Ashley Park and Justin H. Min’s bonds run deeper than the Netflix family. In case you didn’t know, they’re second cousins, and they’ve got one crazy story to tell.
In our latest episode of Character Conversations, the two actors sat down for a one-on-one virtual chat to discuss their newest projects, family lineage and the importance of normalizing Asian American experiences in media.
Park is a Tony-nominated actress known for her work on Broadway as Tuptim in “The King and I” and Gretchen Wieners in “Mean Girls.” She now stars in the recently renewed Netflix original series “Emily in Paris” as Mindy Chen, a wealthy heiress from Shanghai who struggles to overcome stage fright and kick off a singing career in Paris. Meanwhile, Min has reprised his role as the ghostly Ben Hargreeves in the second season of Netflix’s hit superhero series “The Umbrella Academy.”
After exchanging words of praise for each other’s shows, the two shared their respective struggles of breaking into the entertainment industry and reflected on their career paths. Min realized his passion for acting only after studying at Cornell University to become a lawyer. “I graduated college and had a bit of an existential crisis,” Min revealed. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to be a lawyer. I don’t want to work in international development. But what I do love is storytelling. I do love public speaking. I do love being onstage.’ And for whatever reason, this sounded like acting [to me].”
Min and Park went on to discuss the need for more universal narratives that incorporate the Asian American experience. In thinking ahead to the future, Park spoke candidly about how she wants to move forward with intention as an Asian American actor. “I realized that for so long, my goal was to erase the Asian-ness and make people forget,” Park said. “Now it’s about making sure my Asian-ness is a part of the narrative, and that they’re seeing the person that I am.”
Watch the full conversation above, and catch Park and Min’s highlights below. Then, make sure to add “Emily in Paris” and “The Umbrella Academy” to your Netflix watchlist!