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Oh Jung-hae Spreads Korean Beauty through Music, Acting

2008/05/07 | Permalink | Source

Traditional Korean music singer cum actress Oh Jung-hae is one of the true artists of today. Her refined appearance and heartrending voice embody traditional Korean beauty.

Debuting through the old fashioned Miss Chunhyang pageant and best known for her appearance in the film 'Seopyeonje', she is foremost associated with a tidy image after donning hanbok (Korean attire). But casual Western clothes also suit her well. Any fan of Korean film will remember her in Seopyeonje, a sensational hit of the time, in which she painstakingly acted out her singing role.

Over the years, she has done many different things -- appearing in dramas, films, hosting a radio show and teaching at university -- in places all over the country, including Seoul and the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces.

Singer turned Actress Pursues Diverse Activities

Oh was afraid that her distinguished singing talent would limit her acting career, which is why she delved into different activities. For instance, she received the rookie award at the 1997 Korea Musical Awards.

The recent release 'Beyond the Years' is drawing attention, being director Im Kwon-taek's 100th film. But it's also noteworthy as the fourth film in which Im and Oh teamed up. The new film shares similar roots with Seopyeonje and is also about a blind singer, 'Songhwa'. So could Oh have possibly feared taking on a similar role in a similar film once again? In Seopyeonje, the heroine Songhwa turns blind because of her father and, due to that misfortune, perfects her singing skill. Her story triggered pity and sympathy from audiences. Though Songhwa's situation was unique, Oh is similar to the role she played in that she also learned Korean style singing from early childhood. It's not easy for viewers to empathize with the Songhwa in Beyond the Years as well but Oh's authentic acting touches their hearts.

"Acting is Also Part of Me"

In her films, love affairs aren't expressed in the typically strong and emotional way. It's melted into one's subtle look and the general ambience, and thus more difficult for an actress to express the emotions. But as Oh lived more years, increasing her experience and emotional scale, she became more comfortable playing the role in Beyond the Years than in Seopyeonje.

After a seven year break, she will return in a 16 episode family drama on the cable channel MBC DramaNet. 'My Ex-wife Lives Next Door', first airing May 8, is the story of a divorced couple still living together. Oh plays 'Na Mi-nyeo', a once-famous celebrity who has to live with her ex-husband/manager, played by Jeon No-min, because of a lifetime contract. The fallen superstar Na is a character who still keeps her head up, just like in her heyday.

It's not unusual to see Oh doing a sexy dance, brandishing a whip clad in a tightly fitting leather suit, rushing to the lady's room in an embarrassing manner or shoving tissue in her nostrils. Her drastic transformation is hard to believe. But Oh says she has much to show and she has shown only half of herself up to now. In the new drama, she no longer portrays the modest graceful image we usually associate her with. Her acting speaks for itself, and Oh is not an actress who looks to others for guidance.

Oh progresses step-by-step according to her own definition of acting. She hopes to expand her potential and earn the trust of the audience. This year, she will also catch up on her singing career, releasing an album and holding concerts.

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