THE EX-FACTOR: While attending a scouting event with his model girlfriend in Texas, the handsome former college wrestler was presumptively tagged an actor by a talent manager. A week later, he quit his computer-programming gig and moved to L.A. “I got my first job in three months and I never looked back.”
ROLE-PLAY: He was all wet in Pride, about and all-black swim team in 1970s Philadelphia; he was a head-strong college student in the Denzel Washington-directed, Jim Crow era film The Great Debaters; he romanced Alicia Keys in the civil rights period piece The Secret Life of Bees; he raised hell as a young Benjamin Chavis in Blood Done Sign My Name; and, in January, he takes flight as badass Tuskegee Airman Marty “Easy” Julian in the buzz-worthy George Lucas-produced Red Tails. “If these films put me in a position where I can’t do films where I have to wear a dress then that’s okay with me. I drew a line in the sand a long time ago,” he says.
REALITY BITES: Parker finally comes into the modern day with a role in hotshot director Nicholas Jarecki’s upcoming Arbitrage with Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon. “It’s harder to find contemporary roles that represent the black man in an empowering way.”
TAKING FLIGHT: “I love to travel,” admits Parker. “I lived in Europe and San Francisco with Red Tails. This profession has taken me more places than I could have ever imagined.”