It’s safe to say that Twenty Five, Twenty One is slowly becoming one of our favorite coming-of-age series and a huge reason for that is Kim Tae Ri's portrayal of the incredibly determined Na Hee Do. This drama, which also stars Nam Joo Hyuk as Baek Yi Jin, is the actress' first K-drama since her small-screen debut in Mr. Sunshine. ICYDK, the show became one of the highest-rated series in Korean cable television history, and Tae Ri earned a nomination for Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards for her outstanding performance.
When asked about what drew her to Twenty Five, Twenty One, she said, "The script was so fun. There are a lot of thriller genre [dramas] these days, and amidst all of those, this was a beautiful, heart-fluttering, and uplifting story. Hee Do is incredibly bright and energetic. I liked that she was a type of character I hadn't played yet." Keep reading to learn more about Kim Tae Ri’s past work, hobbies, and passions.
Below are a few facts about Kim Tae Ri you probably didn't know:
Kim Tae Ri was born on April 24, 1990.
Which makes her a Taurus! When it comes to work, they can seem chill and low-key, but it's not because they don’t care about their careers. A Taurus is "slow and deliberate rather than haphazard and hurried," which aligns with how the actress approaches her work. In a 2020 interview with Vogue Korea, she revealed that the bravest thing she's ever done is to be the one who selects all her projects: "Since I've continued to act in roles undeserving to someone of my ability, the choice in itself required a lot of courage. While completing the projects, I continued to grow weak, but I've been that much more courageous, too. I want to become a flexible actress. An actress who is not confined."
She joined a theater club in college and fell in love with acting.
Kim Tae Ri studied Journalism and Communication at Kyung Hee University from 2008 to 2012. She was a part of the theater club—specifically the tech crew. Eventually, she acted in a few plays before starring in the short film, Moon Young, which debuted at the Seoul Independent Film Festival in 2015. By then, she had already joined J-Wide Company and appeared in commercials and short films; Tae Ri auditioned for several film roles and endured a lot of rejection.CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓watch now
In 2016, Tae Ri got her big break after being chosen to star in Park Chan Wook's The Handmaiden; this was no easy feat as it's been reported that 1,500 actresses auditioned for the role! She won multiple awards for her portrayal of Sook Hee: Best New Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, Director's Cut Awards, Buil Film Awards, and Busan Film Critics Awards.
People were equally impressed with her work in the Korean film adaptation of Little Forest, a popular manga series. That same year, she wowed the audience in Mr. Sunshine and took a much-needed break. Tae Ri went to the UK and learned English before working alongside Song Joong Ki in the first Korean space blockbuster Space Sweepers.ADVERTISMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓
In 2021, she left J-Wide Company when her contract expired and moved to Management MMM. (Fun fact: This agency also houses Jeon Yeo Been!)
She worked part-time while she was still in school.
Like Na Hee Do, Tae Ri has a lot of stories from her school days. The cast of Twenty Five, Twenty One spoke about their past experiences while filming a behind-the-scenes video for the drama. When asked about what they did for fun after school, Tae Ri said that she had a part-time job where she made hamburgers! Even then, she was hardworking, huhu. The actress also said that she was a part of the cross-stitching club in middle school.
Kim Tae Ri took up fencing for Twenty Five, Twenty One!
And she learned from a gold medalist. Wow! Tae Ri began training five to six months before filming. She recalled, "Fencing is a cool sport that also makes you miserable. Since I do everything with my heart and soul like Hee Do, I spent five months laughing and crying because of fencing. Bona and I learned from the same teacher, and I got angry because I kept losing, so I did a lot of research. I wrote a diary every day. That diary was then actually used as Hee Do’s diary in the drama, as a prop."
Her new hobby is birdwatching.
Can you believe it? In a 2021 interview with ELLE Korea, she shared, "In the past, I didn't know there were so many birds in Seoul. Now, when I hear the sound of birds, I look around first. Small happiness has been added to my daily life."
During quarantine, Kim Tae Ri recorded an audiobook.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the rising star launched Kim Tae Ri’s Recovery Book, an audiobook with clips of Tae Ri reading classic literature. Among them are Albert Camus' Stranger, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea, and George Orwell's 1984. She told Vogue Korea, "Once in a theater production, I played a character who was visually impaired. During that time, I volunteered at community centers for the visually impaired recording myself reading. It was a good memory and something I've always wanted to do. Just when I was thinking that it was something I'd be able to do consistently, I was given this opportunity."ADVERTISMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓
She is a cat person!
In between acting and attending photoshoots, Tae Ri spends some quality time with her babies—three cats, to be specific. During an interview for Dazed, she lovingly described living with cats as seeing fur as air, haha! "It’s fine for me to live with them because my bronchial tubes are fine, but if yours are not, then you should think carefully [about getting cats]."
Omo, she is an ARMY.
Back in 2019, Tae Ri revealed that she’s a BTS fan: "I like seeing myself being a fangirl. When I'm watching BTS clips on my smartphone, sometimes my face reflects on the black screen. I realize that without even being aware, I have a really delighted expression on my face. To be honest, it's my first time 'fangirling' since I became an adult and I really like the time where I can just enjoy something.” We can totally relate to this!
Our girl supported the #MeToo movement.
In a 2018 interview on JTBC's Newsroom, Tae Ri was asked about her support for the movement, to which she responded, 'I think I felt more of those feelings because I know all too well about the perpetrators' social positions and that their power is too great. I do not dare assume that I know how much pain the victims feel. However, I know the horrible structure that would make me also have to be silent if I were in that situation, which is why I said that." She called the movement a "miracle" and hoped that it didn't just end in apologies but actual changes in the system.
Consider us die-hard fans from now on.
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