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‘Emily in Paris’ Fave Ashley Park Opened Up About Surviving Cancer

Claire Harmeyer
·2-min read

CAROLE BETHUEL, NETFLIX

Since Emily in Paris premiered on Netflix in early October, countless conversations have been swirling about the show. From fans love-hate relationship with Emily's wardrobe to critiques of her social media skills to debating who's hotter: French chef Gabriel or marketing big-shot William. But of all the torn thoughts on these topics, one opinion of the show remains unanimous: Mindy is one of the best characters. Ashley Park plays the bubbly and talented Mindy Chen who sparks an instant friendship with Emily, played by Lily Collins. And now, Park is discussing an aspect of own personal her life she typically doesn't talk about: surviving cancer.

In a recent profile with Cosmopolitan, Park opened up being diagnosed with leukemia at 15. Now 29 years old, the Mean Girls on Broadway alum discussed how she feels when asked about her experience surviving the disease.

"Many times people bring up my cancer experience," Park told Cosmopolitan. "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."

The actress went on to reveal her biggest fear when diagnosed with cancer, which was letting the disease define her whole identity.

"I never wanted to be just the Asian girl, just the ‘whatever’ girl, and then I got to 16 and was the bald girl and the sick girl," Park said.

CAROLE BETHUEL, NETFLIX

Park continued to open up about how scary it was to have cancer as a teenager—and the effects chemotherapy can have longterm. "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 explained. "Even though my body beat the disease, if I let it change anything, it’s won."

The actress says her experience surviving cancer has led her to become more empathetic of other people. "When you've been through a really hard time you don't want somebody else to go through it."

For the Broadway star, being onstage helped her get through this difficult time in her life. "Everything is taken away, and that is the most human thing that you can ever go through," she told Playbill in 2016. "I remember people, right after I was done being sick, said, ‘You should go to therapy,' [but] my therapy is theater."

We're so glad Park turned to acting during her time of need, because her talent is obvious, and inarguably a ray of sunshine on Emily in Paris.