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Minha Kim | There's Always a Link If You Believe It So — Flaunt Magazine – Flaunt Magazine

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“I can feel it through my spine, my back, and my muscles,” says actor Minha Kim. “Right as the lights hit and the director says, ‘Action.’ Nothing goes through my head… but a strong beat goes through my heart. I can hear it so vividly that it can make me express anything.” Considering Kim just made her American debut as the lead of Apple TV+’s critically-acclaimed Pachinko, this ‘beat’ and clear-eyed determination seem to also be powered by a sprinkle of magic. 
Kim is surprisingly at ease with the success of Pachinko. The series, adapted from a 2017 novel of the same name, chronicles a Korean family’s immigrant journey over four generations. Working her way through South Korea’s acting scene, including the 2020 Netflix original, The Call, Kim knows how to remain calm under pressure, but with Pachinko, she had to dig deeper. To play Sunja, she immersed herself in the novel and devoured it in one night, trying to connect herself with Sunja’s motivations and beliefs. It paid off handsomely—as Pachinko was hastily renewed for a second season.
Flaunt had the opportunity to converse with the burgeoning actor about her innate desire to perform, preparation for this career-breaking role, and what she gained from the process.
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When did you first find your passion for acting, and what moment did you know that this is what you were destined to do?
When I was a child, I always dreamed of being a character whenever I watched movies, especially animation. I always mimicked the lines and pretended to be the characters. I liked singing too. That’s why I think I naturally wanted to be a voice actor. And then when I became a high school student and figured out there was a theater and film department. I decided to major in performance professionally. Since then, I’ve always wanted to become an actress.
How did your preparation for the role in Pachinko go?
When I first read the novel, there were a lot of complicated feelings and thoughts that I wrote down on my notes for more than 20 pages. I tried to convey all those initial feelings to the script. At the same time, I first found the similarities between me and Sunja. I had to find the connections. What was fascinating about this process was that I had the strong feeling of the link between her and me. I could understand her, which made my heart break so hard that I was so desperate to survive. I found out that we both have the courage to collapse and get the power from that and rise up. This was the start of me building the character. I felt I had enough time for the preparation because the audition process took quite a long time. Meanwhile, I did meditation to just empty my mind and tried to be honest all the time. I think that’s the key point for me getting into this character. Most of the time, I tried to focus on the situation itself, rather than doing something. I tried to hear the other’s lines and voices as well as Sunja’s. So most of my days and nights were full of concentration. I spent a lot of time practicing dialect too. 
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MIU MIU jacket and shirt, TIFFANY & CO. ring, and SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO flower.
What do you hope people take away from the show?
I want people to take from this show the idea that they are not alone. I mean, surviving is hard. We choose, wait, and long for something. This is hard. But I want the audiences to feel that they are not alone, they are surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones who will be there, always ready to give us a hand. That we are suffering together. In addition, I want people to think that it’s okay to not be okay. Even when we face obstacles, even when there are things we believe don’t make sense, it’s okay to just take a moment and feel that it’s not okay. Because that’s a big, brave thing for them to do and breathe and have the courage to stand up again. That’s what Sunja did, I believe. 
Now that Pachinko is out in the world, what have you learned about yourself as an actor, but also personally?
While I was preparing, shooting, and now it is released, I learned a lot of things. Among those, I mostly achieved the ability to hear other’s stories. Truly. I learned to hear them with my heart, not only with my ears. That affected me as an actor and as a person too which is personally, I think, huge. 
What does the rest of 2022 look like for you?
I think the rest of my 2022 will be full of new experiences as always. I am always full of curiosity, so I guess I will discover something fun and exciting! And I will try my best not to lose myself. 
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Photographed by Andi Elloway 
Styled by Bin X Nguyen 
Hair: Ericka Verrett
Makeup: Robert Rumsey
Written by Sam Franzini
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Los Angeles, CA 90028  

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