Since its premier in 2016, Kim’s Convenience has become an immensely well-loved sitcom. A simple google search of the word “Kim’s” alone suggests the show as a top search option.
Inasmuch as it is light-hearted and humorous, it also manages to tackle the very root of issues relating to migration, identity, and third culture kids. Importantly, it is an authentic representation of what it is like to be an East Asian immigrant (in Canada, at least) — a point which was met with much appreciation from communities that constantly feel misrepresented on Western television.
“Archetypes, not stereotypes”NPR
Unsurprisingly, the cast of Kim’s Convenience has risen to prominence and fans await Season 4 with bated breath. Before we dive into new episodes this January, let’s take a look at the cast performance on Instagram.
1 – Simu Liu | @simuliu | 236.6K Followers
Liu plays Jung on Kim’s Convenience — the older brother who hasn’t exactly walked the ‘conventional Asian’ path of success. His audience growth currently averages 2.41%, which is commendable for a macro influencer. From this chart we can also see how massively his followers have increased in just one year.
The biggest jump occurred in June, when his followers increased by 121%, presumably for two reasons: 1. He announced his impending cinematic portrayal as Shang-Chi in the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), 2. Season 4 was confirmed.
Liu will be the first Asian actor to play the lead in a Marvel Studios film.
Another impressive statistic is his average engagement rate of 10.62%. This is 4% higher than the industry average for macro influencers in Canada, and more than 3 times higher than that for the US. His feed is a mix of well-shot portraits, pictures for the lols, screenshots of important articles, and the occasional song cover. It is then perhaps no wonder that he is able to grow quickly and keep his audience well engaged at the same time.
2 – Andrea Bang | @andrea.bang | 36.9K Followers
Sister to Jung is Janet, who is played by Andrea Bang. The polarising ethnic connotations behind their names has always compelled me, fundamentally because it points towards the immigrants’ dilemma between assimilating or holding on to their culture.
Unlike Liu, Bang isn’t as active on Instagram but nevertheless, her account has witnessed a steady growth in the last year.
She also charts a higher than average engagement rate of 7.98%, despite her inactivity.
What is perhaps interesting to note is the number of Asian countries that are on her Top 10 list.
Singapore ranks 4th, which is rare (we are so small!) for international influencers / celebrities.
3 – Paul Sun-Hyung Lee | @angryappa | 30.2K Followers
We never hear Appa being called anything other than Appa, Mr. Kim, or Yeobo (여보) in the show, but his name is actually Kim Sang-il. Appa embodies the archetype of many East Asian dads, not just the Korean ones, and this is what makes him so relatable.
Majority of Lee’s followers come from the US and Canada, with remarkably more Canadian followers than the previous two cast members.
His Top Performing post last year was a congratulatory post for Simu Liu when he landed the role of Shang-Chi.
This post performed at a 32% engagement rate, which is 5 times higher than Lee’s average, and 6 times higher than the industry average for Canadian nano influencers.
4 – Andrew Phung | @andrewphung | 21.9K Followers
Phung, who is actually of Vietnamese-Chinese descent, plays Kimchee — Jung’s childhood buddy and a Kim family friend. He has also experienced quite a steady follower growth in the last year, which is likely to increase further with the premiere of Season 4.
Like almost everyone else on this list, his audience increased significantly in June.
This picture tells us why. His Top Performing Post of 2019, however, is yet another congratulations for the Shang-Chi to be. If this doesn’t signify how big of a win this is for representation, I don’t know what does.
5 – Nicole Power | @nicolepower3 | 18.3K Followers
Power actually has her background in musical theatre and has performed in Canadian stage productions of West Side Story, Legally Blonde, and Bonnie & Clyde (to name just a few). On Kim’s Convenience she plays Jung & Kimchee’s boss – Shannon Ross.
Of all the cast members listed here, Ross also has one of the highest average engagement rates of 10.69%. It is no surprise to us by now that her Top Performing Post of 2019 was — you guessed it — Shang-Chi related.
Majority of her audience is based in Canada and the US, but we still peep some Asian countries in the mix — a testament to how well this show has captured the culture & experiences.
6 – Jean Yoon | @jeanyoon88 | 6.0K Followers
Last most definitely not the least is Umma, the Kim family matriarch and renowned maker of Galbi-jjim. Judging from her bio, it is likely that her Instagram presence is solely owing to the fact that she stars in a popular TV show.
Her Top Liked and Top Commented Post from 2019 is an adorable lunch date with her co-star Andrea Bang.
Despite only having 6K followers, this post performed at a 25% Engagement Rate, which is more than 6 times the industry average for nano influencers.
Based on the episode titles released by CBC, I suspect that Season 4 will dedicate more screen time and focus to Umma, which might put her ahead of the other cast members when it comes to follower count. For now, however, she is happy being a “regular mom at home”.
We’ll let Simu Liu take his spot on the Instagram wall-of-fame.
Appa’s comical catch phrase has become the show’s tagline and is also a great, subtle way to spotlight representation. It tells immigrant communities “hey, we see you” and signals the creation of larger and more permanent spaces for these narratives to exist in mainstream media. While Netflix has not has not announced an official date for the premiere of Season 4, it is now streaming on CBC.
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