Getting to Know: “American Crime Story” Star Angel Parker

Angel Parker got her acting start in the aptly titled TV show, “Angel” and went on to appear in “ER,” “Criminal Minds,” and Disney show “Lab Rats.”

Now the LA native is part of one of the biggest shows of the year, “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” playing hot shot lawyer Shawn Chapman.

The beautiful and talented Angel spoke to BellaLAMag.com about her experience working for the much talked about series, her favorite things about living in LA and what makes her life Bella!

Congratulations on landing American Crime Story – how was the experience filming it?

Wonderful. An absolute dream come true.

Angel Parker standing blue small

Any interesting stories from set?

We had so much fun with each other. And on those long loopy days we would play movie trivia or online chess with each other.

Did you get to meet Shawn Chapman?

Not while I was preparing for the role but Shawn and I actually have the same hairdresser and I mentioned to him that I would love to speak to her. He relayed the message and gave me her number which I had burning in my pocket for a while. Production had discouraged us reaching out to the people we were portraying. But about halfway through the production they relaxed that and I gave her a call. She was so warm and welcoming and invited me over to her home to meet her family. It was absolutely daunting at first but she’s amazing and very open and it was great meeting her.

Apart from acting – what are your other passions?

My family of course! Also education, theatre and female empowerment.

What advice would you give up and coming actors?

Join up to a great acting class, acting troop or local small theatre company and surround yourself with people who make you better and whose dreams are in alignment to yours. It’s not so lonely when you have good people in your life to take you out for a drink when you don’t get a part, or to run auditions with you, or do a short film with. I always say, “Create don’t wait.”

Angel Parker standing jeans small

Do you feel the movie industry will catch up with television in its diversity?

What was the last movie you saw in the theatre compared to the last 10 shows you watched on TV? People want to be home and TV is shifting how people are viewing entertainment. I think that film will have to step up to the plate if they want to stay relevant and portray a wide range of diverse story lines. TV stories are fascinating and diverse. Green is the color of the industry so if it makes money, that’s where the trend will follow. People want to learn something they didn’t know before – like Transparent for example and the trans community. I’m fascinated with what takes place in other countries, or people with disabilities that maybe I don’t have contact with on a day to day basis. I hope they continue to make more and more stories even if it’s risky – but without risk there’s no reward. I’m encouraged by the success of “Blackish,” “Empire,” “How To Get Away With Murder,” “Scandal”… I’d love to work with Shonda Rhimes.

What makes your life Bella/beautiful? 

Waking up each morning to a loving family and a day full of opportunity.

Having a sad day, how do you cheer yourself up?

I go outside! I try to find the beauty in the simple things. Also, a call to a good girlfriend can always help.

Best advice given? 

Hard work pays off

What inspires you?

Everything! You can find beauty and passion everywhere you look as long as your heart is open to see it.

Sometimes date nights happen at photo shoots. #oldhollywood #powercouple @ericnenninger

A photo posted by Angel Parker (@angelparkerla) on

Who are the 3 most interesting people you have met so far and why?

1. Nathan Lane. He knows everyone and makes me belly laugh with all his stories.

2. My kids! I look into their faces each day and am astonished by the things they say daily. To watch them grow up is the highlight of my life.

3. A bus driver in New Orleans. She drove us all day through the city and the 9th ward. Her stories about her life in NOLA were incredible. I will remember her forever. She asked us not to forget them, or that day, and I never have. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I am very proud of my creole heritage and continue to learn about it to this day.

Quote that you live by?

“Too legit to quit” – MC Hammer

Bella’s tagline is ‘beauty defined by you’ – how do you define beauty?

Being clean, joyful, well-rested and hydrated!

Tell us about your work with The New Hollywood.

It’s a women’s philanthropic goal group. We set personal and professional goals and help keep each other accountable. We also aim to rise higher, shine brighter, and give back!

How do you juggle being a wife, mom, actress, philanthropist and everything else you do?

I have a wonderful partner in my husband (Eric Nenninger). Everyday is different and we make a great team by always putting the family first. My son James is 10 and daughter Naomi is 4. I was pregnant on the first season of “Lab Rats” so it was a very special time. Watching that season always brings back great memories.

How did life change when you became a mom?

I became more focused. More clear. You don’t have any time to waste, so I try to make the most out of every minute. I have also now seen almost every animated film and could lead a discussion panel on any of them.

I believe I can fly

A photo posted by Angel Parker (@angelparkerla) on

LA Favorites

Favorite Spa: Olympic Spa. Those Korean women have magic in their fingertips

Favorite Restaurant for dinner: Sugar Fish. A ‘trust me’ plus a beer is always the perfect meal.

Favorite Shopping: thrift shops and high end consignment. I love finding something rare and beautiful at a low price. My current favorite is Ampersand on Larchmont.

Favorite Brunch Spot: BLD (breakfast lunch dinner)

Favorite Museum: LACMA

Favorite Date place: Petty Cash

A friend is in town for 24 hours, what do you do with them: Dinner, drinks and talking until we can’t talk anymore. True catch up time.

Twitter:@angelparker
Instagram: @angelparkerla
Facebook: facebook.com/angelparkerla/

Watch “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” on FX, Tuesdays at 10pm

Photos: Bobby Quillard

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