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sang heon lee at the \'xo, kitty\' red carpet premiere
sang heon lee at the \'xo, kitty\' red carpet premiere
Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for Netflix
Culture > Entertainment

Sang Heon Lee Wants To Know What Minho Was Thinking On The Plane, Too

On May 18, fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before were delighted to enter the world of XO, Kitty: The spinoff show isn’t your usual teen rom-com and features drama and plot twists around every corner. While the main character Kitty is with her long-term boyfriend Dae at the start of the series, other love interests come her way. This includes the fan-favorite and confident heartthrob Minho, played by the show’s breakout star Sang Heon Lee. “Minho is one of those people [who are] flashy, good-looking, and confident all over — except inside those layers of confidence, there is this vulnerable kid,” Lee shares in an exclusive interview with Her Campus. 

Minho is Q and Dae’s quick-witted, fashionable, and sarcastic best friend. He appears to be living the dream as the son of a world-renowned actress, but he’s struggling, especially because his mother and friends are preoccupied with other things. “Behind this mask, he is very lonely towards his family, friends, or his lovers,” Lee says.

Lee wants Minho to stay loyal to himself while also allowing himself to be more expressive with his feelings. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes … it’s always alright to be vulnerable,” he says of his advice for his character. “Be open with your friends. I think that is your safe space. [Also] choose your battles carefully.”

Fans are eager to learn more about Minho’s fate, especially following the shocking cliffhanger in the first season finale, in which he confesses his feelings for Kitty while on the plane ride back to the United States. Just like fans, Lee wants to learn more about Minho’s choice and the aftermath of the confession. “I didn’t expect Minho to express his feelings on the plane right when he’s [sitting] next to her for the next 12 hours ‘cause they just [got on] the plane,” he says. “So I’m just wondering, like, what are you thinking, mate?”

While XO, Kitty hadn’t yet been confirmed for a Season 2 when I spoke to Lee, the news is now official. Lee is curious to see more interactions between Minho and his friends in new episodes, especially Q and Dae. “[The show] didn’t really show much of the friendship side of Q. Yeah, sure, maybe with Dae, but why am I best friends with Q?” he jokes. “[Minho is] fiercely loyal towards his friends, and I just wanna show the audience [that side of him].”

Overall, Lee expresses his gratitude and appreciation to the fans who have supported him on his journey to superstardom. Lee’s character, Minho, became an instant fan favorite, resulting in Lee gaining a million followers on his Instagram just a few days after the show premiered on May 18, and in time for his 27th birthday on May 21. “I just didn’t expect [to get] this amount of attention, to be honest,” he admits. Currently, Lee has close to 3 million followers, but added that he tries to communicate with fans as frequently as possible to ensure that they know their affection is reciprocated. “It was very overwhelming, but at the same time, now I’m getting used to it.”

Even before the millions of fans found him, Lee always had support; in fact, his older sister Gia Kim was right alongside him during filming as she also played a major role in the show, Yuri Han. When it was revealed that the two are real-life siblings, they quickly became one of the most iconic celebrity sibling duos. “Although we didn’t really have a lot of scenes together, I did see her perform most parts. If she did a good scene and she comes down from the set, I’d just fist bump [her] and be like, ‘That was sick,’” he recalls. “In that way, we just motivated each other.”

Lee and Kim grew up sharing a love of film, and even though they were separated due to attending different primary schools and universities, they were still able to share their love for watching movies when they could reunite. Lee shares that the two would watch every film genre together. “We tend to quote [lines from] films,” he says. “The other person would respond back with the next line of the film. We always kept the film thing going on and naturally, we kept the comedy in our lives by using those quotes.”

Working with a sibling might not be everyone’s idea of a career goal, but Lee was excited to work with Kim on set. Though they had to remain attentive while filming on a tight schedule, he recalls memories of playful sibling banter on set. “It was just fun to mess around whilst the cameras [were] not rolling. We would just be making fun of each other [in] our costumes,” he shares. “Then we would just be dancing to music that’s not even playing.” 

Apart from acting, Lee also enjoys indoor mountain climbing. He has a second Instagram account (@climb_nice) dedicated solely to his passion for the sport (which has already garnered over 39,000 followers). “It’s been over two years since I started climbing,” he says. “In the climbing community, everyone has a climbing account. … People post climbing videos for [others] to see, share, and laugh. And climbing, for me, is such a huge achievement in sports.” 

Lee also wants to set the record straight, since many of his followers are confused as to why he may be seen wearing jeans in his climbing videos. “Those are climbing jeans,” he laughs, “It’s very durable [and] very flexible. So, it’s not just jeans. Sometimes it’s funny to see people’s reactions, [but] I’m just grateful for the fact that the fans just keep loving my videos.”

As for what’s next for Lee, he has an upcoming role in the biographical film Gran Turismo slated for release in August. “It was definitely a great experience on set and to be part of that world. I think people can look forward to that,” he says of his experience filming. You can also follow his life through his social media, particularly Instagram, as he is very active on the platform. “I’m just really grateful for the fact that people enjoy my life and enjoy looking at my posts or my stories.”

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the Entertainment and Culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2024 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and received communication honors for completing a graduate-level course during her undergraduate studies. While in college, she was an active member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, serving on the executive board as Editor-In-Chief. In this role, she supervised a team of writers, senior editors, and copy editors, and assessed their articles for the site. Previously, she served as a senior editor, supervising a team of 4-5 writers, and also worked as a campus correspondent for the entire chapter. Additionally, she contributed to the school's publication magazine, Access, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! A die-hard fangirl, she loves sharing everything she knows about her favorite boy bands, even if you don't ask. If you need her, you'll likely find her binge-watching the latest K-drama or catching up on pop-culture social commentaries on YouTube.