Cover Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk (Photo: Netflix)

The adorable duo spill the details on stepping into their characters’ shoes in a K-drama that’s just a tad more unconventional than most

Starring Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Ji-yeon (Bona of K-pop girl group WJSN), Choi Hyun-wook, and Lee Joo-myung, upcoming Netflix series Twenty Five, Twenty One is set to raise the bar for K-dramas with its squad of talents and unique storytelling. Set in the '90s, during the most difficult period in Korean history, the drama tells the story of youths who grow together in the aftermath of having their hopes and dreams ripped away.

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Against a backdrop of devastation–when South Korea suffered the Asian financial crisis and experienced a seismic change in economy, society, and culture–is a heart-fluttering story of love and friendship.

Kim Tae-ri plays the role of Na Hee-do, a high school fencer whose fencing team was disbanded due to the financial crisis. Hee-do is still full of energy and passion to achieve her dream even though she encounters a lot of hardships. Meanwhile, Nam Joo-hyuk plays the role of Baek Yi-jin, whose family was broken up; as the oldest son, he takes on all responsibilities for his family and becomes a reporter.

Yi-jin and Hee-do first meet at 22 and 18 respectively and eventually fall in love when they get older.

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In reality, Nam, who is known for his excellent acting spectrum and Kim, who has been called ‘an irreplaceable actress’, were born in 1994 and 1998 respectively, which means that they were only children during what is South Korea's worst recession in the postwar era.

When asked what they loved most about working on a drama set in the '90s, Kim revealed: "The part that I loved most about Twenty Five, Twenty One being set in the '90s is, in fact, that the big, overarching theme is first love.

"These days the encounters and relationships have gotten faster and easier in this digitally advanced era. Back then, it was a little more nostalgic and a little purer, I would say," she added.

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Nam revealed: "I think a lot of viewers will travel back in time and reminisce about the past while watching Twenty Five, Twenty One. On set. We had so many different props from the '90s so what I focused on most was making it realistic (in how I used these props). The way that I used these props should look like the person from that period using them. I asked the people around me for tips on how to use them because there were certain props that I’ve never used before."

The '90s also boasted such era-defining fashion trends, from cropped tops paired with baggy pants to pager belt clip holders, to bangs and frosty/pastel eyeshadow. For South Korea, a country that's equally as fashion-forward, the '90s was right around the time when K-pop emerged and the first K-pop idols, Seo Taiji and Boys, led the fashion movement that was still very Western-inspired.

Today, South Korea is the trendsetter, be it clothes or cosmetics, a lot of work went into getting the details just right. Kim revealed: "I had to prepare a lot appearance-wise. I read a lot of magazines from back then and made some references for wardrobe and hairstyles."

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"I did some research through watching video footage, looking at photos, and observing the fashion trends from that era. What I found quite interesting is the fact that fashion is cyclical, and some of our Twenty Five, Twenty One outfits have come back in vogue!" Nam added.

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