The girl group T-ara has recently gotten into hot water following the alleged 'bullying' scandal, where evidence was presented from both sides, and the departure of Hwayoung.
During the filming of her drama, 'Haeundae Lovers', the Chosun Ilbo caught up with member Soyeon to talk about her current issues in life. They met at the agency office located in Seoul. Currently busy filming in her new role as 'Gwan Soon', she is now afraid of going out in public. "When it comes time to eat during filming, I'm afraid of the way people look at me so I can't go into the restaurant."
Q: You're filming your drama in the middle of a huge controversy.
A: If I hadn't taken part in 'Haeundae Lovers', it would have been much harder. The directors (Song Hyun Wook, Park Jin Wook) always encouraged me, and that was a relief. My 'father' in the drama, Lee Jae Yong sunbaenim, as well as others also told me to be strong.
Q: Your role requires a strong Busan accent, it must be very challenging.
A: It's like a foreign language. I like the Busan accent so I tried copying it, but it's definitely different to do it as an actress.
Q: Have you ever seen yourself on the screen acting?
A: (shakes head) I am working very hard on acting, but the situation being as it is I'm afraid of turning on the television or going on the Internet. I should watch my acting and try to perform better, but I can't handle it yet.
Q: Let's get straight to the point. Was there a 'bully'?
A: I also saw the 'evidence' the netizens uploaded online. I did think that if that was all they saw, the 'bullying' point of view could have made sense. It is true that there were negative feelings towards Hwayoung during our Tokyo concert. When Hwayoung claimed she couldn't perform because of her leg, and when she was at the beauty shop by herself when we were practicing, there was a fight between the members. Following the performance, we told the President to handle this for us. Starting from that point, many things happened and we didn't know that it would lead to Hwayoung's departure.
Q: Are you saying that the members did not want Hwayoung to leave the group?
A: Not at all. We all learned about this through the articles. We were angry at our company. All we said was there was a point of conflict, so we asked them to find a solution. If Hwayoung leaves like this, the blame goes to all of us. But our President told us, "let's do it like this for Hwayoung's sake". We felt very torn.
Q: The other members never left out Hwayoung? Is it true that there were rifts in your relationships?
A: There are 7-8 teenage girls in their 'teens and twenties, all staying together. Everyone want to be famous and become recognized, so it's impossible to have no conflicts at all. Every day, members fight and apologize, stay together and separate. It was a similar situation with Hwayoung. If you're asking if we had bad relationships because of that, then everyone in our group has bad relationships.
Q: This is your first interview after the scandal.
A: I was very afraid and scared. But the other members will soon go into sitcom filming as well and will need to take questions from the media. I figured since it has to happen someday, I might as well be the first.
UPDATE [8:27 EST]
Check out the full video transcript below [no subtitles]: