Jae Suh Park
Meet Jae Suh Park, Korean actress best known for her role as Marianne on Netflix Original comedy series Friends From College, which depicts the modern day lives and romantic intersections of a group of friends that have known each other since college. Working alongside an incredible cast, including stars like Keegan Michael Key (of Key and Peele fame), and Cobie Smulders.
As Friends From College aired its second and final season in January, Jae prepares herself for potential new projects, soaking in the endless possibilities for growth and opportunity.
I chatted with Jae about everything from being on a Netflix show to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR BREVITY AND CLARITY.
How did you get into acting and when did it become a viable career option for you?
I had always wanted to be an actor since I was very young, but never thought that it was possible to pursue it as a career. I hid my desire until I took an acting class my freshman year in college. At the end of the course, the teacher told me he thought that I was good and asked if I had planned to audition for any of the upcoming plays. I never really thought of it but with his encouragement I decided to give it a try. After many school plays, community theatre and even dinner theatre, I decided to pack up my Toyota Corolla and head down to LA.
I don’t know if I ever thought it would be a viable career, but I knew I didn’t want to do anything else. After a while I thought I better keep doing it because I’m not qualified to do anything else!
What was it like being casted in a Netflix original and what role does Marianne play in the friend group's dynamic as a character?
I felt so grateful and excited to be part of the Netflix family. I had heard that creatively, Netflix was a great place to be as they had a reputation of being pretty hands off and letting the creators create. It proved to be true.
Marianne is a free spirited bohemian and a wonderful optimist. She may seem spacey at first, but she proves to be the most grounded and a voice of reason.
What were you most excited for the audience to see in the second season of Friends From College?
The clothes! But seriously, I was most excited for the audience to see all the beautiful dramatic moments this season. You know from the first season that everyone will bring the comedy, but you might be surprised that they can equally break your heart.
What does a typical day look like for you as an actress and mother?
There is no typical day. Every day is different and sometimes an adventure. One day, I might be doing a glamorous photo shoot, the next I’m running around trying to make three auditions on time and then the next day I’m straightening books at my daughter’s school.
You're very passionate about your eco-friendly and organic lifestyle choices. How did that come about and how has it changed the way you and your family live?
As far as switching to more cleaner products, that came about when I was pregnant with my daughter. Of course I wanted to be mindful of what I ate, but I never realized that things were absorbed into the body. This just made me more mindful about our environment and what we can do to conserve it and make it cleaner.
As far as how we live day to day, we do simple things like recycle and turn off lights not in use to bigger things like use energy efficient appliances and installing a water filtration system.
What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome in your career?
My confidence and need for validation. It’s a struggle for most actors I think. As I’ve gotten older, I’m definitely feeling more and more comfortable in my skin. I care less about what people think, but it has certainly been a journey and will continue to be.
When did you start working with Best Buddies, and what has that experience been like?
I just started working with them this past summer. I was introduced to them by one of my co-stars. It has really been rewarding to support and spread the word about this wonderful organization. Everyone I’ve met involved in this organization are so hardworking with the biggest hearts.
Where do you consume media and do you have any favourite publications or podcasts you read and listen to?
I listen to NPR in my car. With all the driving we do in LA, it’s a lot of news!
What big projects do you have planned for 2019?
I don’t have anything big planned but I’m sure a great project will come along. Like Marianne, I’m an optimist.