Star known for brashness takes on a softer characterShe was the lucky girl who regularly appeared on popular matchmaking shows for young celebrities screened on weekend nights. But her luck seems to have ended there.
Instead of giving the expected dimpled smile while batting her eyelashes like the rest of the female entertainers on the star panel, Jang Young-ran blurted out nervous lines that seem guaranteed to stop male participants from asking her out. By the end of each show, everyone ended up with a date except her and a few other “habitual losers.”
Of course, it was all part of the show. But her offbeat character made popular such catchphrases as “you are so unlikable” or “the no-response girl” ― both said about Jang when the men failed to respond to her coquettish glances.
“I actually like the way I appeared on those television shows,” Jang, 27, said in a recent interview. “Although I am not at all like the girl on those reality shows, it is fun being another me.”
On the show, she often found her own rude jokes funnier than anyone else did. She was so straightforward she would sometimes make ugly remarks on-air about other female celebrities. As a result, she was one of the few “pretty” stars with quite a number of “anti-fans.”
“But I am not [bold] like that in front of a man I really like offstage,” she said.
Although her “unlikable” screen persona contributed to her stardom, she said she is thinking it might be time to change that image.
Since Jang’s television debut in 2003, she has been a brassy video jockey, a smart-aleck entertainment correspondent and an obtrusive participant on reality shows.
“The next character I am going to play is a girl who actually gets sincere attention and is loved,” she said, beaming.
Jang has been cast in an upcoming comedy musical, “The Scissors Family.” It will be her stage debut as a singer and dancer.
She will play the role of an amateur hair designer named Sharon Lee, who is unsuccessful in 25 job interviews.
Although the character is still far from perfect, Jang described her as “lovable and cute,” characteristics she has never played on television before.
“I was invited to talk at a comedy program once and the scriptwriter for the musical saw me and said she thought I was the one to play Sharon,” she said. “Otherwise, I would have never imagined myself on the musical stage so soon.”
Jang seems unfazed as to whether she has the necessary singing ability for the role.
“I am amazed at how musical actors can sing right away as soon as they get the musical scores,” she said, adding she is having much fun learning the new theatrical genre. “I am so involved in memorizing my lines, the dance steps and the lyrics to the songs.”
“What scares me is the stupid worry I have of making a huge mistake on stage,” she said. “In broadcasting, we can stop if I make a mistake, I get yelled at, then continue with the filming. But on the musical stage, even one person can mess up the whole show. I will have to be really good.”
For an entertainer who made her name playing confident characters, Jang is shy about saying what really worries her.
“I was at an audition a long time ago, before I made my debut,” she said. “I slipped and fell onstage in front of everyone. I was so embarrassed, I ran off.”
“I want to do well this time,” she said. “Really well.”
by Lee Min-a