Premiering on June 18, 2021, Netflix’s first Korean sitcom, So Not Worth It (2021) revitalized the sitcom genre that’s been missing in Korean media for a while now. The show follows eight vibrant college students living in international student dorms and the hilarious hijinks they find themselves in. With a bit of heart and a whole lot of “Seoul,” it introduces the multi-cultural hubbub Korea has now become. What better way to get to know the show than through their very own multicultural rising talent: Carson Allen, Terris Brown, and Joakim Sorensen? EnVi had the pleasure of sitting down with the cast members to discuss the sitcom, what acting is to them, and their future plans.
Who are Carson Allen, Terris Brown, and Joakim Sorensen?
You might know the three actors best for their main roles as the commanding Carson, sly Terris, and quirky Hans in So Not Worth It. Carson’s character—of the same name—is the big sister architecture student of the dorms with an enthusiastic appetite for Korean food. Although she seems tough on the surface, she has a soft spot for her friends in need—always quick to share wise words of advice to her fellow dorm mates.
Comparably the actress’s story abroad started quite early—with her most formative years spent going to school in South Korea. Her blue eyes sparkle as she smiles to herself alongside her castmates, telling EnVi it was only natural for her to enter the Korean film industry. “I already had this dream of being an actor and was kinda influenced by watching so many K-Dramas and K-Movies. I kept seeing myself wanting—Oh! I would love to be in a drama like that, Oh! I could play a character like that!”
She notes especially that, “it would’ve been disappointing to not be able to use this language I already had.” Even through the Zoom call she’s glowing, effortlessly dressed in a sleek blazer and comfy jeans. Combined with her knack for acting she’s racked up quite a resume, appearing in a wide range of hit Korean dramas including The K2 (2016) and When the Camellia Blooms (2019).
Terris’ character—also of the same name—is the smart mouth Casanova of the international dorms. He’s a not-so-secret player, with an endless stream of girls’ numbers on his phone. However under the know-it-all exterior are complex feelings hidden away, waiting to be resolved.
The actor in real life is much more passionate about culture and the arts, revealing his undergraduate years had allowed him to connect with International Korean students, becoming entranced with their culture, particularly Korean dramas. “They would always watch Korean dramas or cook Korean food and I just became so entranced with what they were doing. I need to know what they’re saying!”
As a child he grew up involved in theatre, ultimately leading him to pursue acting as a career. Under his belt, Terris also has quite the soulful voice. EnVi can attest for his smooth vocals after he shyly serenaded us with Beyoncé’s “Halo” as Carson and Joakim grooved alongside him. “I like listening to music, I like thinking of melodies, it’s just something I like to do for me, for my own, me time.” He further notes, “I love them both (acting and music), I don’t think I could give either up.” Hoping to bridge the two loves of his life in the future, he eagerly expressed that he would “love to record OST soundtrack songs.”
Joakim shares that he was able to relate to his eccentric character, Hans since he also got to live in the international dorms in Korea. As he excitedly recounts his time there, he unknowingly describes the sitcom perfectly. “Everyone was from a different country, but no one cared and we all spoke in Korean and there were crazy episodes every other day.” Hans is described as a stickler for the rules who tends to go overboard in disregard of situations and his friend’s feelings. Through the course of the show he begins to realize the cost that comes with acting so selfishly all the time.
Although this is his first acting role, Joakim has already proved he’s a multi-talented force to be reckoned with. He’s been mostly involved in variety, opening up that his childhood dream was to be a clown and he had even attended a Swedish circus school. He turned to acting to quench his thirst to express himself beyond variety. He declares that, “the medium doesn’t matter as long as I can make people laugh.”
How did it feel when you found out you’d be on a Netflix program?
“It was kind of surreal,” Carson looks up as she recalls the entire process. “This (auditions) was kind of drawn out for around a month…so by the time I got the call I had built up so much anxiety. I was actually in a Starbucks in public when I got the phone call and I just cried—like ugly Kardashian cried, no shame.”
For her the preparation was difficult since “comedy is something I’ve never tried before.” She notes that, “In sitcom things are greatly exaggerated, so I had to kinda go out of my comfort zone. It’s definitely difficult to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Terris nods in agreement that the waiting and preparation had been the same, also admitting, “I went home and cried” when he found out. He nervously laughs. “I was the last person casted so I had known that they both had gotten the role already, so it was extra painful.” He adds that acting in a different language especially came with its own set of obstacles. “Even though we’re all fluent in Korean, [as foreign actors] sometimes your accent will come out. Or it’ll be more pronounced so you have to work on that, reading it countless times, matching it with the other actors.”
“I didn’t get the call, no one called me to say you got it!”Joakim explains his confusing casting confirmation. He had been anxious, “I went into a reading and was thinking, ‘Oh! I’ve gotta do good today otherwise I won’t get the role.’ But afterwards they told me let’s meet the rest of the cast!”
Not forgetting to take a jab at his co-workers’ reactions, “so yeah, I got the role, I went home AND I cried as well!” He shares more seriously that he wanted to perform well and tried his best in his preparation, “Proper acting was a first for me and to have to do a character was quite a challenge. I put in a lot of work so that the lines seemed natural.”
Do you think SNWI accurately portrayed what it’s like to be a foreigner in Korea?
“I think the point of the show is to not focus on people’s backgrounds. We were all the same,” Terris states. The sitcom had made the unique choice to deviate from the cultural differences between the characters. Carson further explains that, “One of my favorite parts of the show was that we were never referred to as someone’s foreign roommate, girlfriend, boyfriend or classmate; we were just people. It’s really important, especially for the Korean public because we are often emphasized as the word foreign or foreigner which creates this invisible barrier that we are foreign to them.”
Joakim added, “the show seemed like a fantasy that portrays an optimal society” where people can be treated with respect regardless of background.
Terris’s character had one of the greatest transformations in the show, going from a huge player to falling in love with his male friend by the end of the series. He thoughtfully reasons that “I think the reason why Terris was so snappy at some of his friends was that he’s just not comfortable internally. So I hope we’ll be able to explore that side of him more.” He nods seriously that “it’s important to have LGBTQ+ representation like this in Korean media,” which has been historically more conservative.
“Hans the character didn’t really have an emotional journey in this season.” With a teasing note in his voice Joakim continues “I’m not really sure if he even needs one, because he’s perfect as he is in my opinion! But maybe, Hans has a past I think that has made him the way that he is so maybe a backstory as to why Hans acts this way is because he truly is a lovable character.” Carson chimed in that they had theorized the possibility of Hans having a twin brother in season 2 quipping that “one Hans is difficult to handle, imagine if there were TWO – igniting laughter amongst the others.
What does the future have in store for you?
“I know there are a lack of roles and it is COVID-19 so most productions have been slowed down but hopefully once things calm down a bit, I’m willing and ready to go to a whole bunch of auditions,” Terris solemnly explains the current situation in Korea. For now he shares that we can expect to see him in upcoming variety appearances soon and that he’ll continue to practice his acting.
Carson acknowledges that “it’s not odd to me that there’s not an audition for me all the time. I understand that I’m in a market where roles aren’t readily available for someone like me.” She smiles as she explains her positive outlook of bettering herself. “I think of new ways I can prepare myself for possible roles. So that’s how I got into action and stunt choreography and horseback riding; doing all these things that could possibly help me for a role someday.”
With his debut as an actor still fresh, Joakim promises that “to start with I’ll hone my skills and there’s a long way to go so I’ll keep practicing and I reckon I’ll do that in the near future as well!” He cheekily grins as he swears, “But one thing you can expect is for me to stick around! You won’t be rid of me! I will keep trying! I WILL KEEP TRYING!”
Although their origins all differ, their genuine passion for their work has allowed them to surpass the boundaries of language and cultural differences to forge a path for their future. Rather than be hindered by these hurdles, they’ve faced them head on and are continuing to chase their dreams. Hopefully we can see the three actors on screen again soon. Finger’s crossed we get another glimpse into the wacky fun filled utopia So Not Worth It (2021) has introduced us to as well.
You can follow Carson, Terris, and Joakim as they navigate the entertainment industry on their Instagram accounts: @carsonallen, @brownterris, and @yoakim0202! Watch So Not Worth It on Netflix.
Looking for more to watch? Check out our coverage of world-renowned K-drama, Mouse, and its appearance at Series Mania 2021!
Thumbnail courtesy of Laras.