- Aspiration to Be an Actor with Maturity and Strength September 23, 2023
Freshman Lee Chae-Eun(Philosophy Major, ‘23), a 13-Year Career Actor Dedicated to Self-Improvement
When watching “All of Us Are Dead”, the Netflix drama aired in January last year, it is hard not to notice the impressive performance of actor Lee Chae-eun who took the role of Park Hee-su. Lee, who was a high school student during the filming, enrolled in Yonsei University as a freshman in 2023. It was the result of extraordinary efforts Lee made while balancing her role as an actor as well as a student for years. Now, being one of approximately 3,700 freshmen living in Yonsei International Campus (YIC) in Songdo, Incheon, Lee expressed excitement while commenting that she is “grateful and thrilled for everything new that she is experiencing as a Yonseian.”
“It has been great participating in various programs with the entire freshmen batch at YIC. Thanks to those experiences, I made many friends, while living in a dormitory for the first time in my life has been enjoyable as well. The most exciting event so far has been the Cheering Orientation, and it was an event through which I really felt like I became a part of the Yonsei family."
When asked how her campus life has been, Lee reiterated that it is “so much fun”. Without having to ask for further details, the joyful expression on her face conveyed more than words ever could. Being an internationally known actor, especially thanks to the success of the recent Netflix drama series, there were concerns about possible difficulties Lee might face when it comes to living an ordinary life as a student. “I am quite an introvert as an individual, so initially there weren’t a lot of students who knew about my acting career,” replied Lee. “As of now, though many within my major know about me since they have been considerate to treat me like an ordinary freshman like everyone else, I couldn’t be more comfortable.”
Majoring in Philosophy, a Choice to Grow as an Actor
Lee has chosen philosophy as her major. Though she could have applied for a major such as the Department of Theater and Film, given the years of experience she had accumulated since a young age, Lee followed her heart to choose philosophy as her major. Lee mentioned how she coincidentally came across humanities books during her younger days in midst of having concerns about her future, which later became the turning point of her life.
Some of these books include Professor Michael Sandel’s ‘Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?’ and ‘The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?’. With Lee relating to several topics discussed in these books, she soon became mesmerized. Lee's reading horizons gradually expanded to include philosophical works by Kant and Hegel. “Through such books, it was enjoyable to see how abstract and vague ideas could be materialized, and it was fascinating to see how these arguments were dealt with,” mentioned Lee.
"Acting is a profession that expresses both the character and the character’s life. To excel in it, I believe there is a need for constant self-enrichment. I felt that by studying philosophy that deals with ideas closely connected to our lives, I could deepen my individuality and enhance my understanding of the characters as an actor."
13th Year as an Actor
Lee’s career as an actor began when she was seven years old. As a child who loved singing and dancing, Lee received a recommendation to pursue acting from an associate of an acting school, marking the beginning of her journey. Soon after, in 2011, six months after learning acting, Lee passed the film audition and successfully made her debut. Her debut film was none other than 'Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow’.
"I loved being on stage, even though I was a very introverted individual. Those who knew me used to be amazed at how natural I was in front of the camera. It was strange, considering my personality as an individual. At some point, I came to realize that when I stand in front of the camera as a certain character, I would regard acting as an outlet to express myself and my feelings. That realization eventually led me to choose acting as a career. Ever since I was a kid, it was something that I wanted to pursue."
Though being a twenty-year-old, Lee is already embarking on her thirteenth year in her career. Throughout those years she has made appearances in several films and dramas, some of them being Starting with ‘Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow’, ‘Hot Young Bloods’, ‘Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island’, ‘Princess Deokhye’, ‘Steel Rain’, and ‘All of us Are Dead’.
"Whenever I am at the film set, I learn a lot from my senior co-stars. In particular, I was shocked by how actor Son Ye-jin, who co-shot the movie ‘Princess Deokhye,’ could immerse herself into the role in such a short time. Observing how emotions are evoked once filming begins, it was a chance for me to reflect upon my technique of immersion as an actor and to find my way of doing so. Being a good actor is all about persevering."
To Be a ‘Good Person’ before a ‘Good Actor'
To Lee, a good actor is someone who “acts with inner fullness." Above all, she aspires to be an actor who could "completely immerse oneself in the role, so that the audience sees the character rather than the actor."
"However, I believe that you truly need to be a good person before aspiring to become a good actor. That's why I remind myself always to be grateful and humble. I also want to work hard in Yonsei for the next four years to improve myself."
There was certainly a reflection of inner strength within Lee’s voice as she delivered her thoughts and wishes during the interview. As for Lee, having an objective view of herself along with constant reflections about life are the greatest assets that nurture her as an actor, and they are all the more reasons why we are more excited about the path she will take than the path she took.