Rookie actress Park So Dam has had a busy year, appearing in two major films and the mini-drama “Because It’s the First Time.” In her latest film, “The Priests,” she plays a high school student possessed by an evil spirit and shows off acting chops far beyond her rookie status.
“To other people, it looks like I’ve had nothing but luck this year because I was attached to a big film release,” Park So Dam said in a recent interview. “But in truth, there were a lot more auditions I failed. During this past year, I auditioned for all the roles that I could possibly play at my age. Every time I didn’t make it, I got depressed. Then I got cast in ‘Veteran.’ It was a really small part, but I was happy that I got to act at all.”
She was hand-picked by the director, Ryu Seung Wan, for the role. “The director told me, ‘I want to use your unique appearance to your advantage and create an appealing image for you.’ I was really grateful to him.”
The director for “Sado” was similarly favorably impressed by her unique looks. Unlike many other actresses in her field, Park So Dam has no double eyelids (monolids) and is often compared to fellow actress Kim Go Eun. “I have small, button-like eyes and my face could look plain to a lot of people. I’m just thankful that directors and audiences seem to like it,” Park So Dam said.
The young actress was first attracted to acting after seeing the musical “Grease” when she was 18 (she is currently 24). “I was really lucky to get into the Korea National University of Arts right away, but I never dreamed of appearing in films or dramas. When I applied, actresses were expected to have large eyes and faces that automatically made people think, ‘she’s pretty.’ So I dreamed of being a stage or musical actor because I didn’t have the confidence to appear onscreen.”
However, like the directors, the university was attracted to her individuality. “The film department contacted me after seeing my graduation picture. They said they didn’t only want those kinds of faces, but many different types of characters.”
On her own opinion about her face, she said, “After I started acting, I didn’t think that I liked my face because it was pretty, but because it was unique. I can at least confidently say that no one can copy my face, even with plastic surgery. Also, people are telling me that my eyes look bigger now that I lost some weight.”
The actress has no plans for plastic surgery in the future. “More than anything else, I don’t want to be limited by my looks. Rather than my looks, I will work hard to become an actor that is cast based on talent.”