Currently, Park is sitting on the roof of the Hotel Wilshire—nestled between Beverly Hills and Hollywood—with views of the Los Angeles basin as far out as the smog will allow. She arrives in the L.A. off-duty actress uniform: breezy tank top, skinny jeans, flats, and oversized sunglasses.
On The Royals, Park plays an out of control princess who is forced into the spotlight after her older brother [the heir] unexpectedly passes away. Although this is only her sixth acting credit, and first starring role, she inhabits the character deeply, and in fact, she says that playing Princess Eleanor is her dream role, “She’s one-in-a-million, this character, I don’t think I could have written a more challenging and complex character for myself.” Park says, smitten.
Stardom has not been an easy route for Park. Originally from Sydney, she struggled to make it in the sometimes-cutthroat shallow waters that are the Australian entertainment industry. Two months shy of making the move to Los Angeles, she was put in touch with Royals creator Mark Schwahn via a casting director who saw her audition for another role. She didn’t get the part immediately, but Schwahn did give her some insight into his process, and what it would take, saying that he only casts people that he likes, and who want to be there. “And he’s really followed through with that,” Park gushes, “every single person in our show is a good egg, and wants to be there, and if the person at the top of the ship makes that decision, and has that control, then it’s going to be a pleasant atmosphere on set.”
As to where her perseverance comes from, Park points to her roots; “Since I was a little kid, as far as I can remember, I wanted to sing and do musicals. My grandmother was a very hardworking, driven, powerful woman. That’s what my mom says: I got a lot of her drive, and thick skin. I think you have to have that now, because if you don’t it’s just too hard, this industry.”
The most recent finale of The Royals ended with quite a bang. Park is understandably vague on what comes next for the family, ahead of the season two premiere in November, “A lot of questions are answered, a lot of background history comes to surface for each of the characters—stuff from before season one, like where they came from, why they might behave in certain ways—the stakes are higher, the story lines are more twisted and complex; it’s not what you’re expecting.”
Park, mulling it over as lunch finishes, takes in the view and the sun on one of the last hot days of the year. As for what’s next, she’s not certain; she has prospects, but it’s always hard to top royalty.
Photographer: Hao Zeng at Haozeng.com.
Fashion Editor: Joshua Liebman for Honey-artists.com.
Hair: Tyler Colton for Honey-artists.com using Oribe Hair Care.
Makeup: Genevieve for Sallyharlor.com using Laura Mercier.
Location: Dune Studios, New York at Dunestudiosnyc.com.