Uncertain. That’s how South Korean actress Jo Bo-ah describes the dream of acting.
“You can’t just be an actress just because you want to be one,” the 24-year-old offers in an interview transcript. “Many conditions will have to be met and of course, opportunities are key.”
The Daejeon-born ought to know best. Her early years in front of the camera was marked by little known hosting gigs and small-time sitcoms.
“At the start of my career, I was not very confident. However, as I move along, I met with many kind souls who helped me out and eventually, opportunities came knocking on the door,” Jo reveals.
One of those big breaks happens to be the teenage romantic comedy series Shut Up Flower Boy Band. In the 2012 coming-of-age drama, Jo plays the daughter of a wealthy businessman who’s gone bankrupt.
That breakout role sees her portraying a timid character – a far cry from her off-screen bubbly disposition.
“The best part of this job is getting the chance to experience the lives of the characters I play. I can be a beggar in one drama, but a daughter of a chaebol (conglomerate) in another. I’ve even played the role of a mermaid before which I found was really interesting!” she says.
The actress currently has a supporting role in Monster – a 50-episode revenge thriller – as Do Shin-young, a haughty and arrogant daughter of a wealthy businessman.
“She is insensitive to those around her, reckless and princess-like,” Jo says. She adds that it was a challenge bringing the character to life on the screens.
The drama which kicks off during the global financial crisis in the 1990s, revolves around Kang Ki-tan (played by seasoned actor Kang Ji-hwan) – a man who lost his family and everything he owned to a greedy relative – who pursues a vengeful mission to take down societies elite.
“I find that the plot is really intriguing,” Jo quips. Making matters more complicated is Shin-young’s one-sided affection for the protagonist.
In the midst of all this, Jo’s character is involved in a one-sided love relationship with the protagonist – and the spoiled girl is used to always getting what she wants.
“Do Shin-young’s character is not exactly kind or upright. While practising my script, I felt that I was slightly influenced by her negative traits in real life,” she shares. At times, she even accidentally snapped at family and friends. Those episodes are certainly a learning curve for Jo. I believe that every role has a way of acting that allows the character’s traits to be portrayed accurately on screens. The more I act, the more I learn. Acting is fun and difficult at the same time,” she muses.
In recent years, Jo has appeared in notable dramas such as All About My Mom (2015), Missing Noir M (2015) and The Idle Mermaid (2014). That active filmography means that the actress has been spending the bulk of her time at sets and studios.
“It may seem boring at first because you are always going to the same location for the shoot,” she reveals. Don’t take that as a sign of jadedness though, Jo counters. “Filming never fails to bring a wide array of action, emotions and storylines onto the same location. The feeling stays fresh each time I step on set,” she says. “I never fail to get excited and passionate about what I am going to do when it’s time to film.”
Moving on, the actress wants to improve her thespian capabilities. She plans to do this by learning a new set of skills. “This can range from activities like dancing, singing to other unique sports skills such as horseback riding and swimming. With more skills sets and abilities, comes more opportunities,” she shares.
“I do wish to experience activities which can help to expand the spectrum of my acting experiences.” In other words, don’t count on the rising star resting on her laurels.
“There are people out there who will never be satisfied with what they have. I try my best to be satisfied with every moment of my life by not overrating myself. I plan to keep working hard to attain better achievements rather than staying at a point with no improvements,” she concludes.