Do not compare your success to anyone else’s. I have a lot of friends within this industry and at a young age, it was difficult for us to watch people of our age group flourish. Now at an older age, I have learned that everyone has a different process and journey in this industry. Your journey is personal to you. Do not let other people’s triumphs distract from your own.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Parker Winston.
Parker Winston is a 17-year-old rising Singer, Model and Actress who was born and raised in New York City. After launching her modeling career at the age of 5 with Wilhelmina, Parker has gone on to work with brands such as Vogue Bambini, Converse, DKNY, Saks Fifth Avenue, Juicy Couture and Gap Kids.
Over the past year, Parker has modeled for iconic photographer Ellen Von Unwerth, who has named Parker her “New Discovery — Model, Muse and Actress” in a recent IG post and titled her a “Von Star”. She was photographed for the cover of an Italian magazine, in collaboration with Polaroid and Lacoste.
Parker launched her music career at the beginning of the Pandemic and is currently gearing up to release her Debut EP. The lead single, “Happiest Depression” is set to release this Friday July 23rd and Parker will be performing the single LIVE at the Daily Front Row’s “Hampton’s Most Stylish” Event in Southampton on July 24th. She describes her music as a nostalgic, 50s inspired contemporary pop sound and her personalized brand is a mix of vintage / old soul aesthetic.
Parker, who is also an actress signed with Untitled Entertainment, debuted her career with her first short Indie film which won a “Best Young Acting Award” at the Revolution Me Festival.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me! I was born and raised in New York City. I grew up within an artistic family — my whole family is artistic in their own way, and the early parts of our lives were dedicated to nurturing those sides of us. My parents have always been extremely supportive of my sisters and me navigating our interests, and mine has always lied with anything remotely artistic. By the time high school came around, I had already made a career of modeling and decided to go to a high school that catered to my jobs. That’s pretty much the gist of it!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was born with a severe case of hip dysplasia, which affected the way I walked and lived for most of my life. Growing up with a disability forced me out of playing sports like most kids, and instead, sitting on the sidelines focusing on art. I fell in love with drawing, acting, and singing, which became the only coping mechanism I had. In elementary school, a lot of the school day was catered to sports and activities. We had gym everyday and during recess, everyone would play soccer or run around the playground and I could rarely ever participate, and when I was 5 years old my mom introduced me to Wilhemina Kids and Teens — the modeling agency — and I would do a lot of modeling as a kid just to miss school which ultimately pushed me into the love I have for modeling today and launched my career.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I have a lot of fun and interesting stories that have happened since the start of my career, but to date, probably the most interesting one was the first shoot I had over the Pandemic. It was super strange and new to come back to work for the first time amidst such a time of the unknown and was new to navigate modeling in this new light, especially since people pretty much are touching you all the time fixing your clothes, makeup, or hair, and this time around we were all really considerate in everyone’s boundaries and it was such an interesting experience that I’ll never forget.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I used to make was when I first began auditioning for acting roles. It was really new to me and I was always extremely nervous, and I remember just wishing I could jump forward in time and get the auditions over with. It was so bad to the point that I would be rushing through my auditions or forgetting to breathe.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I am finishing my EP. Nearly all the songs are finalized or in the mixing stage, but I am so excited to release this project into the world. Every song on the project is true to me and I’m excited for people to finally get to listen and hear such vulnerable and personal projections of me.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Being born and raised in New York City and seeing such vast diversity in my day-to-day life has been such a privilege for me to have. I am very lucky to have been exposed to all different kinds of people growing up and ultimately because I have been surrounded by such diversity, I understand just how important it is to have in the entertainment industry. Diversity is extremely important in the entertainment industry to help educate the youth AND adults on different cultures and remove negative stereotypes that are instilled within a lot of people. Another reason why diversity in the entertainment industry is important is that for the viewers, it opens up a world of perspectives that are extremely educational and beneficial. My last reason is that diversity in the entertainment industry enriches the co-existence of people everywhere. The media of entertainment breaks down barriers and lends itself to opening one’s mind to what’s right, especially when conveyed through art, and I consider it an honor and privilege to be included within that process.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1: Do not compare your success to anyone else’s. I have a lot of friends within this industry and at a young age, it was difficult for us to watch people of our age group flourish. Now at an older age, I have learned that everyone has a different process and journey in this industry. Your journey is personal to you. Do not let other people’s triumphs distract from your own.
2: Do not take the rejection within this business personally. Every brand and job has a specific look/thing that they’re looking for and if that’s not you, it’s not personal to who you are.
3: If you are not authentically you in this industry, then you have nothing to offer. There are way too many people in this industry, but none of them are you, and that’s your superpower.
4: Time management is key. Usually, you find out you have an audition for a modeling job at 5 am the morning of, and it’s extremely important to be able to manage your time, especially if you’re still in school.
5: ALWAYS be on time or early to everything. Showing up late is deeply frowned upon within this industry.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think it’s important to evolve as the industry does. Things go in and out of trend, and it’s important to be flexible and change with the industry without compromising who you are.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
So many things come to mind, but the movement I would inspire would have to do with abolishing bullying. With social media only expanding, and kids younger and younger continuing to sign on, it’s more vital than ever to inspire kindness to as many people as possible.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
That person would absolutely be my mom. In elementary school and middle school, she took me everyday from Long Island into New York City to take me to every single audition, go see, and job. She took me to it all, and without her, I would be absolutely nowhere. She was there to boost my confidence before every audition, and debrief over lunch afterward. Some days I would have back-to-back auditions and jobs and there was never a single complaint from her and she always helped me because she knew I loved my job.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite movies in the world is “Remember Me”, and they begin the film with a Ghandi quote, saying, “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it” and I think ever since hearing that, my perspective on life has been altered. Everything we all do every day doesn’t really add to a bigger picture, but it’s important that we do everything we do. That kind gesture to a stranger on the street is absolutely insignificant but nonetheless important.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast with Taylor Swift. She is such a fantastic artist and songwriter and I think as a young artist I would have so much to learn from her.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me on Instagram: @parkerwinston, Twitter: @parkerwinstonn, TikTok: @parkerwinston, and youtube: Parker Winston
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!