Originally conceived as the spin-off series of the beloved To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, XO, Kitty made an impressive debut, landing at #2 on Netflix's English TV List with 72.1 million hours viewed and securing a place in the Top 10 in 90 countries during its first week. Following Lara Jean's younger sister, Kitty Song's (Anna Cathcart) journey as a newcomer to a boarding school back in Korea, the teenage rom-com is an exciting dive into an exploration of love and sexuality while embracing the growing K culture.
Kim plays the role of Yuri, the popular 'it' girl of the school who grapples with her queer identity under her conservative Korean family, but ends up as the leading love interest with Kitty. Yuri is a character filled with depth, inner conflict, and a continuous exploration of self, mirroring the journey of self-discovery that Kim and many of us embark upon.
As we celebrate the renewal of Netflix's hit series for a second season, actress Gia Kim kindly shares her personal connection to the character Yuri and her gratitude for the overwhelming support the series has received.
1. How would you describe your relationship with acting and the entertainment industry?
Acting is both healing and explorative for me. It always teaches me something about myself and humans in general. It’s a very anthropological process as our job requires us to study human behavior, how and why we think and feel certain ways, and to put ourselves in the shoes of others. I love my job because it requires as well as cultivates empathy. And nothing’s more rewarding than knowing my work can impact people at a soul level.
2. Congratulations on the huge success with XO, Kitty! What do you think makes this show beloved by so many?
Thank you! The response the show’s gotten is beyond what I could’ve imagined. I tried not to have any expectations. So it’s all been a very pleasant surprise. I think the fact that the story takes place in high school and that it’s about love is what makes it universally relatable. At first glance, it might seem like a show just for kids, but there really is something for everyone. The characters are so diverse in their representation of sexuality, gender, and age. And also, everyone needs and wants love. And that’s what the show is about. All the different journeys the characters go through are very specific, which makes them very universal. So I think that’s why so many people loved the show.
"I love my job because it requires as well as cultivates empathy. And nothing’s more rewarding than knowing my work can impact people at a soul level."
- Actress Gia Kim
3. Your role, Yuri, is a character with quite an intimate and complex story. How would you describe Yuri as a person and how was your experience playing her?
To me, she’s the type of person who says, “I’m fine (but really I’m not).” I learned so much from her, from the way she demands space and attention when she walks into a room to the way she fends for herself and others. She’s a certifiable “bad bitch.” But when it comes to matters of the heart, she’s just a scared and fragile little 16-year-old. She is a girl who’s unhappy most of the time, either because she has to pretend to be something she’s not, or she’s trying to put up a hard cover so she doesn’t get hurt. Her love for Juliana is the one thing in her life that makes her truly happy and makes her feel like her true self, which is why her journey in season 1 was so important for her. I absolutely loved playing Yuri and going through this journey with her because this is everyone’s journey including my own. It was a very reflective and rewarding process. I’m truly honored to have portrayed Yuri.
4. Along with your brother, SangHeon Lee, this is also your debut in Netflix’s series! Looking back, how has this whole process been?
It’s been a roller coaster!! - in the most amazing way. I still can’t believe everything that’s happened has happened. It’s just such a big blessing for me, my brother, and our whole family. I can’t put it any other way - I feel immensely blessed. And I’d like to think I’ve learned and grown a lot from the process as well.
5. Can you share with us some memorable or funny moments on set with the cast of XO, Kitty?
Honestly, it was always fun to be on set. I can’t think of a day on set when we weren’t laughing or having fun. Everyone’s a joy to be around, in front of or behind the camera. I loved when we were all on set as a whole cast ensemble because those were more rare to come by. As hectic as those days were, they were also the most memorable.
"All the different journeys the characters go through are very specific, which makes them very universal. So I think that’s why so many people loved the show."
- Actress Gia Kim
6. Can you share with us any exciting projects you’re working on in the coming months?
For now, I’m taking dance and music classes for my personal development. I’m hoping I can make use of my other skillsets for future projects. There is no specific project yet, but hoping to shoot some films this year before we get to season 2.