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Actor You Need to Know: Kim Taeri

The repertoire of this incredible South Korean actress exemplifies her extraordinary acting abilities

Debashree Dutta Apr 13, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of tvN

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Kim Taeri began her acting career in 2012 on the stage. She worked in a variety of plays, theatrical performances, ad campaigns, and other modeling assignments until 2016, when she made her feature film debut in Park Chanwook’s erotic psychological thriller The Handmaiden, where, with the help of a pickpocket (Kim), a con man (Ha Jungwoo) devises a scheme to beguile and entrap a Japanese woman (Kim Minhee) for her riches.

The Handmaiden was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and won the 71st British Academy Film Awards for Best Film Not in the English Language. It also put the rookie actress in the spotlight. She won accolades four times in a row at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, Director’s Cut Awards, Buil Film Awards, and Busan Film Critics Awards. Needless to say, her status as a South Korean actor was cemented overnight. Subsequently, she was cast in the political thriller 1987: When the Day Comes in 2017 (based on the true story of the June Democratic Uprising in Korea) and bagged the best actress nomination at the Grand Bell Awards for her phenomenal portrayal as Yeon Hee, a college student.

In the same year, Kim gave more award-winning performances. She became the point of discussion after starring in Little Forest, a drama based on a manga series of the same name by Daisuke Igarashi. Kim played Hye Won, who, failing to pass the national qualification exam to become a teacher, leaves her part-time job in Seoul to return to the hamlet where she was raised. According to The Korea Herald, the film “shows us that maybe letting go can give us exactly what we’ve wanted,” and Kim’s portrayal of this philosophy in the movie was outstanding.

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Following this, she made her television debut alongside Lee Byunghun in Mr. Sunshine. The series, about activists fighting for Korea’s independence, is one of the highest-rated dramas in Korean cable television history, and Kim’s performance as Go Aeshin, a member of the Righteous Army, earned her a nomination for the prestigious Baeksang Arts Award for Best Actress.

2021’s space western film Space Sweepers, directed by Jo Sunghee, saw Kim as Captain Jang Hyunsook, a former Special Forces Squad commander who quit her job to build her pirate organization. She shared screen space with other notable actors, including Hallyu star Song Joongki. The Netflix original gained great reviews for its interstellar characters and also because of the diversity of its protagonists.

As Na Heedo in the recent superhit coming-of-age romance drama Twenty Five-Twenty One, the 31-year-old actress has intrigued everyone yet again. The series marks her comeback to television after three years. Kim is shown as a member of her high-school fencing squad. The adolescent fencer pursues big ambitions at a time when dreams seem far-fetched and comes across a diligent young man (Nam Joohyuk) who is trying to restore his future. Both actors have received a warm reception in tandem with the series which has also been labeled as one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history, elevating Kim’s reputation as the ‘Nation’s First Love.’

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