*Success happens; even to the most unsuspecting of us.
She is unmistakably a black woman – broad shoulders, strong-to-a-fault and tight coiled hair. 5’6, but long legs that make her seem taller. Her kind and rapid low-pitched and sultry voice blasts away with plenty to say.
Like many from Durham, North Carolina, where she’s from, self-doubt has terrorized her – and threatened a life of sub-standards and underperformance.
An urban reality – arguably beatable, in this era. But just as sure as if there were ropes tide firm around them –fear still paralyzes people.
But this time, not April Parker-Jones; the actress, who currently plays Natalie Henning in Tyler Perry’s television drama “Loving You is Wrong.” She’s tamed her inner critic, and despite self-doubt proves what can happen with perseverance.
EURweb caught up with Parker-Jones last week during a visit to L.A, where she scored eight episodes in a secret new-role, as a military woman. She answered questions and shared advice while shopping for groceries with her husband, Jay Jones and their children.
As she sent the family scurrying for hamburger buns and patties at a Ralphs supermarket; making sure they got as many buns as there were burgers – one of the most important tools Parker-Jones offered regarding her accomplishments:
“I believe the key components to any type of success is perseverance – it’s not quitting. It’s sticking to it and not giving up – as cliché as that sounds,” Parker-Jones said. “If you enjoy it and if it’s something you would do for free – don’t quit. It’s not an option.”
Even when there is self-doubt; and even when things get hard, she said.
It’s no secret that head talk, also known as common sense, stops people from pursuing what they love. The Oprah Winfrey Network star spoke of wagering with self-sabotage, as she moved forward towards her dreams.
Most any one could guess what her mind chatter might have been. But, as for how Parker-Jones stuck-to-it and how she didn’t give up:
“I had to conquer insecurity and self-doubt and I continue to conquer feelings of unworthiness; those are things that I’m constantly battling.”
She attributes her perseverance, in part, to the support of family and friends.
“What helps me get through tough moments is having a team of people around me who pour life into me.” Her supporters wouldn’t let her give up, she said. They’d say the words – you are worthy and valuable.
“I think that’s true for any career – you have to have supportive people around you,” Parker-Jones said.
Most importantly, put in the work and “don’t quit.” That’s how it’s done.
Hers was a long journey, full of sacrifice, the actress reports.
While auditioning, the “Loving You is Wrong” star waited tables, took temps jobs, and worked as a secretary and a caterer in the first few years. When she realized she had to make acting a full-time job, she said:
“I just took a leap of faith; I quit my job and when I took that leap of faith and said I’m going to do this 100 percent full-force I felt like god took another step towards me and said I’m going to reward you for that step.”
It was hard, the mother of two said. She’s felt fortunate that her husband, who doubles has her personal trainer, filled in gaps. They have five kids between them. At times, she’d need to get public assistance, Medicaid and food stamps for the children.
But, she said: “If I had to do it all over again I would.”
After 18 years of pursing success in acting; 10 years in Los Angeles, and prior to that – eight years in New York, she’s winning.
Parker-Jones and her husband have purchased a home in Atlanta Georgia, where she moved to play Natalie. And when it comes to a place to live – the first-time new-home buyers enjoy more value for their dollars in Georgia, and said they will stay permanently. The children have adjusted well in school and Parker-Jones’ oldest daughter, 17, is learning to drive – on uncongested streets.
Living in Los Angeles was always and extended business trip, the actress said. Both she and her husband moved to L.A. to pursue their careers. The whole family is happy with the move, and Parker-Jones’ success.
As for what’s next:
“I’m planting my roots. I’m a southern girl and my husband is from Savannah, Georgia so we are close to the family now,” Parker-Jones said. “It was always a part of the plan for us to eventually be back on the east coast.”
Plus, “The entertainment industry is blossoming in Atlanta,” she said. “I’m told Atlanta is the fastest growing region for the entertainment industry in history.” And of course, she’s excited to experience that.
In the end, Parker-Jones has out witted her self-doubt and insecurities and is now living her dreams; a home, a successful career and a happy family.
She and her husband Jay will celebrate 10 years of marriage June 30th.