Ashley Park is sharing her story of challenge and triumph that motivated her to chase her dreams.
“Once cancer physically left my body, I made it my mission to not let it affect my life,” said Park, who stars as Mindy Chen in the Netflix romantic comedy. “I didn’t want it to define me.”
“People were so worried about me,” she added, “and I became the person that was like, ‘I’m fine. Don’t worry about me. I am going to go after what I want and just do it.'”
Park was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia — a cancer of the blood and bone marrow — when she was 15, and had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation to battle her illness.
For Park, keeping physically fit and treating her body right is a key to being an actress, and to sustaining her when she performs on screen and during her time on Broadway.
“When you’re performing so much, you realize that your body is your vessel — it’s your instrument,” Park said. “So, you have to treat it as such and really take care of it.”
Which is why she primarily maintains a plant-based diet focused on balanced nutrition. However, her teenage cancer battle had some permanent consequences that require her to occasionally stray from the vegetarian path.
“I am highly anemic because of what I went through with my cancer,” Park explained. “So, I do like a nice steak every once in a while.”
Park’s interview with Shape comes shortly before the debut of the new season of Emily in Paris. Recently, she shined on the red carpet in a golden gown at the red carpet premiere in Paris, France, and she spoke with ET’s Deidre Behar about the upcoming season.
“What I will say is that there’s been a couple love triangles at the heart of the show, and all I can say is, in season three, there’s definitely another one,” she teased.
“Emily in Paris” season 3 premieres Dec. 21 on Netflix.