Ashley Park talks about her battle with cancer as a teenager.
Ashley Park of Emily in Paris fame, who is preparing for the release of season three of the show in which she stars as Mindy Chen, recalled her battle with cancer as a teenager in an interview with Shape Magazine for their Motivation issue.
The Korean-American actress was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when she was 15 years old and had to undergo rigorous chemotherapy and radiation to fight her illness. Ashley also mentioned that she was told what she could and could not do during the time and that one time she wanted to eat grapes but couldn't because they weren't on her approved nutrition plan.
Ashley said that once cancer physically left her body, she made it her mission to not let it affect her life, and she did not want cancer to define her. The actress said that the people around her or the ones who knew her were constantly worried about her, so she became the person who was like, "I am fine" and asked people not to worry about her, and she went on with whatever she wanted to do.
The actress stated that she was powerful because of her drive and determination, and she never ceased hoping for a better future. She maintains herself physically fit and continues to treat her body well, which she appears to believe is extremely important for being a performer and maintaining her when she did perform on screen and Broadway. Ashley added during the conversation that when someone starts performing so much, they realize that their body is a vessel and it’s their interior, so they have to treat it as such and take care of it.
One of the ways Ashley Park takes care of herself is through fitness. She explains that she has to move every day, which can be hard with her filming schedule, so she has learned that to stay motivated, she just has to adjust what type of physical activity can fit into her life at any given moment. Ashley Park says she has realized that she enjoys Pilates. According to the actress, she feels very athletic, but it's minimal, and she sweats a lot and starts to feel much stronger after that. She claims that in Pilates, individuals can use a wide range of muscle tissue, similar to dance and that there is a real mind-body connection that happens.
According to the actress, she prefers to have private Pilates sessions with her trainer Brandon Perry because she explains that she feels it is easier to cheat in group classes because one can hide behind other people, but she feels held accountable in one-on-one sessions.
Ashley Park says that she feels best when she starts eating a balanced, mostly plant-forward diet, with a few exceptions. She adds that she is anemic as a result of her cancer treatment, but she does enjoy a good steak now and then. Interestingly, she claims that her dairy and gluten consumption is dependent entirely on where she consumes these foods. When she's in America, those things don't sit well with her, but when she's in Europe, she can consume an entire bread basket and a lot of cheese and be perfectly fine.
The actress is quick to point out that taking care of her mental health is just as important as taking care of her physical health. Ashley stated that when she is surrounded by good people, she is her happiest and most fulfilled self. Lilly Collins, her co-star, is one of those nice people. They are as close off-screen as they are on-screen. She says it's been so significant for her to be able to go throughout this chapter of her life with the closest friend, and that what people see on screen with both Mindy and Emily is very truly representative of Lily and her meeting as grown women, and that it's as if a part of her soul was lacking, and she has now found it.
While Ashley Park understands the importance of mental health, she admits she is still learning to prioritize herself. The actress admits that she is a people-pleaser who is always looking out for others, but as her life becomes more hectic, she is learning the value of her time and space. She adds that she has been attempting to set more boundaries to ensure that her well-being is prioritized.
The Korean-American actress concludes that she is so grateful for every opportunity and mentions that taking care of herself so she can fully enjoy every minute of this life is very important to her. Ashley stated during the interview that she is very proud to play Mindy on-screen and to see that people get to see the great Asian character, which she did not see growing up, and that it is important for her to be that for someone.
Many Emily in Paris fans have expressed their appreciation for seeing an Asian American woman play such a pivotal role on the show. And Park is quick to acknowledge that she didn't see herself reflected in the mainstream press as a young girl, which has both inspired and motivated her career to be a representative of her community for the ones looking for a familiar face to resemble.
Emily in Paris season three will air on Netflix on December 21st.