Victoria Park is a compelling study.
The actress, who is a recurring cast member on the popular CW superhero series “The Flash,” has a story that begins similar to many folks who venture from their respective hometowns to Los Angeles with hopes of making it big or sniffing even a semblance of success – enough to justify the leap of faith.
The 32-year-old stars as Kamilla Hwang, a former bartender and highly skilled photographer, on the show that is currently airing its sixth season. Despite Park’s 10-year run in Hollywood, the performer said she lucked out on getting an opportunity to audition for the role and told Fox News she actually came out to California to become a director, not an actress.
As Hollywood twists go, and through consistent trial and error, Park became an astute performer and hasn’t looked back.
Fox News: What might people not know about the leap of faith you took in coming to Hollywood?
Victoria Park: Yeah, I mean, that's totally been my story. I come from Illinois as you said; I would say from Chicago but people who are from Chicago would be a little upset with that because I never lived in the city. So I'm from Illinois. And I just you know, I loved films growing up and I majored in film production and I wanted to be a cinematographer. And I just decided I'm going to move to LA, so I packed up my car and drove out.
I didn't know a single soul, didn't have a job, had barely any savings. And yeah, I guess I took a bet on myself and I guess it came out OK. I joined an acting class because somebody had told me, you know, to be a good director, you should understand how actors work. And I didn't know what else to do. Like I didn't know how to get a job or anything and I didn't have any connections. So I was like, "Well, I'll just take an acting class," and ended up really loving it. And so I got picked up by my manager from that class. And I've been doing it ever since.
I think my first job – oh, I do remember my first job; it was on a little show that I think got canceled on NBC and it was shot at the Paramount Lot. And being a film nerd, the Paramount Lot, it's just, it's so iconic. And you drive in under that iconic gate and you see the water tower. And I was like, "OK, I'm here like, I've made it." And so it's just been, it's been exciting ever since.
Fox News: What have you learned about yourself and this intense business throughout your journey?
Park: I think I've learned that I am a lot more resilient than I thought. I'm a lot stronger than I thought. This business is really hard. I mean, it's really exciting. And it's, you know, we have the best job in the world. I think we just get to play and get paid to do that. But yeah, it's hard and I've realized that the people who make it are talented, but also they just work really hard and they don't give up. And so I've been doing it for 10 years now, and I guess I have a little bit of that "don't give up" quality.
Fox News: You've been able to sustain for nearly a decade now. What do you really credit that to?
Park: Oh, my gosh. I'm blessed. I don't know. I mean, I worked really hard. And I don't want to discredit that. But I think a lot of it is luck and a lot of it is – I think people want to work with good people. And so hopefully, I just try to bring positivity wherever I go and try to always be a good person with whoever I'm working with. And I think that can go far. But I think a lot of it is luck, honestly.
Fox News: What was a misconception about Hollywood that has been disproved in your experience?
Park: I think one misconception--and I don't know if it's common – but a misconception that I had was that it was going to be really hard to meet good people. You know, everyone thinks of LA and Hollywood is just a bunch of fake people. And I was really surprised that really early on, all of the actors that I've worked with – whether they were like huge stars or smaller--were really kind and just really wanted to help me out, which was nice. I was not expecting that. I thought I would have to fend for myself a little bit, but I've been helped out a lot. So that was a huge surprise. A pleasant surprise.
Fox News: Was landing the role of Kamilla on Season 5 of “The Flash” a life-changing moment for you?
Park: I guess so when I think back on it. It didn't feel like a huge change. I've been working fairly consistently, so it just felt like I booked another job. Yay, I can pay my rent for another year or whatever. But then as the show started airing and as my social media numbers started growing and, you know, the fan base started going, I was like, "Oh, this is a big deal. Like people really like this show."
This is the thing because I had never watched the show beforehand. Now I've seen all of it. But before that, I was like, "Oh, it's this little show on the CW and it's a DC comic," I don't know. But it ended up being great. So I guess looking back now, it has been fairly life-changing. But in the moment, it just felt like another job that I was excited to get.
Fox News: What are some ways you combat social media hate if you deal with that kind of thing?
Park: Yeah. I mean I've been very fortunate that I haven't received a whole lot of it. Obviously, there are some comments that come through and you know, it's hard not to let it affect you, but I think I was, you know, going back to the people that have gone before me, that have helped me out, they always told me, one day this is going to happen to you and you need to be prepared. And so I think I just went in kind of with that guard up knowing that, "OK, if these comments come, they're not a reflection of me. It's more a reflection of that person. And I need to be able to just not let it affect me."
And if it does, I just turn off social media, don't look at it for a couple of days. I've had friends who look out for me who are like, "Hey, I saw this comment, just so you know what's up there," which has been really sweet. And being able to delete anything that doesn't really vibe with me. And yeah, I just go on my way. Positive vibes only. It's not really about me. It's about them and I wish them the best, whatever it is they're going through. But, you know, I try not to let it affect me personally.
Fox News: What are some of your inspirations?
Park: I have so many inspirations. Gosh, I feel like I'm inspired by everything and that sounds like a cop-out answer, but I just – I'm such an emotional person and I feel like any good story, I just get affected by. I love nature. I love being outside in nature. I love like just being with my people. Good food is so inspiring to me.
Fox News: What kind of food do you love?
Park: I like dumplings but in any category. Yeah. Chicken and dumplings or even anything that's just dough wrapped around something else, like a ravioli or tortellini. Anything that's in dumpling form, I'm good with.
Fox News: Would you ever do stage performing?
Park: Honestly, it kind of terrifies me. But I'm all for doing things that scare me. So if the opportunity came up, I wouldn't say no. But I'm not actively looking for that because it kind of terrifies me right now. But you know, my career is going to be very long, hopefully.
It's just so different. I went to film school and my comfort zone is being around cameras and lights and being around set people – like that's my family, those are my people. And so it feels like a totally different animal to be on stage and then your people are the audience. I don't know. It just feels very foreign to me. And I'm sure once I did it and then I was like, "OK, I have an understanding for it," it wouldn't be scary, but I've just never done it.
Fox News: Who do you point to on the set and say that person is a masterclass in acting?
Park: I really respect working with Grant [Gustin]. I hadn't worked with him in the first season. I don't think I've ever worked with him. And I met him on Season 6. And to be an actor on a show that's been going this long, I think it can be really easy to give in to the temptation to just kind of coast, especially on a successful show like this. You know, you're like, "Well, we're successful. I can just coast."
But every time they're changing lights or whatever and we're all just kind of sitting there chatting, he's on his iPad looking at the scene and making sure that he's prepared for everything, asking the writers questions. And that was really impressive to me. And I feel like I've learned a lot from him and watching how he works.
Fox News: What have you discovered is the key to keeping friends in this business?
Park: That's a really good question. Intentionality. Yeah, I think intentionality is kind of the key to a lot of things. You know, your work ethic or just even disciplines about getting up early and being productive. But LA is such a big city and people are working all over the world. And so in order to keep your friends, you've got to be intentional about keeping up with them. And yeah, it's really hard but it's possible.
Fox News: How is life as a married actress now?
Park: Well, I'm recently married. So it's a new thing for me and it's great being married. My husband is so supportive of everything that I do and we've been friends for a long, long time and he's always been supportive of what I do. But when you're an actor and you don't know when your next paycheck is going to come...and you don't have anyone supporting you emotionally, financially, whatever, it can be very, very stressful.
And so to have a partner who supports me, who's like, "We're going to be OK." And, you know, if those bad social media days or if you don't get a job and you're just wrecked on the floor, there's someone there to pick you up and be like, 'It's going to be OK. You're a great actress. It's going to be fine." So being married has been amazing.
Fox News: How crushing can it be for a performer to deal with rejection if they aren’t used to it or ready for it?
Park: Yeah, I mean, I think it's one of the biggest challenges of being an actor is like, to be an amazing actor you have to be emotionally available and you have to be open. You have to be sensitive. You have to be able to see what the other person is doing and have it affect you. But then at the same time, you have to be resilient and you have to be closed off to people rejecting you.
I have to be closed off to all these people saying they didn't like your performance. And so it's this kind of like really difficult Catch-22 that you find yourself in. And I think some days I'm better at it than others. There are definitely days that I let it get to me and I'm like, "I really wanted that job. Why don't they like me?" And it's hard to separate yourself and your self-worth from the rejection.
But I think surrounding yourself with good people who support you, like my husband and like my friends, like my amazing team who can just remind you that it's not about your self-worth. It's just, maybe that role wasn't right for you and it's fine. It'll open the door or something else – that's been really helpful to kind of keeping me grounded and reminding me that I still have worth even if I didn't get that one job.
Fox News: Did you ever think we would get to this point in the industry where so many women directors and producers are getting the opportunities to lead their own projects?
Park: It's taken a long time to get to this point. So I definitely think we've been long due for a moment like this and I'm really excited and I'm really fortunate to be coming in at this time where there are such an onslaught of women directors and producers and everything. I think it's going to change the game. And I think we've been more than ready for it for a long time.
And so, yeah, I'm excited to see how this changes the film industry. You know, the stories that are being told or even just the way that sets are run or anything like that. I think we're going to see a big change and even in the content that's being made in the next few years.
"The Flash" airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on the CW.