Interview conducted on 1 Aug 2011 at The Spring Mall, Kuching, Sarawak, East Malaysia.
Recently Cinema Online caught up with South Korean singer-model-actress Harisu on the Kuching, Sarawak set of Bjarne Wong's upcoming horror flick "The Hunter 3D" starring Carmen Soo, Sharifah Amani, Cindy Chen, Smythe Wong, Koe Yeet, Lou Qi, Tavani Hu and Wayne Thong.
Born biologically male, Harisu (Lee Kyung-eun, originally Lee Kyung-yeop) identified with the female gender from early childhood and underwent sex reassignment surgery in the 90s. She is noted for being South Korea's first transgendered entertainer and in 2002 became only the second person in Korea to legally change their gender. Her stage name is reportedly a play on the English phrase "hot issue".
Q: This is your third time in Malaysia. How do you like it so far?
A: Every time I'm here, I get excited because I love the weather here. I've never felt this hot.
Q: What about the Malaysia food. Do you like it?
A: Actually, I travel to a lot of countries so I'm very flexible with food. I'll eat whatever I can.
Q: Tell us more about your role in "The Hunter".
A: In my previous film opportunity in Malaysia, that was when I got to know the director Bjarne Wong. So since then Bjarne and I have become very good friends. Actually before filming the movie I didn't have any idea what the movie was about. I just took the role because of my friendship with Bjarne. What I have realised about the role though is that I am one of the cast member's sister. I sort of force them to a certain place that they didn't want to go and something happens there. [Laughs] I can say till there but no more. I guess you'll have to watch the movie.
Q: This is the second time you are working on a film with Bjarne and both films are horror films. How do you feel about that and do you plan to change movie genres?
A: Actually, I don't like horror movies. In my first movie with Bjarne I was a very scary ghost but in The Hunter I'm not playing a really ugly and scary character. I want to be a horror queen but something like a vampire. I want to be a pretty ghost.
Q: How do you maintain your great figure?
A: Diet. [laughs] I don't like going to the gym. I never do. I think mostly dieting.
Q: Do you have any beauty tips for your fans?
A: I follow lots of the tips in magazines and I find good ideas from the Internet.
Q: What should a girl eat and a girl should not eat?
A: I'm very flexible with all kinds of food but I don't take inhumane things like dog or monkey brain. Normal food is good.
Q: Since you want to be a pretty vampire, would you like to be in "Twilight"?
A: Yes! God, yes!
Q: So are you Team Jacob or Team Edward?
A: They are both very different but I'd like to be a vampire. They don't age or look old.
Q: What are you doing in Korea right now?
A: Now I am working on my new album. I actually just signed a new contract with the Japanese so I will be there a lot. China, too.
Q: We read somewhere that you created your own orphanage. Is that true? Tell us more about that.
A: I'm going to be. I want to create an institution for orphans. I'm actually sponsoring lots of orphans but my new idea and project, which will be coming soon, is to establish an institute for orphans. I studied social welfare in my university days so it's been my dream to make a real contribution in that area.
Q: There are also rumours going around that you have also recently adopted...
A: No, I didn't. Not yet. I will be though but not now because I need time to look after my children. Now I am so busy. I have to go to Japan, China and Korea, so how can I look after a child if I'm so busy? I'm worried that he or she might not be taken care of properly.
Harisu on the set of "The Hunter 3D" with director Bjarne Wong [in grey]
Q: Since you are so busy, when you have time off, what do you like to do?
A: Shopping! [Laughs] But actually, I can shop anytime. Online shopping is very famous in Korea. I don't have to go out and go somewhere to get something. I can just do it online anytime so shopping is not a big issue. Perhaps I need to think about something else during my free time. I don't have much free time so I never think about free time. Ever. I don't actually want to be free [laughs]. I love the hectic life and work that I am doing at the moment. If I'm not busy, I'll be fat.
Q: Do you think it's difficult to keep your personal life private as a celebrity?
A: I didn't work in Korea for three years so now I'm a little happy. I'm working in Japan and China more so when I go back to Korea, everybody is like 'Oh maybe I might know her.' People don't recognize me as much now as they used to. People will remember me but they are busier with other celebrities. If I go to Japan and China there's a growing number of people who will recognize me. I'm getting even more famous in Japan and China than Korea.
Q: Do you think in the future you will stay in Japan or China?
A: Well, I have a contract in Japan so I will be there for half a year. But I definitely want to live in a warm place in the future. A country with no winter perhaps [laughs]
Q: What is your definition of beauty?
A: Being pretty is something you have to work on. You have to keep at it. It's not something that's given. Even I have to work on being pretty every day. Being pretty also includes being healthy physically and mentally, and also being intelligent. Pretty doesn't necessarily mean just the face. Everybody can be pretty with make up.
Q: Which celebrity do you think is hot right now?
A: I think Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are very hot right now. They are so hot.
Q: Do you think you're hot?
A: Of course. I say that because I want to maintain a very positive outlook on life. I try to be as positive as possible. I think that is my daily life motto.
Q: How is your family now?
A: So good. My husband is so lovely, so kind and so handsome.
Q: Since you are constantly travelling, how do you keep maintain your marriage?
A: Kakao Talk. It's an app that's like Facebook. We keep in touch through Internet chatting. I try to talk to him as much as possible and whenever I am free on my business trips. Every day and every hour.
Q: Thanks for your time, Harisu. All the best!
Cinema Online, 05 August 2011