Highway Star

김종관 기자l승인2019.05.21

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22 years old, 6 feet, good looking and talented. 
If I were him, what would I want to do with my life? With talent in music, I would want to be a singer taking the stage singing and dancing to captivate the hearts of the audience. With talent in acting, I would want to be as great an actor as the Hollywood. Why would I want to be a boring salary man and lead my life like an insipid beer when I could lead a life like those sumptuous Hollywood stars in style? So I would definitely go for it since I live only once!
We all dream of a glamorous life. Who can dream of a loser’s life? It is just that some are luck to be rich, some not and some with good looking and some not. The good looking, talented and ‘rich’ might use the most of his advantages to get what he wants. The good looking, talented and ‘poor’, on the other hand, is most likely to walk the thorny paths since there are many competitors; moreover, they have to take care of their own living cost and tuition fees.
Yet it seems worth the challenge: Celine Dion, Jay-Z, Jim Carrey, Demi Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Cruise…. the rags to riches. Of course they had ‘luck’ alongside. But we do not know onto whom this ‘goddess of luck’ might land, so we just keep hanging there and digging until we find some luck.
Park Yoo-min is an ambitious Korean young man of 22 living in Seoul in the year 2019. He is 6 feet tall, good looking, talented and on his way to become an actor. Born in Masan District, Changwon City in the southeast, his mother, on divorcing, took little Park and his older sister to her hometown Ulleung Island on the East Sea. Park grew up on the island until he finished high school. He had keen interest in watching dramas and movies as well as modeling and looked out for a chance; and he got a chance in 2015 to be aired on a famous TV show under the title ‘The Island Boy Who Dreams Model’.
Meeting him recently on Garosu-gil, Gangnam District, Seoul, he now is 22, taking time off Seoul Arts College, working part time and pushing forward his dream to be an actor. The reason he turned to acting from model is firstly, he is relatively short as a male model and secondly, he feels more of himself on the stage than on the runway. Being oneself is a very important moment in life because that is where we become true-self other than socially calculated self. 
“The man Park Yoo-min is quiet, rough and sharp ostensibly. But he is pranksome and soft inside who cannot say harsh words to others. This might ascribe to my childhood. I was the only man in my family so I had to hide my emotions no matter what. I cried many times alone and buried ‘playing the baby’ deep down in me. But acting helped me release these hurts and pressures.” 
22 is an age one might need to think about life seriously. Park might imagined himself taking the Oscars for Rookie of the Year or Best Actor giving speech in front of renowned actors, directors, producers and the audience of the world; but he now seems to have grown up much and found an answer to ‘who he is?’ and ‘what he wants to do with his life’; and acting has become the very channel, instead of Hollywood dream, through which he can release his emotions.
“In fact, I haven’t found the answer to ‘who I am’. I feel more honest to say that I’m still working on it. And I might not possibly find it forever. What I feel sure, however, is that acting makes me let my true emotions out. No matter how perfect the screenplay is acting must involve the actor’s emotions and personality. So acting for me is the channel to find the man Park Yoo-min and to expose who Park Yoo-min is to others.”
Who knows? He might indeed take the Oscars like Leonardo DiCaprio one day! Surprises come from where most did not expect. To be realistic, however, it is more likely that the day will never come. So had he better give up as early as possible? “I wouldn’t have been here today if I had given up at that time” or “I had the right choice to give up early”; which one he will say in the future, only the ‘result’ will tell; and whichever the result, he might have to go through fierce battles with himself, with his competitors and with the goddess of fate. 
One day in May 2019,
I send my great cheers to Park Yoo-min and to young Koreans who dream the same dream like Park. I myself passed the path once. Though I turned my car to a different direction on feeling the limitation of my talent in music, I sincerely hope my juniors will take a ride on a fast car, passing the mountains, rivers and seas for as long as they can drive like ‘highway star’. 


김종관 기자  powerkorea_j@naver.com
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