Meet South Korean Actress Park So-Dam, Star Of Netflix's 'Record Of Youth'

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Who Is Park So-Dam? Details About The Star Of Netflix's 'Record Of Youth'
Entertainment And News

Last year, the South Korean film Parasite swept awards shows the world over, including the Academy Awards. The winner of the Best Picture Oscar stars and ensemble cast of South Korea stars, many of whom were brand new to audiences in America. One actress, Park So-Dam, was already a big star in her home country even before Parasite. Now, she is the star of the upcoming series Record of Youth coming to Netflix. 

Who is Park So-Dam?

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Park, who is about to turn 29 this month, has been working her way to the top of the South Korean film and television industry since 2013. But her road to success wasn't easy. She faced a lot of rejection in her early acting years and she even wondered if that was really what she was meant to do. 

Fans are glad she persevered, however, because has been turning in addictive performances for many years now — and her career is only getting more interesting. 

Where did Park So-Dam grow up?

Park grew up in South Korea. She doesn't share much about her family or personal life, at least not in the English language media she has done, but we know she went to college at the Korea National University of the Arts in Seoul, where she studied acting. 

Her inspiration came from watching a musical. 

When she was 17, she went to see a production of the American musical Grease. She tells reporters that the experience of watching the actors on stage and seeing what a good time they were having acting, singing, and dancing, made her want to give acting a try herself. She wanted to live a life where she got to do something that was as much fun as performing seemed to be.

Getting a foot in the door wasn't easy.

Park recalls her first years out of college as being far more difficult than she imagined when she was a teenager watching a show. Like a lot of young actors, she went to a lot of auditions; sometimes she was going to 17 different auditions per month. The result was sometimes 17 rejections per month, and the constant disappointment led her to rethink her career over and over again.

"I would go through slumps, and I would be depressed," she told reporters. "And I would also think about, ‘Do I want this as a career?  Is this my future?’"

Eventually, she changed her strategy and started focusing more on small or independent projects that let her practice her craft without the pressure of constant tryouts. 

That strategy paid off for Park.

After a few years of doing shorts and indies, she finally broke through into mainstream film. The South Korean entertainment industry is enormous, with Korean audiences spending over a trillion dollars per year going to the movies. Park worked in films and television that were big hits in her home country and even got recognition at international film festivals like Cannes. However, Korean cinema hadn't broken through in America in a big way until Parasite.

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Park So-Dam was part of an Oscar-winning ensemble. 

Parasite, a dark comedy about class inequality in South Korea, collected awards last spring like people in the 90s collected Beanie Babies. It won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and it was the first foreign-language film ever to do so. The movie also won Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Blue Dragon Awards, and numerous others. While Park didn't win any individual statuettes, the film overall collected more than 200 awards from around the world. 

Park stars in Netflix's in Record of Youth.

After helping create a mainstream American market for South Korean film, Park is ready to satisfy the demand for more. On Sept. 7, Netflix will be releasing Record of Youth, starring Park, Byun Woo-Seok, and Park Bo-Gum. The show deals with young people making their living in the fashion and modeling industry and it promises to deliver on drama and romance, as well as spectacular fashion.  

But be prepared: this is a foreign language series, so non-Korean-speakers will have to rely on subtitles. 

 What's next for Park So-Dam?

Park hasn't talked about what her next project will be, but she did say that it will be acting, not something on the other side of the camera. She said watching legendary Korea director Bong Joon-Ho on Parasite made her realize that's not where she's headed next.

"I realise that I am never going to be capable of becoming a director," she told reporters. "For someone to have all these different moving parts, and to have that vision, and to have that all in his head; I don’t think that I would even dare to even attempt at becoming the director.  I don’t think I’m cut out for that."

Record of Youth will be available on September 7, 2020 on Netflix. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

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