Success happens; even to the most unsuspecting of us.
She is unmistakably a Black woman—broad shoulders, strong-to-a-fault and tightly coiled hair, 5’6, but long legs that make her seem taller. Her kind and rapid low-pitched voice oozes passion and she has plenty to say.
Like some from Durham, N.C., where April Parker-Jones hails from, self-doubt terrorized her and threatened her with a life of underachievement.
But the actress, who currently plays Natalie Henning in Tyler Perry’s television drama “Loving You is Wrong” wouldn’t let that be her story.
OurWeekly caught up with Parker-Jones this 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.
Multi-tasking—as she sent the family scurrying for hamburger buns and patties at a Ralphs supermarket—and “stick-to-itiveness” are the most important tools Parker-Jones credits for her accomplishments.
“I believe the key component 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, of then stops people from pursuing what they love. The Oprah Winfrey Network star spoke of struggling with self-sabotage, as she moved forward towards her dreams.
“I had to conquer insecurity and self-doubt, and I continue to conquer feelings of unworthiness; those are things that I’m constantly battling.”
Parker-Jones 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, always reminding her that she is worthy and valuable.
“I think that’s true for any career—you have to have supportive people around you,” Parker-Jones said.
Hers was a long journey, full of sacrifice, the actress reports.
While auditioning, the “If Loving You is Wrong” star waited tables, took temporary 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 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,” Parker-Jones confided. She’s felt fortunate that her husband fills in the gaps at home. The couple have five kids between them. At times, she’d need to get public assistance, Medicaid and food stamps to adquately care for the children.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would,” she said.
After 18 years of pursuing a viable career in acting; 10 years in Los Angeles, and prior to that, eight years in New York, she’s succeeding.
Parker-Jones and her husband recently purchased a home in Atlanta, Ga., where she moved to play Natalie. The first-time new-home buyers say they are enjoying more value for their dollars in Georgia, and 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 like an extended business trip,” the actress said. Both she and her husband moved to L.A. to pursue their careers.
As for what’s next:
“I’m planting my roots. I’m a southern girl and my husband is from Savannah, Ga., 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 is winning the battle with self-doubt and insecurity and is now living her dreams with a successful career, a new home, and a happy family.
She and her husband Jay will celebrate 10 years of marriage June 30.