Jennifer Layne Park made it out of joyous, yet humble beginnings on the East Coast only to maximize her gifts/talents to see her childhood passions come to fruition in later years. It takes a strong person with an even stronger heart to stay true to oneself in an entertainment industry that can at times be pushy when shaping their vision of Hollywood’s landscape and how you fit in the big picture. Jennifer was able to find her own lane for cruising and her own spot to park. Yes, that’s a play on words, but she has created her reality; one where it’s not all about her. Jennifer’s spent more time than the average celeb tangibly giving back to the people that really need help. She’s not your typical Hollywood personality who might stick to the film industry and big feature movies. To my surprise, Ms. Park has also won the Best Actress Award at the Philly Hip Hop Awards in 2012. Jennifer’s been rated as 1 or 20 Hottest New Film Stars and has graced the cover of other publications. Her professional range is incredible and what she’s done as a person outside the entertainment industry only solidifies her stamp on the industry as a well-respected one. Jennifer Layne Park bring unique ideas and concepts to the film set and enjoys her passion as a profession which is something I feel many of us out there wish we could say. Some of us can and that’s Jennifer for one. She gave me some insight on life and her approach towards success and all that comes with it, so I figured I’d share this with you. XS10 welcomes the talented Jennifer Layne Park to the fold.
Where’s your hometown and how have you utilized the success you’ve gained to give back?I’ve spent a lot of time back and forth between New York City and Philadelphia, but presently reside in the Atlanta area. I’ve participated in a lot of charities and have done volunteer work many times at places like the library and shelters for women and children who’ve been victims of domestic violence. The thing is I do it because it feels right to me. I don’t do it for the press. For the last three years I’ve been the celebrity ambassador for a non-profit organization in both Philadelphia and Washington D.C. called Menzsit that helps disadvantaged and unemployed men find jobs. We also provide the right outfit for them to wear to the interview, so they feel special and look appropriate. Sometimes we just need someone to show and teach us things like interview etiquette and financial literacy when they get a job and have a budget to maintain. Menzsit has literally helped thousands of people and that makes me feel really good inside. As you know, when the man is able to provide for the family it positively effects the women and children.
You are known as an accomplished singer/songwriter, also film producer, director and writer. With all that on your plate, how do you manage to balance your personal life with your professional life?I’ve been at it for so long that it’s not that tough for me. I have friends in my personal life who for the most part understand how time consuming my career is. I’m in that “Hurry up and wait!” type of business where people want things at the last second. My father helped me get a better grasp on the balance necessary due to his experiences.
Which actor(s) have you had the best on set chemistry with?It’s tough to say, because I have nothing but great things to say about all my co-stars, film crews, directors. Richard Gere and Alfred Molena stand out as the first two that come to mind, because it was such a fun experience and exciting being able to work with established Hollywood actors. Working with them was the first time I was on set with actors who were at the top of their game. I acted with them, but we also improvised a lot which was fun, because you don’t take a class for improvisation. I admire Lili Taylor so very much. Her skill level made me say, “Wow!” If you’ve ever been on a movie set; we work really long days, sometimes 15 hours. With that being said, it makes for a better experience if we can have fun together on set.
Are there any films and/or videos that you’ve produced and directed? Which ones stand out as your favorites?I co-directed and helped produce the music video for the track “Maria”. I also played two roles in the video; one is the lead character Maria. The musician’s name is John Murdock from Chamber Music which is an indie record label. It’s an incredibly, heavy hitting heartfelt song pertaining to date rape which made it that much more meaningful to work on the video. Not that this is a public service announcement, but to the ladies be careful when you go out on dates and have drinks. Watch your drink and take it with you if you walk around, because all it takes is a few seconds for a man to slip something into your drink. I know a couple friends who unfortunately became victims, but thankfully I’ve been blessed not to go through all that.
What is your greatest achievement thus far?I feel like my greatest accomplishment is something that I’ve yet to realize. One of the top would be writing and singing one of the top ten songs in Billboard Chart in 1998. I’ve done work with Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine back in the late 90’s. That right there was a great time and very humbling too. Around that same time, Sean McCoy passed away. I loved him. He was my best friend and love of my life, so it was especially tough of me back then. We went everywhere together, even overseas. Great times! We as a group re-united in honor of Sean in 2011 and did shows in New York and Philadelphia. Our show in Philly sold out in just a couple hours after tickets went on sale and to say the least we were pleasantly surprised.
What do you consider to be a turn-on in a man?That would be his voice and eyes. There’s a truthful and confident sound and way in which he projects those qualities. The eyes are windows to the soul.
What was the best part about growing up for you?I wasn’t expecting that question. (Jennifer pauses in deep thought) Some of my best memories were with my mom. She’d always made sure that I was strong inside, had the courage to just be myself, believe that nothing is impossible and to do what works for me. I really appreciate those things, because I always had the arts and culture around me. There were always books in the house to read and I actually taught myself how to read with my young thirst for knowledge and inquisitive ways. I also developed a love for writing and acting early on. I’m really happy that I followed that passion.
Do you have any projects that you’re working on presently, or have just released?Yes! I have a new indie film I was working on recently titled, “Future Weather”. That went On-Demand in March 2013. I’m really excited about this film and expect it to win awards left and right.
What’s the best piece of advice in life that you’d share with the readers?Treat people the way that you would like to be treated. We need more people that are willing to help others and not hurt them, and then this world would be a much better place to live in.
What’s your greatest joy in life aside from acting?It’s my ability and access to helping people improve themselves and realize their dreams. My family is the most important thing to me, but I like reaching out on a one on one basis instead of just charities. I’ve been the type of person that’s thrived off adversity. It’s a trait of a champion and winner in life.
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Article written by: Bill Oxford