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Waffling With... Actress ASHLEY PARK

We chatted with actress and newly crowned Miss Asia USA Ashley Park.



Interview by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)




Okay Ashley, you're a long distance runner, an actress, Miss Asia USA, a swimmer, and you have bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish. Do you ever sleep?

Oh, I definitely sleep! I am one of those people who heads out of the party early to get home for a good night’s rest.

You're the newly crowned Miss Asia USA. Tell us about your experience in the pageant and what motivated you to enter.

I was very hesitant to become a delegate, since being named Miss Korea USA by Virgelia Productions, Inc. leads to competing in Miss Asia USA. Knowing this widely publicized pageant would be my very first, I wasn’t sure I was up for it. However, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to represent Korea, so I decided to accept the challenge. I worked very hard this year to prepare for the pageant, and I was fortunate enough to recently win the title! I had a lot of help from an incredible team of people. I’ve come out of this experience a stronger person, and I’ve made some amazing new friends for life.


When did you decide to become an actor?

I’ve always dreamed of being an actress. At a very young age, Audrey Hepburn was my idol. I became a highly competitive athlete early on, and focused on my athletic career before returning to my first love. I then toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist in college. I was actually an intern at Seventeen Magazine in NYC when I happened to walk into an acting school across the street. I never looked back!

You had a stint on Days of our Lives. Actors have told us that daytime soaps are the most grueling of shoots and really help develop the craft quickly. Would you share this opinion?

I gained a lot of respect for the actors when I was on set. They shoot a tremendous number of episodes in a very short period of time, and everyone is so talented. It was definitely one of the most efficient sets I've ever been on, and is the perfect playground for the actor to really work and grow in their craft. The actors were unbelievably kind, helpful and welcoming.  

There's been much examination recently of the lack of quality roles for women and minorities in mainstream American cinema, and as you fall into both camps, do you think it's a serious problem, and are things improving or remaining stagnant? What do you think can be done to improve the situation?

It’s no secret that there is a severe lack of leading roles for minorities and women in Hollywood, and I have definitely experienced difficulty firsthand because of that. I do believe that the tides are slowly starting to turn, but there is still much work to be done. Being half Caucasian and half Asian also creates another set of problems, since I find that Hollywood does not always know where to place me. I believe that we are starting to see some changes in film, television and commercials, and I have high hopes that diversity in leading roles in film and television will continue to rise. It all takes time.


You have a bunch of films being released in the coming year. What can you tell us about them?

One film was recently released (All American Bikini Car Wash), and I have two that will be released in early 2016 (Day For Night and Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter). I am preparing to shoot the desert sci-fi film Trapdoor in late January. Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter depicts the overthrow of humanity by Artificial Intelligence, and is essentially a character-driven story about survival and self-discovery. The film was shot in iconic locations filmed in some of the same locations as Return of the Jedi. Rhianna (my character) is without a doubt both a fighter and a survivor. She is intelligent, perceptive and strong. Day For Night is a film noir starring incredible legends such as Peter Bogdanovich, Lin Shaye and Sally Kirkland. I play Abelie, and I am so excited to see this incredible script by Guy Jackson come to life! I am also gearing up to shoot Trapdoor, a female-focused thriller in the vein of movies like The Descent. It's a desert sci-fi that blends the excitement of action sports with the horror of a creature film. My character is Kat, a curious, fearless and thrill-seeking individual with an aptitude for speaking her mind.

Do you have any acting role models?

My role model would have to be Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black. Her ability to portray so many different characters in such a truthful way is absolutely incredible.

Thanks Ashley, and we look forward to seeing more of you onscreen.


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