drew more than 100 million viewers in 2015, but it is still quite an achievement given her rather late blossoming.

    "I was always a bit late," she says. She quit the first two universities she went to to find the best place to study acting, making her stage debut at the age of 26 and spending 14 years in the theater.

    It was only in 2012 at the age of 40 that she started to become more widely known with the TV hit soap "My Husband Got a Family."

    Despite her slow start, Jin wanted to be an actress since high school.

    "The stress and fierce competition within the education system made me an introvert. I struggled a lot internally, but I couldn't find a way to let my frustrations out," she recalls.

    Then she saw a performance of an acting club that her older sister was part of. "The feelings that the actors were letting out under intense lighting were electrifying," she says.

    She thought she could find some inner peace through acting. She quit her first university, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, after just four days, then spent two years studying acting at Dongguk University but quit and entered the Korea National University of Arts.

    Finishing university did not open up a bright future, "For 14 years, I was like a floating weed looking for work. People call that a difficult period of obscurity, but I liked it. The joy that I felt on stage was so precious to me," she said.

    What was difficult was the long "resting" times, which she bridged by teaching aspiring actors. But there were problems. "It was impossible to survive by just being on stage. I wanted some financial rewards," she says.

    So she moved from stage to films and TV, becoming a rookie again. She started as a bit player and did as many films and TV series as she could. In the last five years, she has appeared in 19 soaps and 13 films, and in this prolific period she became one of the most impressive scene stealers.

    "I was grateful to have a constant stream of projects, so I worked without any break. Now I'm spent, so I want to take a break and think about what I need to do to become a better actor."

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