Ex-Girl’s Day member Bang Min-ah is ready to move on, but don’t forget
“I never want to erase the fact that I was part of the Girl’s Day girl group, and I have no power to do that. If I erase that, there’s no part of me left.
When Korea JoongAng Daily asked her if she wanted her persona as a girl group member to be forgotten, that’s how singer-turned-actress Bang Min-ah responded.
In 2019, the members of Girl’s Day parted ways and each found new agencies to represent them, though they stressed the group did not disband.
This was the start of Bang’s foray into acting. His most recent project is director Lee Woo-jung’s feature debut, “Snowball,” which will be released in local theaters on September 1.
In the film, the 28-year-old actor rewinds 10 years to play a high school student named Lee Kang-yi who deals with the complexity of her relationships with her friends Ah-ram and So-young.
The film’s Korean name, which can be translated as “The Best Life”, is based on a novel of the same title which won the 4th Munhakdongne Novel Award in 2015, one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards.
Bang’s looks can certainly pass for 18-year-old Kang-yi, but it’s her hesitant gaze as she tries her best to find the right response to her friends’ unpredictable actions that earned her the Rising Star Award. at this year’s New York Asian. Film festival held last week.
When Bang first read the script, she remembered the fears and mistakes she had made during her teenage years.
“I had a phase [just like Kang-yi] in my life, so when I read the script, it was from his point of view,” she said during the online interview on Tuesday. “And [as I read it], all these emotions swirled inside me as I thought about the mistakes I had made. My heart sank for her. As much as I wanted to represent her, however, I deliberated on whether I was the best candidate – maybe there was someone else more capable. And I was afraid of my image [as a girl group member] could interfere with the transmission of Kang-yi’s mood or emotions.
Nonetheless, the actor felt that taking on the character could prepare her for more challenging roles in the future and also allow her to bring closure to the pains of her past.
“Kang-yi is super sensitive to everything that’s going on around her,” Bang said, “as we all are at some point in our lives. Representing her meant I had to reopen my own wounds and relive my memories of regret. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about them. I started this journey wondering if I could finally close this chapter of my life.
Although the actor didn’t specifically dive into his personal pains, he did explain why he’s bonded so much with Kang-yi.
“I thought I had forgotten the hurtful memories of my school days, but I haven’t,” Bang said. “As teenagers, we are greatly influenced by our friends down to the smallest details of our lives. For example, imagine that your friend who you always go to the bathroom with suddenly starts going with someone else during this 10 minute break. This complexity of emotions one feels during such events came to me as I was preparing to portray Kang-yi.
“For me, I survived my school years trying to be on the good side of bullies,” she said. “When you look at the relationship between the trio, Kang-yi is the weakest of them all. I was like her. I knew I was a weakling, and my survival tactic was to suck them up. For example, they forgot to bring sports clothes, I voluntarily lent them mine, or if they forgot to bring their textbooks, I borrowed one from my friends in other classes to lend them.
But the actress confessed that she didn’t fully understand all the motives behind her character’s actions.
“While I was making this movie, the question remained, why did she keep running away from home?” Bang said. “Although his family is far from wealthy, it’s not like they don’t love him. She did not suffer from domestic violence and was not under any pressure from them.
“It was about a year after filming wrapped that a thought came to me: was she suffocating because of her banality? Or being placed in this boundary of being average? , I became more cautious about using words like ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’. I suddenly became very aware of whether we placed ourselves inside or outside this established boundary of normality. by society. For example, social prejudice imposes an invisible pressure for families to love and get along when there are so many different forms of family and people. I think Kang-yi felt suffocated by this set of social norms, and that’s why she ran away.
Although Bang sought to find a solution through Kang-yi, her 10 years as a singer in Girl’s Day are still part of her.
“[The members] are my colleagues, my friends, my unforgettable family,” she said. “Sometimes people ask me if I’m worried that my time as a member of a girl group might earn me the label of a [incompetent] actor. I’m sad that they see this part of my life negatively. Girls’ Day was and is the foundation of everything I do. If given the chance, I would love to get together again and sing on stage. We still share various parts of our lives together, the four of us. When one of us starts a new project, we like to get together to talk about it. Due to the pandemic, however, we have not been able to meet as much as we would like, but we share all the good news that comes our way. The members were very happy for me [that I received an award].”
BY LEE JAE-LIM [[email protected]]