Ashley Park: ‘As soon as we think something’s a possibility, it manifests’

I mostly know Ashley Park from Netflix fare like Emily in Paris (and most recently, Beef), but I was aware that she was on Broadway before she switched over to TV. Now, she’s in the movie Joy Ride, a raunchy comedy in which four Asian and Asian American women travel to China to find Ashley’s character’s biological parents. The movie looks hilarious and represents Asian women in a different light, which Ashley says she appreciates. She had a profile in Women’s Health and talked about her approach to being the main character, health and fitness, and her past and plans for the future. Some highlights:

On being the main character in Joy Ride: Which of the supporting characters will I be? she recalls thinking as she devoured the material that made her burst out laughing in some parts and cry in others. Up to that point, Ashley had never been number one on the call sheet. “I’ve always thought about how my character could propel the protagonist,” she says. While filming, Ashley realized how much of herself she had previously compromised. It’s a mentality she’s been determined to change since wrapping Joy Ride—and one she is eager to apply to all aspects of her life. “I deserve to take care of myself and not just everyone else,” Ashley says. “I’m treating myself like a lead now.”

On her workout routine: That refreshed approach to life has inspired an overhaul of her self-care routine, with Pilates at the core. Her new perspective on exercise was also due in part to the pandemic. Before, she focused mostly on cardio. “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.” She also feels a shift from within on the days she exercises in the morning. “It changes the trajectory of my mental state because I’ve taken care of myself in some way,” she says.

Having leukemia as a teen affected her mindset: “It’s not that I’m skeptical of pharmaceuticals—I love an Advil—but because of the cancer experience, I’ve also realized how amazing holistic medicine can be,” she says. Currently cancer-free, Ashley doesn’t want to be defined by the disease. She recalls convos with her doctors: “They said,‘You might have fertility problems, you might have…’ I was like, let’s stop there.” She didn’t want to know the laundry list. “The mind is so powerful that as soon as we think something’s a possibility, it manifests it.”

On her vacation vibes: Ashley has put a lot of thought into how the mind affects the body. “I’ve finally learned the power of a mental health break,” she says. “In my 20s, I thought of vacations as, you can travel and do exciting things.” But that idea changed. “It’s shifted to vacation being alone time.” She feels her healthiest when she’s on a beach, or just near water.

[From Women’s Health]

I recall Sandra Oh saying something similar — that she was shocked that she was in the running to play Eve in Killing Eve because she’d played a supporting character for so long. Hopefully it’s indicative of progress with representation that Ashley is able to move to main character roles earlier in her career and is determined not to be put into a box anymore. Her talk about fitness resonated with me — I used to do running only, but have gotten into Pilates and strength training in the past two years and it feels great. And I do feel like I have a better day when I get my workout done in the morning. I wasn’t aware she’d had leukemia as a teen, but it makes sense that it has affected her perspective in such a way. I do agree with her thoughts on manifestation, especially in terms of negative things that seem to happen if you ruminate on their possibilities too much. I might have missed the news she’s going to be in the third season of Only Murders in the Building — a welcome addition to my favorite show, but I’ll have to see Joy Ride in the interim.

Ashley Park certainly is dressing like the main character at the premiere. The big yellow dress is very Mindy goes from Paris to Vegas.

Stephanie Hsu’s outfit is clearly a nod to the titular joy ride to China. I like it and appreciate that it’s pretty buttoned up in contrast to the movie.

Sherry Cola gave off boss vibes in an all-white ensemble.

Sabrina Wu looked cute and comfy, albeit a little awkward posing for photos.

Seth Rogen is one of the producers. The outfit/sunglasses combo looks pretty sleazy here. Maybe that’s the point?

Embed from Getty Images

photos credit: Faye’s Vision/Cover Images and Getty

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14 Responses to “Ashley Park: ‘As soon as we think something’s a possibility, it manifests’”

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  1. Mcmmom says:

    It looks like my post disappeared, so posting again – sorry if it shows up twice.

    I’m definitely going to watch this and am excited for it!

    I don’t think her character is searching for her bio parents, as that’s virtually impossible for adoptions from China and that wouldn’t make sense as a plot vehicle (from other countries, yes, but not China). I think she’s going to see where she was born/from, which is relatively common.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Interesting factoid to learn! I saw the trailer for this recently & it looks like fun! Can’t wait to see it. Loved the looks on everybody at the premiere, except Seth Rogen. Men get away with dressing like that I’ve noticed.

  2. manda says:

    I think this movie looks really funny and I am looking forward to it!

    Also just wanted to comment that Ashley is so beautiful

  3. Twin Falls says:

    The original title of this movie was Joy F*ck Club lololol

    I’m not a fan of the ice skating type dress with or without a train. Joyful color though.

  4. B says:

    People are amazing. They can dream up something and then start breaking it down and figure out how to get closer.

    But even with all of that, abs like tht will never manifest for me lol.

  5. BW says:

    I remember watching Emily in Paris and wondering why Ashley’s character wasn’t the lead. She was way more interesting, and had a lot more charisma.

  6. Murphy says:

    I can’t wait to see this movie

  7. OnThisDay says:

    This manifestation discourse grinds my gears and really needs to be reconsidered. Did my enslaved African ancestors suffer simply because they failed to think of freedom as a possibility? Do people die of cancer or any other disease because they didn’t think of life?
    If there’s validity to this discourse, it’s in a more refined form, one that recognizes the limits of individual agency (and the need for collective imagining in support of and collective action), and has space for the humility necessary to understand that some things are out of our control.

    • Katie says:

      Hard, hard, hard agree with everything you said. It’s kinda standard fare for actor gives quote to glossy aspirational magazine, but it’s on its face obviously not true. And since it isn’t actually true (no matter how many copies of The Secret were sold), it isn’t really actionable or helpful beyond a tiny passing dopamine boost. (Also, one of my issues at work I’m working on is a gear literally grinding and we’re not sure why, so I appreciate your phrasing 🙂 )

    • TheVolvesSeidr says:

      It’s toxic positivity

    • BeanieBean says:

      I agree with you, but the quote is pulled from something Ashley related that happened during her leukemia treatment. She was a kid at the time, and whatever she needed to think in order to help cope is fine.

  8. HeyKay says:

    OnThisDay, Well said and 100% agree.

  9. Sass says:

    I love Ashley Park. I am really glad to see her getting more work! She brought both levity and depth to not only her character but the whole vibe of Emily in Paris. Her turn in Beef was equally well done (pun not intended) but a very different energy. Girl’s got range. Keep going! Let’s manifest that shit!

  10. Stephanie says:

    Really excited to support Joy Ride and female-led comedies though raunch doesn’t tend to be up my alley; loved her in the little bit of Girls5Eva she was in!