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Buffalo Grove grad acting on her career passion

Published: January 21, 2022

In 2021, Rachel Kim’s career took a big leap forward—so to speak.

Kim is a professional actor and dancer, and a 2014 graduate of Buffalo Grove High School, who made her network television debut in September on Fox’s comedy “The Big Leap.” She played Miriam, one of the amateur dancers who enter a reality show competition to cast a modern production of “Swan Lake.”

At Buffalo Grove, Rachel was a member of the BGHS orchestra and Orchesis dance group. After high school, she spent some time at college and working in the L.A. area. She initially focused on sociology classes and on dance, but says that after moving to L.A., “The four words ‘I want to act’ was something I kept saying to myself, and it drove me crazy. I knew if I didn’t try it, I would regret it,” she says.

She moved back home in 2019 to focus on her acting, and in those two years has been taking classes, and acting in independent films, online and in-person plays—and on “The Big Leap.”

“The Big Leap” received a strong positive response from both viewers and critics. There has been no announcement about a second season, although there has been a groundswell of fan support on the internet. In the meantime, if you missed the original airings, you can watch all 11 episodes of the first season on Hulu.

Rachel took time recently to chat about her career.

Q: How did you land the role on “The Big Leap”?

Rachel Kim: When I auditioned for “The Big Leap,” it wasn't for the role of Miriam, it was to be a dancer. At the time of the audition, in early 2020, mentally I had put dance aside and put acting first. I only went to the open-call dance audition because Christopher Scott was the choreographer, a dancer I really looked up to in middle/high school… It was sometime in November 2020 I was notified that I booked the role of one of the "Top 40 Dancers" for the pilot. A few days before filming, I was told that I needed to be fitted for a police uniform [for a character called Meter Maid]. Once the show got picked up I was notified that I was gonna be working on the first season as a dancer, which I was ecstatic about. But a day or two after that, I was invited to the table read for episode two. A few hours later, I received the script and saw the Meter Maid character had been changed to Miriam and there were lines added.

Q: How would you describe your character, Miriam?

Rachel: Miriam is a quirky, driven, confident and funny person. When she wants something, she will do whatever she can to make it happen. You can tell how quirky she is by the fits she wears. A handful of the shirts are fun and have some kind of cartoon on them. She is so random and I love it! From the first episode to the season finale, Miriam was always up to something.

Q: What are your next career steps?

Rachel: I'm just focusing on becoming a better and strong actor. I still consider myself a green actor, so the current plan is to take classes and keep growing… In a short and simple sentence, the ultimate goal for me is to live life doing what I love to do with the people I love.

Q: Do you have any words of encouragement for aspiring dancers and actors like yourself?

Rachel: For those who are passionate about your craft, whatever your craft may be, just keep going at it and enjoy it. Trust the process and stay curious because that will keep moving you forward.