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Out and about with Lee Min-jung

These days, Lee Min-jung is super-busy with a new television project, Midas, and the drama set was to be the location for the following interview. But a last-minute delay gave her an unexpected half-day off, and rather than conducting the interview right there, she and the reporter headed out into the sunny, almost-spring day for a stroll. With script in hand, Lee Min-jung talked as she looked among the shops and cafes of Seoul’s upscale Apgujung neighborhood.

The setting: Rodeo Street in Apgujung. Lee peered in through storefronts, where bystanders and other shoppers came out to steal glimpses of her. She explained that she enjoys going out shopping with her friends, but hasn’t had the time to do so recently.

A clothing store caught her eye, so in she went to look at the offerings, holding up shirts to herself and trying on scarves, hairpins, and sunglasses.

Lee describes her clothing style as diverse, liking dressy clothes but also finding comfy tracksuits good for everyday. She doesn’t like to overspend, though, probably a product of working part-time jobs to earn her university tuition fees.

She related a story from her childhood where she’d saved up from allowances and money earned from doing odd jobs, enough to build her savings account to the tune of 5 million won by the time she was in her first year of high school. “I gave those savings to my mother to buy a house, but I haven’t gotten it back yet. Hahaha.”

A particular street food stand caught her eye, a favorite for ddukkbokki, soondae, and fish skewers. “It’s so delicious it brings tears to my eyes. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve eaten from a street stand.”

A few patrons started to gather around, pleasing the owner, since her presence was attracting customers. As she paid, he shyly asked her for an autograph, and after signing she turned to leave and burst into laughter. The reporter looked over to see her checking her cell phone, amused: “Hahaha. I just stopped for a moment, but I’ve gotten several text messages from people saying they saw pictures of me eating ddukkbokki. From Choi Jung-yoon unni to my best friend. Phew, how scary.”

Onward to a cafe, one of the places she likes to frequent. Seeing her face, the part-time employee’s face reddens to recognize her, and the place lowers the music so she can converse with the reporter.

Turns out that Lee Min-jung is an avid music fan, and she spends most of her free moments between shoots listening to music. Her mother was a piano major, and she’d taken lessons from a young age. She calls her music taste eclectic as well, from Damien Rice to Metallica to Chopin. “These days, I like Far East Movement. They were No. 1 on the Billboard chart recently. I like Big Bang, too, and music that G-Dragon and TOP do together.”

Asked what she’d like to do if she had a spare moment in her busy schedule, she answered, “I’d like to go to the park with my friends, with kimbap that we made. I once went to a park with friends before and ordered pizza there, but people wouldn’t deliver there. At the time, I’d heard that food was delivered to a prison for a CF shoot. How could someone deliver to a prison, but not to a park? Hahaha. I remember arguing about it for a while.”

Lee Min-jung made her television debut in 2005, and the previous year was the biggest of her career thus far. With Boys Before Flowers and Smile, You bringing her into mainstream public conscience, she had her breakthrough with the movie Cyrano Dating Agency, which brought her New Actress awards from the Blue Dragon, Grand Bell, and Director’s Cut Awards.

Despite that, she describes having difficulty with the sudden rise, perhaps due in part to the relatively late start she got in her acting career; she attended auditions while her university friends were applying for jobs.

“It’s as though I’d run diligently, so when I arrived at the finish line, people applauded and told me I’d run well. But for me, it was so difficult I was panting and gasping for breath. More than applause, what I needed immediately was water, but it felt like nobody thought of that… I should be saying, ‘I’m happy that things worked out well,’ but it doesn’t seem like my time yet.”

She adds, “It’s very awkward to be the focus of people’s attentions. When fans ask me for my autograph, I find myself asking, ‘Do you know me?’ and worrying things I’d never worried about before, like, ‘People are looking at me. Do I look too ragged today?'”

She explains that because her surroundings have changed, her relationships have inevitably changed as well. But rather than trying to insist she has to do a good job, she told herself, “I have to learn how to be grateful. I decided to be an honest, well-mannered person.”

She’s still coming into her own as an actress, and says that it’s hard to know where the end of the line is for her. What she wants is for people to hear her name and remember her projects, thinking, “Ah, Lee Min-jung was really good in that.” (Most likely, she was.)

Via Sports Chosun

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I'd loved her ever since. I know she has a good potential in acting. ; -)

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yup! My girl-crush! very pretty :)

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I also have a girl crush on her. She is so adorable and talented!

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guy crush...my favorite actress...i love her dorkiness

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hahaha. thanks for speaking up dramaboy1.

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She is really beautiful.

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awww she looks adorable- love what she's wearing!

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Gorgeous. Love her. Thanks JB!

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She seems so down-to-earth and likable! Most def one of my favorite Korean actresses.

And she looks so beautiful in all of these pictures, but the second to last one really stands out to me :)

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absolutely beautiful! <3

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She is doing a terrific job in Midas so I wish her continued success.

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AHHH look at those shoes! hahahaa she's always gorgeous

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love her <3

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She's so photogenic. One of those people who looks beautiful from any angle. Seems really down to earth and likable too. Best of luck to her!

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Awww she's so cute! Her expressions here kind of remind me of Kim Tae Hee in My princess...
Can't wait to see LMJ in many many more things :)

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I love her dramas. I haven't started watching Midas yet, but I will soon. :) She is such a beautiful woman. :)

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Absolutely loved her in Smile, You! Fantastic potential.

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She's so beautiful! And she acts beautifully as well! I can't wait to see her in Midas!

Thank you, JB!

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She has GREAT style. And she's so photogenic. She seems to have such a sweet character.

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I can feel the YEH vibes coming from her.

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she's indeed ADORABLE ;-)

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she seems like such a sweetheart, very down to earth and not pretentious at all, which is very refreshing. and she looks lovely in these photos!

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OMG that's freaky. Her friends messaged her about getting snapped at a food stand just as she was leaving it??? Korea is freaky man... Their search engines are too good.

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they are living up to their reputation of most-wired country in the world. the power of netizens.

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These look like photoshoot photos...though I know they're candid xD Holy crap, LMJ.

She seems super sweet, smart and humble, which is so cool considering how well-known and in the public eye she is. I miss her kind of attitude in other actresses.

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gorgeous. totally bonable!

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I absolutely adore her! She's able to elude an air of elegance no matter where she is and what she's wearing, but she's also so down-to-earth as well. My biggest girl crush by faaaaaaaaaar.

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Love her in Midas! :) Can't wait to see more!

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She's gorgeous. She can do various roles faily. Hence, I love her. Plus, she's so down-to-earth. And she just wins you over with that smile of hers. :3

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fairly* I meant. Not fail-y. Oh God, no way. Haha

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I really enjoyed watching Lee Min Jung and Lee Eom and Go Ara in 'Who Are You?'. But every time I think if Lee Eom, my heart aches a little thinking that such a great actor is no longer around. T.T

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So did I! I loved how she always ordered him around and called him a girl, and how he adorably did everything for her without complaining.

And yes, my heart hurts thinking of him too. He was such a sweetheart.

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ah,yes. Lee Min Jung as Go Ara's sidekick in Who Are You was so adorable. I remembered thinking to myself why didn't she get to play main lead rather than Go Ara, but I guess, that wasn't her time yet.

and Lee Eon, oh my heart aches just at the mere mention of him. RIP.

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A sweetheart indeed. He always reminded me of a gentle giant, I guess due to his character on Coffee Prince. Ah, Lee Eom, you have a fangirl in me forever.

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awww she is just too sweet! and beautiful! i love how she's going around shopping and eating and doing her interview, it looks really cool how she isn't bothered by stuff like what people will think..it's just what i think..lee min jung you're amazing!

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I love her! and I love her even more when she's with Jung Kyung Ho!

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She looks lovely! I never really noticed her on BOF.. but I had a girl crush on her when I saw Cyrano Agency.

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i think she is mighty beautiful :)

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Love the girl!

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this interview made me smile - she sounds so down to earth! it really does seem like just yesterday that she was Go Ara's character's good friend in the wheelchair in Who Are You.

and whoa, saving 5 million won by first year of high school!

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I love her in Smile, You.. I wish she can do more rom-com dramas again...

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Love Lee min jung .You so beautiful and so cute.

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LMJ shi ,When are you going to visit JKH oppa.

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Her very cute in 'smile you and midas.
MJ onne saraheyo :)

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We will support you in many project...

very beautiful LMJ shii

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She's so freakin adorable, I love her.
And I like how she likes Far East Movement, Asian pride right there lol.

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She was happy with shopping and she very pretty in real life.

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Yes, Lee Da Hae should learn something from this girl, list down all the goodwill you did to you parent, how much money you give to them, being cute, be nice to reporters. etc..then people will call you awww she is so humble, down to earth. No harm of doing it right.
If you make a war with reporters, just look at JB here, even a Korean, she looks down on you Lee Da Hae, and I saw lots of non Korean have to defend you.

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I hope that she will have time to visit JKH shi in military.

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I love her..lee min jung

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Cute ^^

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She seems really down-to-earth. And she's so pretty at all angles!!

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She's definitely one of my favorite actresses. I hope she continues to do well in the future.

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While watching BOF, I was really concerned that she would end up with JunPyo, almost preferring it.

Her scenes with LMH showed way more chemistry than JanDi.

I remember my kids 9/13 at the time thinking the same thing.

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"enough to build her savings account to the tune of 5 million won by the time she was in her first year of high school"

That's really amazing O_O

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Hmm...is this a girl-crush? Haha. I think she's really cool.

Some people tuned into Midas for No Min Woo, but I tuned in for her. I fell in love with her character in Smile, You and I was happy to see her in another drama...and so far its good (only ep 1 though). That was hands-down, an awesome interview. XD

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Yeah I'm watching Midas because of her too. I think I'm already suffering Second Lead Syndrome because I would love it if they pulled a Queen of Reversals and let the other guy get the girl.

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When I watch my girl crush with NMH I feel like I am having a threesome. Watching Midas just for LMJ and I hope she ends up with NMH. The two oldies look better with each other.

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LMAO! You feel like you're having a threesome?! Hahaha.

I completely adore LMJ! She's so elegant, and such a wonderful actress <3
I wanted to watch Midas for Jang Hyuk and LMJ but also to see a bit of NMW and now I'm interested in what will happen to LMJ and NMW in the show :D

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onne very cute..love you too ^_^

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She is best beautiful actress in korea 'for me'

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far east movement... hahha

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She is a beauty.

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