Q&A With ... Mariam Parris

Soap Opera Digest: When did you know you wanted to be an actress?

Mariam Parris: Since I was a little girl in England, I loved acting. But I was never really allowed to pursue it professionally. My parents, like most parents, wanted me to go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer or something. Digest: But you didn’t.

Parris: No, I moved to America and went to school out here for a while. Then, I came to Los Angeles from northern California with a suitcase and a dream in my pocket [laughs].Digest: What was your first gig?

Parris: Well, I worked in a cafe in Santa Monica for $6 an hour and got discovered by a man named Andy Ruben, who put me in my first movie, called Club Vampire, which was a Roger Corman movie starring John Savage.Digest: A vampire movie?

Parris: Isn’t that funny? I played this vampire who was 800 years old; I was the leader of my family. It was a really amazing experience.Digest: How did you land the role of Reese?

Parris: I did a play a few years ago, and [PC Casting Director] Mark Teschner read the reviews and called me in for a general meeting. I met him, and we became really good friends. So, I went to visit him one day, and he was like, “Oh, you should come in and read for this role. I think it would be great for you.” It was very impromptu. And then, “Boom!” The next thing you know, I was Reese.Digest: And being that you’re from England, the accent is real.

Parris: Yeah, but it’s funny — I speak with an accent that’s a cross between British and American. But I’ve been in America for so long that the roles I play usually have an American accent. Reese is supposed to be from Bristol, England, so I put the accent on stronger.Digest: Besides being British, is there any of you in Reese?

Parris: Playing her is kind of a stretch from how I am. We both have strong yet sensitive hearts. I don’t think she’s as bad as she likes the world to see her as. She is much more jaded than I am!

Digest: Are you into music like Reese?

Parris: I actually play guitar, and I sing. I’ve sung on the show before, which has been so fun!Digest: How have you been spending your summer?

Parris: I just returned from New York, actually. I was in the Hamptons, relaxing for a week. It was very lovely, just like the English countryside. It was my first time there!Digest: What do you enjoy doing in your down time?

Parris: I practice Kundalini yoga. There’s this thing called white tantric yoga, where people, male and female, sit in a room for eight hours opposite one another. They stare at each other while they’re meditating. So, I went to Eugene, Oregon and did it there with my boyfriend.Digest: How long have you been doing yoga?

Parris: I’ve been practicing for three years now. I took a teacher’s training course, and I just graduated in April. So, now I’m a certified instructor. Yoga is a really important part of my life.Digest: What else have you been working on?

Parris: I’m working on a film that a friend of mine wrote. We’ve been involved in that for the past three months.

Digest: Well, congratulations on your success.

Parris: Thank you. It’s been amazingly, refreshingly lovely!

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