“Emily in Paris” actress Ashley Park is looking back on what it was like to be diagnosed with leukemia at age 15.
Park, who plays Mindy in the hit Netflix show, reflected on her experience of having cancer and spoke about why she doesn’t want her life to be defined by the illness.
“Many times people bring up my cancer experience,” she said during an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine. “I totally don’t mind talking about it. I think it’s very important to talk about, but I also appreciate when I’m not asked to talk about the experience, or about how it’s informed how I’ve lived my life.”
Park recalled her battle with the illness, as well as her determination not to let it shape who she is today.
“I never wanted to be just the Asian girl, just the ‘whatever’ girl,” she added, “and then I got to 16 and was the bald girl and the sick girl.”
Park also discussed what it was like to go through chemotherapy treatment, including its harmful side effects.
“I didn’t want to know that I might be infertile or that my heart might stop working or any of that stuff because once you say it, you’re thinking about it,” she admitted. “Even though my body beat the disease, if I let it change anything, it’s won.”
Now 29, the Tony-nominated Broadway star believes the experience has made her more compassionate, because “when you’ve been through a really hard time you don’t want somebody else to go through it.”
Park also chatted about her instant connection with onscreen “Emily in Paris” BFF Lily Collins.
“We met at this part of our lives where we were ready to become the versions of ourselves we were always wanting to be,” she said.