By Vic Gerami
Jae Suh Park, star of Netflix’s “Friends From College,” seems to have it all—talent, smarts and beauty, a handsome and talented husband, a beautiful daughter and a hit show. Best of all, she is funny, playful and does not take herself too seriously.
Modesty aside, how would you describe yourself?
Girl’s girl. Home creator. Plant whisperer. Smart ass.
As a successful Korean-American actress, do you see a shift in Hollywood in diversity, specifically in regards to Asian-American roles?
Most definitely. I don’t think you can cast a project now without thinking about diversity, and that’s great. But now we have to think about making those roles full-fleshed and three-dimensional, and that will take time.
Did you see the film “Crazy Rich Asians”? If so, what did you think?
Never heard of it… Of course I saw “Crazy Rich Asians”! Well, I love rom-coms, and it did not disappoint. It’s a fun summer flick you can go see with a date, your girlfriends and your mom. I think what’s so special about the film is that it’s a universal story brought alive by Asian faces. We are relating to them as full-fleshed, three-dimensional people, and that does a lot for our society.
How does it feel to be on a hit Netflix show like “Friends From College”?
I feel super grateful. Not only am I on a show, but I get to work with the kindest, funniest, most talented cast and crew. Apparently this is not always the case, so it’s not too shabby that I get to experience this as my first serious, regular gig.
What advice do you have for young Asian actresses who are navigating lack of roles for people of color in Hollywood?
Be true to who you are. Believe your voice matters and that there’s only one you. You may be Asian, or a person of color, but you’re not all Asians or all persons of color. Stay in your lane, and do your best to stay sane!
What do you do on your days off to decompress?
Well, when you have a child, there’s really no “day off,” but lately when I do get some time to myself it usually involves a glass of wine and “Queer Eye.”
Tell me about your fans when they recognize you in public.
I hardly ever get recognized, and when I do it’s more of, “Do I know you from somewhere? You look familiar.” Usually they think we shop at the same Trader Joe’s.
What is your favorite charity or cause?
I just recently became involved with Best Buddies. It’s kind of like a mash-up of Special Olympics and Big Brother/Big Sister. Its mission is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Especially in this social climate, what a beautiful way to celebrate inclusion and love.
What project(s) do you have coming up?
At this point, I’m back pounding the pavement again. We wrapped season two a little bit ago. We shoot in New York, so I spent a few months going back and forth from LA to NY. That was one hell of a commute! I’m just recharging and waiting to see what adventures will come to be.
Tell me a secret—a good one!
Never! I’m great at keeping secrets… just like my character.