Emily In Paris star Ashley Park worked double-duty at last night’s Critics Choice Awards as both a presenter and nominee. The actor was on-location at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica to present the best comedy special category, and she was also nominated for best supporting actress in a comedy series. The latter nomination actually turned out to be a historic moment for the star: Park was the first Asian person ever to be nominated in her category. “When I found out, that hit me deeply, mostly because I was shocked—while simultaneously not being surprised at all,” Park tells Vogue. “I and other Asians grew up hardly seeing people who looked like us on screen, so I’m grateful to Emily in Paris and to the critics for this inclusion.”
Being nominated for a show like Emily In Paris was especially meaningful to Park. “I grew up devouring shows like Emily in Paris. It’s where I learned about city life, romance, friendships, fashion, and womanhood,” she says, adding that she greatly relates to her character, Mindy, and can’t wait to step into her shoes for season two. “Mindy is definitely a version of me,” she says. “As someone who absolutely loves being around people and misses bringing energy and music and fun to people in person, playing her means the world.”
Given the special feel of the night—it was her first awards show ever!—Park knew she wanted a stellar look for the Critics Choice Awards. Styled by Erin Walsh, she wore an Atelier Versace gown in an exquisite shade of green. “The dress took my breath away, both figuratively and literally,” says Park, who says it was love at first sight. “When Erin zipped me into the Atelier Versace, we both just knew it was the one. I was immediately drawn to the color. It’s bright and cheerful, but feels like a grand and grounded gesture. The corset has a nostalgic, timeless vibe and made me immediately reminisce about Paris, while the bottom half feels like modern art.” As for her choice of accessories, Park also wanted to pay homage to her Asian roots. “I really wanted to wear some Asian designers, and Erin found incredible jewelry and diamonds from Anita Ko and Nam Cho.”
After slipping into her outfit, Park’s glam team—Melissa Hernandez on makeup, Clayton Hawkins on hair, and Yoko Sakakura on nails—got to work on a beauty look that complemented the dress. “We wanted to go simple and timeless with the hair and makeup,” Park says. “Since the otherworldly structure of the couture was so bold, Melissa and I wanted the makeup to live in a warmer world, with a little bit of subdued flame around the eyes to compliment the fresh green. And I think I literally said to Clayton for hair, ‘maybe Jessica Rabbit meets Hollywood glam in the capital of the Hunger Games?”
Park says overall, her first awards show was a special night to remember. “I was just so grateful to be able to laugh with [host] Taye Diggs from across a studio in person,” she says. As for what we can expect in the upcoming season of Emily In Paris? “In season two, we’re excited that Mindy has moved into the apartment with Emily in the same building as Gabriel,” says Park. “There is sure a lot of fun to be had as Mindy starts to integrate with Emily’s other worlds in Paris. There will be more fun music [too], now that she’s an MC at the epic drag club. Any song suggestions?”
Below, a behind-the-scenes look at Park’s Critics Choice Awards.