Chapter 280

The makeup artist’s hands were busy. She used dark-toned foundation to make the skin under the eyes darker and covered the chin up with a tone lighter than the skin to create a feeble-looking figure.

Joohyun turned her head around a little to look at the mirror.

“Here, I think you need to emphasize the wrinkles a little more.”

“You mean the nasolabial folds, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Unni, aren’t you going too far with the makeup? You’ll look old in the camera.”

“I’m doing an old role, so I should look like one.”

“I guess so, but isn’t it funny? She’s not even ten years younger than you, but you and she are mother and daughter. They should’ve just cast a younger actress.”

Joohyun ignored the makeup artist’s grumble and continued to check up on the makeup. It didn’t matter how old Suyeon, who was Joohyun’s daughter in the movie, was. The director chose Suyeon. That was enough. Also, the range of action that Suyeon could show in the movie wasn’t that narrow. She had the role of a high school girl who was unafraid of the world that falls into despair after witnessing the deaths of her parents, crying desperately, before being killed by the elder.

Compared to Suyeon, Yoojin, the second daughter, was much easier to do. After all, she just had to act like a nice girl. There was a moment when she fell into a state of loss after discovering the deaths of her mother and sister, but the scene was set to fade out while filming her back, so there was no need for delicate emotional acting.

Regardless of how Joohyun thought about Suyeon, her acting was satisfactory. She had a young-looking face as well, so there wouldn’t be any problems as long as she did not distract her from her own acting.

“It’s done, unni.”

Joohyun thanked the makeup artist before standing up. Looking at the feeble-looking lady in the mirror, Joohyun made a cold smile. She liked that expression of hers. The makeup was good as well. She had dyed her purple hair back to black, and straightened out her curly hair. She looked neat, but she looked cold and rational thanks to the makeup making her eyes look sharper. She got the impression she wanted.

The second son’s wife, which was Joohyun’s role, was a self-centered figure. She was the one that told her husband, who wanted to look after his elderly father, to abandon him instead. She tried protecting the group that was family, but that was only because she treated it as a place she could find shelter. She was the type of person who would abandon everything at the last moment if it could get her to safety. Although the second son dies together with his wife in the novel, it was edited during the making of the script and only the wife died first. The director said that it was done so in order to show the audience the miniscule amount of fatherly love in the elder, as well as to emphasize the lunacy when he kills the first son.

“I hope I can die well.”

She couldn’t die ‘cleanly’. She had to be as desperate, as dirty as possible so that the audience would feel awry about her death throughout the entire movie. The wife of the second son wasn’t the character that accepts her death without regrets. It would be for the best if she could show the audience the extreme depths of human nature so that they could empathize with the elder a little more.

When she left the makeup room, she met actor Kang Sooyeol, who she would act together with, in this movie.

“Whew, aren’t you looking too scary?”

“That’s good, that was my intention.”

She was at ease with Sooyeol, who was in his early 40s, since they had experience working together before.

“Then let’s go, my wife.”

“Sure.”

Sooyeol extended out his hand as though to escort her. Joohyun shrugged her shoulders and just passed by. The set was in a place near Seoul and was modelled after a stereotypical apartment. Joohyun took a walk around the set. Although there were on-location shoots, there were on-set shoots like this as well since they couldn’t scream in public. The rather calm scenes were shot on location and the dynamic scenes were shot on sets like this one. Complaints would delay the whole shooting, so the staff had already prepared everything.

She saw that the art director was checking up on things. It looked as though he was very busy minding about the placement and even the angle of each item.

“Hey! I told you this isn’t the right wallpaper!”

“Sorry.”

“Apply it again quickly. Where the hell do you see an apartment where each wall has a different wallpaper? And those dishes! I told you we can’t have cheap-looking dishes, didn’t I? Also, that tablecloth! It doesn’t suit the environment at all!”

The art director was on the edge. It was probably because he got into an argument with the assistant director a few times. Shooting this movie required many members in the staff. Of course there wasn’t a single day where it was quiet.

“I’m Lee Yoojin, a new actress. Please take care of me! Oh! I’m Lee Yoojin, a new actress. Please take care of me!”

She saw Yoojin, who was greeting everyone as she entered the set. It was something that every new actor or actress experienced. It was the time when one had to utter their own names out the most.

“Joohyun-unni! Hello.”

She had told Yoojin that there was no need to call her senior. She greeted back at the smiling Yoojin before sitting down. Yoojin sat next to her.

“Did you practice?”

“Yes!”

“You sound confident.”

“I’m never going to make a mistake.”

“Now that reassures me. But don’t get too nervous though. You’ll screw up if you become too stiff.”

“Yes!”

Yoojin had told her that this was her first movie shoot. She told her that she had a slightly hard time getting adjusted to the atmosphere since it was different from a drama shoot, but also said that she was okay now. With dramas, the script changed constantly according to the feedback from the audience, and time was key since there was a set broadcasting time. It was important to do each cut quickly.

In contrast, movies had a lot more time. Though, it was the same that time was key since spending longer meant that the human resources cost would rise as well.

“My daughter, you’re here.”

“Hello, sir.”

“Let’s have a good day today, alright?”

“Yes.”

Sooyeol sat down as he smiled. It seemed that the set had almost finished.

“Sorry we caused a delay due to our mistake. We’re extremely sorry.”

The youngest member of the arts team started making rounds apologizing to everyone. Sooyeol told him that it was okay and that he should go back to his post. As Sooyeol was well-known for his kindness in the movie industry, each of his words sounded really kind. This was why even Joohyun, who stopped at nothing, was quite careful when she was around him.

Yoojin, who was sitting down, abruptly stood up and went to the director, who was far away.

Seeing that, Joohyun was reminded of her old days.

It was when she gained the title ‘youth star’ in her early twenties through a short movie. She was excited, thinking that she would not have to experience suffering anymore. Back then, Joohyun was a polite and nice girl who helped others a lot, just like the ideal woman that South Korea thought.

One day, when she was looking at a script, she was told that she was scheduled for a meeting with a very important person and left her house in delight. There was a black sedan outside her house, and the car took her to a high-class bar in the city.

She was naive back then - Joohyun smiled in self-loathing. That day, Joohyun was forced to entertain that ‘important person’. That important person kept stroking her thighs constantly. She couldn’t even think about running away. Her head had turned white due to fear. Her fear-stricken expression must have seemed like coquetry to that man since that man acted even more boldly than before, and Joohyun moved away due to fear.

With a big laugh, the words ‘you’re acting coquettishly’ entered her ears. Although a decade had passed since that event, Joohyun could still remember the smell, the temperature of the air, the noise, the food and wine on the table, and even the texture of the floor.

When she came to herself, the thought that she had to leave filled her head. However, she couldn’t put it into action. The one that created that meeting had approached her and said thus,

You need to look good in front of him. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard life in the future. You must shoot that movie, right? There’s also the drama. You need to give up here, my dear actress Ahn. Isn’t that right? Do you really want to go back to the old days when you couldn’t even make a name for yourself? Back to the days when your face would be forgotten after mere moments?

Joohyun collapsed when she heard those words. She still had a strand of reason left and desperately refused the hand that tried to comb her body.

After the hellish dinner was over, Joohyun returned home after hearing from a movie director that she was going to walk the path of success. If that man asked for her body, Joohyun wouldn’t have been able to rebel against him. It was that kind of place, and it was that kind of mood. Unless she was prepared to bite her tongue off and die, that was a horrible net that an ordinary woman couldn’t escape from.

When she returned home her eyes met her brother Bangjoo’s, and Joohyun desperately looked away as she rushed into her own room. Bangjoo, outside the door, asked what was up with a worried tone, and eventually even started crying, but Joohyun couldn’t open the door. She felt that she would collapse on the spot if she did.

Joohyun smacked her head against the wall and fell into contemplation. What was she to do in the future? On her phone, there was a message saying that she got a commercial. It was surprising. Although she was seen in good light after her first movie, a new actress like her wouldn’t usually get an opportunity as big as shooting a commercial. But now, she got one through ‘lending’ her thigh once.

At that moment, Joohyun felt that something within her shattered to smithereens. When she lifted her head off the wall, she saw that the sun had risen already. The awry feeling from before was gone and she felt more refreshed than ever.

A few days later, Joohyun shot the commercial. She did her best as well. After that, she did not refuse a single commercial that came her way. She even took the ramyun ad commercial, and a snack commercial that was publicly viewed as ‘breaking a woman’s good image’, and even shot ones that didn’t even air in Seoul. She was lucky enough to shoot a commercial for an apartment and a cosmetic product, but those only happened once. By that point, she was receiving insults from all around. The ones giving her insults were those that paid expensive internet fees to write on forums like Naunuri, Hi-tel, and Cheollian[1]. Joohyun realized how the traits of the public worked.

She even dropped out of dramas that she passed the audition for and focused on shooting commercials. She once heard a director saying that she was an evil woman who only liked money, but that didn’t matter to her. The man that scheduled the bar event approached her once again and tried to coerce her into doing that thing again, but Joohyun swore at him and kicked that man’s thigh. That man shouted back at her with ‘do you want to leave this industry this instant?’ and Joohyun replied with ‘Go fuck your mom’. She was surprised that she could speak such foul words, but she soon became used to it. Defying authority gave her an indescribable sense of pleasure.

There was only one reason Joohyun was so desperately earning money. It was due to the fear of running out of money, and the consequent hardships of life, which was why she was called to such a place in the first place. There was only one way to solve that problem - she had to have money.

Joohyun successfully gathered money, and with enough money in her hands, she had nothing to fear. She swore at the producers of commercial screenplays in all of her magazine interviews, and started taking the roles she wanted to do. When she came across some old men who wanted to ‘look after’ her, she was able to give them the middle finger.

After that, Joohyun was putting effort into making sure that young actresses didn’t experience the same thing she did, but it wasn’t easy to change the industry where ‘service’ was a form of etiquette and ‘entertainment’ was a form of business. This was why she always became worried when she looked at young fellows like Yoojin.

She hoped that she would grow up uncompromising with others.

Spending time in this industry makes one realize that not everything about being an actress was beautiful. Though, since Yoojin’s mother ran a famous hair shop, she shouldn’t fall into such a dirty temptation, but to actresses who had a hard life, such temptations were hard to overcome.

She couldn’t tell those actresses to do what she did either. Although she felt nothing about it now, the disdainful gazes of the public and the people she worked with were like an invitation to a nightmare. Their eyes were horrific and dirty.

‘But the fact that I’m still here must mean that I was born to be an actress.’

Joohyun flipped a page over. At that moment, a shadow was cast over her script. When she looked up, she saw Suyeon, who was her first daughter in the movie.

She was someone who survived this industry in a way different to hers. She had no intentions of looking down on her methods and describing them as ‘dirty’, but she also did not feel the need to get closer to her. Joohyun’s motto was to starve if she was going to be fed by a pig.

“Hello, senior Joohyun.”

“Welcome, Suyeon.”

“Thank you.”

Suyeon smiled.


[1] Think reddit. I have no idea what these are referring to...

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