Photos c/o Kelly Dlux
Michelle Kim is an actress and photographer based in Southern California. She studied literary journalism at the University of California, Irvine and started her photography business in 2009. She shoots weddings and portraits with her husband Kelly McCoy. You can catch Michelle in recent episodes of “Ray Donovan,” “The Last Ship,” “Shameless” and “The Gifted.”
As a child i dreamed of becoming
A Spice Girl! I told my mom I needed her to move back to Korea when I went to high school because I thought she was going to force me to be a doctor or a lawyer. I needed her to leave the country so I could pursue my dream of becoming a performer.
The last photo I took on my phone
A group photo from a viewing party my friend hosted for me when my episode of “The Gifted” aired on FOX
My guilty pleasure
Watermelon sour patch and Eggo waffles
One thing people might be surprised to learn about me
I’m an introvert and a total home-body. I’m very bubbly and outgoing in public since my jobs as an actress, photographer and a pastor’s wife revolve around people, but I actually LOVE being home and recharging by being alone.
My favorite way to unwind
I go to the Korean spa at least once a month and get full body scrub massages. I love losing track of time as I dip from pool to pool and fall asleep in the hot clay rooms.
My real life hero is
My husband, Kelly. He has overcome some crazy obstacles in his life that, if not for God’s grace and protection, would have led him into a very destructive future. Kelly is the most resilient human I know. He is positive and encouraging in all circumstances, quick to forgive and errs the side of thinking the best about others. I can confidently say that Kelly practices what he preaches (literally) and I am a better woman because of him.
What I love about my work
Every day is different. I wear many hats but all these roles ebb and flow seasonally, so I’m rarely swamped with all of it at the same time. When acting is slow, I always have our businesses and our ministry to keep me productive.
The hardest thing about my work
Balancing auditions with running a business and still remaining resilient. As an actress, it’s hard to prepare for a role you’re not guaranteed to get, and auditioning can feel like dating and getting broken up with over and over again. I’m still learning how to deal with rejection and disappointment without personally identifying with it. It is so important for me to have a full life outside of acting. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself when you’ve got clients to tend, young people to mentor and a husband to support.
How I got started with my current career
I acted when I was younger and took a break to go to college. I discovered photography and decided to pursue photojournalism. People started asking if I could photograph their weddings, families, kids, etc. It kind of snowballed into a professional photography business that ended up revolving around fashion, portraits and weddings (Michelle Kim Photography). By the time I graduated, I was shooting full-time. I feel very lucky to have had the luxury of being self-employed.
However, photography never fulfilled me creatively. I felt like I was settling. I always knew I wanted to act but thought I missed my window. Then I realized that God gives us desires that are uniquely tailored for us. We can honor Him with our desires and pursue them with an open hand.
I decided to put my focus on acting by going back to class and seeking representation. Two years later, I am acting full-time and doing photography part-time; I only take photo jobs that are flexible enough to accommodate my very unpredictable acting schedule. I also run my husband’s DJ entertainment business, Dlux Entertainment, and support him as the pastor’s wife of our college and young adult group, Rocky Peak Young Adults (RPYA).
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was starting out
As a photographer, sacrificing quality vacation to work. I would try to schedule shoots while I was on vacation to be able to market myself as a travel photographer but all it did was stress me (and my husband) out, depriving us of true rest and enjoyment.
As an actress I’m still starting out, but the dumbest thing I did was to get into acting without involving my husband in the process. I had all these dreams but didn’t think to share them with him, so he was blindsided when I told him I was going to pursue acting full-time. He is my #1 fan and is fully on board, but it was foolish to think I could do whatever I wanted, independent of my spouse, and have it not affect our marriage. We’ve both learned from that, and now we make decisions together and let one another speak into each other’s careers because we trust that we have each other’s back.
I used to think success meant
Flying first class, not having to look at the price tag before making a purchase and getting to choose the jobs you want to take rather than taking whatever you can get.
My current definition of success
Investing in authentic relationships and believing that I always have enough to be generous and enjoy what this life has to offer… also, having the freedom and security to NOT have to take a job if it doesn’t line up with my values or priorities.as the pastor’s wife of our college and young adult group, Rocky Peak Young Adults (RPYA).
An example of when I had to push through my insecurities
My first time sharing at our young adult group. Kelly asked me to join him in the Q&A on some really tough issues such as depression and suicide. I felt compelled to share my personal experience of a very dark time in my life and how I pushed through. I don’t consider myself a polished speaker and felt so self-conscious after I shared because I stumbled through my words. Afterwards I realized that the point is to help others, not to feel good about myself. I also reminded myself that no one is thinking about my flaws because everyone is too consumed with their own issues!