The lovely Ami Park is our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY this week and we are so delighted to share her story with you! Born in New York and raised in Jersey, Ami always had a knack for acting since she was young. As Ami grew older, she realized she stood out like a sore thumb, when she was the only Asian American in her community pursuing her dream. Still, she persisted. Being a woman of color, Ami recognizes how important it is for Asian-American women to find their voices and express how they really feel. This positive girl encourages all of us to find more gratitude in our lives, even on the toughest days. We love how Ami reminds us that with just a small adjustment in our perspective, we can change hardships into blessings.
Today, Ami is an actor, host and co-founder of her production company, Empower House Media. When Ami was in school, her English teacher recommended she join the Speech and Debate team after seeing her act in a Shakespearean play. She joined in her sophomore year and immediately advanced to winning several NJ Forensic League tournaments in prose/poetry as well as proceeding to be the 2012 NJ State Championship in DUO interpretation for the award winning story, "The Joy Luck Club". This incredible accomplishment sent her to the Nationals in her Junior and Senior year for both Dramatic and DUO interpretation. Later, she attended Boston University and graduated with a BFA in Theatre Arts. Her most memorable work was being in a play called “Baltimore” (mentioned on the New York Times) by Kristen Greenidge. Ami personally resonated with her character Grace Kim, a girl who struggled with her identity as a Korean-American. This experience motivated Ami to be an advocate and activist for the Asian-American community. Prior to Empower House, Ami was a host for Kore Asian Media and ISATv. Currently, Ami is the co-creator for LADY PARTS which is an all female Asian-American led series, where she will be starring as Jean Suh. Ami lives her passion by acting and sharing stories that allow Asian-Americans to reclaim their authentic identities and voices while addressing controversial topics. You go girl!
What we admire most about Ami is how she found her strength in vulnerability. She believes finding common ground in the struggles we face as women is what will empower us to share our truth and lift each other up. By speaking up, we show each other we are not alone in the difficulties we face as females and we can move forward as a community when we look to each other for support. Thank you Ami for demonstrating what it means to be in control of our own lives. We love that you choose to be different and are able to live your life to the fullest by acknowledging your differences and owning your story. You rock, Ami!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in life?
The most important lesson I learned so far is that you can’t do anything alone - you need your tribe. Find people who respect and love you for who you are and want to grow with you together as a team. I think we have been taught so much about competition that we have lost sight in the importance of community; it’s about bringing all of us up together.
What does it mean to you to be an Asian-American female?
Right now, as an Asian-American female, it is such an important time to raise your voice on issues that our parents and elders were not able to speak up about during their time. Defined by our cultures, we tend to stay silent on things that may bother us, and in turn, don’t want to be bothersome for others. We have been told not to complain; to keep our heads down and do the work. However, this has led us to believe that we are subservient, and that we do not have the power. Speaking up and saying how we really feel is a huge part of what it means to be an Asian-American female. We have so much influence and power on how we want this generation and the generations after us to be perceived.
How do pull yourself out of a down mood and focus on positive thoughts? Are there any daily rituals you have?
Daily rituals I have are morning pages, meditation and my gratitude journal before I go to sleep. They all set a tone of ease, knowing that I really am in charge of anything I want to accomplish and my head de-clutters from all the unnecessary thoughts that may enter from time to time. Even when I am having negative thoughts, I am able to look at them as a third person instead of being pulled down by them, just by acknowledging their presence, but not letting them take over me. This is a recent thing I discovered about the power of shifting mindsets - Something I ask myself when I am down is, “what would Amazing Ami do in this moment?” and it puts things into perspective. Another thing that helps is altering phrases in my head (especially when I’m working out or powering through a project) such as “I GET TO” instead of “ I have to”. The more gratitude you find in your life, the more you will attract.
Why do you think it’s important for women to be vulnerable?
It’s important for women to be vulnerable because we already have so much hardship expressing ourselves and how we actually feel due to the fear that we are being “too much” and “dramatic.” I think the word vulnerable has such a negative connotation in which people perceive it as weak and sensitive, and as women we are already portrayed in that way in a sense, which makes it harder for us to want to be vulnerable. But to be vulnerable is to have full courage, to expose yourself to the truth and to face our fears even if it’s hard. I recently opened up about my 15 years of being silent on being sexually assaulted by my father, in the hope that others can open up about their experiences as well. My story has helped others have the courage to speak up and finally start their healing journeys, as I am currently healing through mine.
By being vulnerable, we realize that none of us are ever alone, and it is a huge factor in who we are to always reach for the truth. The truth is where it all begins.
What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?
My definition is recognizing that there is truly no one like you, and that we are all different for a reason and we should embrace our unique set of skills, talents, looks and passions. Sometimes we are so stuck on the latest trend, how others perceive us, and we get so caught up on what others think when we are the ones who should be dictating how we want to FEEL and LIVE! You are the CEO of your LIFE. You have everything at your disposal and you are far more than enough!