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Mistresses – Yunjin Kim gets into the scandalous lives of a sassy group

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Mistresses, 1.01 Yunjin Kim and John Schneider
Mistresses, 1.01 "Pilot" - Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim) and Thomas Grey (John Schneider) ©2013 ABC, photo by Danny Field
Mistresses, 1.01 - Yunjin Kim and John Schneider
Mistresses, 1.01 “Pilot” – Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim) and Thomas Grey (John Schneider) ©2013 ABC

Korean actress Yunjin Kim became internationally known for her role as Sun on the landmark TV series Lost. She is now starring alongside of Alyssa Milano in the US version of the UK drama Mistresses, which premieres on ABC on June 3rd.

Mistresses is a provocative and thrilling drama about the scandalous lives of a sexy and sassy group of four girlfriends. Yunjin portrays Karen Rhodes, a therapist reconnecting with her three girlfriends after her involvement in a complicated relationship with a wealthy, married man.

Yunjin spoke about the new series, and her memories of Lost, at the TV Critics tour.

Had you seen the British version before you signed onto this?

Mistresses, 1.01 - Yunjin Kim
Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim) ©2013 ABC

I saw the very first episode the day before my audition. I wanted to get a general feel of what the show was about. As soon as I got cast, I went back and finished the other five episodes, which was the entire Season 1.

It was so good I literally had to tear myself away from going on to Season 2, because I knew the producers were going to deviate from the BBC version and make it our own, and I didn’t want to have a preconceived idea of what the show was going to be.

What was it like going from the tropics of Hawaii in Lost to great clothes and cool sets in Los Angeles for this?

Mistresses, 1.01 - Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes, Alyssa Milano and Jes Macallan
Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim), April Malloy (Rochelle Aytes), Savannah Davis (Alyssa Milano) and Josslyn (Jes Macallan) ©2013 ABC

Being a girl, I like hair and makeup. After Mistresses airs, I’d like to be recognized when I actually look good, not in supermarkets with no makeup whatsoever, wearing flip flops.

It’s a very different kind of show than Lost. To do a show about amazing friends that I can understand, relate to and sympathize with is great. Wardrobe and makeup-wise, this show is more fun.

Do you believe in the show’s tag line, ‘You can’t help who you fall in love with?’

Mistresses, 1.01 - Yunjin Kim
Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim) ©2013 ABC

I do believe in that, and I have to believe in it because the character that I play, Karen Kim, is the mistress of the show. The other women aren’t really. As soon as you meet her she’s already been a mistress and she loses the love of her life.

That’s what the story is, so I really did cling to it when I first came onto this project, because you do ask yourself moral questions. [You can’t think], ‘Oh my God I’m playing an awful character.’ You really have to understand the psychology of your character.

How does doing this series compare to Lost?

Mistresses, 1.01 - Yunjin Kim and Rochelle Aytes
Karen Rhodes (Yunjin Kim) and April Malloy (Rochelle Aytes) ©2013 ABC

It’s refreshing to get scripts through e mails, something that was never done on Lost. It was a real project to get a script with my name written on it. It was crazy. There are no missing pages or polar bears, or a hatch. It’s refreshing to do a show where it’s about the simplicity of life, love, relationships and friendships.

This is an ensemble, but certainly not the ensemble that you had with Lost. Do you have to work a lot harder with this show than with Lost?

The working schedule is a little more intense than Lost, but then again we had a lot group scenes in Lost, so you had to be there on set whether you were on camera or not. But as far as having to memorize more lines, and in English not in Korean, there’s a huge difference.

There was a lot of controversy about the final season of Lost. What did Yujin think of the last episode? Click here to listen to her answer.

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