Even though the falling water from the shower nozzle felt cold, Choi Yeon-Ha didn ’t think it was necessary to turn up the temperature.
She considered taking a literal cold shower the first thing in the morning as her long-time ritual.

Whenever she was about to start a film production or something major was about to happen in her life, she would take a cold shower to clear up her head.
The frequency of this ritual had to be decreased recently after her manager, and the dermatologist nagged her incessantly about cold water negatively impacting her skin, but Choi Yeon-Ha had to make an exception today.
She got this feeling in her gut that it was absolutely necessary to take a cold shower this morning.

She stepped outside the bathroom with a large towel wrapped around her and found her phone angrily blaring at her.
Her cold eyes scanned the phone ’s screen before she snatched it up.
“What is it?”

– Noona.
It ’s about that…
interview scheduled for today ’s lunchtime.

“I told you to cancel it, didn ’t I?”

– But it ’s with a major outlet, you know? Canceling it at such short notice will get tongues wagging.
And not in a good way.

“Just tell them I ’m not feeling well.”

-That kind of excuse only works up until middle school, noona.
People in this line of business don ’t believe you even if an ambulance takes you to an ER so that excuse won ’t fool anyone.

Choi Yeon-Ha’s voice got a little shriller as she replied while drying her hair with another towel, “So what if they feel a little unhappy about the cancellation? I don ’t care.”

– But, noona.
You can ’t just…

“It ’s not like I ’m goofing off now, is it? Didn ’t I say I ’ll be in an important meeting regarding my next project? What could possibly be more important than the next production to a hard-working actor? It ’s certainly a lot more important than humoring some random media outlet, wouldn ’t you say?”

– W-well, yes…

“Remember this if you wish to survive in this industry as a manager: if you think building bridges with the press will make your life easier, think again.
Those bastards might act like the best among your best friends in the whole world, but give them half a chance, and they won ’t hesitate to stab you in the back.
To survive, don ’t focus on cozying up to those kinds of people and learn how to pick the right projects to avoid losing everything.
Do you understand?”

– Yes, noona.

“Okay, so.
What ’s going on with the interview, again?”

– I ’ll cancel it, noona.

“Very good.” Choi Yeon-Ha tossed the towel on her hair to the floor, a bright grin forming on her face.
“Come and fetch me on time.
I cannot afford to be late for today ’s meeting.
You hear me?”

– Yes, noona.
Please do not worry.

Later.” Choi Yeon-Ha ended the call and lightly tossed her phone on the couch.
Her eyes then drifted to the full-length mirror on the wall.

’Yes, I still have it! ’

She wasn ’t being overly confident out of an actress ’s vanity.
Even by objective standards, Choi Yeon-Ha was still a beautiful woman, and it wouldn ’t be an exaggeration to say she was in her prime right now.
Her charm as a woman seemed to be overflowing the most at this stage in her career.
Although that ’fresh and innocent ’ side of her had faded a little compared to when she was still more active, Choi Yeon-Ha now possessed something else.
And that would be a glamorous, voluptuous charm.

’It ’s time to make it count! ’

Whether one became an actor who only shone once before fading into obscurity or someone who could still generate a huge buzz by showing up on a screen in a decade…
It all depended on what project one chose.
Choi Yeon-Ha knew this better than just about everyone.

From her high school days up until now, she had spent nearly a decade in this industry.
During this time, she witnessed so—so many other actresses more famous than her become forgotten and discarded by the wayside as if they had never existed to begin with.

“Whew…” Choi Yeon-Ha quietly sucked in a deep breath.

Most actresses making a living in this industry suffered from a similar fear.
The adulation of the crowd, and the bright lights of the stage, were so mesmerizing and alluring but…
Only loneliness waited behind the scenes cloaked in the veil of darkness.

Choi Yeon-Ha had to constantly worry about the interest and goodwill directed her way eventually waning and finding someone new.
Some of her fellow actors would get crushed by the pressure and ruin themselves while some others who managed to hold on would end up with distorted personalities requiring serious therapy.

I ’m also not normal, aren ’t I? ’

Choi Yeon-Ha ’s case was undoubtedly a mild one.
Compared to her peers who treated and tormented their managers like slaves, or those who pretended to be all pure and nice only to frequent secretive hostess bars at night, her condition was quantifiably better.

Taking advantage of her obsession with choosing projects would make her career several times more…
beautiful than ever before, after all!

“…Kang Jin-Ho.” Choi Yeon-Ha mouthed a certain man ’s name, her expression stiff.

There was an unfortunate fact anyone even remotely involved or interested in the world of films would have to agree.
And that was…

In the South Korean film industry, actresses held far lower box office appeal than their male counterparts.
One only had to look back at how many box office smash hits featured female protagonists front and center to know this was the truth.

Actresses could still effectively attract large audiences in the small screen drama space, but that was not the case with the big screen films.
Unfortunately, actresses had to play second fiddle to the male leads in Korean cinema even now.

Even frequent discussions over who could be the people ’s actor found within the online forums usually failed to consider actresses.
This was the sad reality facing Korean actresses.

“Nothing will change from whining all day, though.” Choi Yeon-Ha turned her head away from the mirror and walked over to the vanity table.
Her eyes were as determined as a general about to wage a decisive war.



Kang Jin-Ho thought that dangling a bell on a door in this day and age was a rather unique thing.
And that would be even more so when the door belonged to a cafe that didn ’t really need to analyze its foot traffic.
If the reasoning was for ’convenience,’ then the owner of this cafe had to be a hopeless romantic who didn ’t care much about practicality and just enjoyed doing meaningless actions.

’Hmm, so there were other people besides my father who would do things like this. ’

Kang Jin-Ho glanced at the doorbell issuing a clear ring before stepping inside the cafe called ’Illuana ’.
The appointment time was 11 AM, as mentioned by his little sister, Kang Eun-Yeong.
Which meant…

“Mister Kang Jin-Ho, over here!”

Even before Kang Jin-Ho could have a chance to find Choi Yeon-Ha, she got up from the table first and waved at him before quickly walking up to him.

“Thank you for coming!” She greeted him with a bright smile.

Kang Jin-Ho sneakily glanced at a clock mounted on the cafe ’s wall.
It said half past ten.
Since he wasn ’t a fan of being tardy and had nothing better to do in the morning—he decided to show up half an hour early, but she was already here, waiting for him?

“…Good to see you again.” Kang Jin-Ho bowed his head slightly as a greeting.

The smile on Choi Yeon-Ha ’s face became even more radiant as she lightly grasped his sleeve and tugged him toward her table.
“Let ’s talk after we take our seats.”

“Hold on, I should at least order my—”

“It ’s okay.
This place has waiters.”


Everyone supposedly had an ’identical twin ’ somewhere out there, and it seemed that the ’twin ’ of Kang Jin-Ho ’s father was running a cafe in this place.
They were uncannily similar in that they both went against the flow of the current trends while miraculously managing to stay afloat.

Kang Jin-Ho and Choi Yeon-Ha settled down at her table.
She waited until the waiter took their orders and left before addressing Kang Jin-Ho.
“How have you been?”

“Well…” Kang Jin-Ho leaned back, remembering all those events that had happened to him recently.
He even began thinking that it had to be the first time since his return to the modern era that he had gotten embroiled in so many events in such a brief window of time.
“…I ’ve been alright.
Nothing remarkable has happened, after all.”

“Oh, I see.
It ’s good to hear that.” Choi Yeon-Ha continued to smile brightly.

Kang Jin-Ho quietly studied her face.

’…Not bad. ’

Of course, he wasn ’t talking about her looks but her attitude.
Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t know much about this person named Choi Yeon-Ha.
However, he could still understand how amazing this woman was—all thanks to Kang Eun-Yeong ’s impassioned explanations.

Considering that entertainers and celebrities were held in high esteem in the current era, Choi Yeon-Ha ’s standing in society had to be very high, objectively speaking.
Which would have made her schedule jam-packed with barely any room for a breather.

Despite that, she showed up thirty minutes before the appointment time and was clearly doing her best to please him.
Maybe it was not a bad idea, after all, to talk to her, then?

Kang Jin-Ho briefly nodded, then addressed her.
“I heard from my sister Eun-Yeong that you wanted to see me, Miss Choi.”

“Eun-Yeong… Ah, you mean Miss Se-Ah.
Yes, I did.”

“May I ask what ’s this all about?”

Choi Yeon-Ha didn ’t immediately answer and cautiously studied Kang Jin-Ho ’s demeanor.
And she immediately concluded that beating around the bush would not work with him.

’Wow, she really sent him alone here! ’

Choi Yeon-Ha expected Kang Eun-Yeong to explain a few things to lower Kang Jin-Ho ’s wariness while setting up this meeting.
But that girl didn ’t seem to have said anything before sending her brother here.
This realization left this strange taste in her mouth.

As expected, trying to explain everything from scratch was not going to be easy.
On the other hand, though…
Kang Jin-Ho still came here without knowing anything, which could imply that he held some favorable impression of Choi Yeon-Ha.

Search tinyurl.com/2p9emv8w for the original.

No actress alive would feel great after being seen as a statue by other people, after all.
And that included Choi Yeon-Ha, of course.

She quietly licked her lips, wondering how she should respond.
Using her silver tongue to convince Kang Jin-Ho was certainly an option, but…
Judging from what she had observed of his personality or what Kang Eun-Yeong had told her, haphazardly convincing him could backfire on her rather spectacularly.

So, Choi Yeon-Ha decided to go straight for the jugular.
“Mister Kang Jin-Ho.”


“Do you have any thoughts of becoming an actor?”

Kang Jin-Ho ’s expression was instantly dyed in shock and stupefaction.
“An actor, you say?”

An actor.”

Kang Jin-Ho became utterly speechless at Choi Yeon-Ha ’s forthright reply and could only stare at her dumbfoundedly.

Before he sobered up sufficiently enough to say something, the waiter showed up at the table with the ordered coffee.
“Here are your orders of lungo and ice lungo.”

Kang Jin-Ho waited until the waiter was gone before gulping down the cup of cold lungo in one go.
Only then did his tongue, frozen stiff from the shock, feel like it had regained its mobility.
After putting the cup down, he muttered to Choi Yeon-Ha.
“I ’m having a slightly difficult time trying to understand your suggestion.”

Choi Yeon-Ha grinned back at him.
“I ’m sure you ’re surprised.”

Considerably…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded hurriedly.

Choi Yeon-Ha ’s grin deepened at his response.
Her smile was genuine rather than the usual fake business one she often had to resort to using.

’Really now.
He ’s such a unique man… ’

Kang Jin-Ho was certainly a ’unique ’ person, but he didn ’t respond negatively to the suggestion, which was a good sign.
Some people in this world were markedly different from everyone else and imparted an unpleasant impression overall.
On the other hand, some people came across as ’fresh ’ and ’unusual ’ precisely because they were different.
To Choi Yeon-Ha, Kang Jin-Ho fit the latter category.
He was unique and different, but that difference didn ’t make him a burden or a sore thumb to everyone else.

Choi Yeon-Ha took a sip of her drink before continuing, “I don ’t know what your opinion on this matter is like, Mister Jin-Ho, but I believe you have a knack for acting.”

Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
“Such an analysis is usually based on something.
Can you tell me what that is?”

“What if I told you it ’s a woman ’s intuition?”

“…Then, I must advise you not to invest in the stock market.”

Choi Yeon-Ha giggled back at him.
“Thank you for your advice.
I was merely joking, anyway.
An individual ’s talent for acting can only be evaluated after they perform first.
Mister Jin-Ho, have you ever seen the footage of yourself acting before?”

“No, I haven ’t…”

“Of course.
Your scene hasn’t aired yet, after all.
After editing out your voice from the footage, we ended up with a pretty amazing scene overall.”

Choi Yeon-Ha wasn ’t exaggerating.
The scene really was amazing.
And no, it wasn ’t because Kang Jin-Ho was a good-looking man.

The cameras used for filming always accentuated the actors ’ good looks.
But with Kang Jin-Ho…
His handsome looks not only seared the camera lens, but it even perfectly harmonized with the background to create a jaw-dropping masterpiece on screen.

’At least on his looks alone, he was born to make movies.
I ’m sure of it! ’ 

Choi Yeon-Ha steeled her resolve once more and began her in-depth explanation.
“I ’ve been involved in the film industry all my adult life, Mister Jin-Ho.
Even if you think you know yourself the best, I ’m confident in evaluating your acting ability better than you.
And the way I see it, you simply have to become an actor, Mister Jin-Ho.
I ’ve already found a suitable role for you.
As long as you ’re willing, I ’ll do my best to assist you.
So, what do you think?”

Her lengthy explanation was rewarded by a comparatively much shorter and just as deflating reply from Kang Jin-Ho.
“No thank you.
I ’m not interested.”

’Noona ’ is a masculine honorific for ’older sister ’.
Just like ’hyung ’, though, you don ’t have to be related by blood to use this term.

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