WHY SO SERIOUS? Korean heart-throb Kim Hyun Joong cuts a cool, nonchalant figure during his press conference here with nary a smile, something you’d not expect from a Korean idol. TNP PICTURE: BENJAMIN SEETOR
2,000 fans flock to greet Boys Over Flowers star Kim Hyun Joong at airport, but they didn’t hear this atypical Korean idol’s brutally honest answers
By Charlene Chua
December 04, 2010
HE WASN’T going to tell you something you wanted to hear or give a politically correct answer.
Korean heart-throb and Boys Over Flowers star Kim Hyun Joong – who plays the enigmatic Yoon Ji Hoo in the hit 2009 Korean TV series – made this clear when he visited Singapore for the first time.
This surprised reporters at the press conference and interview with the new ambassador for Korean skincare brand TheFaceShop yesterday.
Especially those who were used to the other eager-to-please – and sometimes pandering – Korean idols who have graced our shores.
When asked, via his English translator, what he looks for in a girlfriend apart from looks, he shot back at the reporter: ‘If not looks, what else should I go for?’
Besieged by 2,000 fans at Changi Airport when he arrived on Wednesday night, he asked simply: ‘Are these people waiting for me?’
To be fair, the actor-singer (Kim’s also the leader of K-pop band SS501) wasn’t rude; ‘ambivalent’ would be a better word.
And the upside to his brutal honesty, as we found out, was that he would say whatever came to mind.
Kim, 24, told The New Paper: ‘I’ve also observed that girls with beautiful faces usually have average bodies and those with beautiful bodies tend to have average faces.’
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Kim added that what he would do for his girlfriend – if he had one – would be to trim her toenails.
‘There’s nothing wrong with that. Cutting fingernails is a bit too common, I think. Toenails are still more special,’ he said thoughtfully.
In contrast, his Boys Over Flowers co-star Lee Min Ho – who has been to Singapore several times in the past year – had charmed the media with his easy smile and anecdotes about how he’s ‘really lonely’ and looking for a girlfriend.
Kim, on the other hand, appeared cool, nonchalant, and rarely smiled.
When asked whether he used facial mask packs (from TheFaceShop) as his in-flight skincare regimen, he didn’t make use of the opportunity to plug his brand’s products.
Instead, he said no and that he listens to music and watches movies on the plane.
A question that he should have prepared for but surprisingly threw him off was on his favourite three TheFaceShop products.
He eventually answered, rather generically, ‘skin lotion, mask pack and foam cleanser’, but not without a sheepish smile.
So this reporter tried asking him a cheeky question to try to get him to show his immaculately white teeth again.
Since you like cutting your girlfriend’s toenails, do we smell a foot fetish?
‘No, feet are not my favourite part of a girl, as they are usually covered by shoes.
‘I like the eyes and the face. Especially when we are making eye contact,’ he said, with a chuckle.
And cutting toenails for a girl is nothing compared to what his craziest fan has done for him.
Recalled Kim: ‘A fan disguised herself as a gas pipe repair person and came into my house to repair my gas pipe.
‘I didn’t give any reaction as I didn’t want her to freak out. At that time, I was feeling unwell so she cooked a bowl of porridge and left it on my table before she left.’
Kim’s popularity with girls is probably why his current boss, Korean star Bae Yong Joon of Winter Sonata fame, signed him to his artiste management company in June.
Since then, comparisons have been made of their similar looks and image.
Kim said that although he’s flattered because he looks up to Bae, he’s not going to don spectacles – Bae’s signature look – to become the latter’s doppelganger.
‘I used to wear contact lenses, but after I had lasik eye surgery, I don’t need contacts or spectacles anymore.
‘So, no, I’m not going to wear spectacles just because of that. What’s more, looks-wise, we may be similar, but he’s an actor whereas I sing as well.
‘There are more avenues for me to reach out to fans.’
However, looking like his boss has its perks too.
Kim added that it didn’t matter that Bae hasn’t given him any ‘aunty-killing’ tips – he expects older women to fall at his feet all the same because he’s a spitting image of famed aunty-killer Bae.
For now, his boss’ plan for him is to have a fan-meet tour in Asia and release a solo album soon.
Said Kim: ‘In 10 years’ time (when he’s 34), I’ll still be acting, be it in dramas or movies. But I don’t think I’ll be singing though. I’ll be a bit too old to dance.’