There are many roads to stardom and actress Ashley Park–who stars in the forthcoming Science Fiction movie “Rouge Warrior: Robot Fighter”–got her first big break at beauty pageants. Recently crowned Miss Korea USA 2015 in the Miss Asia USA Cultural Pageant, Ashley was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and now resides in Los Angeles, California.
Growing up in Little Rock, where her multi-ethnic background can easily take a backseat to the southern world of football, grits and gravy, Ashley keeps her heritage alive through language, food and travel with her mother, a Pusan native. Ashley entered the world of athletics at a young age, becoming a competitive athlete for many years. She is an award-winning swimmer and the 9-time state champion in cross-country and track; in fact, she even went on to run for the University of Arkansas, successfully competing as a Division 1 athlete for one of the top long-distance running schools in the country.
An avid writer and foreign language enthusiast, Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish, graduating early with honors and the title of an All-SEC Academic Athlete. Having always aspired to act, Ashley headed to Hollywood after graduation where she is now working as an actress who has studied under the watchful eye of many teachers, keeping her focus on film and television. After a brief stint on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” Ashley has been fortunate enough to star in four feature films set to be released in the U.S. and internationally over the next year, and has many other projects in the works.
Ashley aspires to make her mark on the world of indie filmmaking, with stories that inspire hope, self-confidence and courage. A true believer in the power of storytelling to make an impact on society, she is determined to create more films that will send positive messages to young people. Recently, Ashley spoke with the Examiner about her experiences working as an actress and her hopes for the future:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to get involved with pageantry?
Ashley Park (A.P.): I was actually scouted by a former titleholder. Miss Asia USA is my first pageant. I was designated the title of Miss Korea USA 2015 by Virgelia Productions, Inc., and I was fortunate enough to win their prestigious title of Miss Asia USA recently. Being granted the opportunity to represent Korea has been amazing, and this pageant was one of the best experiences of my life. I couldn’t be more grateful to have been a part of it.
M.M.: When did you first get interested in acting?
A.P.: I have always had Hollywood aspirations. As a child, I watched movies over and over again in order to memorize the lines and songs to recite to my family. I ended up pursuing my athletic career first, and moved on to journalism before deciding to make the switch once and for all. I was actually an intern at Seventeen Magazine in New York City when I happened to walk into an acting school across the street. I never looked back!
M.M.: Growing up, what movies and characters had the biggest impact on you? Why?
A.P.: Honestly, I was (and still am) a huge fan of Disney movies. I mainly watched animated movies as a child, and my dream was to grow up and be just like the beautiful people I imagined behind the voices of the characters. To me, those actresses may as well have been princesses in real life! I’d have to say the movie that made the biggest impact on me was “My Fair Lady.” I don’t know many 6-year-olds who watched and memorized word for word the lines of a film of that nature, but I definitely did. I absolutely adored Audrey Hepburn.
M.M.: So far, what films have you acted in and what has been your favorite role?
A.P.: I’ve been in “All American Bikini Car Wash,” “Day For Night,” and “Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter.” They’ve all been such different and wonderful experiences! I have such incredible memories from each set. I’m not sure I can choose a role that stands out to me above the rest. I’ve enjoyed tackling each and every role, and I feel so grateful to have been a part of each film.
M.M.: If you could be in any kind of film, what type/genre of movie would you star in and why?
A.P.: I absolutely love sci-fi, superhero and futuristic films. Luckily, that seems to be the wave of the future. Those are the types of films I would definitely love to continue doing. A film along the lines of “Orphan Black” or “Humans” would be amazing! But as an actress, I feel as though I want to do a little bit of everything! The little girl inside wants to be a Disney princess, of course, and I definitely would love to tackle romantic comedies, dramas and much more.
M.M.: So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about being involved in the movie industry?
A.P.: To me, being on set is the best feeling in the entire world. There is nothing else quite like it. Regardless of what set I’m on, I find that is when I am happiest. Getting to step into a different world and live the life of a character in the circumstances given to you by the writers is just unparalleled. Being able to meet such wonderful new friends on every set is also a great perk! I’ve met a few of my best friends through these experiences.
M.M.: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A.P.: My goal as an actress is simply to work. The future is incredibly difficult to predict, and so much can happen. It’s a very subjective industry, and I of course have certain milestones and goals in mind. But in a nutshell, I simply want to keep working and doing what I love to do! I do hope to write and produce some projects of my own to put out into the world.
M.M.: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
A.P.: Yes, I am preparing to shoot the desert sci-fi feature film “Trapdoor” next month. It is 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. I also just finished filming the supernatural web series “Last Life,” which will release in the spring of 2016. “Day For Night” and “Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter” will also be released in early 2016.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an actress?
A.P.: My advice would be to study, and become a master of your craft. If you want to get hired for any job, you have to work for it. Secondly, I would advise to get used to the idea of longevity. Things generally don’t happen overnight in Hollywood, and I think it’s so important to be in it for the long haul, regardless of the rejection and scrutiny. Believe in yourself, first and foremost.
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To learn more about Ashley Park visit her IMBD page.