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'I developed a fear of being on camera': Lovely Runner's Byeon Woo-seok recalls tough times earlier in career

'I developed a fear of being on camera': Lovely Runner's Byeon Woo-seok recalls tough times earlier in career
South Korean actor Byeon Woo-seok on You Quiz on the Block.
PHOTO: Instagram/You Quiz on the Block

He's popular now but it hasn't come easily.

On yesterday's (May 22) episode of You Quiz on the Block hosted by comedian Yoo Jae-suk and Jo Se-ho, South Korean actor Byeon Woo-seok talked about the struggles he faced earlier in his acting career.

The 32-year-old stars as singer-actor Ryu Sun-jae in the ongoing time-slip K-drama, Lovely Runner, which has seen its viewership ratings soar.

"I used to model so I loved being on camera but as I was constantly facing criticism as an actor, I developed a fear of being on camera," Woo-seok told the hosts, adding that he received remarks that felt like knives were being thrown at him, though not all ill-intended.

"Some said, 'I don't think you'll make it in four to five years.' Ironically, things started to work out after that timespan… Instead of not doing anything, I immersed myself in the acting field and took on any role, no matter how small, and I think that's how I overcame my camera anxiety."


Speaking to producers behind the camera during a segment of the show, Woo-seok recalled a time when he was removed from a project after a script reading: "I went to the salon to get my hair done to fit the role, and then I got a call saying, 'I'm sorry, we don't think we can work with you this time.'

"There was a group chat for the cast and I had to leave it after hearing that I was removed from the project. It felt like a blow. My pride was hurt and I wondered 'Am I not good enough?'"

However, he added that those setbacks made him want to do better and work harder.

Woo-seok landed his first acting role in the 2016 series Dear My Friends and continued to take on supporting and minor roles before having his breakthrough as one of the main cast members in Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency (2019).

He gained further attention after playing the main lead in the 2020 film 20th Century Girl.

More recently, he took on a villainous character in Strong Girl Nam-soon (2023). Lovely Runner, which aired its first episode on April 8, marks his first time as the leading man in a TV drama.

'I'm surprised and grateful'


It seems Woo-seok is still coming to terms with his fame, as he told Jae-suk and Se-ho that he was surprised to be invited onto the show.

"I've been working hard for eight or nine years now, and I'm surprised and grateful to receive this much love," he said.

He also revealed that the drama's success has led him to receiving 10 to 20 times more script offers than he used to before.

Jae-suk, who was taken aback, remarked: "It happened in just one month."

Woo-seok, who also recently appeared on Running Man - a variety show Jae-suk is in - responded humorously: "I saw you twice in one week. This doesn't make sense either."

You Quiz on the Block and Lovely Runner, which will wrap up with its final episodes next Tuesday and Wednesday, are available on Viu.


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