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‘Being an actor is like being a job applicant’

Ko Won-Hee in scenes from the Lifetime Asia eight-episode series

Now on its fifth episode (airing started on Dec. 10 last year), Lifetime Asia’s The Best Moment To Quit Your Job (TBMTQYJ) is an eight-episode slice-of-life drama that explores the stifling reality confronting the working class who are just starting their careers, delving into the issues faced by today’s youth and asking the question, How much should we sacrifice today for the pursuit of tomorrow’s happiness?

Airing Sunday nights at 8 o’clock, the first-ever Korean Original Production by A+E Network’s Korea directed by Jung Jung-Hwa, TBMTQYJ follows five millennial women on their quest to find themselves in the early days of their professions. Starring is Ko Won-Hee (Strongest Deliveryman, The Silenced) as 26-year-old Yeon Ji, a rookie designer working at a wet-wipes factory who shares the frustrating reality of her work life with her friends played by Lee Chung-Ah (Vampire Detective, Lucky Romance, Flower Boy Ramen Shop), singer Jei Kim (Vampire Detective, The Idle Mermaid), and Jung Yeon Joo (Chicago Typewriter, A Witch’s List). Popular actor Ko Kyung Pyo is guesting as the boyfriend of Ko Won-Hee’s character.  

Here’s Ko Won-Hee in an exclusive e-mail interview with The STAR:

What did you find interesting/intriguing about the drama series?

“The Best Moment To Quit Your Job is not a run-of-the-mill drama of hope. It is a series that faces reality head-on. There isn’t any typical love story or much comedy, but that is precisely why I found it interesting and intriguing. It is a drama that shows how much one can be comforted just by feeling empathy.”

Have you experienced, or any of your friends, the incidents presented in the series?

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“Just like someone who is new in a job trying to prove him or herself at work, an actor is always working hard to seek a role in the next production.

“Being an actor is like always being a job applicant. When one production ends, one needs to audition and prepare for the next production.

“What viewers see onscreen is just a small part of our lives, but the majority of actors are working hard all the time and trying their best to be cast in new productions, even right at this moment. It’s the same for me.”

What was your reaction when the role was offered to you?

“To be honest, the script was really depressing. While I should say I enjoyed reading it, but I’m bad at lying so I can’t say so.” (Laughs).

“However, reading about the struggles and life experiences of Yeon-Ji and her friends which I could easily relate to, comforted me and I wanted the show and its characters to comfort viewers.”

How was your relationship with the director and your co-stars?

“The cast members all enjoyed great relations among each other. I worked more with Lee Chung-Ah, who plays the assistant manager Sun-Hee. But unlike Sun-Hee’s hysterical personality, Lee Chung-Ah is really nice. She took great care of me and is always smiling, so I felt encouraged and energized even when filming difficult scenes.

“The director is really humorous and straightforward and thanks to that, filming did not feel tiring and was enjoyable.

“Apart from the actress who acted in the role of Hyun-I, all the other actresses are people I’ve known for a long time so it was really comfortable. Ji-Eun, who played Hyun-I, was also really kind, funny and took care of me, so it was really enjoyable on set.”

From your research, what are the common issues and problems encountered by young workers today?

“The rat race begins way before we start working. One has to go to a good college in order to get hired by a good company. While that is understandable but is also really unfortunate.”

Are the issues/problems among young Koreans the same as those confronting the young in other Asian countries/cities?

“I’m not sure as I have not lived in another country personally, but I think it would be similar.”

What lessons can the viewers (especially the young) learn from the series?

“The Best Moment To Quit Your Job is not a show that offers an answer, so there really isn’t anything that I can say of lessons to be learned from the drama.

“However, while watching the series, one will be able to reflect on his or her own life and experiences. And I think, if you feel anything through it, then that is something you learn, isn’t it?”

So what is the best moment to quit one’s job?

“If one quits a job with him or herself as the priority instead of others, then he or she wouldn’t have any regrets.”

(Lifetime is available on SKYCable Channel 45 and Lifetime HD Channel 199; Cable Link Channel 223; Dream Satellite Channel 28 and Destiny Channel 44.)

 

 

 

 

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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