April Parker Jones is a television actress who has been on the scene for quite some time. April started off doing guest roles and short films until she earned a recurring role on the television series Jericho. Soon after starring in Jericho her acting career began to take off and she began to star in television series such as Lost and The Young and the Restless. April even starred in the Spiderman 3 film. In 2014, April landed her first leading role in the Oprah Winfrey Network series “If Loving you is Wrong” playing Natalie Henning which she still is currently starring in to this day. As of last year, Jones was brought on as a series regular to the cast of “Supergirl” playing the role of Colonel Lauren Haley. Although April Parker Jones has a lot on her plate, she still has some upcoming projects in the works.
AMPS: Where were you born and raised?
April: I was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. Growing up and living there majority of my life really made a southern girl at heart.
AMPS: Did you play any sports in school?
April: I did. I was very athletic growing up. I started running track at the age of five with the Durham Striders, and that track team is actually still around today. I ran track in middle school and was fortunate enough to become MVP every year. I even went to the junior Olympics with my track team. When I got to high school, I decided that I wanted to switch things up and play basketball.
AMPS: What did you run in track and what position did you play in basketball?
April: Well, in track I was a sprinter and I ran the one hundred, two hundred, and the four hundred meter dash. The four hundred was my favorite event and I was really good at it. In basketball, I was a shooting guard. I was not that good in basketball (laughing) as I was in track, but I loved the sport so much and I loved the challenge that it brought. I sat on the bench a lot but I was really fast. My defensive skills were pretty good as well and I could get up and down the court really fast. So I knew I would be able to help my team out that way. Even though basketball was not my best sport, it was still my favorite sport.
AMPS: What were your dreams after high school, and why did you decide to become an actress?
April: Actually, one of my dreams after graduating high school was to become a pediatrician. I wanted to become a doctor and I thought that would be a great way to be of service. I have always loved acting and I have always participated in drama. In elementary school, I starred in plays at my church, and I continued to do so in middle school and high school as well. Theater has always been in my heart and it really feeds my soul. After high school, I went to college and at first, I majored in English. I thought that I would become a broadcast journalist. However, after I got to college I said to myself this career is not for me, and I quickly changed my major to theater. After I changed my major I knew I wanted to make becoming an actress a professional job. Two years attending college, I knew I wanted to move to New York and pursue my acting career. I knew that once I moved there was no looking back I was afraid to take such a big leap but I also had faith that I would make my acting career work.
AMPS: How old were you when you when you got your first role as an actress?
April: Oh my, I was about five years old. It was a play called “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and it was at the WD Hill recreation center in Durham, North Carolina. After stepping on stage and starring in that play it was at that moment I knew that this was going to be a part of my life for the rest of my life. My first professional paid job as an actress I was about nineteen years old, and I went on tour with a theater company called the Chamber Theater Company out of Boston. It was about eight of us and we toured the U.S. doing classical theater plays at middle and high schools. I’m glad that I made a career out of doing what I love to do.
AMPS: Did anybody inspire you to become an actress and if so who?
April: Well you know my mom has been a great inspiration in my life because she has supported my three siblings and myself. When I told my mom that I wanted to do theater, she made sure that I always made it to each and every practice. So I do give her the utmost credit for being supportive. As far as people who inspired me I just look at other actress like Cicely Tyson and Diana Ross. They are beautiful women of color who have been so regal and classy in the roles they have played. Both of these women definitely have inspired me. There are so many people I could thank, but I definitely want to thank my mom for supporting my dreams.
AMPS: Since you are a wife and mother, how do you balance your job and your family?
April: I just make sure to be present and to give equal time to nurture each of those relationships as a mom and a wife, and I make sure that I make time for myself as well. Finding time for myself makes me more whole so that I can be complete for my family and give them what they need. It’s definitely a delicate balance, so I try to make sure that I put myself in equations where I can be good. They say you have to put the mask on yourself first before you put the mask on someone else. So I make sure that I find time for myself even if it’s just going to work out, because that is good therapy for me. I make sure that everyone’s needs are met, but I also make sure that mine are met too.
AMPS: How did you become involved in Tyler Perry’s project If Loving You Is Wrong?
April: It was like any other audition. My agency and manager sent me breakdowns, and that is just descriptions of the roles. They actually sent me the descriptions of the all the ladies in If Loving You Is Wrong and they asked me which character spoke to me. I saw the description of Natalie and I immediately connected with her. I said ok this is the character I would like to audition for. My agent was able to set me up with an audition and when I went to the audition, they put me on tape. Shortly after my audition, I got a call back and I had to go back and audition again. But this time the audition would be in front of Tyler Perry and the producers of the show. After I finished my audition Tyler said to me, “You do not look like how I envision this character to look and you do not sound like her, but you are her.” Therefore, I think he knew at that moment that I was going to play Natalie. I felt like it was divine intervention that I got this role and it has afforded me so many opportunities. Mainly to be able to move myself and my family to Atlanta which is truly a blessing, because now I’m back in the South. I am closer to my family and around beautiful progressive black people and it makes my heart so full, I am especially grateful to be able to work with Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey it’s truly been a dream come true.
AMPS: Can you tell us a little bit about your role on Supergirl?
April: Well, I play Colonel Lauren Haley, a military woman and all I can tell you is that Colonel Haley is a lot different from Natalie. She’s a woman who’s in charge of an organization called the department of extra normal operations or DEO. She is the person who gets things back in order after things go left with alien affairs and super girl, so she’s the boss. That has been a lot of fun to play because she is picked by the president to go in and clean things up. She is a woman who follows the rules, and she will do whatever it takes to make sure that these laws and orders from the president are carried out. She does not care if she makes friends or not because that is not her job. Her job is to do what is best for the country. She a very prideful and strong woman who is also a mom, but the show does not touch on her life outside of work. It just shows Colonel Haley carrying out orders from the president. It has really been fun playing this role, some people have called her uptight and others have even called her a villain. But I call her just a woman who takes her job very seriously. She takes pride in what she does and does what is best for her country.
AMPS: Why did you decide to go natural?
April: Deciding to go natural was a big decision for me because I was well into my new Hollywood career when I made that decision. I had been wearing a relaxer and to make that change and cut my hair to where it was almost bald took a lot of courage. Also during that time I made the decision my daughter was in middle school and she would come home sad and not feeling beautiful. She felt that the boys at school would only like the White and Spanish girls or the girls with the long, straight hair or the wavy hair. She would get frustrated and wonder why do I have to be this light skin black girl with all of this nappy hair, and when she said that to me it really broke my heart. After that happened I knew then that this was bigger than me and I knew I had to take this relaxer out of my hair and show my daughter that my hair is nappy too. I said to myself what is wrong with it nappy it is not a bad thing. It is a beautiful thing because it is how God choose to create us and that is what makes us unique. That was the emphasis of me deciding to go natural it was more so of me being an example for my daughter and hopefully being an example and inspiration to other women who may struggle with feeling beautiful because of the way their hair looks. My thought process is well maybe if they see me on TV wearing my natural hair may it might help other women to embrace their natural beauty too. Therefore, it has been a journey, and it has been an awesome journey because I have been able to work a lot with my natural hair. It has not slowed me down in working in Hollywood it has actually improved my work and I am so grateful that I have the courage to do that.
AMPS: Why are you so passionate about good health and fitness?
April: Well, my husband is a personal trainer, and I am a certified personal trainer as well. I do not train anyone now, but health and fitness are so important because our health is our wealth. In my opinion none of the things that we acquire in life like the houses, money or cars, none of it matters if we are not healthy enough to enjoy it. So I am trying to make it my mission to be an example of living a healthy and a well-balanced life. I am on a quest to learn how to spread knowledge about being well in mind, body, and soul and I am so grateful to my husband because he has taught me so much in regards to health awareness, and I hope to continue to spread that message as I continue my journey in Hollywood. Please continue to support Tyler Perry, Own TV and Supergirl on CW.
AMPS: Where can our readers follow you on social media platforms?