Dohee Talks about “Reply 1994,” Plans for the Future, and Yeosu in Lunar New Year Interview

Tiny-G’s Dohee shot through stardom through last year’s tvN drama “Reply 1994,” in which she played a foul-mouthed, Seo Taiji ultra-fangirl and girlfriend to Sam Cheon Po (Kim Sung Kyun), Jo Yoon Jin. Dohee moved to Seoul from her hometown of Yeosu four years ago, and is the lead vocalist for girl group Tiny-G. The group debuted in 2012.

Born in 1994, the year that “Reply 1994” was set in, Dohee auditioned at GNG Production and moved to Seoul at 18 to become a trainee. She was a social outcast at school not just because she came from the provinces, but also because as a trainee, she kept leaving school early after morning classes.

Dohee expressed that there are times when she is unable to believe the popularity boost that “Reply 1994” has given her, and while she feels elated, she also feels a sense of responsibility to do better.. “In future I have to show an appearance that is different from Yoon Jin of ‘Reply 1994.’”

She also revealed that while Yoon Jin may be perfectly comfortable with swearing, the real Dohee feels uncomfortable, especially since she is asked to do it on every variety show she appears on. She says tiring for her, since she was doing it only because the script required her to. When she’s on variety shows, she’s Dohee but she’s also Yoon Jin, “they ask me to swear starting from my greetings to them, so it’s embarrassing.” (For reference, check out her Running Man episode on January 26 alongside Yeo Jin Gu and Im Shi Wan. Dohee swore at Kim Jong Kook, trademark Yoon Jin-style, when asked to do so and he was slightly taken aback.)

“Reply 1994” was Dohee’s debut into the acting world, and she felt burdened and worried by her lack of experience. She said that she learned a lot in the course of filming and “not just the actors, but also the director, camera and lighting directors were all her acting teachers.”

Yoon Jin was a huge fan of Seo Taiji in “Reply 1994,” and Dohee confessed that while she had heard of Seo Taiji, she didn’t really know the extent of his popularity at the time. So she looked up references, one of which led to Dohee having a tea session and chit chat with a big Seo Taiji fan. Dohee says that fans could identify with Yoon Jin, that “it led to them thinking about when they were young.” This became her source of strength. “It was an era that I didn’t really know much about so it was tough, but thanks to all the support, I was able to find the strength.”

Sam Cheon Po was an “early 1977-er” in the drama, while Yoon Jin was born in 1975. In reality, Kim Sung Kyun is 14 years older than Dohee. She says that Kim Sung Kyun helped her out a lot and taught her if there was anything she was confused about. He helped to ease her nervousness with funny gags and jokes, even during rehearsals.

The scene that is most memorable to Dohee is the “terminal scene,” probably one of the major turning points in the relationship between Yoon Jin and Sam Cheon Po, who were previously always bickering. Dohee had gone to a sauna with Na Jung and was uncontactable by her hearing-impaired mother, who had arrived in Seoul earlier than scheduled. It was Sam Cheon Po who ended up accompanying her mother, abandoning a long-awaited cycling trip.

“I prepared a lot for the scene, but ended up making a lot of NGs. It could be the most difficult scene of all. Sign language was hard, but it was the first scene in which I had to display my emotions and the first time I did a crying scene. The actual filming took a long time. There were many things I had to care about, so I think I was not able to show my sincerity. When I got confused, the director told us to take a break and we managed to shoot it after.”

Dohee talked about the “thrill of her first kiss.” She said that while it wasn’t just her first kiss during “Reply 1994,” but also her first kiss ever.

They filmed aboard a fishing boat, and the first thing that comes to Dohee’s mind is seasickness. “I threw up during filming because of seasickness. We went out to sea two hours before the sunrise to film that scene. I am also young and haven’t had much relationship experience. The irony is that my first kiss was the kiss scene filmed the day after my 20th birthday. I was really nervous and in a slight daze and wanted to get the shoot over with. Recently, I was surprised to find out that the PD told Sung Gyun oppa that he would be dead if he used any tongue during the kiss.”

Dohee has filmed 6 CFs, thanks to the popularity boost brought about by “Reply 1994.” I thought, “If not now, when will I ever get the chance to do this? So I worked hard to shoot the CFs.”

She has become interested in acting, and is currently working on her standard Korean. She doesn’t want to continue doing only roles that require satoori (dialect). So she’s been practicing at interviews, and trying not to use satoori in real life. She says she pays more attention now to listening to Seoul Korean (standard Korean) than before, including dramas which she watches in her spare time. “Lately I’ve fallen from SBS drama ‘Man from the Stars.’”

“It’s a different way of studying acting. Now I watch dramas not only as a viewer, but as an actress.” She says that in future, she’d like to try a tragic role or take on the role of the antagonist, and maybe one day, another female character with the same type of charisma as Yoon Jin. Dohee only has one drama on her resume, but she finds it interesting, because “through acting, I get to live different lives.”

However, while Dohee’s long term plans may include acting, her main focus for the coming year is her group, Tiny-G. She talked about her ambitious plans for 2014.

“Tiny-G is coming back soon, and I hope we can go up on the music charts. It would be nice if people got many opportunities to get to know Tiny-G. For myself, I would like to try acting in a different role.”

Dohee says that she would like to overcome her fear of variety shows. Despite multiple variety show appearances post-“Reply 1994,” she still finds them scary. One thing she wants to try is to become a fixed guest on a radio show.

Since she’s from Yeosu, she also really wants to become its publicity ambassador. She said that if she wasn’t busy during the Lunar New Year, she’d like to go down to Yeosu once, not just because it’s her hometown, but because she really wants to see the sea. Also, “I really love grilled oysters, and it is oyster season now. When I go to Yeosu, I definitely must eat that.”