However, Park didn’t just arrive at stardom. The actress, singer and dancer had been building her resume on Broadway, starring in Tina Fey’s Mean Girls production and even being nominated for a Tony Award and a Grammy Award in the process. Park has been busy ever since, filming three seasons of Emily In Paris and now starring in upcoming film Joy Ride, written by Crazy, Rich Asians’ Adele Lim.
It seems, though, that we should be adding ‘fashionista’ to Park’s many hats, as while fashion is a key passion for her character Mindy Chen, it is also close to her own heart.
“My favourite thing about [style] — and I learned this, and was inspired by Mindy in Emily In Paris, because before that fashion, to me, was costume pieces in musicals and plays on Broadway — I love when people are surprised or it’s something they haven’t seen before. I like being unpredictable, but completely making sense,” she tells marie claire Australia.
“In terms of Mindy, when she wears something, she shows up on that screen and you’re like, ‘That is so Mindy’… I think that’s because she’s very sure who she is and her voice and that inspired me because I’d always been like, ‘Ok, what’s the cool thing to wear’.”
After starting filming on Emily In Paris back in 2019, it’s been something of a fashion awakening for Park, who was always very interested in fashion, but has learnt to hone her sense of personal style.
“I want people, when they see me, whether it be like a red carpet or like with my overalls and glam street sneakers, to be like ‘Oh, that’s so Ashley’. And that’s because I’ve figured out who I am,” she adds.
“I think people sometimes go to the words of ‘bright or bold’ [to describe my style] but for me, I think of it as confident and comfortable.”
That’s not to say that Park is immune to the trends. In fact, she happily admits to cherry picking her favourite inspiration on TikTok like the rest of us fashion obsessives, but she’s intentional in the way she does so.
“Honestly, I learnt a lot through watching Instagram Reels and TikTok … I used to think you had to show off your body by wearing tight clothes but I love an oversize thing now,” she explains. “I learn a lot from different people online and that’s what’s so fun. We didn’t have that growing up, like whatever your community or town was doing [it was] like, ‘I guess we’re all wearing chokers now’.
“I think it’s fun for this younger generation to really be inspired … and have access to that and build their own sense of personal style.”
It’s TikTok she partially credits with getting her into her ‘sneaker era’. In fact, the starlet has just released her own range of pointed, elevated sneakers with footwear brand Skechers, designed as a ‘street glam’ range that combines comfort and fashion.
Her other influence was spending time on the streets of Europe and really getting a feel for that casual cool energy you see in Parisian fashion.
“I’m really in my sneaker era in general, even before the collaboration with Skechers, which is why I was like, oh my god, yes, let’s make a fashion forward sneaker,” she says. “I feel like that vibe too, especially in Europe, of just feeling comfortable.”
The Skechers x Ashley Park: Street Glam collection is the perfect range for every fashion girlie having a panic attack at their suitcase trying to decide whether to bring their comfy or cute sneakers away with them.
They offer a sleek pointed toe, the classic Skechers comfort insole with ‘Air-Cooled Memory Foam’, and many gorgeous colourways including black, white and blush.
For Park, who admits to being a self-confessed jetsetter over the last year, her passion for a shoe that could do it all comes from a very personal place.
“In 2023, I don’t think I’ve been in one place for longer than a week, like, actually,” she says, as we stare incredulously and wonder how she’s still standing upright. “I’ve realised, with how many airplanes and travel days I’ve had — when I’m grungy, when I’m only in sweatpants — like I always have to have an oversized blazer, and that’s why I always wear these shoes … I can go to set but I still feel elevated and ready for work.”
In the world of fashion, ‘comfort’ is oft considered a dirty word. But after squeezing herself into her Emily In Paris character’s many looks, Park admits it’s so crucial to her now.
“What’s fun is that in season three, Mindy starting borrowing stuff from my own closet. We really figured it out and really learned so much during season one, and that’s also why my whole thing is comfort.”
Park realised that doing a “night shoot where you can’t use the bathroom” or to have “latex rip on you” wasn’t the most comfortable feeling. “I was like, I want to be able to have pockets. I want to be able to pee. I want to be able to sit down. I can’t be at a café sipping champagne with Emily (Lily Collins) when I cannot breathe,” she jokes.
When asked what she stole from Mindy’s closet, Park says it was the other way around. While she admits that the show’s inspirational fashion focus included a lot of designer clothing, they really made a point of mixing and matching with more affordable items. They also made an effort to include a lot of “up and coming designers, because it became a show that was a good platform for them.”
“In the last episode of season three, it’s actually one of my dresses that I had in green, and I was like, ‘Oh, this would be perfect in this colour, for this scene’,” Park explains.
“She’s in this magenta dress and this incredible Ukrainian young designer designed it, her label is OVERTHESEA, but that’s mine. That’s in my closet. Even then, I had the green one and I was like, this is perfect for what they’re looking for, for Mindy, and I wanted to give her that platform, but I’ve worn it as Ashely and I don’t want to feel like Ashley when I’m in that scene, so we got it in a different colour.”
While there’s no denying that Ashely Park is nailing her fashion era, she admits that it hasn’t always been roses when it comes to her sense of style.
“Middle school is tragic for us all,” she laughs. “I feel like I didn’t think it was that bad at the time, but I realise now when I look at old photos is that there were like two or maybe more years where every outfit I wore would have mid-calf leggings with it. I was really into like, a t-shirt that’s too short to be a dress, but like, with leggings.”
She also admits to being “on the nose” with matchy-matchy colours back in the day, and we can’t help but relate, given most fashion girlies have committed those sins too. Although, it’s clear Park has gone through a kind of graduation of her style. She masterfully plays with colours and textures in a way that feels artful and considered and so ‘Ashley’. She’s bold and interesting, and her fashion follows suit.
As for her number one fashion icon? That would be her mum. “I have pieces in my closet and things she wore in the 90s, and her sense of style … it’s kind of timeless,” she says.
“I used to get things and be like ‘I have nothing like this is my closet’, but now, when I buy something I’m like, ‘Oh, this beige summer shoe, it’s something I can wear even when I’m 50.”
It is clear from the way Park approaches fashion these days that she has a lot more of a buy-once-buy-well philosophy, compared with her youth with drawers full of mid-calf leggings in every colour.
She actually works with Rent The Runway and even the way she approached her latest collaboration with Skechers shows a certain sense of restriction and versatility in the items she procures for her collection. They might sometimes be bold and colourful, but they’re designed to fit into her collection seamlessly, so they might be worn time and time again.
“For me, it’s not even about the versatility of how it looks, but can it endure every single situation?” she says. “Can I run in them if I’m late for something? Can I climb the stars in them? I think that for me, as I’ve become more conscious of sustainable fashion than I was growing up, I am quality over quantity.”
“I think we should be buying less and quality things that we’re actually going to wear.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Spot Ashley Park’s Latest Collaboration With Skechers
Ashley Park: Street Glam Point It Sneaker, $120, Skechers