“My parents are missionaries. I was 3 when we moved to the country. We first settled here in Baguio, and then we moved to Bacolod, where I finished elementary. We came back here thereafter.”
Give me one thing that you find similar in both Filipino and Korean cultures.
“Filipinos and Koreans are generally polite. Among Filipinos, there’s this heavy use of ‘po’ and ‘opo.’ For us Koreans we have our own way of saying those words. Our respect can be best seen in our bowing.”
You played the character of Ji Eun Tak in a parody of the “Goblin.”
“Before accepting it, I was quite reluctant. I’m not really comfortable being in the spotlight. I’m more of a backstage guy, helping with the wardrobe, lightings, or whatever the play or actor needs. But I can play a role, given it has to be necessary. I’m not saying playing Ji Eun Tak was necessary – I did it purely for fun. Well I didn’t expect the parody to be noticed. After the video came out last May, I had to turn my following on – it’s 15k and counting – the friend and message requests are crazy.”
“But nothing really changed in me – I mean, you know, I am the same Grace that I was pre-parody. Probably the only thing that I had to navigate around was how to react properly and appropriately to strangers recognizing me in public or sending me messages on social media.”
“I’m quite the opposite of Ji Eun Tak. She comes across as a bright young lady with an adorable personality. I’m on the serious side of things. But I’m trying to be the person people can easily talk to and converse with more comfortably.”
“I’m studying Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLS). If I didn’t go for BMLS, I probably would have taken forensic science, or something related to literature or history. The world is full of strangely interesting and inspiring stuff and reading and learning about them changes you in a way, the kind that makes you a better person.”
Who is Jeong Daeun deep down inside?
“I always try my hardest to see things beyond the surface. It helps me see things clearer.”
What profound stuff is going on in your mind right now?
“The idea of a forest. The deeper you go into the woods, the more likely you’ll get lost. But in it you’ll learn to find your way out, and you become wiser.”
Let's talk about life lessons. What is college teaching you?
“It’s okay to be slower than others; just don’t stay stagnant forever.”
Jeong Daeun, or Grace, played the character of Ji Eun Tak, the female lead in the Korean series “Goblin,” in a parody video shot in Baguio. One of the production crew members is a student of the University of Baguio. The video has currently more than 400k views on YouTube.
Grace is in her fourth year as a BMLS student at the University. She prefers tea over coffee. J
Text by MARILYN TOMILAS
Interview by RONA LIN & MARILYN TOMILAS
Photo by RENE PASCUA
BLOG EDITOR: RONA LIN