Ashley Park has stopped thinking of herself as a sidekick. With her new film, Joy Ride, the actor is getting top billing for the first time in her career, and her main character energy is here to stay. In conversation with Kat Moon for July/August issue of Women’s Health—the Outdoors issue—Ashley opens up about her refreshed approach to life, JOY RIDE’s groundbreaking depiction of Asian women, and being comfortable in her mind, body, and spirit. Plus, in her Women’s Health “Body Scan” video, Ashley discusses the importance of embracing and owning your insecurities, spills her skincare secrets, and recalls how she built confidence following her battle with cancer.
On how playing Audrey, the lead role in Joy Ride, was a game-changing experience for her: “You don’t have to be, like, ‘Here’s my one scene…how do I make it about this other person’s story?’”
On going from an ensemble member on Broadway to a supporting character on TV shows, and now the lead in Joy Ride: “I’m very proud that I’ve worked on every rung of the ladder. When you go to college, you don’t want to be a senior right away—you want to be a freshman.”
On realizing, while filming Joy Ride, that she had been compromising some of herself: “I got to a point where I found my worth in not being the central focus. I was still treating myself like I was a supporting character.”
On her Pilates training: “I don’t do personal sessions because I’m fancy. It’s literally because if I take a class, I will find a way to cheat. When someone is one-on-one with me, it’s such good accountability.”
On how her perspective on exercise has shifted: “Now, for me, working out is not about losing weight; it’s not about burning calories. Instead, I feel a difference when I am stronger and more muscled.”
On why arranging her groceries brings her joy: “I haven’t been able to grocery-shop because I’ve been traveling so much. My personal meditation is reorganizing stuff. I love chopping vegetables, especially peppers and radishes. When it looks nice, I’m more excited to eat it.”
On Joy Ride‘s groundbreaking depiction of Asian women: “Asian women on-screen, especially in America and Hollywood, have been so sexualized and fetishized for the benefit of other people’s stories or jokes. And we’re like, ‘We’re gonna go balls to the wall, further than anyone’s gone with Asian women.’”
The July/August issue of Women’s Health—the Outdoors issue—hits newsstands nationwide on June 27.
[Photo Credit: Ben Watts for Women’s Health Magazine]
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