I watched YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL many dramas ago.
But I never got to finish it. Okay, I cheated. I skipped to the ending after the first few episodes wherein I couldn’t stand Jang Geun-suk and his never blinking left (or right?) eyelid. That bothered me a lot plus the fact that I was rooting for the second lead, whose name I didn’t even know. I just had to know if the girl ended up with second lead guy. Of course she didn’t, this is dramaland where the bad guy gets the girl. That’s all I remember of the drama–JGS’ eyelid–aside from the heartbreaking ending and oh, the golden-haired boy seemed funny too.
I barely even remembered the characters’ names.
Fast forward years later and who would know that I won’t just end up knowing the name of the actor who played the second lead, but even became his and his band’s fan? What were the chances?
And what were the chances that the drama’s four leads would make it big in the business? Of course, those who picked them to form the band A.N.JELL knew that these kids were the industry’s future. They weren’t exactly kids anymore, Park Shinhye and Lee Hongki were 19, Jung Yonghwa was 20 and JGS was 22 when they did the drama.
JGS, well, I’d be candid. He’s always been the subject of practical jokes among me and my friends who can never take him seriously (I once sent them “omiyage” that turned out to be candies with JGS’ face on the package.) It became even more hilarious when he went through that pretty man phase with his long hair. And he’s gotten even more bizarre through the years. I don’t really dislike him but I don’t dig his cheek to call himself “prince of Asia” though I guess at a certain point in his career, he was one. One cannot deny his contribution to Hallyu after all. He has a solid following in China and Japan though mismanaged along the way. But he’s still around and Taekyung-hyung has even formed a unit, Team H, and I gotta say, they do produce good club music.
The golden-haired boy named Jeremy, Lee Hongki in real life, is not doing bad himself. He and his band FTISLAND are doing great in Korea and Japan, and on their backs helped establish FNC Entertainment. Hongki has one of the most powerful vocals I have heard and he’s a livewire in person. He’s also doing great as an actor both on the musical stage and on TV. I also like how Hong Star remains blunt–even recently getting into a skirmish with a group of fans on Twitter that made him decide to close his account on the platform. It’s so hard to stay real and toe the line in an image-conscious industry but he won’t be Hongki if he’s a conformist.
And that second-lead guy? Well, he’s not second lead anymore. He got the girl in their second drama together and he’s no less than the leader of one of Korea’s top rock bands (okay, I’m biased but this is my blog). Shinwoo-hyung still exudes that warm guy aura but he has grown up both in his acting and his music. The nickname Bolmae Jung he earned during YAB not only stuck but has become gospel truth. The more you watch Jung Yonghwa, the more he grows on you. He has led CNBLUE to conquer places that I suppose even Shinwoo didn’t dream of and Yonghwa the actor has progressed from second lead to leading man and now, musketeer acting alongside respected senior actors. Definitely not bad for the newbie among A.N.JELL when they started (it’s also his fifth debut anniversary). He’s on his way to the top of the world as a multi-hyphenated star: singer-band leader-composer-musician-actor. And so much more.
Meanwhile, the title roler of YAB has indeed grown up to be beautiful. If I look at Park Shinhye’s pictures as Minyu (or especially Minam), I wouldn’t have any idea that she will grow up to be this classy beauty that many would dismiss as too simple but is in fact breathtaking in its simplicity. And in a world of plastics, she stands out. I don’t really fan girls but I do admire how there’s a Minyu in Shinhye with her charity works and there’s a Minam too with how she is as a friend. For Park Shinhye, the actress, there is a lot of room for her though it won’t be easy for someone who comes from a small agency and appears to be a normal girl with a close-knit family (not to mention many friends making her the envy of, well, many haters). But South Korea’s little sister is on her way to becoming queen… at least on the big screen with her new movie.
A.N.JELL–Taekyung, Jeremy, Shinwoo and Minam/Minyu–may have just been a reel idol band but in real life, each of the members have pursued their big dreams. It’s actually heartwarming how these four people met when they were practically just getting their feet wet in the murky seas of showbusiness and despite the waves have remained friends. To them obviously, YAB was more than just a drama. It was the door that led them to so many things.
Happy fifth anniversary, A.N.JELL!
Perhaps it’s time to really sit down and watch the drama in full.
© Orange Jasmine Purple Yam (blogging since 2001). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the contents in this site without permission from the author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Orange Jasmine Purple Yam with appropriate link to the original content.