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[Herald Interview] Pleasantly surprised

Idol-turned-actor Suzy taken aback by global popularity of 'Doona!'

Oct. 30, 2023 - 15:41 By Lee Si-jin
Suzy (Netflix)

Having recently made her Netflix debut in nine-part romance series “Doona!” singer and actor Suzy shared how she was blown away upon learning that the show ranked No. 6 globally among the streaming service’s TV shows.

Suzy had not anticipated such global interest, feeling the show was largely based on Korean culture and so would be familiar mostly to Koreans.

“I personally thought that Korean viewers would be the only ones who could easily empathize with most of the scenes in ‘Doona!’ like how the public views K-pop idols and how young Korean couples share their feelings for each other. I was surprised that our stories were well-received by overseas viewers as well,” Suzy said in an interview in Jung-gu, central Seoul, on Thursday.

“Though Netflix’s report said our show was ranked sixth in the global top 10 chart, I don’t really feel the global popularity,” she said. “Everything seems unreal.”

Adapted from Min Song-a’s 2019 romance webtoon “The Girl Downstairs,” “Doona!” revolves around the love story of young college student Won-jun (Yang Se-jong), who happens to live upstairs from former K-pop superstar Doona (Suzy).

As a K-pop idol herself who debuted in top girl group Miss A in 2010, having the chance to portray Doona was a special experience for Suzy.

The 29-year-old singer and actor found many overlapping memories between Doona’s career and her own experiences.

Suzy plays former K-pop superstar Doona in "Doona!" (Netflix)

“Doona seemed to present herself as a strong, independent individual with her overly confident gestures. I was certainly able to relate to her. I didn’t reveal my true feelings to many people either. I think I even deceived myself, pretending that the difficulties that I had were nothing special,” the actor said, adding that she was grateful for the chance to look back on herself while playing Doona.

Asked if she had someone to hit over the head with a wine bottle like Doona in the TV series, Suzy joked she has lost count.

The actor shared a personal memory from her time in Miss A with The Korea Herald.

“Many years ago, I was asked by a reporter whether I liked being a K-pop idol or an actor. I said I loved being a singer, but the reporter did not like my answer and told me that it was not worth writing about,” Suzy told The Korea Herald, explaining that this incident had suddenly come to mind during the interview.

She did not necessarily want to smash the reporter’s head, but the interview was a sour experience that helped her empathize with Doona even more.

Reflecting on her own 14-year career, Suzy still feels like she is struggling. But, she has learned how to deal with such pressure and separate work from her personal life.

“I think I wanted to satisfy everyone when I was young, and I did not have a life outside of work. But, I have learned a way to spend quality time for myself,” she said.

"It gave me more energy and motivation to give my best at work."