INTERVIEW: Kim Hye Yoon Aims to Be Unique, Not the Best

Kim Hye Yoon has impressed once again with her performance, solidifying her status as a dependable actress.

Her role as Im Sol in the tvN drama Lovely Runner has left many wondering if the show would have been such a success without her.

The final episode, which aired on the 28th, concluded beautifully with Byeon Woo Seok (Ryu Seon-jae) and Kim Hye Yoon (Im Sol) sticking together. The show achieved its highest ratings, with 7.2% viewership in the metropolitan area and 5.8% nationwide, and it was the top-ranked drama for four consecutive weeks. Praised for its acting, it became a global hit, marking another milestone in Kim Hye Yoon’s vibrant career.

In a recent interview, Kim shared her gratitude, saying, “It’s wonderful to hear people say, ‘If it weren’t for Kim Hye-yoon, I wouldn’t be where I am now.’ Since I was young, I’ve aspired to be ‘the only one, not the number one.’ Seeing comments about being the ‘Only One’ after this show makes me very proud and happy.

Sharing her thoughts on the ending and popularity of the series, Kim is elated and grateful.

“I’ve been receiving a lot of love and attention lately, and it’s made me very happy. I don’t go out much, so I haven’t fully felt the show’s popularity, but my friends say my image is all over social media.”

Perfectly synchronizing to a role made for her, she also expressed her insights.

“I’m so thankful that writer Lee Si-eun had me in mind from the start. When I read the script, I found Sol’s character very appealing and wanted to play her. I worked closely with the writer to blend into the role comfortably. Sol and I are about 50% alike. She handles difficult situations positively and gets back up like a roly-poly, which is something I admire and want to learn.

As it is not the first time for her to wear a school uniform, she also conveys her concerns about typecasting.

I was worried about wearing a school uniform again, but since the story wasn’t centered on school days, it didn’t feel too repetitive. Playing a character as passionate as Sol was a new experience for me, and I thought of my fans a lot while acting.”

Kim Hye Yoon also reveals her preparations for the character. She said the show required a lot of preparation because of the time shifts between past and present. Filming scenes from different timelines on the same day, like Sol Yi falling for Seon Jae and crying while pretending not to notice him, required extra focus. The director and writer were a great help.

K-DRAMA REVIEW: “Lovely Runner” Lingers With Its Heartfelt Tale of Enduring Love and Overcoming Destiny

Speaking about the emotional scenes, Kim took as strengthening her emotional stamina.

I didn’t realize how much I cried until I watched the broadcasts. Crying often makes me sleepy and drains my energy, so I had to recharge frequently. But I gained emotional stamina through this role.”

Regarding her chemistry with Byeon Woo Seok, Kim praised her leading man.

Byun Woo-seok brought a lot of emotional depth. His presence in emotional scenes helped elevate my performance. We didn’t work together on our previous project, but we bonded a lot through this one. Though he’s not exactly like a brother next door, he’s very kind and caring. Fans hope we’ll date, but for now, we’re just good colleagues (laughs). He’s very affectionate, which I’m grateful for.”

Adorably spilling about her ideal type, Kim Hye Yoon said her ideal partner is someone who makes her happy and laughs a lot. They should be taller than her, but not too much taller since she has acted with very tall co-stars, and she does not want to look like a box next to them.

On being called a “star maker” for propelling some of her recent male leads to stardom, the modest actress is thankful for being part of their journey but she emphasized that her costars are just destined to be successful.

After Filming + Future Plans

Expressing her intention to have a break and find her happiness, Kim mentioned how being an actor can sometimes make you lose sight of your own identity. She recently started playing games and plans to do yoga and travel.

 “I changed agencies to Artist Company and am grateful to be part of a family with supportive seniors. I’m open to various roles and genres, especially those that show different sides of me. I also want to play a character with a job, something I haven’t done much.”

Reflecting on Her Role and Late 20s Goals

Ruminating on Im Sol’s meaning for her career, Kim Hye Yoon relayed what he would always remember from portraying Im Sol. She also reveals her aspirations in her late 20s.

 “This role helped me grow, not just as an actress but as a person. Sol’s resilience and optimism taught me a lot. I hope to carry those lessons into the future. In my late 20s, I want to become more mature and find what makes me truly happy.”