Appearing like a shooting star and snagging fixed casting in various variety programs immediately, ZE:A's Hwang Kwanghee! Unprecedented in the history of idols, 'plastic surgery-dol' Hwang Kwanghee filled the 'Trend Interview' with his merry laughter and his witty way of speaking.
✔ Recently, you've made it big as a variety-dol. What are your thoughts?
Thank you very much for saying so. Recently a TV was installed in the dormitory, and when I turn it on, I (see myself) coming on variety programs. I don't have time to monitor every one of them, but I do see nice messages coming up (on the Internet) frequently. Even though I'm busy and tired, the screams (that he makes) are happy ones.
✔ You have suffered humiliation as (being mistaken as) 'Frog Children', how is it these days?
Recently, I was filming a cameo in the drama 'Homicide'. When I got to the filming location, the director called for me and said to me "Hey, are you (from) 'Dawn of the Empire'? I directed 'Dawn of the Empire'." (Laugh) Even so, please look us up more than before. [T/N: Children of Empire = 제국의 아이들, Dawn of the Empire = 제국의 아침 (historical drama)]
✔ You did a special stage within Jewelry on Valentines' Day, did you receive any chocolate (in return)?
From Jewelry? To us? Of course they didn't give it to us! We did it as it was a 'win-win' situation being from the same company. Practice (for the special stage) only took us 30 minutes over 2 days.
✔ At the mention of 'Hwang Kwanghee', people will think of old pictures.
I went to Strong Hear with my old pictures without letting my company know, as I thought that I had to show a picture that would definitely make people laugh. It was a pity that the shocking pictures that were revealed after that did not see the light [T/N: get broadcasted]. And when my old materials come out, honestly speaking, I'm embarrassed and my limbs do curl up (upon seeing them). Rather, I have the confidence to reveal them but the topics that come up (after the revelation) are not what I want, and they are embarrassing.
✔ You seem to have started Twitter later than other idols your age.
When I meet my celebrity friends in the waiting room and they've started using Twitter, they ask me "Isn't it time to start that now?" In my opinion, it is not as interesting when you start using Twitter too early. The reason why I have not uploaded the pictures that I take with my celebrity friends in our spare time during filming is because it's tiring to ask (the other party's) company whether we can upload it or not. I usually upload pictures with actors/actresses, not so much with singers. In future, if I see an opportunity, I think I will explode with pictures.
✔ Is it not inconvenient to not own a handphone?
It is inconvenient, but rather, if I own one, I will be very busy. I'd like to buy one when we can afford it, but in fact, when the company gave the other members handphones in 2010, they did not want to accept it. I wanted to accept it then. (Laughs) If I receive a handphone in future, I'll ask for the latest model from the boss. I'm not kidding about pestering him, I surpass Inyoung noona's skills (of Jewelry) (in pestering people to buy them things). And the biggest problem is that it'll be crazy for the idol friends that I'm close with.
✔ Is your character as distinctive as it is during variety programs?
Honestly, due to my frivalous image, everyone may not know, but I cannot drink or smoke. I have never held a cigarette before, neither do I drink when offered during a meal. Instead of drinking coffee, I drink green tea or juice instead. I get nervous when I show off the juice in my tumbler. (Laughs) It's a problem that I like instant food such as pizza, cookies and bread. Amongst our members, Junyoung and Dongjun's tastebuds are very traditional [T/N: That they have to eat Korean food]. If there is no stew, they won't eat. How convenient is that for their wives? They just have to make stew and (their husbands) will eat well. (Laughs) And this may be surprising, but I am of the Christian faith and I pray every night. If I can't attend Sunday service, I will just go into any church and pray, then come out. It's a little surprising, right?
✔ When was your last girlfriend?
There is never an instance that (a girl and I) went out with me liking her first. Until now, it has always been me going out with the girls I like. [T/N: Simply put, he goes out with girls who like him first/more.] My last dating experience was at 20 years old, with someone of the same age. Instead of me being an "oppa" (an older male) or a "dongsaeng" (a younger male), I like it better when we are of the same age and can quarrel comfortably. It does not match (my character) if I fell in love crazily like in a movie, or had a sad pitiful story. In future, if I get a girlfriend, I will do everything she asks of me. I have to marry a girl whom I like.
✔ Is there a point that you don't like after being known?
It was really good that I went out and did random things before I became known. Even if it's just in Samcheong-dong, I go around thinking that there's always a camera waiting to take pictures of me. I like going to famous restaurants, so I go to those which are the talk of the town. I do not believe that all the restaurants that appear on the Internet are good ones.
✔ Your thoughts on completing your first official fanmeeting?
Just thinking of having so many fans come look for us, and love us, makes me my heart feel full. And it was really hard for Kevin hyung when he came to Korea, but he was so calm when we held a birthday party for him during the fanmeeting. My heart hurts thinking of how hard was it for him to adapt to being alone. I also thought finally, ZE:A has started.
✔ How is your relationship with the ZE:A members?
We are united. When we finish recording our individual variety programs, we tell (the PDs) that "today, I did well, so in future, please invite 3 members onto the show! Please promise us!". We don't go separately when we go to the movies. If someone goes off, we quibble and ask why are they leaving without even telling the others. And if one or two of the members are hungry, if the rest don't move, they don't eat either. We think of each other as family.
✔ Will the members keep secrets to themselves?
I only tell one person. It's hard to keep to all to myself. But of course, you have to be careful which member you tell. (Laughs) It's very interesting to make fun of the members. I think it's interesting to make fun of me. If by chance (that person) gets sulky, it is only for a short while. If it's too much, (that person) just releases it all in the end.
✔ ZE:A's first full album has been announced, did your parts increase?
I don't get as much recognition in ZE:A. I have the same (number of parts) as before in the album. Our group has fixed (roles) so I have to look after my role well. Actually, I moved up 2 spots (in the group) so that is a good improvement. And now, ZE:A is not going to have the image of warriors. If you're looking forward to abs, I think you'll have to wait till summertime or so. It's already too late (to make abs) for this album. (Laughs) As a whole, the members' images are of a gentle, natural and lovable concept. A push towards the pastel(-colored) and refreshing side.
✔ Along with Lee Joon, you're competing for the title of the "Kkap Idol 2.0"?
I've became friends with Lee Joon, who's the same age as me, while doing variety shows. Joon doesn't have a mobile phone either, so we can't contact often, but we meet during the broadcasts a lot. Joon has an ability to pull "the kkap" in the variety shows, but he's usually pretty calm. He's good at what he's doing. I don't know if Joon thinks so too, but seems like his body is very well built. Lee Joon is a person who makes people think "It would be nice to have a friend like that" when they meet him. Thing I'm better at than Joon... my loud voice! (lLaughs) Thing I'm worse at than Joon... my body! He looks good, but his body is also great.
✔ We've heard you're actually close to Jokwon?
During the hard times as a rookie, Jokwon came to me first and said: "Kwanghee, let's be friends." He debuted one year before me, but he told me that this year will be busy. During last year's end of the year awards, he assured me: "Next year, you'll get all the awards". Now too, when I talk with Jokwon, singers or staff, who happen to be around, stare at us.
✔ Do you have any unexpected friends among celebrities?
I was friends with Secret Garden's Lee Jongsuk before debut, I'm also friends with Girls' Generation's Hyoyeon. I still keep contact with Lee Jongsuk, whom I met during the Smart Model Contest (also known as "banned video"). He saw my appearance on Strong Heart and called to tell me it was fun. Secret Garden turned out well so it's nice to watch it. To tell the truth, many idols auditioned for the role of "Sun". Our members, Junyoung and Kevin, auditioned too. They've been rehearsing the script for Secret Garden during the fan camp and I said "What is it? Secret Garden? Good luck." but I had no idea this drama would be such a hit.
✔ Do you still wear "couple pajamas" with Nichkhun?
Honestly, I don't know where it is. And I'm friends with Khun too.
✔ Do you have any rivals among idols? Is there someone giving you a hard time?
"I'm a rival to myself" sounds very formal, so I'm not going to say it. My rivals are all the "mainstream" idols. Lee Joon, Simon D, Kikwang, Yonghwa... I feel rivalry with Lizzy, Min and Sunhwa as well. But I don't think there's anyone who'd laugh openly at me or give me a hard time. Of course it's not uncomfortable, but I was friends with Min even before debut, but lately, when we meet, she asks me "Oppa, was your personality always like that?". Then I say: "What about you?". She's been such a good kid before.
✔ Your personal plans?
I don't know if I can emerge as an "acting-dol" around winter. Lately I've been recording some dramas, I was also offered a role in a sitcom. Seems like I will appear in it this spring. If, by any chance, I become the main hero, I will try to give my best.
✔ Speed Interview: "Hwang Kwanghee's..."
Hwang Kwanghee's good points: Carefree, laughs a lot, never-ending brightness, explosive ability to get close to someone
Hwang Kwanghee's bad points: Stubborn
Hwang Kwanghee's different points (from others): Honestly, without lies, saying it all
Hwang Kwanghee's recent tears: (During the) fanmeeting
Hwang Kwanghee's female preference: A cool city woman with a good personality, Park Siyeon
Hwang Kwanghee's way of love: Usually leading (the relationship)
Hwang Kwanghee's drinking capacity: A shot of soju
Hwang Kwanghee's hobbies: Doing something comfortable, operas, musicals, walking
Hwang Kwanghee's spoilers: Reorganization during springtime
Hwang Kwanghee's ZE:A - Another me! 9 brothers that I cannot do without!
✔ Special Corner: "I'm specially uploading my old pictures myself!"
Sources: EmpireChildren+ Nate 1,2,3
Translation Credits: skipfire @ Empire Children and Nashirah @ Empire Children