Emily In Paris’ Ashley Park on not wanting her life to be ‘defined’ by cancer

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Emily In Paris star Ashley Park has said she did not want to be “defined” by cancer after she recovered from the condition.

The actress, 31, known for her portrayal of Mindy Chen on the hit Netflix series, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, when she was aged 15.

After spending nearly a year in the hospital going through 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 to not let it affect my life.

“I didn’t want it to define me. People were so worried about me, 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.’”

The actress went on to star on Broadway in Mamma Mia! and Mean Girls, appearing in shows up to eight or nine times a week.

She said these experiences helped influence her perspective on how to care for her body, explaining: “When you’re performing so much, you realize that your body is your vessel — 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 movement every day and eating a balanced, primarily plant-forward diet to maintain her health.

“I am so grateful for every opportunity,” she added, “Taking care of myself so I can fully enjoy every minute of this life is very important to me.”

Park rose to further 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 instalment she had “no idea how much a part of the pop culture zeitgeist it would become”.

The actress added that the on-screen friendship between her and Collins mirrors reality.

“What you see on screen between Mindy and Emily is very reflective of Lily and I meeting each other as grown women and being like, ‘Oh my God, it was like 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.

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