I had no idea Kim So Yeon was in a variety show called ‘Real Men – Female Soldiers’! *smacks head for not being a proper fan* I don’t really follow variety shows though, but ‘Real Men’ is a show about male actors living the army life for an extended period of time on the show. Some have already gone to the army, and some haven’t. But all can agree that living the army life is really hard. Now that show has branched out to women, who are largely unseen and not as known about if you only follow entertainment news.
In Korea, females are not drafted into the army to serve like the men are. That’s why there’s more hullabaloo when your favorite male actor goes to the army – you won’t see him for almost two years. Female actresses on the other hand never disappear, unless they get married and decide to stop acting, have children and take a form of maternity leave, or take some other sort of break. However that doesn’t mean that women are not in the army. Most who are volunteer and enroll as officers as they want an actual career out of it. It’s not seen as an obligation to them like the conscription is for men. The women still undergo similar rigorous training, although theirs is considered much easier compared to the men’s.
So it’s interesting that now this variety show has shed a light on the women of the army protecting South Korea. The stars who joined include Kim So Yeon, actress Hong Eun Hee (The King’s Dream), comedian Maeng Seung Ji, Hye Ri from Girl’s Day, actress Ra Mi Ran (Witch’s Romance), singer G.Na, and athlete Park Seung Hee. The show started just a couple of weeks ago and began with a startling shake-up of the women’s real height and weight stats compared to their public profile. (Everyone was heavier and shorter than they stated they were.) It’s not that big of a deal, but image is everything for most of these women.
Then they began the training, and it’s pretty clear that it takes a toll on all of them. What’s interesting is that Kim So Yeon has the persona of being a strong badass thanks to roles in IRIS, Athena, and IRIS 2. However she’s actually failing a lot of her physical tests! Of course what happens in dramas is just acting, but it’s still surprising because Kim So Yeon looks like she could be a little stronger than she looks. She is very skinny and could use some more meat on her bones, but I thought her petite frame belied a very strong woman.
Of course, the athlete Park Seung Hee is doing remarkably well under the military conditions.
It’s a bit eye-opening to see Kim So Yeon struggle. I guess in my head I was just used to this image of her, and I forgot the “real person.” I forgot that she may not be the same badass I see on screen. I kept thinking that no matter how cute or sweet she can act in Prosecutor Princess or I Need Romance 3, she could also kick butt. That duality doesn’t seem to be the case in real life, and it’s a good reminder that everything I see on my TV isn’t necessarily true. It’s acting.
The show airs every Sunday night on MBC.