Emily in Paris’ Ashley Park opens up about undergoing chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with leukemia at 15
Years before the two-time Tony nominee made her Broadway debut as a member of the ensemble in Mamma Mia, Ashley Park was diagnosed with leukemia at 15.
While she has since become a star in her own right on Emily in Paris, the 29-year-old actress opened up about battling cancer as a young teenager.
‘Many times people bring up my cancer experience,’ she told Cosmopolitan. ‘I totally don’t mind talking about it. I think it’s very important to talk about.’
Battled cancer in high school: Emily in Paris’ Ashley Park opened up about undergoing chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager; seen in June 2019
She continued: ‘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.’
‘I never wanted to be just the Asian girl, just the ‘whatever’ girl,’ Ashley explained of not wanting to be defined by her circumstances, ‘and then I got to 16 and was the bald girl and the sick girl.’
At the time, she declined to listen to the potential long-term side effects because she didn’t want to know her ‘heart might stop working’ or that she ‘might be infertile.’
Strong: While she has since become a star in her own right on Emily in Paris, the 29-year-old actress feared she would be defined as the ‘the bald girl’ or the ‘sick girl’ (pictured in January)
Initially, Park believed that even after beating the disease, if she ‘let it change anything, it’s won.’
Over the years, she has accepted having cancer is her ‘most defining quality as an artist and a person’ because it fostered her courage and confidence.
Ultimately, it was defeating leukemia that nudged her to find solace on stage, as a form of escape, by diving into the lives’ of other characters and stories.
On and off-screen BFFs: Most recently, she appeared in Emily in Paris alongside Lily Collins, who she reveals quickly became a close pal
During her candid interview, she spoke about the struggles of being an actress, which includes having to live ‘in a world of narcissism.’
‘You have to constantly be thinking about yourself, about getting better at your craft, about what you’re doing, how you’re looking, what you’re saying,’ she explained. ‘And at a certain point that eats away at me, and you have to do something to give back.’
In the next three years, Park hopes to have an apartment or a house to ‘foster teenagers.’
Big heart: In the next three years, Park hopes to have an apartment or a house to ‘foster teenagers’
She noted: ‘I don’t think I’m prepared to be a mother right now, but I really want to be a foster mom.’
The talented dancer, who portrayed Gretchen Wieners the Tina Fey-produced Mean Girls on Broadway, is set to reunite with the 30 Rock creator on the upcoming series Girls5eva.
Most recently, she appeared in Emily in Paris alongside Lily Collins, who she reveals quickly became a close pal.
Upcoming: The talented dancer, who portrayed Gretchen Wieners Tina Fey-produced Mean Girls on Broadway, is also set to reunite with the 30 Rock creator on Peacock’s upcoming series Girls5eva