Emily In Paris star Ashley Park has said she didn’t want to be “defined” by cancer after recovering from the condition.
The 31-year-old actress, known for her portrayal of Mindy Chen in the hit Netflix series, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, at the age of 15.
After spending nearly a year in the hospital on chemotherapy, Park said she was determined to pursue what she wanted in life.
Speaking to fitness magazine Shape for their first digital issue, she said, “Once cancer physically left my body, I made it my mission not to let it affect my life.
“I didn’t want it to define me. People were so concerned about me, and I became the person who was like, ‘I’m fine. Do not worry about me. I go after what I want and just do it.’”
The actress next starred on Broadway in Mamma Mia! and Mean Girls, appearing in shows up to eight or nine times a week.
She said these experiences helped shape her perspective on how to care for her body, explaining: “When you perform that often, you realize that your body is your vehicle – it’s your instrument.
“So you have to treat it as such and really take care of it.”
Park said she now focuses on doing some form of exercise every day and eating a balanced, mostly plant-based diet to maintain her health.
“I am so grateful for every opportunity,” she added, “Taking care of myself so that I can fully enjoy every minute of this life is very important to me.”
Park rose to greater prominence following the release of season one of Emily In Paris in 2020, where she played a billionaire heiress who befriends the titular character Emily, played by Lily Collins.
She said that when they were filming the first episode, she had “no idea how much a part of the pop culture zeitgeist it was going to become”.
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The actress added that the on-screen friendship between her and Collins reflects the reality.
“What you see on screen between Mindy and Emily is a true reflection of Lily and I meeting as grown women and saying, ‘Oh my God, it was like a part of my soul was missing, and now I’ve found it’ “, she said.
Emily In Paris returns to Netflix for its third season on December 21.