SMILING ALL THE WAY. K-drama superstar Ji Chang-wook showcases the finer points of his dashing style with a helping hand from Dunhill London’s suave designs
Beige checked jacket; cotton checked shirt; olive wool checked trousers; polka dot tie; geometric cotton pocket square; suede and leather driver shoes with tassels details.
All by Dunhill London.
One of these days, we might just see a movie, or at least a TV series, based on the life and career of Korean drama star Ji Chang-wook.
Surely, it would be just as captivating and profound as any of the fictional roles he’s played. Well, maybe not as exciting as his portrayal of legendary swordsman and folk hero Baek Dong-soo in the critically acclaimed “Warrior Baek Dong-soo,” but definitely more than on par with his fictional adventures in popular dramas like “Smile again,” “Empress Ki” and the immensely popular “Healer.”
Before landing a minor role in the 2006 movie “Days…” Ji Chang-wook was a struggling stage actor. Then came his “proper” acting debut in 2008’s “Sleeping Beauty” and his launch into stardom with hit family drama “My Too Perfect Sons” a year later. While fortune certainly smiled on him all the way, he never shirked from taking on actual challenges, such as when he underwent rigorous ice-skating training for his first starring role in “Smile again.” And apparently, he’s never really left musical theater behind, as evident in his appearance in “The Days”—basically South Korea’s “Mamma Mia” but based on the songs of the late great rock singer Kim Kwang-seok.
This year, the young actor will star in the joint Chinese-South Korean production “My Male God” (aka “Mr. Right”), probably report for mandatory military service (as is expected from every able-bodied male in the country) and maybe pop up in even more fashion events. Yes, like many of his peers, Ji Chang-wook has become a bit of a fashion connoisseur and icon—as you can see in these very pages. And, of course, there’s plenty more to tell about this K-drama superstar, as you can find below from the man himself.
DA MAN: What was it prompted you to start working in the entertainment business?
Ji Chang-wook: When I was in high school, I thought that actors look good and interesting. So, I dreamed about becoming one. I was quite bold at the time, so, naturally, I chose theater and film as my major in university and also worked on short films at school. Fortunately, I landed a role in an independent film and that led to bigger entertainment companies asking me to join. That was how I started my career.
DA MAN: How did working in musical theater aid in your acting career?
Ji Chang-wook: I think that playing on stage gives you a lot of experience and energy as an actor. Being used to think deeply and analyze a role for months surely helps in acting.
DA MAN: What were the biggest challenges you faced?
Ji Chang-wook: Frankly speaking, every drama and musical had presented big challenges and difficulties. But each time, many of my colleagues would help out and encourage me, and I really appreciate that.
DA MAN: What would you say was your biggest weakness at first and what did you learn from it?
Ji Chang-wook: I always make mistakes. I don’t know if it’s actually a big deal or not, but when I was young I had a phobia of cameras and being on stage. A lot of mistakes happened, but I can say that if I hadn’t made any mistakes, I might be a lot more depressed than and not as developed as I am now.
DA MAN: Who do you look up to in the entertainment industry?
Ji Chang-wook: I respect my older colleagues. I don’t think I can single out one person, but I just always feel that the senior actors in the dramas I play in are amazing. So, I want to be like them and keep on playing until I’m old.
DA MAN: Is there a particular role or character you played that you’re particularly fond of?
Ji Chang-wook: Hmmm. I really like Seo Junghoo from “Healer” and Ta Hwan from “Empress Ki.” The common thread between the two roles is that they are very lonely.
Navy jacket; cotton camel checked shirt; navy silk trousers; navy large silk bow tie; yellow cotton socks; suede and leather gray driver shoes with tassels details; Boston canvas bag.
All by Dunhill London.
DA MAN: What inspires you when you’re acting?
Ji Chang-wook: I get inspired by tiny and big moments alike. All things that happen around me can be a source of inspiration.
DA MAN: Tell us a bit about your personal style. How do you usually dress when you’re not at a photo shoot or filming?
Ji Chang-wook: I don’t follow any particular style; I just dress appropriately for the occasion. When I’m not doing a photo shoot or when I’m not shooting a film, I dress very casually. Comfort is very important for me. [Laughs]
DA MAN: Take us through your typical day. Is it always busy and hectic or do you still have free time to pace yourself?
Ji Chang-wook: Actually, I have no free time these days. But when I can spare a moment, I meet up with my friends, sleep or drink beer.
DA MAN: If you had just one piece of advice for an up-and-comer starting out, what would it be?
Ji Chang-wook: Hang tough until you reach your final goal. Fighting!
DA MAN: What’s next for you? What are your goals for the future?
Ji Chang-wook: My goal as an actor is to keep on playing well. I hope that I can keep on enjoying my work, surely while surrounded by good people.
DA MAN: Do you think that it’s time for South Korean performers to shine in the international showbiz arena like Hollywood?
Ji Chang-wook: I think that the market for films is really expanding these days; so, if the opportunity arises, I would freely take it.
DA MAN: Finally, what do you do to get away from it all?
Ji Chang-wook: When I’m free from work, I just look for things I want to do at the moment. When I need time to rest, then I rest; and when I feel like I need to learn something new, I learn. Very simple, no?
Burgundy, navy blue and gray striped cotton sweater, cotton checked shirt, beige cotton checked shorts, checked cashmere scarf, burgundy cotton socks, navy crocodile driver shoes with tassels details.
All by Dunhill London
Photography Rama Lee
Styling Sangeun Jee
Art Direction Bom Lee
Grooming Miyoung Jeong
Makeup Suyoung Sim