I’ve interviewed quite a number of celebrities in my writing career, and I must say, Song Ji Hyo is one of the most down-to-earth celebrities I’ve met. She may be one of the top actresses and variety show star in South Korea—and other parts of Asia, including Singapore—but she didn’t put on airs when we interviewed her backstage at the Korea Brand & Entertainment EXPO 2018 (KBEE 2018) earlier this month, for which she was one of the ambassadors. In fact, she even lightly chided the translator for being late and making me wait.

When I welcomed her back to Singapore, she gushed, “It’s so good [to be here],” before switching to English, “I’m very happy.” She later on told me at the end of the interview that she really loves Singapore and that she’s happy every time she comes back.

She might be known as “Mong Jihyo” (“Blank Jihyo”) for her “blur sotong” moments on Running Man sometimes, but there was nothing “mong” or blank about her when she expertly fielded questions during the interview while maintaining her frankness. In fact, what we saw was a glimpse of her other personality on the variety show that catapulted her to international fame, Ace Jihyo. However, she reckons that she’s not quite like her on-screen persona in real life. When asked if her personality is as strong as Ace Jihyo’s, she says, “The character itself is a character. I’m just human—I get hurt and feel down sometimes. It’s a character that’s made in Running Man.”

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And if you’ve been watching the variety show, you’ll know that the 37-year-old actress can sleep anywhere. In fact, sleeping is her secret to having good skin. She says, “It’s not that I have confidence to show my bare skin [on TV but] I would rather use the time and energy used to get ready to sleep, so I can I channel that energy during my shows. … I’m happy that everyone thinks I have good skin. I don’t really have any particular skincare regime. Sleep is the best! (Laughs)”

Scroll through the gallery to read the full interview.

Images: KBEE