Park Min-young played the role of Kim Mi-so in the hit tvN drama, ‘What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim’. / Photo = Namoo Actors

Marriage? It should happen when you meet a great person and when the time is right. I think a lot of working women would agree with what I’m saying. I still really love working. Don’t I need to find my way in life outside of marriage (laughs)? I don’t want to get married to my work though (laughs). 

As soon as Park Min-young said that, I gushed that she really was like Kim Mi-so. I had the chance to sit and talk with Park Min-young during an interview that was given after What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim – the Wednesday-Thursday tvN drama starring the actress – had wrapped. In Secretary Kim, Park Min-young played the character of Kim Mi-so, who suddenly decides to live life for herself and resign from her position as a secretary to her boss of nine years, Vice Chairman Lee Young-joon of the Yoomyung Group. Kim Mi-so was a character that I wanted to an especially good job with,” Park Min-young revealed.

When I read the script for the first time, I was strangely drawn to Kim Mi-so. I felt a strong sense of purpose; I sincerely wanted to take on the role. A lot of people were concerned about it, but I was confident that if I worked hard enough, people would recognize my efforts. As I was preparing for Secretary Kim throughout the first half of the year, I would think, ‘Just wait for a bit. I’ll show everyone.’” 

Park Min-young said that she never once had any doubts while she was playing the part of Kim Mi-so, a girl who’s much “cooler” than the actress herself. In fact, Park Min-young explained that she decided to take on the role because one of Kim Mi-so’s lines really hit home for her. I want to live life for myself. Neither the life of someone’s secretary, nor the life of a breadwinner, but as Kim Mi-so.” Park Min-young divulged that, just like Kim Mi-so, she had experienced a slump during her 20s when she wondered if the career path she had chosen was indeed right for her.  

Until now, even as I would empathize with the female lead, I would often think, ‘Why is she acting like this?’ But when it came to the decision that Kim Mi-so made, I felt like it was valid. I’ve even been in awe of her and thought, ‘Wow, she speaks so well.’ Kim Mi-so also has this charismatic ability to outclass other people by being feisty and respectful at the same time.  I was so happy while I was playing Kim Mi-so because she’s like an iron fist in a velvet glove.” 

Park Min-young compared ‘What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim’ to a beautiful fairy tale. / Photo = Namoo Actors

Park Min-young said that she did her best to portray her on-screen character in a way that was as similar as possible to the character of Kim Mi-so from the webtoon of the same title, which is what the drama was based on. “Skirts in over 10 different colors were made to look just like the skirts from the work outfits that Kim Mi-so wore in the webtoon. The shoes were all custom made, too,“ she explained. “Since the clothes are extremely uncomfortable, I never thought they would become trendy, but I’ve seen a few people around my neighborhood wearing the ‘Kim Mi-so look,’” she added. Park Min-young even exercised and dieted for four months in order to achieve the “Kim Mi-so look.”

I focused on Kim Mi-so’s quiet charisma when I was acting. Since all of the characters had such distinct personalities, I thought it would be better to hold back a bit rather than try to stand out. It’s like how white stands out when it’s mixed in with colors with different levels of saturation. As a result, the director paid me a compliment and said that it added a sense of weight to the drama. It was interesting how, even though I didn’t stand out more than the other characters,  I could feel a change in Kim Mi-so’s emotions when I would subtly change my facial expressions and speech.

Park Min-young also had plenty of praises to sing for her co-star, Park Seo-jun. “It’s not every day that you see a young actor who can catch on to ad-libs and momentary changes on set and act accordingly like Park Seo-jun does,” she said. She continued, He can precisely identify the key points that would make people’s hearts flutter. He also played a huge role in creating the lovely scenes that are particular to Secretary Kim because he’s an actor who can use his body well.”

The closet kissing scene with Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-jun) was really good, too. It’s a scene where Lee Young-jun had to embarrassingly hide in a closet and was prepared to get mad at Kim Mi-so, but because he loves her so much, he just at her looks lovingly. I liked how it seemed as if Lee Young-jun was stepping into Mi-so’s world instead of pulling her into his own world. We had a kissing scene in each episode starting with the eighth episode, but that one was one of my favorites.”

Park Min-young, who confessed that she still hasn’t gotten over her favorite character of all time, said that she wants to enjoy the afterglow of Secretary Kim.

I haven’t thought about my follow-up project yet. I plan on traveling for about a month and thinking about it slowly. Since I like the feeling of moving forward and not stopping, I kind of want to try an outright comical character. I’ve played a lot of intelligent characters, so I’d like to try playing an idiot who seems to have a few screws loose. I want to build a diverse filmography, whether it be for dramas or movies.”

Park Min-young said that she hopes Secretary Kim remains in people’s minds as a feel-good fairy tale. “The production staff did their best to ensure that the drama’s colors and composition came out pretty like a fairy tale,” she added.

I felt like Kim Mi-so and Lee Young-jun’s wedding scene, where you see the two of them kissing as the curtains open, looked like the final scene of a fairy tale. It felt pure, and yet slightly humorous at the same time, which is exactly like the drama itself. I hope when people are feeling worn out from the daily grind of life they’ll revisit the drama from time to time.”

Translated by Jennifer Earwood