If you’re an avid fan of Korean drama Cheese In The Trap that has not only garnered high viewership in Korea, but is also constantly a trending topic on social media, you’d be familiar with Seo Kang Jun, the actor who plays Baek In Ho.

Kang Jun, who was in town last week to promote the drama, tells the media that he enjoys a rising celebrity status that gives him access to glitzy parties where he can mingle with fellow stars. However, it is a perk he could do without. He tells The Straits Times that he prefers solitude to revelry.

“I enjoy alone time in my personal life. I like taking walks by the river. I enjoy watching movies alone, rather than with others. I find that watching a movie alone helps me focus and get into the movie,” says the 22-year-old, who also held a meet-and-greet session with more than 1,000 fans at Suntec City last Friday evening. This is his first promotional trip to Singapore.

Since making his debut three years ago as part of idol actor group 5urprise, he has quickly progressed to taking on second male lead roles, such as the charming rich man’s son Gook Seung Hyun in Cunning Single Lady (2014) and as the brash softie Baek In Ho in dark romance Cheese In The Trap.

At the media session, he looked like he was in character as In Ho, with his tousled hair, black biker jacket and ripped jeans.

When considering the role, he knew that a stylist could help him look the part of a rebel, but he was concerned that he would not be able to play the short-fused, fist- fighting character convincingly, given his calm temperament in real life.

But his worries turned out to be unfounded. He found the fighting to be cathartic.

He says: “I’m nothing like the wild and rough Baek In Ho. There was a scene where I had to fight for the female lead Hong Seol. I was kicking and even crashed a car. I felt like my stress was released.”

In real life, he reins in his emotions and temper and chooses to relax by watching sunsets or action movies.

His mild manner comes through when he recounts his love life and schooling years.

The bachelor is not the aggressive chaser, but believes in going with the flow and feel.

“I’ve had to let go of many of my crushes in the past, even though I really liked them. There were times I didn’t dare to talk to them,” he says. “If they approach me, that’s fine. I’m not the kind to conquer someone’s heart, if her heart is not with me.”

He was an obedient son during the angsty teen years. Though he was “forced” by his parents to learn the piano and study overseas, he did both dutifully.

For seven years starting when he was eight, he learnt to play the piano. When he was 14, he studied at the Ipoh International School in Malaysia for 17 months.

In hindsight, he understands his parents’ good intentions. He plays the piano with ease as the musically talented In Ho and speaks a little English during the interview, having picked it up at the international school.

Talking about his best memories of Malaysia in English, he says: “I remember the canteen. I had Indian food, the curry soup was delicious. I was also on the soccer team. I got along with my foreign friends. I enjoyed the opportunity to make foreign friends.”

Cheese In The Trap is showing on Sunday at 10pm on VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855).

Image: Singapore Press Holdings
Text: Gwendolyn Ng