Grace Park: Profile

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Since she made a noticed appearance at The Korea Society’s midtown auditorium in May of 2007, now is an opportune time to present a brief profile of rising star Grace Park.

A Canadian-American actress of Korean descent, Grace Park was born on March 14th 1974 in Los Angeles. She is most widely known for portraying the multiple incarnations of Sharon Valerii/Athena Agathon/Cylon #8 in the popular sci-fi TV show Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009). Her family moved to Canada when she was an infant. She graduated from Magee Secondary School, and studied psychology and Spanish. She speaks Korean, as well as some French (I’d certainly like to hear that) and a bit of Cantonese. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, real estate developer Phil Kim, whom she married in 2004.

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Grace Park’s acting career started with a small part in the action flick Romeo Must Die (2000), starring Jet Li and the late Aaliyah. Shortly after, she was cast in a more substantial role as Shannon Ng in the popular Canadian (CBC) teenage soap series Edgemont, which aired from 2001 to 2005. The series looked into the lives of fictious high school students at McKinley High School and the everyday struggles (ranging from love and jealousy to social issues like homosexuality and racism) of teenagers. The show (a tremendous success in a few countries, like France) featured Kristin Kreuk, who went on to land the much bigger part of Superman’s first love interest, Lana Lang, in Smallville.

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In 2001, she appeared in The Immortal, hardly the most glorious piece of TV fiction. Featuring Lorenzo Lamas, this unspeakably bad rip-off of the Highlander franchise features the Korean-Canadian actress as the recurring character Mikiko. Predictably, the series was a flop. She then made a few shorts stints on the sets of Dark Angel, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits, and the telefilm L.A. Law: The Movie (2002) With the Sci Fi Chanel’s Battlestar Galactica, based upon the 1978 movie and subsequent television series of the same title, her career was pushed up to a whole new level with her interpretation of the multi-faceted character of Sharon “Boomer” Valerii. One of the best-written and most compelling shows of the past few years, Battlestar Galactica narrates the space exodus of humankind’s few survivors after their planets-colonies were nuked out of existence by the Cylons, a line of übermensch-ey robots, and the quest of both parties for a mythical Earth. Grace Park’s character(s) stands somewhere between the few surviving humans and their monotheistic, cyborg creatures.

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The actress was not only noted for her Thespian skills, but also her physique (her spread was beautifully shot by the expert camera of Antoine Verglas for Maxim). She was named #93 in Maxim Online’s 2006 hot list.

In 2007, Grace Park starred as Lila Lee, in Michael Kang’s second feature, West 32nd, a crime drama dealing with New York’s Korean underworld.

She also appeared as Lt. Sandra Telfair in the RTS (real-time strategy) videogame, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (published by Electronic Arts), along with her Battlestar Galactica co-star, Tricia Helfer.


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