[14.03.04] T-ara Jeon Boram, one step forward as a musical actress
Popular girl group, T-ARA’s, member Jeon Boram. Seeing how she’s not the main vocal, it’s true that her presence doesn’t stand out next to the other members. She rather received attention for being Jeon YoungRok and Lee Miyoung’s daughter. However, she’s now engraving her presence as she’s gaining recognition as a musical actress taking the rule of the heroine in the Musical ‘The Lost Garden’.
wearing a boxy man-to-man t-shirt with jeans and sneakers and having a short hair cut, Jeon boram showed a childish enough look for you to not believe she’s twenty-nine years old. We knew well she had a baby face, but seeing it directly with our eyes, it’s not just a baby face but it was to the point where you would forget and mistake her for being a middle school student.. Since we always see her with the six members, it was awkward how she’s receiving the spotlight alone like this. We worried a bit about how can such a girly person be able to survive in the extremely fierce idol world.
Jeon Boram said that after a T-ara concert in Cambodia, without being able to rest, she took a flight back and returned to The Lost Garden musical theatre, Yongin Peun Art Hall. Naturally, her condition wasn’t good. She said she couldn’t eat anything as she worried anything she eats in her state of tension might upset her stomach, there were lots of worries for her.
An idol’s busy schedule that we only ever hear about, witnessing it directly made our hearts bitter. We thought that this interview, that took the time she might have been able to rest in even if a little bit, wasn’t any good for her either. However, as the interview started and we began to talk about the musical her eyes started to sparkle. Her voice that sounded tired got better too. The staff that came in and out of the practice room, how she happily greeted them first, one by one, was remarkable. It felt as if she overcomes her hard schedule with the passion and love she has for musicals. As time passed by, and we switched to talking about the interview’s main topic about the worries she lived with as a member of a girl group that had lots of up and downs and about being the eldest daughter of parents whom divorced when she was a child, she was no longer the shy and young girl, but she returned as the mature adult in her almost-30s age.
You’re expanding your field area as a musical actress. We believe that the The Lost Garden is your second musical.
"I really really like you" that I did with my father in 2010 was my first time. But it was very different then so now it feels as if I’m trying it for the first time. Back then, I was confident and comfortable since I was doing it with my dad, but for ‘The Lost Garden’, I was more nervous since I’m going on stage alone and since more than anything, it’s a sung-through performance. A sung-through is a musical that is composed of only singing and dancing without any dialogue, but having to express everything with only singing and moving excluding any dialogue that we can complement the acting part with was hard and fascinating. However, thanks to that I gained a new experiment and I was able to learn how to sing and control my emotions and so on.
We heard that the reactions on the day you performed with singer Kim Tae Woo were really good
I think it’s because Kim Tae Woo sunbae did well. If people enjoyed the performance I appeared in I think it wouldn’t be because I’m good at singing or because I’m excellent at acting, but because I match well with my character. the role ‘Mercy’ that I play is a girl with a good spirit but since her physique is small, I heard a lot that I match naturally with Kim Tae Woo sunbae who’s playing the Giant role. in the scene where I sit on the tree and Kim Tae Woo sunbae lifts me up and puts me down in a flash, he lifted me up so easily, they say that it was so unreal like a giant and a little girl (laughs).
You’re not the main vocal in your group but you were chosen as the heroine for a masterpiece musical
I am really thankful. They said they casted me because I match well with the character rather than for my singing skills. They needed a small kid but it just happened that I have a lot of similarities with that kid (laughs). Although I am the heroine, there aren’t that much scenes in which I appear in. Wondrous Dreams, The Lost Garden, etc, I sing 3 solo songs, but I joined late and wasn’t able to practice a lot due to the many overseas concerts, it was upsetting and unfortunate.
For that reason, there would have been lots of burden, what kind of efforts did you put in
I said I’ll practice my singing a lot in that short period of time, my skills just don’t improve. my acting was the same as well. Even with my tight schedule, I practiced singing whenever I had time. Trying to do better and rather than to be greedy, I thought a lot about the character ‘Mercy’. Actually, I still don’t know what kind of a kid is Mercy. It’s an important role that opens up the bad-tempered giant’s heart but even in the original work, they didn’t clearly explain whether she was a girl, a fairy, or a godly creature. That’s why expressing (her) was hard and I was only able to worry a lot.
How was working with Kim Tae Woo, who’s originally a fellow idol
I was a huge fan of GOD ever since I was young, so going on stage with Kim Tae Woo Sunbae was only like a dream. We performed together for a month, but rather than being in an equal position as the hero and heroine, he was still a celebrity and a star to me. I even got his autograph a few days ago (laughs). Kim Tae Woo sunbae is the type to rather than giving advice in a formal way, he’d teach me and take care of me as if I was his magnae/dongsaeng, naturally and without any burden. As a singer and as an actress, I was able to learn lots of things (form him) that can help me in the future.
You had your musical debut with your dad, but what did your dad tell you this time
At coincidence, my mom, dad, T-ara members all came at the same day so I was so nervous. But unexpectedly, my dad complimented me so I was surprised. He told me “I wish you can do more of these musicals”. “only if you have a little more confidence,” He advised me. Actually, that was the part I worried about the most while doing the musical. As I do group activities, singing alone is still awkward and scary. Everyone stands head and shoulders above me but I was afraid I would get in the way and I couldn’t help but feel small. As a father, I think it broke his heart to see me crouching. The director was like that as well, and the people I work with, they told me “we are believing in your potential and trusting you in this so just do it your way”, those words gave me lots of strength.
What did your mother, Lee Mi Young-ssi, say
My mom always fully believed in me ever since I debuted. She was so pleased watching this musical. Rather than my singing skills or the importance of my role, I think she liked the fact that I’m participating in a nice work that is flashy and has lots of visuals.
The oldest daughter at home, and the oldest unnie in your group. I have a small built and look young and also there are lots of people who see me as an immature kid with an introvert personality but the truth is that I’m a grown-up kid. My mom says that a lot too. That I matured too early.
Family is my strength
As Jeon Boram is known for, she’s is a 3rd generation entertainer. Her grandfather is movie actor Hwanghae, her grandmother is singer Baek Sulhee, her father is the original creator of oppa budae* in the 1980s Jeon Yong Rok, while her mother is actress Lee Miyoung. When her parents divorced when she was in 4th grade in elementary school she lived with her father at first for few years, after that she moved to her mom’s house and until now, she lives with her mom. Jeon Boram, who said she has a friends-like relationship with her mom, said in an interview few years ago ”My mother is my support. However, I wish there was someone who can be like a support to my mother as well. the part of being able to fill the place of children and the part of someone being able to fill the place next to her, aren’t they far apart” while she expressed her hope of her mother remarrying.
*T/N: Oppa budae is what the group of fangirls stanning oppas are called, it means “oppa troopers”.
I look young on the outside, but I think I’m deep in the inside.
The oldest daughter at home, and the oldest unnie in your group. I have a small built and look young and also there are lots of people who see me as an immature kid with an introvert personality but the truth is that I’m a grown-up kid. My mom says that a lot too. That I matured too early. I now do not live in a dormitory but in our house, there are lots of times when I spend the whole night drinking wine or beer with my mom while talking with each other. Instead of saying it’s a mother-daughter relationship, it’s rather a friends-like relationship with my mom. We relay on each other to the point where we can’t live without each other. Of course even with that being said, we still fight too but there are lots of time when I open up to my mother when being an entertainer is hard and when I receive lots of stress. It doesn’t work even when I try to be more sensitive, I apologize.
You must get upset when you hear that you benefited a lot from your parents.
That’s not right. Because actually, it’s true that I was able to debut thanks to my parents. I feel reassured and thankful that I have my mom, dad, and sister. In fact, even now there are lots of times when I have it hard but it is thanks to my family that I couldn’t give up. When I see my mother and father being proud I I feel like I really did well and would not give up. Because I’d think that what is there that is able to make my parents happy if not for this. I gain lots of strength by just staying with my parents.
It seems that genes do not deceive. Your sister, as well, made her debut as a singer.
She debuted as a member of a hip-hop group called D-Unit in 2012. Actually, I didn’t know that I’d be able to debut before my sister. Given that I have an introvert personality, I hated being on the spotlight and liked drawing more than singing. My dream was originally a kindergarten teacher. Even when I debuted in the entertainment industry, I tried to start as an actress rather than a singer, but by chance, I met with our now rep. and ended up joining as a T-ara member. On the other hand, my sister was good at singing and had lots of talents so I thought she’d debut as a singer. Since our age gap is only one year, we have lots that we agree on with each other.
What kind of father is Jeon Yong Rok-ssi
in contrast with my mother who whole-heartedly supported me since the start, my father said that his heart suddenly stuffed up when we debuted as singers. Because he knew how tough that path is, he couldn’t just be happy about it. When we started it for the first time, “You take care of it” was the only thing he told us. Even now, instead of giving us deep advice and taking care of us, her encourages us and watches over us in his heart. However, it seems that he’s getting old lately. few years ago, suffering from colon cancer and rectal cancer, his heart has gotten weaker, he’d say “I’m a grandfather now”, he depreciates himself a lot but it hurts my heart whenever that happens.
Living as a female idol
Jeon Boram who debuted in a CF in 2008, while preparing for her acting debut she joined as a T-ara member in 2009 and got really popular. Next year, 5 years of her debut as a singer, she’ll turn 30 years old. She’s the oldest unnie in her group, and even among girl groups she’s one of the oldest. For that reason, teenagers are increasing and many idols are coming out in one year, she can only worry a lot about disappearing from the entertainment industry.
30 years old by next year. It seems that you’ll have lots of worries as an idol star with ups and downs
Throughout all that time, I only looked ahead of me and ran so I didn’t have the time to worry. It’s only lately that I started to have lots of such thoughts. I didn’t decide on until how old will I have to be an idol but since there aren’t at all any cases in which one continued to do it after being over 30 years old. Even not necessarily as idols, the members all act and have lots of talents so I see each of them finding her path. I wondered if it wouldn’t be the same for me as well.
Until when do you want to do T-ara activities
We went through the good and the bad together throughout the past 5 years, our teamwork now is better than ever. We did talk between the members about whether we will be able to last for 2~3 more years in the future. Although we can’t last together forever, if we get the chance we might be able to do activities together as we do individual activities. If possible, we hope to work together for a long time. They say that after a storm comes a calm, as we went through tough things together we came to know things that we didn’t know about each other and came to understand each other more. When I was doing this musical too, the members came and watched it. I thought it was a great embarrassment and a burden but actually, it really gave me lots of strength.
What kind of role do you have in the team
I think from what I appear as from the outside, I look like an old unnie but has to be taken care of as a dongsaeng. However, when I do the role of the unnie I do it for real. For the most part, being the type that listens a lot, I give lots of advice to the members when they’re having a hard time and let them rely on me. Now we are really like a family.
If you were to tell us your future activities plan
While faithfully doing activities as a T-ara members, if given the chance, whether it’s a musical like now or acting, whatever it is I want to work hard. This time while doing ‘The Lost Garden’, if it is a nice work, I desparately want to participate in it even if as a tree with no lines. Without being greedy, I want to calmly and orderly find what I am able of and put my efforts in it.
Translated by: t-ara.co