Jan 15, 2011

The Late Bloomer Yoon Sang Hyun

More often that not, I tend to assume stars are born into the fame and limelight, which is why I appreciate articles like these which make them seem almost human; I'm so glad YSH made it in Korea's cutthroat entertainment industry, for Oska wouldn't be Oska without him. Thank you for not giving up, oppa.

The Representative of "Flower Men" in their 30's
It was only in 2005 the 30-something actor begin to enter the entertainment scene; through several years of setbacks and growth, he is now finally able to show off his commendable acting chops and singing skills. After what seemed to be a year of silence, he created yet another memorable role as Hallyu star Oska in Winter 2010's Secret Garden. 

Starting At An "Old Age" Is Hard
Born in 1973, Yoon Sang Hyun debuted at the age of ripe age of 32 after performing his military service and dabbling in various trades. Although most of his roles were chaebols, his role in My Fair Lady is the one that mirrored his real life the most. He has been selling fried rice at the gates of a women's university and hawk clothes in Dongdaemun Market. He got picked by an agency through a photo of him posted on the web by a friend (hc: so I guess he's an ulzzang?) 

Yoon Sang Hyun is as good as the standard KTV singer, but no matter how good he was at KTV, he couldn't perform as well in auditions. Finally at the age of 25, his mom persuaded him to give up pursuing a career in singing (hc: *sobs* must be heartbreaking for a mother to tell his son to stop persuing his dreams). Even after his acting debut, he placed high hopes in his singing career; in his opinion his singing fared much better than his acting.

But reality and dreams are always somewhat different, and when he debuted as a singer he couldn't distinguish himself from the other pop idols, so it was the acting road for him.

A Particular Phobia Becomes A Burden
If we were to pinpoint a particular reason for his poor acting in his earlier years, it would be because of his "phobia" of his female co-stars. Believe it or not, there was a time where he would blush and turn wooden in front of his co-stars. Those factor plus his lack of acting experienced made him NG frequently. That is why his performance in Marrying A Millionaire wasn't good.  
Due to his numerous mistakes on-set, after three days of shooting, Yoon Sang Hyun begins to doubt himself. He even hid in the toilet to cry and told his agency that there was no way he could be an actor. The director also had no choice but to kill him (i.e. his role) off in a car accident. That particular experience will always be a thorn in his career. If it weren't for working with his upbeat and benelovent co-star Yoon Eun Hye in My Fair Lady, he would not be able to get past his phobia. He has expressed that although there was a fairly large gap between him and YEH, she was very much mature and tentative to others. Because there was camaraderie formed between them that he was able to conquer his fear.

A Fated Opportunity
He shot to stardom with his role in Queen of Housewives and My Fair Lady. Particularly the latter show, which had recently aired in China (hc: note that this is a Chinese article, not a translated Chinese article) and it made him a household name. 

His acting remained static even long after his debut. To which he himself has frankly admitted that his earlier performances has always been imitating acting. Not until Winter Bird did he realize that an actor must work outside to what is given and not just imitating and bluntly recite his lines. Otherwise, it would spell death even for an attractive role. 
At the time when he realizes this, he landed the role as Heo Tae Joon in Queen of Housewives as a playboy C.E.O. Although he was not the main character, he gain an equal amount of fame as the protagonist's, and shot to fame. What's interesting is that he went to a fortune teller (due to his mom's advice) and the fortune teller told him that if he sang in the show, everything will flow smoothly for him. Looks like the fortune teller was right (I scoff).

His singing voice was a big hit, and from there he harbored the idea of coming up with an album. In 2009, he released two singles in Japan, and plans to release a full length album in February this year too. He's to become the first ever Korean actor to release an album in Japan.

Life Imitates Art
In the recent red-hot drama, SBS's Secret Garden he plays a Hallyu star, the frivolous playboy Oska. Although he is a playboy, he has a sincere and affectionate side of him. In particular when facing his first love, the gripping emotions vividly captured by Yoon Sang Hyun. 
The role itself was a perfect man - a guy with both money and status. Although he wasn't the lead, his character is much more dynamic and vibrant. As a Hallyu star famous in numerous countries as well, this point reflects YSH's as well since he is developing in overseas music markets.  

To prepare for this role, not only did he practice his singing and dancing skills, he also lost 10kg and because of the sudden weight loss, he often feels faint. His collaboration with Baek Ji Young, "My Ear's Candy" and "Here I Am" has receive warm response. In addition, he is also the face of Japan's NHK Korea lecture book. 

There will be an Secret Garden OST concert on the 15th this month (i.e. today!), where he'll perform as Oska on stage and interact with the audience, for filming of the finale scenes in SG. 

Credits: Chinese article by Sina, translated into English by hellochloe