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Magazine Details: 304 pages, release 5/16/17
Photoshoot/Interview Details: 10 page spread (1 page interview)
Translated by SHINee USA Staff
Q: You received praise for your debut drama “Drinking Solo”. I’m curious if you have a personal method for researching (developing) your character?
Key: I was always proud every time I heard of people enjoying watching “Drinking Solo”. Even though I was quite confused since, as we filmed, I never once thought that I was doing a good job… Originally, the character Kibum didn’t have any set way of speech, accent, or hairstyle or anything, but as I read the script I quickly felt his character’s clear image of ‘a youth with a bowl haircut, speaking with an accent, who seems childish like he doesn’t understand much of the world on the outside, but is actually very considerate’. I think part of being an actor is to play your role adding vitality to your character, so I strived to establish even the tiniest details about Kibum’s existence. For example, I’m not sure if this was because everyone knows I like clothes, but during our concept meetings the stylists shared that they wanted Kibum to wear Gucci tracksuits. However I thought then that that was actually too different from his reality (Kibum, a student studying for the civil service exam, wouldn’t have that good of taste). Whenever we chose Kibum’s outfits I refused brand names. And so, trying to always think of details like this, it ended up helping me develop this character.
Q: I’ve heard you will be playing the role of a genius hacker in this next drama ‘Lookout’. With what standards did you decide on the role of Kyung Su in ‘Lookout’?
K: I was in the middle of trying some other auditions, then, foremost, I was attracted to the drama ‘Lookout’ as a whole. I’m really glad I ended up getting to work on this project. ‘Lookout’ interprets didactic (TN.poetic justice/good triumphs over evil etc) in a new way, so it shows with transparency some of the problems of our society. Gong Kyung Su, with his painful past experiences as a foundation, uses his hacking to expose the wrongdoing of others. On the outside Kyung Su is similar to the character Kibum as he seems very cheerful, but the Kyung Su I imagine and want to portray has a very different past as well as future from Kibum.
Q: They decided to cast you, Key, for the role instead of other actors.
K: I heard that there were many others who auditioned for Gong Kyung Su, and they all gave performances full of personality. I don’t think I was cast because I was better than them, I think I was given this opportunity because I can bring Kyung Su’s image out in many ways.
Q: Are there any roles in movies or dramas that you would like to portray?
K: I think that the character of senior Nam Goong Min in the drama ‘Chief Kim’ is charming and amazing. And the character called ‘Chi Do’ played by Mr. Ko Gyung Pyo in the movie ‘Coin Locker Girl’ is a role I would like to try and challenge myself with. (TN. He says he literally wants to try the role, but I think it’s like he wants to try that kind of role ^^; )
Q: I knew that you have a lot of interest in fashion and a fantastic sense of style, but I did not know you are even studying it as your major. How did this start?
K: My research paper I wrote is titled, ‘The Strong Influence of Styling Education on Youth’. Of course it’s very important to know how to wear clothing well yourself, but I thought of how people’s fashion can be influenced by my style as a singer in general, so if that’s true I want to be able to set them in a good direction. That’s why I wanted to study it well. And if I have the skill I also want to use it as much as I can.
Q: In order to portray the character, Gong Kyung Su what fashion are you planning to reveal?
K: When I think of Kyung Su, I think of skateboards, graphic tees, street fashion, etc. In addition to street fashion, I insisted on a foil perm as one of his points. Actually, I’m not very interested in street fashion myself. But because Kyung Su seems like the type to go beyond just regular street brands, he’d even camp out overnight to get the latest Supreme items, because his image seems to really enjoy that, I am letting go of my own preferences and hoping to show an unwavering street look.
Q: So personally, what fashion is Key into these days?
K: No matter how often I’m asked this, I always say Balenciaga. I’ve always liked rocker looks like Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, etc and I’ve become interested in the power shoulder look which is made without hesitation with inspiration from these historic idols. For people who don’t know the history of this culture, it seems overpowering or frightening but I see it as a collection full of ‘gratitude’ (appreciation)
Q: I’m curious about your regular shopping spots or selecting standards?
K: I regularly visit BOON THE SHOP in Korea, and every time I go to LA I make sure to shop for vintage tees. My standards for buying depend on that moment, but there was this kinda strong looking Louis Vuitton Sukajan jacket that I wanted to wear right away and pre-ordered. Beyond that, I choose depending on how often I’d be able to wear something or whether it’s a piece that when someone looks at it they’ll know I wore it first.
Q: What do you think a man who wears clothes well is?
K: To wear clothes well is like your self-marketing. A suit and shoes that fit you well and you wear with confidence, something like that affects people’s first impressions of you like a kind of business card and lets you express yourself. So with that, I think a man who can portray himself through his clothing is a man who wears clothes well. I don’t think just because a guy has a trendy or fancy look he is cool.
Q: Tell us about your transition into developing your style.
K: When I was young, I felt like this one store called Daily Project was a kind of heaven on earth. The me of those days was drawn to styles that exaggerate my expression of youth. I was obsessed with St. Laurent but I’ve calmed down. But now that I’ve fallen for Balenciaga, I’m interested in strong looks again.
Q: You’re now over halfway through your 20s. Did you imagine you would be like you are now, on the days you first debuted?
K: The current me is beyond my imagination from back then. Around the time I debuted, the word ‘KPOP’ itself wasn’t even widely used. The fact that I get to travel the world for concerts makes me so grateful, and I feel that much more responsible.
Q: With SHINee’s activities and overseas tour, shooting for a drama, advertisements and even photoshoots, not to mention your life as a graduate student, your schedule is so full it’s more intense than anyone else’s. 10 years from now, where do you see Key and the man Kim Kibum?
K: I will be setting a clear goal each year and working hard. After living like this, living for every moment, many things that I had never imagined came to be. I didn’t know I would become like this. However I also think that I changed my own self. Even though I don’t know what I to do in my mid-thirties or what will happen, I think I’ll be like I am now, living for every moment without regrets, listening to my heart as decisions arise.
This past April 27th the sun shone unexpectedly bright, as Key, wearing a 90’s style Balenciaga power shoulder denim jacket, arrived at the studio with his dogs Commes des and Garçons. He just arrived back in Korea the day before after wrapping up his overseas tour, and this same day, once he finished his cover photoshoot for the June issue of Nylon here, he has filming scheduled for the upcoming drama, ‘Lookout’. Even though he has an extremely busy schedule without a break, he confirmed the proposals our our editors sent while he was abroad, and while on location for the photoshoot he discussed concepts with the editing staff, sharing his opinions like the veteran Key is. I’m an editor who has worked on numerous pictorials with celebrities, and it is the truth that it is hard to find a celebrity who works as hard as Key, not showing how tired he must be, checking every step of the process himself. “I’ve been able to work with Nylon for several pictorials over the years, but this is my first time appearing on the cover alone.” Seeing Key speak in a calm tone, he is someone who progresses, regardless of the area, while guessing whether or not he can enhance his standing as an artist. As we started the shoot Key posed with the fashion in mind like a professional model and showed faces varying from an youthful innocence to charisma. *We shot with several cameras and used an iPhone 7 Plus for the cover shot, making Key’s first Nylon cover memorable. (*TN final sentence paraphrased from several sentences)
(Vyrl Behind the Scenes Photos)