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Actress Hwang Jeong-eum solidifies reign with 'Pretty Woman'

All Headlines 18:00 November 12, 2015

By Park Sojung

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- Less than a year after her lead role in the romantic drama "Kill Me, Heal Me" placed her on the virtual shortlist for MBC's best actress of the year, Hwang Jeong-eum is at it again.

The 30-year-old former girl group singer solidified her candidacy for the network's drama awards next month with "Pretty Woman," a romantic comedy that just ended its 15-episode run.

In "Pretty Woman," Hwang portrays Kim Hye-jin, an unsightly fashion magazine intern who finds herself working for her used-to-be-ugly childhood crush, Ji Seong-jun. A lot has changed since they saw each other last, with Kim having lost her prepubescent charm while Ji has shed some serious pounds to become the man of the hour at her workplace.

Though the show got off to a weak start with a viewing rate of just 5 percent, "Pretty Woman" took no time taking Wednesday and Thursday primetime by storm, peaking at 17.3 percent at one point.

Hwang attributed the feat to script writer Jo Sung-hee, who she described as being "so good that it's scary."

"Jo showed me what Kim Hye-jin is supposed to be like and I'd say he is better at acting than most actors," she told reporters at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. "I tried to mimic him as much as possible.... There wasn't much for me to do other than follow his script. I can't wait to work with him again."

Although she hadn't slept for more than an hour everyday for the past two months, Hwang said she is sad the show has come to an end.

"I was not in my normal state of mind and I wanted the show to end as quickly as possible," she said. "But after seeing the final episode, I don't want to part with Kim Hye-jin. I don't know when I'll be able to work on such a good show again."

Hwang remained humble when asked about the prospect of being named MBC's best actress of the year.

"I'm thankful that I'm even being considered," she said. "It would be amazing to win best actress, but I don't expect to. My goal is to win it before I turn 35."


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