Video: Vina Chia
South Korean actress Kim Se-a was in town for the official launch of South Korean premium hipseat carrier brand Todbi, founded by comedian Kim Ji Sun and her husband Alex Lee, in Singapore yesterday.
After the event held at Paragon’s Mothercare store, xinmsn caught up with the 40-year-old, whose glowing complexion and slim figure showed no hints of her age, on her life as a mother of two.
Se-a tied the knot with cellist Kim Kyu-sik five years ago, and the couple is now proud parents of their two children, Yena, 4, and Jun, 3.
With her last full-length drama being The Tale of Janghwa and Hongryeon in 2009, it is surprising that local audiences may not be familiar with the actress. In Korea, however, the hot mama is well known for delivering her daughter Yena via water birth at home.
In fact, the Koreans were so curious about Se-a’s experience that water birth became the talk of the town when she published a book (Kim Se-a’s Naturalism Birth) about it.
According to earlier reports, the 170cm-tall actress was “disenchanted with the way hospitals treated the body of a pregnant woman like a piece of machinery”.
Se-a regarded the decision to deliver her baby “in the most natural and comfortable way” as a present for her child, as well as to tell other expectant mums that “any healthy woman can give birth at home”.
“I don’t know about Singapore, but [giving birth at home] is pretty common in Europe. My husband lived there for 12 years and it is said that about 30 per cent of them do that,” she said. “In Korea, pregnant ladies get asked about the hospital that they are giving birth at. But in Europe, the question is if you are giving birth at home or in the hospital.”
As for the most important criteria required for water birth, Se-a replied without hesitation: “Confidence.”
Read on for Kim Se-a’s take on motherhood and showbiz plans (for herself and her kids).
xinmsn: How has motherhood changed your life? What is the most significant change?
Se-a: Motherhood is a whole new world. It is one that you will never know until you become a mother. From how I only thought about myself to placing my children as top priority now – that is the biggest change.
Do your kids fight for your attention?
Yes they do! They get very jealous of each other, especially when they are only one year apart in age. I try my best to comfort them by showering them with hugs and kisses. (Just the night before, Jun burst out crying because Se-a carried Yena in her arms during dinner. “I need to have strong arms [to carry both of them],” she laughed.)
Parent-child reality shows such as Dad, Where Are You Going? and Superman is Back are all the rage these days. Would you join such programmes with your children, should the opportunity arises?
Actually, I participated in a show called Mother Running in High Heels with my daughter last year. It’s like the “female version” of Dad, Where Are You Going?.
Ed’s note: Mother Running in High Heels is a 12-episode reality-variety programme which featured Se-a, Seol Soohyun, Lee Hye Won, Byeong Jung Soo and their children taking on different challenges together each week.
How was the experience?
As Yena was the youngest child in the show, she was very well loved and doted on. She has many fans in Korea. (Is she even more popular than her mum?) Yes, that’s right. (laugh) Her fans are sad that she didn’t go on more shows such as Dad, Where Are You Going?.
What do you think about your children becoming celebrities in future?
When they turn adults at 19, they can make their own decisions and I will support them.
How do you keep yourself in such good shape, even after becoming a mother of two
I’ve done yoga for many years and I also have an internationally recognised Pilates certificate. Looking after my two kids helps too. (laugh)
Your last drama appearance was in 2013’s Their Perfect Day. Any upcoming acting projects that we can look forward to?
Now that my kids are older, I don’t have to worry so much about them anymore. So yes, I’ll be returning to the small screen very soon. Look out for it!
Does being a mother affect your choice in roles?
Of course! In The Tale of Janghwa and Hongryeon, I acted as the baddie. The character was an extremely evil woman. With my new status in life, I’d be more selective about the roles to take up. I would like to play more “good characters”.
L-R: Kim Se-a, Pang Kim Hin (Chairman, Mothercare), Pang Shu Ming (Executive Director, Mothercare), and Alex Lee (Co-founder, Todbi)