If there was one thing that we took away from last night’s historic Dior showcase in Mumbai, it’s that Indian embroidery techniques and the luxury French fashion house are a match made in heaven and that everyone loves Mile and Apo.
While not new to anyone familiar with the world of BL dramas that has only expanded since the pandemic, Mile and Apo sparked a curiosity in many, especially because of the grand welcome they received at the Mumbai airport, with fans queuing up for hours to catch a glimpse of the stars, and the interest they garnered online despite being surrounded by some of the biggest names in the fashion and entertainment industry.
So who are Mile and Apo?
Mile Phakphum Romsaithong and Apo Nattawin Wattanagitiphat are actors from Thailand, most popular for their roles as Kinn and Porsche in the hugely successful BL series KinnPorsche (2022).
The success of KinnPorsche catapulted the actors into global stardom with a fandom that expanded across the globe, as evidenced by the warm welcome they received by hundreds of fans in Mumbai. Aside from collecting awards and covers of all top magazines in the country, the main lead actors from the drama also scored a coveted Dior ambassadorship that led them to be invited for the label’s pre-fall 2023 ready-to-wear showcase in Mumbai recently.
To dive a little deeper into understanding why the two handsome actors are popular, we need to talk about BL dramas first.
What are BL dramas?
Short for ‘Boy Love’, BL dramas feature queer love stories and are one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ representations in East Asian entertainment industry. It can find its origin in 1970s Japan where women created homoerotic romances for women to read in the form of yaoi manga. The modern-day version of this is the BL drama, of which Thailand and Taiwan are the biggest producers. BL dramas have become Thailand’s soft power, like K-pop for South Korea, despite being a country with regressive and dangerous views on LGBTQ+ issues and rights.
BL storylines were first introduced as subplots in bigger TV shows to gauge the audience’s reaction to them and were expanded into standalone TV shows after an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience. In 2014, Thai drama Love Sick premiered and there was no looking back for the BL industry. With a fandom mostly comprised of young women across the world, these dramas started gaining a global fandom and started exploring different themes and genres.
This is not to say the BL drama industry is without its problems. The makers are often accused of tokenism and casting only cis-het actors for the roles, with only a handful of filmmakers choosing to work with queer actors. There are also themes of sexual violence and abuse that make their way into these BLs but the makers claim they rely on the audience’s discretion to understand that this is just fiction and it’s not being promoted in a good light.
The growing popularity of the Thai and Taiwanese BL industry also led the South Korean drama industry to begin churning out BLs of their own, like Where Your Eyes Linger, or the more recent one Semantic Error. These were made with the same flair as the regular K-dramas, complete with the airbrushed beauty of the production and flawless-looking cast.
In 2022, Thai BL KinnPorsche released and introduced a whole new wave of fans into the BL fold. The drama overhauled the common BL themes of coming-of-age storylines focused on high-school romances and dramas that dealt with the struggles of queer people in the country.
KinnPorsche, based on the eponymous book by the writing duo DAEMI, was an indulgent ride with slick production and an explicit approach to intimate onscreen scenes that shook the industry. The story revolved around Porsche, a down-on-his-luck bartender, who gets involved in the dark underbelly of the mafia world when he gets hired to be the bodyguard of Kinn, the son of the leader of the biggest mafia clan. Queerness in the narrative was depicted as a normal aspect of the universe, making it a refreshing change from usual LGBTQ+ stories where the characters’ queerness is the focus of the story. It had everything from comedy and action to romance and mystery, not to mention a cast full of super attractive and talented performers, including the leads Mile and Apo.
This brings us back to the two stealing the spotlight at the Mumbai Dior showcase. Both actors looked stunning in their Dior ensembles and posed merrily with the host of celebrities queuing up to take a picture with them. If you haven’t watched their off-the-charts chemistry in KinnPorsche, we suggest you rectify that immediately.
Mile and Apo will be seen together next in the upcoming Thai movie Man Suang.