Paula Jai Parker is a famed American actress, who is possibly best known for her appearances in the movies “Friday” and “Hustle & Flow”, and the TV sitcoms “Black Jesus” and “A House Divided.”
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
Paula Jai Parker hails from Cleveland, Ohio USA, and was born under the Leo zodiac sign on 19 August 1969, which makes her 54 years old as of 2023, and is the daughter of Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner. Her father passed away when she was three years old – she previously revealed that his last words were, ‘take care of your mother’ before he went into a coma. After her father’s death, Parker’s mother married a wealthy realtor, and they relocated to Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Paula’s step-father was involved in several real estate scams, and it’s reported that she was once almost kidnapped by some of the clients that his father had duped. Fortunately, her school informed her parents, which saved her from the alleged kidnappers, but her stepfather was later robbed at gunpoint by the would-be kidnappers. When she was still young, Parker was allegedly molested by her stepbrother; her mother was also being assaulted by her stepfather, and as a result they left him briefly but they later reconciled. Paula’s stepfather was later arrested and sentenced for double selling, and thereafter her mother began a plastic covers business, which became very successful.
Parker completed her high school education in Cleveland. Subsequently, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she enrolled at Howard University and graduated with a BFA degree in 1991.
Paula Jai Parker (born 10 November 1989) is an American actress, comedian, director, and singer. She is famous for…
Shortly after graduating, Paula began performing comedy in several nightclubs. In 1992 and 1993, she performed live in “The Apollo Comedy Hour” at the Harlem-based Apollo Theater. She later performed in the comedy sketch “Townsend Television” in 1993, and in the year that followed, she played Tang in the anthology TV movie “Cosmic Shop.” Paula later made an appearance in the 1995 Ice Cube, Nia Long, and Chris Tucker-starred buddy stoner comedy film “Friday,” which was the first installment of the “Friday” trilogy. In 1995 and 1996, she was cast as Monique in the first and second seasons of The WB sitcom “The Wayans Bros”, and in 1997, she appeared in the TV show “The Weird AI Show.” A series of minor film roles followed; in 1996, she appeared in the Spike Lee-directed drama “Get on the Bus” and in 1998 in the romantic drama “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.”
Rise to Stardom
Paula was selected to voice Trudy Parker-Proud in the Disney Channel animated series “The Proud Family” in 2001. She left the show in 2005, then in the same year, shared the screen with Terrence Howard and Anthony Anderson in the Craig Brewer-written and directed drama film “Hustle & Flow.” Before the decade ended, she appeared in single episodes of various series such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “My Name Is Earl.”
Parker’s next notable roles were in the sitcom “Family Time” (2012 – 2019) in a recurring role, and concurrently in the acclaimed fantasy horror “True Blood” in 2013 and 2014. From 2014 to 2016, she appeared in the TV One reality show “Hollywood Divas,” which follows the lives of several Black actresses including Golden Brooks, Lisa Wu, and Countess Vaughn among others. She was then cast for another recurring role in the ABC Family teen drama “Recovery Road”, and in the Showtime crime drama “Ray Donovan” both in 2016.
In the following year, she portrayed Jordan White in the film “The White Sistas.” Her next recurring role was in the Adult Swim sitcom “Black Jesus” (2019), which starred Gerald ‘Slink’ Johnson, Corey Holcomb and Charlie Murphy. From 2019 to 2022, the Cleveland native appeared as a main cast member in both the web TV soap opera “A House Divided” and “Crown Lake.” She next played Celine in the drama “Queen Sugar” in 2021, and voiced Trudy Parker-Proud in the animated TV series “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”
Parker won a CableACE Award in 1994 for her appearance in “Comic Slop.” In 2005, she bagged the Women’s Film Critics Circle Award for Best Comedic Performance for her role in “Hustle & Flow.” She also won a Laughlin International Film Festival Award in 2016, and in 2017, she won an Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. Parker has been nominated for several awards, including a Screen Actors Guild and an Indie Series Award.
Social Media Presence
Paula is active on Instagram (@pjaiparker) with over 80,000 followers. She has over 15,000 followers on Twitter; she joined the platform in December 2010 and goes by @pjaiparker. Moreover, she is also active on Facebook with around 4,500 followers.
Paula is married to the American actor and writer, Forrest Martin. The duo met on the set of the movie “Hustle & Flow,” where Martin, who had just received his Master of Fine Arts, was an intern working as a production assistant. Forrest has appeared in various projects such as “Black Jesus” and “The White Sistas”, and served as the writer of the series “Front Seat Chronicles.” The duo fell in love shortly after meeting, and walked the aisle in 2004. They have a son together named Onederful Vanglorious J. N’Krumah Martin. They have appeared in a few projects together including the reality show “Hollywood Divas.”
Rumors and Controversy
Paula sparked a controversy when she accused her “Hollywood Divas” co-star, Golden Brooks of flirting with her partner. In a preview of a previous all-new episode of the show, she told Brooks that she didn’t appreciate her calling her husband. This seemed to come as a surprise to Brooks, who in her defense said that Paula’s husband was not her type, adding that she only dated men who work.
Height, Weight, and Physical appearance
Paula is of Black ethnicity, and has dark brown eyes and black hair. She is curvy, weighs approximately 160lbs (73kgs), and is 5ft 2ins (1.58m) tall.
Parker has accumulated her net worth from her multi-faceted career in the showbiz industry. She is worth approximately $150,000 as of 2023. In 2014, she revealed that she was homeless, and lived in a hotel room with her family during the filming of the reality show “Hollywood Divas.” She added that she was so broke that she relied on state food stamps, which was very humbling. In another interview, she claimed that Hollywood had blacked her out, and she barely found regular work and had to rely on independent films which were not very profitable. Luckily, she started finding regular work after she made these shocking revelations.
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