From KARA’s Kang Ji Young to Actor Kang Ji Young

Credit: JTBC

Kang Ji Young has returned. Kang Ji Young, who left KARA in 2014 and turned into an actor in Japan, came back to Korea and resumed her career for the first time in five years with drama Sweet Munchies. She played the role of Kim Ah Jin, a contract producer at a TV station, and portrayed a character who is honest and confident in her work and love.

“I didn’t even think of playing the leading role, but luckily I got to play the main character. I wasn’t in a hurry as I auditioned several times, but I was strongly attracted to the character. She is a tough girl who pulls through all kinds of situations, but she is also has a soft heart and laughs and cries easily. I wanted to show you her unique positive mind. Many people still remember me as an idol, and I wanted to break that image, too.”

Credit: JTBC

She had a lot of concerns since this was her first Korean drama in a long time. There were worries and burdens over people feeling awkward with her acting, since she mostly worked in Japan.

“It was really fortunate there was no controversy over bad acting. I think I had my own tricks that I developed as I worked in Japan. The director even took care of my outfits. The colorful outfits felt a bit awkward at first, but after seeing them on screen, I understood the director’s intentions.”

This year, Kang Ji Young entered her 13th year since her debut. After stepping into the entertainment world as a member of KARA when she was 15 years old, she left for England to study when she turned 20.

“I was thrilled to plan my own schedules. I felt a sense of accomplishment that I could do something alone. After staying in England for about a half a year, I met a Japanese agency by chance, and that’s when I started working in Japan.”

Credit: AONE Entertainment

Kang Ji Young made her debut as an actor in Japan and gradually built up her filmography.

“Working in Japan was a new world compared to when I worked back and forth between Korea and Japan. When I jumped into their world, I felt that the culture and propensity were totally different from ours. I have put all my efforts into learning Japanese. Thanks to that, I was able to play a Japanese role as well. If KARA opened up the first act of my life, I think now, after spending time in Japan, is the second act of actor Kang Ji Young’s life.”

She also expressed her sorriness and longing for the late Goo Hara.

“I think the thing that hurts me the most is that there’s nothing I can do for her. It’s not something I can forget, so I just keep missing her.”

After recalling her times with Goo Hara, she said that she would never want to get rid of her KARA title.

“I still look up videos of our KARA days, and even now, I think it was amazing. I don’t think I can fo that again. (Watching them) I try to revive my passion and live my life to the fullest. I received an unbelievable amount of love, and I have finally found a way to express myself. It is the time that has lead me to where I am now, and it is the time that can never come back.”

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