Catherine H. Kim

Catherine H. Kim plays Special Agent Emily Ryder on CBS’ TV show, “FBI.”  She talks about her role and what sustainability means to her.


What are you currently working on?

Well, currently, I’m finding creative ways to learn and grow and stay connected to my people during this pandemic. Otherwise, I play Special Agent Emily Ryder on CBS’ TV show, “FBI.” It’s the most challenging role I’ve played to date, doing overnight shoots in 3 degree weather, long hours, sprinting after fake bad guys, and technical camera work. It has also been humbling: I am honored to play an Asian American female FBI agent battling it out out there with the SWAT boys, tackling people, issuing commands, interviewing suspects and keeping people safe. I hope my performance does real FBI badass women a little justice. And I hope little girls grow up knowing they can do anything they want to.

How did you get into acting?  Did you always dream of becoming an actress?

Pretty much. I was very shy growing up. My grandpa always played music around the house. I sang a little bit here and there in the neighborhood, at church, etc.  My mom dreamed of being an actress when she was little. Maybe it's in my bones. In fourth grade, everyone wanted to be the princess in the school play. I was too shy to audition for it, but my teachers gave me the part anyway; they said whenever I did speak up, I lit up and was quite animated. That’s true. Still am. Very animated. Acting made me feel seen, especially when my immigrant parents were always working and not home.  People and stories started fascinating me. I think everyone has a story to share if we just listen.

What does "sustainability" mean to you?

Sustainability means giving back, not just taking. So that we can continue to have things in our lifetime and also leave things for our children and theirs. It starts with the little things like recycling, how much water we use; walking and public transit. All these actions add up. How awesome that Katla brings us fashionable pieces that are also socially conscious -- from the fabric used to the way it’s manufactured and recycled back. I love it!

Describe a perfect day for you?

April 25th. Just kidding. Couldn’t help it.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Reading people’s minds. The world would be a better place if we all had all the information, so we knew how to act. My boyfriend and I would definitely get into less fights!  You know what they say about assuming.

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

I constantly remind myself of what I have. It’s so easy to think about what’s next, what’s new, what’s better. I’m learning to be content, not to be complacent. What the world is going through right now with the Coronavirus crisis, it reminds me of what's actually important. For me, it’s my people. My family. My good friends. The people who make victories that much sweeter and heartbreaks a little more bearable.  

What woman inspires you and why?

My mom. We butted heads a lot while I was growing up. She didn’t fit into the box of what a strong, outspoken American woman looks like. She showed me that strength comes in all shapes and sizes. She taught me what patience, integrity, and self-awareness look like.

What are some of your favorite travel destinations?

All the places I haven’t been to yet! But if I had to name a few favorite memories they include the majesty of Zion, the food of Mexico City, the intricate little towns of Puglia, the jungles of Costa Rica, my parents' childhood memories of Korea, dancing until the sun came up in Mykonos and the nomads I met in Thailand. I could go on and on.  

What are some of your travel essentials?

A good pair of walking shoes and an empty stomach.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 

Susan Ahn. She was the first Asian American woman in the US Navy. She enlisted when Pearl Harbor was attacked. She was a fierce gunnery officer, teaching the boys how to shoot. This was in the '40s mind you. She married her love in the only place they were allowed to at that time, a navy chapel in DC. He was Irish-American, and inter-racial marriages weren’t allowed yet.  She went on to become a lieutenant and then work for the NSA and Dept of Defense.  

What are your three favorite Katla items?

Right now, all I’m wearing are sweats. I love the cozy, oversized Butter hoodie. The workout leggings are very flattering -- they make me feel cute even while I’m lounging around. The first date night I get to have outside of my home again, I’ll definitely be wearing the slip dress with some booties and a cute jacket. It’s so flattering and the material feels amazing. I can’t believe it’s not silk.