After five years of cult stardom, Battlestar Galactica's sexiest spacewoman is heading into the great unknown: fame.
This feature originally appeared in Complex's June/July 2008 issue.
Grace Park has a body. She even shows it off sometimes. We were surprised too—enjoy it while you can, because there’s a good chance it might not happen again. And that’s exactly what’s so sexy about the stunning actress (you know, besides the obvious): Her rise in Hollywood hasn’t left her Korean integrity lying by the wayside. The girl sticks to her guns. And even though that usually means disappointment for our collective libido, we still respect her.
Already well-known in her native Canada, she shot to cult stardom in 2003 with Battlestar Galactica, in which she plays the robots-in-disguise Boomer/Athena. (We hear you laughing—go frak yourself, it’s a good show.) Right now BSG is in its final season, which makes this an interesting time for the 34-year-old beauty: What happens when the show that made you a star ends? (Richard Grieco, anyone?) The thing is, even though she’s got another show starting in July—A&E’s extreme intervention drama The Cleaner—fame isn’t the name of the game. For her, there’s such a thing as “too famous too fast,” and she’s willing to put the brakes on acting if that happens. Keep your 100 mph Hollywood hoes; we’re going to slow our roll and put it in Park. Well, not literally. You know what we mean. Reeeeal respectful-like.
The success of Battlestar kinda came out of nowhere, and now everyone on the show is a star in their own right; how have you dealt with the fame and fans?
One of the things I like about Battlestar is that we’re a cult hit. We’re not on Lost, and not every single person is pointing fingers at us. I went out with Daniel Dae Kim [Jin on Lost]—we hosted a show together, and we were sitting at some restaurant. And everyone that walked by would wave at me like, “Congratulations, you know Daniel Dae Kim,” or “I know him too!” He’s in a much more high-profile position, so he’s dealing with the public a lot more. I love not doing that as much, just to have your anonymity.
Are you good with the public?
I think so. I hope so.
Not yet. Don’t mess with me.
Have you ever hit somebody?
No, I’ve never. [Pause.] OK, guys, but mostly in the chest.
Like, playful, or actually hitting them?
Well, the cover is playful, but really I try to hit them as hard as I can.
Most people have no clue who I am, and I like it like that.
Then I have to pick them up off the floor.
“And then I gotta go pick ’em up at the morgue.”
Battlestar was your big hit. And it’s ending. Have you thought about that? What happens when it ends?
I guess we see other actors and we associate them with one TV show, and then maybe you don’t see them again for a long time. I’ve never really thought about that.
You haven’t thought about that?
Thanks! Because I think what usually happens is that once you enter the machine and you get on a hit show, and it starts to end, managers, publicists start to say, “OK, let’s get you on another show, it’s time to capitalize on what you’ve got.” But I don’t understand why people want to be famous.
But you were a model.
Yeah, but models don’t do it to be famous. They do it to make money.
Some people caddie, some people work at McDonald’s; you say, “Oh, I’ll just model.”
[Laughs.] I think if most golf caddies could model, they’d model.
You want to make minimum wage or you want to make $150 an hour? And higher, depending on how big you are. Some of them make $10,000 a day.
You? $500. Half hour. Easy. [Laughs.]
People are so finicky about breaking up with someone. It's not like you're doing surgery.
To some degree. I know some people might think that, but most people have no clue who I am and I kinda like it like that.
Well, what happens if you get bigger?
I know, it’s a conflict of interest. I don’t know. I might have to stop acting.
You would stop acting?
Or I’d have to punch out one of the camera guys. Those are my two options in life, what can I say?
What magical pill are you dying for someone to invent?
Oh, I always wanted the magical pill that you could just swallow it and know stuff. So you could learn anything. Like, a new language.
Are you smart?
I’m pretty smart. It’s like how you shrink in life, height-wise—that started to happen to my intelligence, sadly enough. Can’t you tell? I can’t finish some of these sentences. And then, of course, there’s that phase where you could swallow a pill and have an instant tan.
I have no idea where that came from. Do you tan?
No. Well, in the sun.
As opposed to in the dark.
I used to try and tan in front of a fireplace. Me and my sister. We’d put suntan lotion on, and then we’d sit in front of the fireplace. Our parents were there too, and they didn’t even stop us. We just got really close to the fire, as close as you could without burning yourself. And then you get all flush and you’re like, “Oh my god! It’s working! Yes, you look more tan!”
What’s the most illegal thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve done minor illegal things. Like lying at the border. Some of the other stuff I don’t even want to tell you.
What happened at the border?
You lie about how much stuff you’re taking back with you. Right? Everyone’s done that. These are the questions that I can’t remember, then later you’re like, Ahhh, of course.
Yeah, later you remember. Like when I killed that guy in Pasadena.
I, um...Now, before you got married, in relationships were you the dumper or the dumpee?
Oh, I was the total dumper.
What was your line?
“I just don’t like you anymore.” I don’t know if that’s worse, but it’s really simple.
I actually feel a little broken up now.
[Laughs.] I know, it’s OK. Now I’ll pick you up off the floor. It’s so matter-of-fact. It’d be weird, I’d be having conversations with people and they’d be into it, and then I want to go home and we keep talking and the next thing I know I’m breaking up with them out of nowhere. “Oh, shoot. Sorry. I wasn’t planning on that.”
Just very straightforward.
Yeah, it’s not a big fiasco and it’s not like “Let’s still be friends.” All these people are so finicky about it. It’s not like you’re doing surgery.
Unless you’re dating a doctor.
Stop it! I think I was pretty cocky before. I didn’t realize how cocky I was. Aren’t we all cocky growing up? Until you get wiser. Or you get stupider.
Your brain shrinks.
Yes, it does. I can feel it. Rapidly. Ow!
After playing an officer and a pilot, do you find that men like a woman in uniform?
I don’t think so.
You don’t think men like women in uniform?
I think it depends which uniform. Nurse’s uniform? I think a lot of guys like that. Twenty-pound flight suit? I don’t think guys go for it.
You never know!
But some guys seem to like it. I have heard some guys say a woman in uniform is sexy. But I haven’t heard it a lot.
Have you heard it about Battlestar?
Yeah, some people think it’s pretty cool.
Is it weird when people say that?
No, because I’ve only heard it like twice. And it’s usually Tricia [Helfer], who’s usually in a red dress on the show or she’s always in heels and the dress. She always wants to wear one of our flight suits or dog tags. But she’s the one I always hear it from.
Do you think you’re nerdy?
Nerdy. [Laughs.] Wow.
Do you think you’re dirty?
You said “dirty”! And now you pretend. Do I think I’m nerdy? I can be nerdy.
That’s a no. [Laughs.]
WATCH THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO:
BONUS VIDEO | Grace Park Takes Our Robot Quiz::
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (HAIR) Christophe at Jam Arts for John Freida Salon New York. (MAKEUP) Daniel Martin at Jam Arts for Lancome. (MANICURE) Lisa Logan at arthousemanagement.com. FIRST IMAGE: Jeans by Goldsign / Shoes by Maloles. SECOND IMAGE: Top by Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent / Shorts by Just Cavalli / Belt by Theory / Shoes by D&G. THIRD & FOURTH IMAGE: Bra by Calvin Klein / Shorts by Lacoste / T-shirt by DKNY. FIFTH IMAGE: Top by Celine / Bra by Intimissimi / Shoes by Theory. SEVENTH IMAGE: Robe by Nautica / Sunglasses by Ksubi / Shoes by Bruno Frisoni. EIGHTH, THIRTEENTH & COVER IMAGE: Top by Ksubi / Lingerie by Calvin Klein.