Photos: SK-II, SM Entertainment
She may now be one-eighth of one of the biggest K-pop girl groups in the world, but life for Girls’ Generation’s Choi Soo Young hasn’t always been as smooth as her flawless, poreless complexion (more on that later).
Although the 27-year-old has undoubtedly been through many ups and downs in her 10 years with Girls’ Generation, she told Toggle via an e-mail interview that the biggest difficulties she faced happened much earlier on, when she was part of a short-lived pop duo called Route θ in Japan.
“I was 12 when I debuted and had to get out of school at a very early age to travel to Japan for my career,” she recalled. “I was extremely doubtful and wondered why I was not living the normal life that everyone else was having, and being in a whole new country was really challenging for me.”
Despite the stressful circumstances, the resilient starlet wrote that she “set aside some time every day to pray,” which helped to calm her down and improve her mental state. She also proclaimed her love for yoga, which she still practises to this day. “I like detoxing through sweating it out, and it helps maintain my physical health and stamina for my busy work schedule.”
In retrospect, Soo Young believes that her ordeals may have shaped a big part of who she is today, as well as help her navigate the tough, unforgiving waters of Hallyu showbiz. “Looking back now, being forced outside of my comfort zone at that tender age really pushed me forward and gave me so much experience as a young entertainer,” she mused.
Still, the journey for new breakthroughs never ends, and right now, Soo Young has her sights set on becoming known for both her musical and theatrical endeavours. In her video for skincare brand SK-II’s #OneBottleAwayFrom campaign, she was candid about aiming to be known as “Soo Young the actress”.
But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that she’s giving up on music.
“Singing has always been my passion, and for the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to live my dreams. Right now, I’m still exploring my full potential – be it as a singer or an actress – and to do that, I will continue working hard with Girls’ Generation while seizing all opportunities to act in various projects at the same time,” she clarified.
“Instead of just being known as an ‘actress’ or a ‘singer’, I hope to develop a strong and memorable character so that when people see me, the name ‘Soo Young’ comes across as a brand.”
Read on as Soo Young tells us about her beauty secrets (hence achieving the perfect complexion we mentioned earlier), reveals which Girls’ Generation member is the most particular about her beauty routine, and more!
Toggle: As an international celebrity, you travel a lot. What are your beauty tips for frequent travellers like yourself?
Soo Young: The air in planes can be especially drying, so make sure that your skin is kept well-moisturised! I take the opportunity to pamper my skin with an intensely hydrating face mask and get some beauty sleep.
What is your daily beauty routine like?
In the morning, I focus on cleansing, toning, and incorporating a light essence, lotion and moisturising cream. My current obsession is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which I’ve been using religiously. I love how it balances out my complexion and gives me great skin for the day ahead.
Throughout the day, my skin tends to get dry and red patches start forming on my cheeks. To soothe my skin, I like to soak a few pieces of cotton pads with lots of treatment oil and leave it on my face for the rest of the night. With that, I can wake up to happy skin again!
Congratulations on celebrating your 10th anniversary with Girls’ Generation! How has your beauty routine changed since debut?
It’s much simpler now and takes just less than 10 minutes: I apply BB cream, add a little eyebrow definition and a tinge of lip colour, and I’m all ready to head out.
Soo Young (second from left) and her Girls' Generation bandmates
Including yourself, which Girls’ Generation member is the most particular about her skincare routine?
Everyone takes very good care of their skin, and we also learn tips from each other! For example, they run off set the moment shooting is done to thoroughly cleanse their face of all makeup, and I’ve learnt to do the same.
Recently, since I’ve been busy filming my TV show (weekend drama Man Who Sets the Table), I’ve been taking extra care of my skin to look good on camera.
It’s been a while since you last met fans in Singapore! Are there plans to visit here again soon?
Singapore is the cleanest city in the world to me, and it has some of the most beautiful views and great food! Every time I visit Singapore, I am so heartened to see our lovely fans welcoming us so warmly. I know that there are a lot of fans in Singapore, so thank you so much for patiently waiting for us, and I really hope to visit sometime soon and have some chilli crab!