24 hours in Seoul with Jayley & Hayley Woo

The twins jetted off to South Korea for a month-long training programme ahead of their musical debut

24 hours in Seoul with Jayley & Hayley Woo
24 hours in Seoul with Jayley & Hayley Woo
01 Jun 2017

24 hours in Seoul with Jayley & Hayley Woo

DIRECT FROM SEOUL: If you’ve been keeping tabs on Hayley and Jayley Woo, you would have noticed that they’ve spent a good month in Seoul. The twins went on a musical boot camp of sorts, cramming three months’ worth of practice into a third of the time in preparation for their musical debut in CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chili Crab.

Towards the end of their training programme, Toggle was invited to take a sneak peek at what the girls have been up to in the Land of Morning Calm, where we spent two days indulging in both work and play together with Hayley and Jayley.

If you’ve ever wondered how rigorous their training is, what they get up to in their spare time and the special must-haves they’ve packed for their long trip abroad, you’re in luck. Read on to find out more.

10am: Vocal training
10am: Vocal training
01 Jun 2017

10am: Vocal training

A typical day starts at around 10am for the twins, who have been taking singing lessons from vocal coach Ko Eun Hee, who also plays Sexy Chef in CHEF.

Among the exercises that they go through are singing with a wooden baton wedged against both their stomachs (this is done so that they can check that they’re using the right techniques to vocalise, as the baton will push against the other person if done correctly) and singing while doing leg raises lying down. 

10am: Vocal training
10am: Vocal training
01 Jun 2017

10am: Vocal training

Lest you think that it’s a walk in the park, Eun Hee explained that their training not only works on their singing technique, but also on increasing their stamina and fitness so that they will be able to pull off the 75-minute show with no problems.

Jayley confessed that she feels that while her expressions are mostly on-point, she has more to work on in the vocal department. The opposite proves true for her older (by five minutes) sister, Hayley, who said with a shrug, “I guess this is what they mean by twins complimenting each other’s flaws.”

12pm: Lunch break
12pm: Lunch break
01 Jun 2017

12pm: Lunch break

Lunch is usually a quick meal around the vicinity of the Bibap Theatre, where the actors stage their regular performances and practices for CHEF are held. For Jayley, she sometimes has to forgo meat (which she loves) as it doesn’t sit too well with her stomach.

Thankfully, Mama Woo prepared a month’s supply of supplements for Jayley, who takes them to start and end her day.

1pm: Stage training
1pm: Stage training
01 Jun 2017

1pm: Stage training

Soon after lunch, it’s back to the grind as Hayley and Jayley work on different scenes every day. At the end of their training, they would have only completed three full runs of the 75-minute musical as most of the focus is placed on perfecting each individual scene.

While we were there, acclaimed director Choi Chul Ki, who is also the original creator of hit musical NANTA, personally supervised their training and even went on stage on multiple occasions to give a demonstration of how they should be performing each scene.

1pm: Stage training
1pm: Stage training
01 Jun 2017

1pm: Stage training

He shared with us that while the twins may look similar on the outside, they’re as different as night and day on the inside. “Hayley is more girly, while Jayley has a bit of a tough, boyish interior that is quite like what their role, Cutie Chef, is like,” he chuckled.

The other cast members, Woo Young Wook (Green Chef), Wii Daehan (MC Chef) and Yang Donghyun (Rookie Chef) have also been working especially closely with the twins, as there will be a scene where they have to lift either girl up in the midst of a squabble with Iron Chef, who is played by Choi Junggil.

5pm: Seoul wandering
5pm: Seoul wandering
01 Jun 2017

5pm: Seoul wandering

While we were with the twins in Seoul, they managed to wrap up their scheduled training ahead of time and we headed out for a short trip to the nearby Myeongdong area, where we were introduced to some of their favourite snacks – the traditional honey cream ice cream, along with grilled cheese lobsters.

To return the favour, we introduced them to these Instagram-friendly fluffy “omlettes”, which are actually mini pancakes topped with light-as-a-feather whipped cream and other toppings such as strawberries, chocolate and oranges.

6pm: Performance time – for the other cast members, at least
6pm: Performance time – for the other cast members, at least
01 Jun 2017

6pm: Performance time – for the other cast members, at least

The twins were initially slated to perform in a show or two in Seoul in preparation for their formal musical debut in Singapore, but plans fell through and the first time they will be performing for an audience will be in the Resorts World Theatre.

They shared that they “actually learned a lot from watching the other actors perform – every single show is different, and the interaction with the audience varies a lot as well, so being able to see them handle all these situations gives us an idea of what to expect when the time comes for us to stand under the spotlight.”

8pm: No time is ever wasted
8pm: No time is ever wasted
01 Jun 2017

8pm: No time is ever wasted

You’d think that the twins would’ve had enough of training for the day, but we were proven wrong when we saw them huddled over Hayley’s phone in the midst of our busy schedule. On-screen was a playback of their practice session of the day.

“We record every single practice and we watch it whenever we’re free just to check on our progress and see which areas we have to take special notice of,” Hayley explained. 

8.30pm: School’s out
8.30pm: School’s out
01 Jun 2017

8.30pm: School’s out

After sunset, the girls’ day finally ends and they head back – on foot – to their hotel, from where they will head out if they’re not too tired (or lazy). “We try to walk everywhere we go and our target is to walk 10,000 steps a day,” Hayley grinned while checking her fitness band. “I’ve actually hit more than 13,000 today.”

On our first night, we headed to Hongdae, where the girls frequent for the ever-changing crowds and shopping. There, we ran into a dog-owner whose furkid had the girls squealing with joy. “We miss Buibui Woo so much,” they admitted. “We can’t even buy him clothes because our mom will end up nagging at us – saying that it’s either too big or too small. She knows him best and she once spent 30 minutes in Taiwan just trying to figure out which size to buy.” 

9pm: Getting inked
9pm: Getting inked
01 Jun 2017

9pm: Getting inked

As we passed by a temporary tattoo stall, Jayley’s interest was piqued as she looked through the booklet to see what design caught her eye. While her first choice wasn’t available, the tattoo artist suggested an alternative which she readily agreed to. “This is the closest I’ll ever get to getting inked, because I can’t ever imagine getting a tattoo for real!” Jayley laughed.

After getting inked – temporarily, at least – Jayley shared, “I didn’t expect the tattoo artist to say this, but she told me that I was really pretty before I left.” She added, however, that Hayley has been the one to get hit on by guys in Seoul. “Even though we’re twins, I think we give off a really different vibe,” she grinned.

9.30pm: The night has just begun
9.30pm: The night has just begun
01 Jun 2017

9.30pm: The night has just begun

Hayley and Jayley’s competitive streak arose when we walked past a dart stall, where the number of balloons you pop will translate into how big a soft toy you’re able to bring home. Hayley picked up a pink whale toy for popping three (one, actually, if you count the two that the store owner helped her burst) balloons, and Jayley swiftly declared, “I’ll try to pop more balloons than you!”

In the end, Jayley triumphed with a cool five balloons destroyed and picked up a blue whale toy, “because we’re twins like that!” Cue more competitiveness, as Hayley requested for a rematch – this time with a round of arcade basketball.

10pm: Distractions, distractions
10pm: Distractions, distractions
01 Jun 2017

10pm: Distractions, distractions

On the way to the twins’ basketball showdown, we encountered numerous clothing and accessories stores, which drew Hayley’s attention. While her older sister shopped, Jayley played advisor as she picked out the items that would best suit her.

“She’s the real shopaholic here,” Jayley sighed in mock exasperation. “She changed S$3,000 worth of Korean Won for our trip here, and she’s almost used all of it! You should see the amount of stuff she’s bought, and now that we’re approaching the tail end of our trip, she has the mentality that she should just buy whatever she likes in case we don’t get the chance to buy it again.”

10.30pm: Round two, start!
10.30pm: Round two, start!
01 Jun 2017

10.30pm: Round two, start!

The final showdown begins as Hayley and Jayley shoot hoops while being watched by a crowd of onlookers. Hayley’s initial score of 104 was immediately met with an “I’ll do it again!”, while Jayley was content with her score of 148.

After a second round, Hayley scored an impressive 368, which she shared was nowhere near her record of over 600. It looks like what she said earlier in the day is true – the twins really do complement each other and make the perfect pair.

11.30pm: Close to bedtime
11.30pm: Close to bedtime
01 Jun 2017

11.30pm: Close to bedtime

After heading back to the hotel, we sprung a random visit on the twins’ rooms, which were next to each other. “We originally requested for queen beds and adjoining rooms, but this hotel doesn’t have any linked rooms,” Hayley explained. “When we checked in, there weren’t any rooms with queen beds that were next to each other that were available, so we decided to opt for rooms with twin beds instead just so that we could be next door.”

She let on that they used to share a room until about three years ago, when they moved into their new home. While they’re used to the fact that they no longer share a room, having each other in close proximity is a form of assurance while they’re away from home, “so that just in case anything happens, we’re right next door.”

11:30pm: Close to bedtime
11:30pm: Close to bedtime
01 Jun 2017

11:30pm: Close to bedtime

One of the things we noticed right off the bat was the straight lines of skincare products lined up on each of the twins’ tables. “I guess you can call it a form of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) that we have,” Jayley laughed. “Neither of us can stand to see our stuff in a mess, though I think I’m more minimalistic than my sister, who probably has a lot more products on the table.” (Ed’s note: She was right.)

In their home away from home, Hayley shared that her must-have is a pair of fluffy socks that she wears to bed every single night without fail. “This pair is about a month old; I threw away my old ones when they had too many holes in them,” she revealed. “And this pair is in my colour, purple, which makes me love them more!”

11.30pm: Close to bedtime
11.30pm: Close to bedtime
01 Jun 2017

11.30pm: Close to bedtime

On her bed, we also spied a bouquet of roses, which she chirped was a present from a friend back in Singapore. “I was half asleep when I got back to the hotel one night when the hotel reception called me and said that there was a bouquet waiting for me downstairs,” she shared. “This friend of mine – she’s a girl, just in case you were wondering – was so sweet to send me flowers as a form of encouragement while I was here!”

On the other hand, the only must-haves that Jayley had in her bag were the supplements we mentioned earlier, courtesy of Mama Woo. Her favourite takeaway from the trip, however, is this dog-bunny hybrid that one of the staff members won for the twins during our trip. The special reason why she likes him (yes, he even has a gender now): “His ears are so long, I can tie them around my neck and carry it around!”

CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chili Crab runs from June 10 to July 22 at the Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa. Tickets are priced at S$118, S$98, S$78, S$48 and S$38 (excluding booking fees) and are now available on SISTIC.

A special sneak preview will take place on June 9 2017, 8pm. Theatre-goers will enjoy a 50% discount on all tickets from the following categories: VIP, Cat 1, Cat 2 & Cat 3.

Related: Jayley and Hayley Woo taking baby steps into K-pop?

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