K-drama sweetheart Park Shin Hye is a mummy's girl

Park Shin Hye plays a zealous TV reporter who cannot lie without hiccupping in K-drama Pinocchio. -- PHOTO: ONE
Park Shin Hye plays a zealous TV reporter who cannot lie without hiccupping in K-drama Pinocchio. -- PHOTO: ONE

E-mail interviews with South Korean stars are usually filled with boring politically correct one-liners or run-of-the-mill answers.

So it was surprising that this one with South Korean actress Park Shin Hye was refreshingly candid and even peppered with colourful quotes.

Perhaps it is because Park knows what journalists go through after taking on the role of TV reporter Choi In Ha in the recent drama Pinocchio.

But while she is in awe of the hard work that goes into news reporting, it is unlikely that she will join the newsroom in real life.

The doe-eyed 24- year-old says: "I am an emotional person, so it wouldn't be easy for me to be a reporter. Through this drama, I learnt that it is very difficult to deliver facts - whether it's good news or bad news - to your audience.

"It is a really important job and, at the same time, very difficult. You are responsible for the things you hear, read and witness and have to pick the right tone and words to put forth the message. It is a huge responsibility."

So what would journalist Park ask her celebrity self?

She says: "That's a difficult question, but a good one. If I could be an entertainment reporter for a day, I would want to dig up information for my readers and her fans. I would ask Park Shin Hye what's keeping her busy lately and if there's anything we can look forward to."

The actress is known for her student roles - she was a spunky high school student in hit teenage romance The Inheritors (2013), opposite heart-throb Lee Min Ho, and a music student in love drama Heartstrings (2011), romancing rock band CNBlue's vocalist Jung Yong Hwa.

And she is a tad tired of being stereotyped and is ready to break out of her girl-next-door image.

She says: "I haven't decided on my next project, but you can be certain that I will not be taking up a role as a student any time soon."

The popular actress relished the chance to play the role of a journalist for the first time.

She says: "It's different from all the other characters I have played. I'm used to playing students, but this role, a female journalist in her 20s, gave me the opportunity to expand my acting repertoire."

"In the last scene of Pinocchio, as a reporter, I had to memorise lines such as 'Creditors have stabilised the business'. These are words I do not use in my daily life, but it was really interesting."

The complex character has a tragic backstory and suffers from a fictitious condition known as Pinocchio syndrome, where she is unable to lie without hiccupping. The junior reporter is estranged from her supercilious mother, who chose to pursue her journalism career over her family.

In real life, the jolly Park enjoys a loving relationship with her mother, who reportedly runs a restaurant in Seoul.

She says: "We are really close. My mum is so adorable. People tell me that I'm adorable and lovely. When they meet my mum, they'll know where I got those characteristics from.

"My mum's always curious about my life. She'd ask me about my day on set, what I had for lunch and what kind of conversations I had with my co-stars. Sometimes, I do feel sad that I can't spend more time with her."

Despite them being a tight-knit pair, the cheeky Park admits that she has lied to her mum.

One can imagine her sheepishly laughing as she says: "She calls and asks me where I am, and I tell her, 'I'm on the way and am almost there', when I am actually just preparing to leave home."

Park can also be seen playing a queen in the period film, The Royal Tailor, which was released in South Korean cinemas in December. Looks like she is indeed getting more more varied and complex roles.

She says: "I like the character because she is a selfish person and would do anything to keep her position as a queen, but at the same time, she's lonely and desires to be loved."

The king in the movie is played by the charming actor Yoo Yeon Seok of drama Reply 1994 (2013) fame. Park has been the envy of K-drama fans with her string of dapper male co-stars.

So which actor would she consider to be her ideal man in real life?

She says: "I cannot just pick one. Every co-star has his own strengths, X factor and charm. They are all great actors with great attitude."

Pinocchio airs on One (Singtel TV channels 513 and 604, and StarHub TV channels 124, 820 and 823) on Wednesday and Thursday at 8.55pm.