After a year-long hiatus, Games People Play is back on everyone’s screens with more scandal. The show doesn’t seem to be holding back on the “drama, tons of lies and sex” for which many of its fans have lauded the series. One of its stars, Parker McKenna, even reveals in this exclusive Schön! interview that the show will be dealing with serious real-life issues in this new season.
McKenna discusses more with Schön! about the series and how she’s spent her time during lockdown. Stepping away from the show’s glitz and glam of the LA high life, the star shares her experience of welcoming a baby girl as well as starring in A House Divided. During her busy life as both a mother and actress, she discusses practising self-care and the “lifelong journey” of finding her authentic self.
Hello Parker! First, we have to ask — what can we expect for this new season of Games People Play?
You can expect lots of drama, tons of lies and sex! [laughs] It’s a pretty wild show, and we’re excited to pick up right where we left off answering all your hard questions.
How has your character Laila developed in the new season? And how have you as an actress prepared for her development?
This season, Laila is really coming into her own, and realising that she loves who she is and is not trying to be the typical influencer / personality known as “Golden Goddess”… she’s been through some things, and this season I think you’ll understand ‘her’ more. Some days preparing was hard, because there are some really heavy topics we touch on in this show. It’s real life — plus the long hours of course didn’t help [laughs].
It’s been two years since Games People Play was renewed for another series, and now it’s finally out – what have you been up to during this period (apart from having a baby girl, of course)
Fortunately during this break I was able to work on my other show A House Divided, and spend the much needed extra time on the businesses I play a part in. My foundation Heart Strings Collective has finally been able to pick back up with the kids! COVID really put a strain on a lot of our plans, but to be honest I was so happy to spend the majority of my break with my family and enjoy my pregnancy since life has been so nonstop!
You’ve recently welcomed a baby girl, Harley Rae, in May with your husband Jay Jay Wilson – how are you finding motherhood?
It’s truly the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Every time I say it, it always feels like it sounds so cliché…but it’s the truth. My life revolves around her now and I’m completely fine with it. She’s the best. My drive has definitely changed since I have this new life to take care of and guide and make proud! That’s literally all I want — for her to just be proud of me.
Do you feel like you’ve undertaken a massive transformation or shift in mentality now as a mother? How has it affected your life?
It’s definitely affected my life for the best, of course! To be honest, it still hits me sometimes that I’m a mom! It’s the craziest thing. But I immediately just feel so much gratitude, and I’m more inspired to make the best out of my life with her. I really feel like everything happened at the right time… God knew I needed her. But I think regardless, no matter who you are, as a woman you become a completely different person throughout your pregnancy and even postpartum. So although motherhood has been the best thing, it’s also been a wide range of emotions navigating through this new chapter.
You posted on Instagram about feeling insecure with your body as a new mum and stating the importance of appreciating your body – when focussing on yourself and your body, how do you practice self-care? Do you have any beauty rituals you set time aside for?
I am so into self-care!! I truly believe that it starts from within, and if your mental health isn’t 100% right, then you won’t be able to give your all to any other area of your life! At least that’s me…I struggle too, and I found that if I am not taking care of myself I can’t show up for myself in the most important way! Something as simple as taking the time to make your bed in the morning can have a better effect on your mood. I’ve found working out is one of my favorite ways to boost my energy and my mood as well. It doesn’t even have anything to do with having the best body, because what does that really even mean?! And that’s putting a lot of pressure on yourself. Right now I’m just focused on pouring into myself, nurturing myself and just giving myself a little extra TLC so I feel recharged enough to be the boss babe I am!
Speaking of working out, you go to the gym a lot! How do you think this benefits you, your body and your mentality?
It’s definitely changed so much for me, not just me physically, but it’s helped my mindset for sure. Before I started seriously training and actually appreciating my time in the gym, it just seemed like something I had to do. Once I noticed how much energy I had, and how much more I felt literally ready in all aspects for my day, I knew being there was deeper than just for the physical gain.
You’ve partnered with quite a few black-owned beauty brands – are there any you’d love to partner or even become an ambassador for?
Ahhhhhh! Fenty!! Of course!! [laughs] Dreams come true, so I’m gonna just keep putting it out in the universe! Pat McGrath and Black Opal.
How does interacting with fashion and beauty make you feel like your best self?
I mean, who doesn’t love to dress up?! My favourite thing about beauty and fashion is how much you can transform and become a completely different person. It’s almost like acting! It’s art, you know? I’m loving experimenting with my looks these days, and I enjoy going home after a shoot and stripping down to just Parker, if that makes sense — putting the characters away for the day!
You’re really interested in fashion – do you have any more future plans to venture further into this than you already are as an entrepreneur?
Definitely! You know, when I started Honeydip, it was really just something that made sense for me to be doing at that time. When I got to the beginning stages I realised that this is something I’ve actually been wanting to do my whole life. I started remembering when I was a kid and I would sketch and show my dad my botched designs [laughs]. So I’m definitely looking forward to turning back down that road and letting my creative juices flow.
You’ve said before that you want to be ‘authentically Parker’; what does that look like for you?
You know, as crazy as this sounds, I’m still figuring that out. I realise that figuring ‘you’ out is a lifelong journey. But all I know is that I am invested in putting in the work to get there! Having my daughter is a big part of the shift in my mindset; I know for sure what makes me happy and even what makes me uncomfortable, and I’m more ready than ever before to stand firm in that and embrace the journey of becoming my best me!
Do you have any other upcoming acting projects people should know about?
Right now Games People Play is my main focus, and all I ask is that you guys please tune in!
Games People Play is currently airing on BET.