Sequestered in a plush carpeted room away from eagerly awaiting fans, Yoona sits primly as she fields questions from me and other fellow writers in the room. In person, she is more petite than expected – expectations perhaps mediated by years of watching the OG visual of K-Pop on laptop and phone screens. 2019 marks Yoona’s 13th year in the K-Pop industry, yet she seems just as fresh as her debut days. To any K-Pop fan worth their salt, Yoona – and by extension, Girl’s Generation – needs no introduction. Bursting onto the scene with Into the New World, the girl group quickly captured hearts with a heady mix of catchy hooks and energetic dances. Yoona, in particular, caught the eye of the public with her doe-like visuals, solidifying her status as an It-girl in South Korea. And so, when she paid sunny Singapore a visit with Innisfree a fortnight ago, I couldn’t help but to ask her plenty of questions about beauty, life, and how she manages stress in a cut-throat industry.
Koreans are known for their multi-step skincare routine. How many steps is your routine and what is the one step you will never skip?
I don’t actually count the steps in my routine! But cleansing and moisturising is very important to me. I always apply a hydrating serum and moisturiser after cleansing.
You constantly work long hours. How do you keep your skin looking so glowy throughout the day?
Honestly, it’s better to get plenty of rest and not tire yourself out. But when I film for long hours, I use a facial mist that leaves a glowy finish. I also use a hydrating serum like Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum to keep my skin hydrated and glowing.
What are some of the best beauty secrets you’ve learnt from your fellow Girls’ Generation members or other idols and actresses?
All the members have different skin types and preferences, so it’s not easy to follow their routines. However, most of them enjoy taking hot baths.
Are there any skincare ingredients that you are currently obsessed with?
Even before working with Innisfree, I’ve liked green tea. I used to make a mask using green tea bags. I love the Innisfree Green Tea Seed serum.
Who is the one woman you look up to in your life?
It’s hard to pick just one, and there are so many strong women. I work with a lot of senior actresses and singers so it is not easy to pick just one. Every time, I end up changing my role model. But now, I pick out parts that I respect and want to learn from, and then try to complete “me”.
What’s an important piece of advice you’d give 17-year-old Yoona?
Be confident in your life and enjoy the present.
How has makeup shaped identity as a performer? Do you use it to hide parts of yourself?
I change my makeup style to portray different concepts and image. For example, in a drama, I have to change the way my makeup is done for the character. Rather than using makeup to hide myself, I try to reveal myself through it.
How do you relax and recharge after a long day?
I love getting energy from music. While getting my makeup and hair done, or in between schedules, I listen to music. Depending on the weather, I change my music selection.
When you are not at work, how do you manage your stress levels and what is your self-care routine like?
Besides listening to music, I love going on long drives. And if those two methods don’t work, I meet up with friends to eat good food and chat a lot.
Fans love and admire the friendship between the Girls’ Generation members. What’s the secret to remaining so close after all these years?
Right now, we all have different schedules and cannot meet up as much. However, we try to keep in touch over messaging apps like KakaoTalk. And that’s why when we meet, it feels like no time has passed.
Where do you usually like to shop?
I like online shopping as I don’t have a lot of time.
You’ve been growing a lot as an actress. Do you have a challenging role you’d like to try?
Rather than having a fixed role I’d like to try, I prefer to read the script and see if the character interests me.
Photos: Innisfree/The Good Folks