I have been doing some acting and modeling in Brazil, China, Thailand, etc. for some time now. I love acting and I'm planning in going to Korea to get a degree on acting there. How is the acting bussiness for Westerners in Korea? I know that Koreans are a little bit racist towards skin colour and some other things, so I think this could be a barrier for entering the business.
The Working Actor
Dear Working Actor,
Although it is true that Koreans can be racist, that is hardly a barrier for a non-Korean to get into acting. In fact, Korea's racism often helps a non-Korean find an acting/modeling job, provided that the said non-Korean is (or appears to be) white. Especially when it comes to modeling/acting for advertisements, the field is wide open for attractive non-Koreans.
|Of course, whether or not this trend is |
a good thing is a completely separate discussion.
(If you are curious, the two men were Robert Holley and Charm Lee [born as Bernhard Quandt], and the two women were Ida Daussy and .... blanking on the other woman's name. She was older than Daussy. Does anyone remember?)
Of course, it is highly unlikely that a non-Korean will be a top star in Korean acting scene. In all likelihood, a non-Korean actor will be typecast into a minor role. It might be enough to make a living, but stardom is improbable. But there is at least one case where a non-Korean character was cast as a lead for a big-budget Korean drama. Tamra, the Island depicts a story of a British sailor who gets shipwrecked in Jeju island in the 17th century. The role of "William" the sailor was played by Pierre Deporte (also known as Hwang Chan-Bin), a French actor who cannot look more different from Koreans:
|If you really need help, Deporte is the guy on the right.|
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.