SINGAPORE - Growing up in the spotlight is tough.
For former South Korean child star Kim Yoo-jung, it has come to impact how she chooses her roles today.
The actress, who will turn 20 in September, has been in the public eye since she was four years old, when she made her acting debut in 2003.
"There has been immense pressure - the entire public watches you grow up and there are a lot of eyes out there seeing you improve yourself as an actress, as a star," said Kim on Friday (June 28) in an interview with The Straits Times.
Speaking through a translator, the cherub-cheeked star was in town to launch the new Water Bank line from Korean cosmetics brand Laneige.
She was announced as the new face of Laneige in January 2018, succeeding K-drama actress Song Hye-kyo, who had been the brand's ambassador for the last 10 years.
On growing up in the public eye, she added with a wry smile: "It felt almost as if I have made promises to the public that I didn't literally make."
As such, she feels a sense of responsibility to her younger fans, to continue improving her skills as an actress. That includes taking on new, more diverse roles to push herself instead of remaining idle.
She was speaking about her latest role - her first after a short hiatus from acting in 2018. She is in the midst of filming a new movie, The Eighth Night. Billed as a mystery thriller, the film is a stark contrast to the romantic comedies and dramas Kim has built her fame on.
She plays a mysterious character who delivers a central core message that is integral to the film.
"When I first received the script, I really enjoyed reading it. I'm still putting in a lot of thought when it comes to acting out that role and immersing myself in the character," said Kim, who was last seen on screen as an unkempt cleaning lady in the 2019 romantic comedy series, Clean With Passion For Now.
She also showed her versatility as a eunuch in disguise in the 2016 period drama, Love In The Moonlight.
Declining to give spoilers about her latest role, Kim teased: "The audience can really look forward to a side of Kim Yoo-jung they might not have watched before."
She is currently on a break from filming to carry out her ambassador duties with Laneige. This is the second time Kim has visited Singapore, after a fan meet in 2017.
Kim will be doing a second fan meet here at a Laneige pop-up in Plaza Singapura at 4pm on Saturday (June 29). At the pop-up, you can pick up the new Water Bank Hydro Cream EX - a recent favourite Kim lists in her go-to products, alongside the brand's Layering Lip Bar and Cream Skin Refiner, which she carries around with her in the day.
After her two-day visit, she will return to South Korea to resume filming for The Eighth Night.
On her dream role, Kim said: "I don't want to limit myself to any particular type of role. I believe the dream role changes with time as I grow. Now that I'm turning 20 , I feel I need to play a role I can best act out and relate to at this particular age."