Before the coronavirus pandemic brought the global entertainment industry largely to a standstill, the world watched as the ensemble cast from Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite took the stage at the 92nd Academy Awards to receive the Best Picture award. The dark comedy-thriller made history as the first non-English language film to take home the big prize.
“Even now, when I recall that moment, I’m extremely grateful that I got to be a part of that glorious occasion,” says Park So-dam, who played the cunning and crafty Kim Ki-jung (also known as art therapy teacher “Jessica.”) Her charismatic performance—which yielded viral moments including the “Jessica Jingle” and a GIF capturing that ingenious peach fuzz plot—received international recognition.
Park is now starring in the new Korean drama Record of Youth as another ambitious young woman—though instead of a con-artist, she plays makeup artist An Jeong-ha. The television series, which premiered on Sept. 7 on Netflix in addition to local network tvN, follows three 20-somethings—An Jeong-ha, Sa Hye-jun (Park Bo-gum) and Won Hae-hyo (Byeon Woo-seok)—as they pursue their dreams in the entertainment industry. Romance blossoms, but at a refreshingly relaxed pace, as the story centers on the characters’ career goals being challenged by the realities of the entertainment industry.
This resolve is familiar to Park, who tells TIME that she decided to become an actor at 17. “I began to learn who I was, what exactly I wanted to do, and started running toward this goal from that moment,” Park, now 29, says. She starred in a number of films and television series before Parasite, and first gained critical acclaim in South Korea for her performances in the 2015 thrillers The Silenced and The Priests. Now, as recent shows like Crash Landing on You and Itaewon Class usher in a new wave of K-drama devotees, Park is returning to the small screen for the first time in four years.
Park talked to TIME over email about her life since Parasite, her portrayal of Record of Youth’s An Jeong-ha, and, in a nod to her celebrity-obsessed character, who she is fangirling over in real life.
This translated interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
TIME: Since Parasite’s big win at the Oscars, how has the film’s global recognition impacted your life?
Park So-dam: It was an experience that gave me a lot of pride in Korean culture and art. And because that memory is so unforgettable, it’s become a driving force for me to work even harder as an actor.
One of the most noticeable differences is the number of Instagram followers, messages and comments from overseas fans. I’d occasionally received supportive messages before, but it seems I’m receiving much more love after Parasite. That makes me very happy every day.
What were your main reasons for deciding to take on a television series after a few years of working on movies?
There was no intention of differentiating genres or fields. I was always involved in a variety of projects—depending on timing and circumstance. I’d like to continue challenging myself in various ways, such as movies, dramas and plays.
What role do you hope to play in bringing greater attention to Korean entertainment to the world? Would you also like to book Hollywood roles?
I often think to myself that I don’t want to be satisfied with being one of many Korean actors—that I’d like to work hard to be the best actor I can be. I received a lot of love and interest through Parasite. If opportunity permits, it would be an honor to work in Hollywood. (I will work harder, of course!)
Some have touted you as a contender for the role of Cindy Moon in the forthcoming Marvel series TV Silk. How do you feel about the superhero genre?
It’s an honor to even be mentioned for the role of Cindy Moon in Silk. The superhero genre is among the genres I’d like to try. It’s a thrill just to imagine.
An Jeong-ha, your character in Record of Youth, is all about a stable life. She talks about the importance of routine, and even named her YouTube channel “I Like Stability.” In your life, how important is stability? Or do you like change?
There’s a side of me that seeks a stable life, but I tend to not fear change. And as time passes, rather than settle for one thing, I’m growing more inclined to challenge myself and try new things.
Record of Youth‘s first episodes address the tension between pursuing personal goals and fulfilling family expectations. An Jeong-ha even argues of South Korea that “our country is too family-oriented.” Does that resonate with you?
While it was more family-oriented before, now, I believe times are changing. Of course, it’s important to value family, but I think the most stable life is one that also values personal life and seeks balance.
Each of the main characters in Record of Youth has a different idea of what success is. In your own career as an actor, how do you measure success?
I believe anyone who knows what they want to do, enjoys it, and does it consistently is a successful person.
In the show, Sa Hye-jun and Won Hae-hyo are models working hard to become famous actors. Have you experienced any downsides to fame?
When I go out to eat with my family, I am thankful but sometimes shy at the same time that many people recognize me and say hello. My family also shows signs of embarrassment. Sometimes, as a person who’s part of an ordinary family, getting so much attention from people can feel a little awkward.
Record of Youth’s original soundtrack (OST) features high-profile artists including Baekhyun from EXO, Seungkwan from SEVENTEEN, Wheein from MAMAMOO, Lee Hi, Chungha and more. How do you think a drama’s soundtrack enhances a show?
I was excited to hear the lineup. I believe nowadays many fans listen to OSTs and enjoy them, instead of just watching dramas and movies alone. OSTs play an important role in elevating tension, making scenarios stand out, helping viewers immerse themselves and enriching the plot.
In the first episode of Record of Youth, An Jeong-ha is fangirling over Sa Hye-jun. One of her first lines is, “fangirling over you is what keeps me going.” Who are you fangirling over in real life?!
Kim Hye-soo sunbaenim [a veteran actor with more than three decades of experience in film and television; Park used the honorific term for someone who entered the industry earlier]. I’d love to work with her at least once and talk to her about a lot of things. I’ve only met her at awards ceremonies, but I’ve always been grateful for her support and holding my hands warmly each time. I’ve always been inspired by her energy, so I’d love the opportunity to work with her, see and experience her acting firsthand before anyone else, and learn from her.
One of your most famous moments from Parasite was the “Jessica, only child, Illinois, Chicago” jingle. What will be the scene from Record of Youth that reaches viral status?
It’d be no fun for me to spoil it!
—with reporting by Sangsuk Sylvia Kang
Michelle Obama doesn’t remember which Chris is Chris Evans
If you find it hard to keep track of all the different white men named Chris in Hollywood, you’re not alone — Michelle Obama has the exact same problem.
During a recent interview on the podcast “Black Frasier”, the former First Lady played a game of “Vacation, Quarantine, Zoom” –– a more family-friendly alternative to “F**k, Marry, Kill”.
The hosts asked her to pick between Chris Hemsworth, Chris Rock and Chris Evans.
“Okay, alright. Now, who’s Chris Evans again?” Obama asked.
She’s got a point. The white Hollywood Chrises include Evans and Hemsworth, along with Pine and Pratt. They’ve all played superheroes and they do all kinda look alike.
After Obama was reminded that Chris Evans played Captain America, she chose to vacation with him, Zoom with Rock and quarantine with Hemsworth.
Just last week Evans made headlines for accidentally tweeting a nude photo to his 5.7 million followers.
“It was an interesting weekend full of lessons learned, a lot of teachable moments,” Evans said about the incident. “It’s embarrassing, but you gotta roll with the punches. I have fantastic fans who came to my support.”
Chris Hemsworth’s adorable family photos have the most surprising quirk behind them
This Video Of Laura Byrne & Matty J’s Pregnancy Announcement Will Make You So Feel So Clucky
Just two days after ex-Bachelor contestant Laura Byrne announced her and Matty J’s pregnancy, Laura added to the cuteness overload by posting a video today, where she revealed her pregnancy to boo Matty J.
In the adorable video posted by Laura, she hands Matty J a card that reads ‘thanks for that thing you did’. But before he even opens it, he says “You’re pregnant.” God, way to ruin the surprise, Matty.
He then opens the card looks at Laura and says “I knew it, I knew it”, confirming the pregnancy. Awww. Even their daughter Marlie is visibly excited in the video.
I’m honestly so impressed with Marlie’s handling of the pregnancy announcement. I can think of 101 pregnancy announcement fails, where the kids throws a tantrum for gaining a new sibling. Kudos to you Marlie, you are honestly better than all of us.
Anyway, is there something in the water? Because it seems like every man and his dog are having a baby these days: Ashley Tisdale, Emma Roberts, Bindi Irwin, Nicki Minaj AND Gigi Hadid. Like what?
Is being stuck in isolation making everyone fuck like rabbits? Ok, don’t answer that. But all the signs point to yes.
Now, if anyone else is feeling Bachelor fatigue due to all the drama. Let me remind you that some happy things can actually come out of The Bachelor. It’s true, love does exist.
This video reminiscing on the three years since Laura and Matt met on The Bachelor is a perfect reminder of how The Bachelor actually can work. “You’re hands down my favourite bachelor, I love you forever and our little family,” Laura writes in the caption on Instagram.
I’m not one to find this type of lovey-dovey stuff adorable, you have my parents divorce to blame for that. But honestly, these guys really look so good together and they are really are a beautiful little family (Ok, I think I just vomitted in my mouth a little).
Trailers of the Week: ‘BTS Universe Story,’ ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘Emily in Paris’ and More
American Murder: The Family Next Door
The new Netflix crime documentary examines the Watts family murder when Chris Watts killed his wife Shanann and their two young daughters in 2018. The film is made with a haunting twist: some of its narratives is told by Shanann herself, though old vlog footage she recorded. In one video, she says, ““I went through one of the darkest times of my life, and then I met Chris. And he’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.” It’s not long before the happy-family image created in the first moments completely disappears. (September 30)
BTS Universe Story
Clocking in at just over ten minutes in length, the new trailer gives BTS fans an immersive look inside the new “interactive social game” centered around the group. The game blends live-action and CGI footage in order to create different worlds, from a burning city to a fantastical ocean scene. In the end, we see the group in school, wearing uniforms. While we can see a story start to develop, fans are going to have a say in the gameplay. The choices they make will impact the story as it goes on. (September 24th)
Emily in Paris
The creator of Sex and the City takes on a new location: Paris. Emily (Lily Collins) is a Chicago girl who leaves her life behind for her dream job as a marketing exec for a luxury French company. She arrives in Paris with endless possibilities before her – though she doesn’t yet know that these possibilities also include a French lover with a surprise girlfriend and a seemingly dysfunctional workplace. (October 2nd)
Escape From Extinction
Helen Mirren gives her voice to the new conservation documentary film, urging us all to help fix the environmental problems we created in the first place. “One species may soon erase all the others,” she warns in a voiceover as footage shows animals struggling to survive in a plastic saturated world. Not only are we battling time, she points out, but those trying to rectify the damage done are also up against another danger: widespread miss-information. (October)
Harry Chapin: When In Doubt, Do Something
Husband, father, storyteller, musician, and philanthropist – the new film explores the many roles Harry Chapin took on in his life before his untimely death in 1981. In the new teaser, Billy Joel remembers hearing a line from one of Chapin’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle” and having the hair stand up on his arms. Elsewhere, Kenny Rogers says, “[He] may have been the most unselfish person I’ve ever met in my life,” touching on Chapin’s lasting commitment to fighting hunger and homelessness. (October 16th)
The Mandalorian, Season Two
The new season finds the Mandalorian still in the midst of his journey: Brining the Child (or “Baby Yoda,” as the internet calls him) back to his kind. Not only does this mean that the Mandalorian must seek out “enemy sorcerers,” (the Jedi), but the duo are navigating through a world of destruction in the wake of the collapse of the Galactic Empire. They meet plenty of opposition along the way, though we’ll have to wait until the premiere to catch a glimpse. The clip bars some of the action from our view, taking on Baby Yoda’s point of view as he hides from the violence. (October 30th)
Three goofy astronauts, Fred Armisen, John C. Reilly and Tim Heidecker, are determined to show NASA that they have what it takes to complete a moon landing mission. However, it’s a wonder that NASA even employees them on their Earth-dwelling locations. Undeterred by their lack of skill, the trio sticks to their goal. “I’ve just got a lot on the line here,” Cap (Reilly) says. “I screwed up my whole life, that’s why I need to get to the moon. I go up to the moon, I’m a hero.” As for the others, they want to carry on a family legacy and spread the good word of Jesus Christ.(November 8th)
Paramedics Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) have seen their fair share of accidents – enough so that they can know when something much darker is at hand. It starts with an ominous crime scene: “Time is a lie” is written out in graffiti on a living room’s wall and there are traces of a new psychedelic party drug – Synchronic – out in the open. While more and more of the accidents they encounter seem connected, Steve finds out that he has a brain tumor and beings to experiment with the new drug himself. What comes next unravels his very understanding of time. (October 23rd)
Bryan Cranston stars as a respected New Orleans judge in the new Showtime series. Cranston is used to making heavy choices on the bench, but nothing prepares him for when his son is involved in a deadly hit-and-run – as the person who ran. The death causes an all-out war between crime families with Cranston right in the middle, grappling with his morals in ways that he’s never before had to. (December)
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