South-Korean actress Jae Suh Park finds the confidence to build her very own, custom-made, American dream; including a beautiful family, a successful career, and the luxury of feeling comfortable in her own skin.
But before she found the courage to live her best life, Park struggled to find the confidence she now possesses. Relocating to the United States at the young age of six, Park didn’t always feel like she fit in. She felt out of place not only as an American, but also as a child who did not wish to emulate her family’s traditional footsteps. According to her parents, acting was not a respectable profession, but rather a hobby that, they hoped, had an expiration date.
Park proved them wrong. Not wanting to be anything else, she found an agent, and the courage to work hard, until landing several credits; including, THE MEDDLER (opposite Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne), The Mindy Project, ABC’s Dr. Ken, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, NCIS: Los Angeles, and finally, Friends from College.
Just recently, the actress moved into her new LA home with husband Randall Park – of ABC’S Fresh Off The Boat – and their daughter Ruby. Her passions include living an eco-friendly organic lifestyle, starring as Marianne in Netflix’s comedy series Friends from College, and spending time with her beautiful family. Park proves that the American Dream is less about tangibles and more about the intrinsic value that comes from pursuing your own passion. That instead of one size fits all, this dream comes in many colors and a myriad of shapes and sizes.
It is heartening to meet those who overcome odds and pave their own road to success. Here, Jae Suh Park shares with Bella about her rewarding career, marriage, and parenting.
Could you tell us about the experience of growing up in the States and getting into the acting industry as an Asian American?
I grew up in Lodi, Ca which feels like the farthest place from Hollywood. I never believed I could be an actor, but I didn’t want to do anything else. When I first moved to LA, it wasn’t too difficult to get representation as there were fewer Asian American actors, but there were also fewer opportunities so it’s a double-edged sword. I have a theory that the reason ethnic actors age slower is because it takes us twice as long to make it!
Tell us about your role as Marianne and why you are perfect to play her.
I love Marianne so much which is why I’m perfect to play her. I’m so different from her in real life so I think people would be surprised that I was given the gift to play her. I think I just relish in the fact that she does and says things that I would love to do and say. And of course, the clothes…thank goodness we’re the same size!
How has Marianne’s character evolved as the show has progressed this season?
Well I think Marianne has changed the least in that she stays true to who she is and her beliefs. She does have to adjust to the new dynamics and has to deal with everyone’s trauma as well as one of her own, but she’s still a goofball.
What is it about comedy that you love? Are you planning to continue doing this genre in the foreseeable future?
Who doesn’t love to laugh? But I think that great comedy can also break your heart and make you cry. I’m planning to bring as much empathy, humor and dignity to my roles, as I can, in the foreseeable future.
How do you and your husband keep a work/life balance when you both are part of an industry that requires a lot of traveling and moving around? Especially now that you have Ruby.
You always freak out a little when you have to juggle, but we are lucky to have a lot of support. And we both see our family as the priority.
How would you describe the American dream?
Feeling comfortable in your skin.
What does it mean to you to live an eco-friendly, organic lifestyle? Do you have any health and wellness tips?
I think it just means to be conscious and respect your physical world. Then you can make educated choices. I’m certainly not perfect but we can all do a little bit. Read labels, ask questions.
At BELLA we believe in the idea that beauty is defined by each person. So, what is beauty to you and how do you stay beautiful as you are, inside and out.
Beauty is kindness; kindness to others and yourself.
Outside: Skincare and dental hygiene
Inside: Confidence, empathy and wine.
By Rose Aljure