When you hear the word Hollywood, what immediately comes to mind is the lifestyle of the rich and famous. However, this is not always the case as can be seen in the life of Paula Jai Parker. Parker is an African-American actress who enjoyed a flourishing career back in the day, appearing in numerous movies and TV series. She, however, shocked the world in 2014 when she disclosed that she lacked a home of her own and even had to rely on social welfare at times. So what happened? Find out below…
Paula Jai Parker Bio
Paula Jai Parker was born on the 19th of August 1969 in Cleveland, Ohio. The actress spent her formative years in Cleveland where she completed her elementary and high school education. She thereafter moved to Washington D. C. to study at Howard University. On graduating college in 1991, Paula Jia Parker headed to New York in order to kick-start her showbiz career. In the Big Apple, she initially pursued her passion for music and performed at various clubs. The multi-talented Parker also utilised her comic talent to land her first TV gig. This was on the syndicated show, The Apollo Comedy Hour, in 1992. After two successful years on Apollo, the Cleveland native joined another sketch comedy TV show, Townsend Television, in 1993.
Movies and TV Shows
Since her debut in 1992, Paula Jai Parker has featured in numerous movies and TV series. On the big screen, she has appeared on Friday, Get on the Bus, Riot, Woo, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, 30 Years to Life, Phone Booth, Love Chronicles, My Baby’s Daddy, She Hate Me, Ray, Hustle & Flow, Idlewild, Life of a King, Patterns of Attraction and Sprung.
Sprung is a 1997 comedy about two sets of couples; the sexy gold-digger Adina with her flamboyant boyfriend, Clyde and the shy Brandy with her introverted boyfriend, Montel. While Adina and Clyde quickly crash and burn, Brandy and Montel find true happiness to the envy of their friends.
The movie featured Tisha Campbell and Joe Torry while Parker played the role of Adina. Her portrayal of the loud-mouthed and hard-edged Adina, as well as her unforgettable one-liners, remains one of the funniest characters ever in black film.
On the small screen, Paula Jai Parker has featured in TV series such as The Wayans Bros, The Weird Al Show, Snoops, Side Order of Life, Family Time, Hand of God, Recovery Road, Black Jesus, Ray Donovan, and The Proud Family. The Proud Family is a Disney animated sitcom about the Proud family and Parker voiced the role of their bossy mom, Trudy Proud. The sitcom ran from 2001 to 2005 and Parker appeared in 51 episodes of the show.
Paula Jai Parker has received several awards in the course of her career. They include best actress in a dramatic series at the 1995 CableAce Awards, best comedic performance at the 2005 Women Film Critics Circle Awards and best ensemble cast at the 2016 Laughlin International Film Festival.
Paula Jai Parker’s Net Worth
Paula Jai Parker has a net worth estimated at $200,000. In a 2014 episode of Hollywood Divas, the actress courageously revealed that she was once homeless and had to live in a hotel room. She also disclosed that she even had to rely on food stamps at some point. These revelations came as a shock to many and in a subsequent interview with Essence, Parker revealed that her situation was due to the fact that she had been blackballed by Hollywood. Consequently, she found it hard landing regular work and had to resort to indie productions which do not pay much. Since her revelation, Parker has gone on to land parts in popular TV series such as True Bloods, NCIS: Los Angeles and How to Get Away with Murder. There is no doubt that her financial situation must have improved.
Paula Jai Parker’s Husband
The actress is enjoying marital bliss with her husband of more than 15 years – Forrest Martin. Parker first met Martin in 2004 on the set of the movie, Hustle & Flow. She had a supporting role in the film while Martin was working as an intern/production assistant after obtaining his MFA. In the course of shooting, the two got talking and eventually commenced a relationship. They later tied the knot that same year.
The couple has one child together; a son named Onederful Vanglorious Jaxon N’Krumah Martin. Parker and her husband are both cast members of Hollywood Divas. This is a reality TV series that chronicles the life, career, family and love life of five African-American actresses. The show also stars the likes of Golden Brooks, Countess Vaughn, Lisa Wu, Elise Neal, and Malika Haqq.