Published: Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 9:09:43 AM

Battling bulimia to become singer and actor

South Korean actor Seo In-guk stars in the TV series, The Master's Sun

South Korean actor-singer Seo In-guk never made the cut at the many auditions he attended in his pursuit of his show business dreams when he first moved from his hometown Ulsan, to the South Korea capital Seoul in 2006.

Slightly pudgy at the time, he encountered major obstacles thrown his way by an industry dominated by possibly surgically-enhanced idols. He had previously shared on a TV show his ordeal of turning bulimic after heeding the advice to shed some weight after an audition for JYP Entertainment, the agency behind boy band 2PM and girl group Miss A.

He lost the weight and went back for another round of auditions, only to be told that his singing did not improve. In hindsight, Seo reportedly said that all the vomiting he endured had probably damaged his vocals.

After three years, he finally got his big break when he emerged the winner of the first season of reality TV show Superstar K (2009).

In an e-mail interview, the 26-year-old Seo says: “I’ve taken part in many auditions. With all the challenges and eliminations, the determination to reach my goal grew stronger. I had dreamt of becoming a singer since childhood. I had this ambition after watching rocker Kim Jung Min perform the song Sad Promise in the 1990s.”

(From left) Seo with his co-stars from The Master's Sun Kong Hyo-jin, So Ji-sub and Kim Yoo-ri.
(From left) Seo with his co-stars from The Master's Sun Kong Hyo-jin, So Ji-sub and Kim Yoo-ri.
 

He went on to score a recording deal under Jellyfish Entertainment and release albums, from his debut Korean mini album Calling You (2009) to his recent Japanese album, Everlasting (2014). A day after Everlasting was released, it reportedly made it to the Top 10 of the daily sales of the Oricon chart on Jan 16.

Acting was his next frontier. He made his debut as an actor playing a bumbling sidekick in romance drama Love Rain (2012) and subsequently leapt to the big screen in a big way, as the lead in his first movie, No Breathing (2013).

Despite his earlier struggle with bulimia, the hardworking entertainer had no qualms gaining 9kg, reportedly to better portray a carefree and laidback law student in Love Rain. He later underwent a stringent diet and exercise regimen to shape up for his role as a competitive swimmer in No Breathing.

Indeed, acting is no sideline for Seo: He intends to pursue it with as much gusto as when he first chased his singing dreams.

“I want to be a diversified artiste – an actor with many different ‘colours’ and a singer who performs great songs at the same time. I want to be an artiste doing both fields together for a long time,” says Seo, who is currently seen playing a bodyguard on the supernatural romantic comedy The Master’s Sun.

“I want to be an actor who is faithful to the role assigned to me. If the character requires me to put on a lot of weight and look ugly, I would do the background work in order to immerse myself in that role.”

Now Seo can take pride in his growing international fanbase. There are Facebook fanpages created for global fans, and country-specific pages created by fans as far as Turkey.

On his rising popularity beyond the borders of his home country, Seo says: “I’m very happy about it. I want to produce even better work and songs in return for their support.

“Besides that, I would like to hold an event soon to interact with all my fans.” — The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> The Master’s Sun airs every Sunday at 8.45pm on One HD (Astro Ch 393).

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Entertainment, Seo In Guk, South Korea, Singer, Actor, K pop

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