Actress Paula Jai Parker has peeled back the truth curtain for black actresses in Hollywood, revealing desperate times have forced her into an extended stay hotel and all the fast cars and parties are just for show.
The Hustle & Flow star, who is currently among the stars of U.S. reality Tv series Hollywood Divas, insists it's very difficult for black actresses to maintain a career in Hollywood, especially if they're not part of a Tinseltown clique.
She tells Essence.com, "It's very difficult to explain. Hollywood is very cliquish. Working is about having relationships. It's more about who you know, who you don't know, who you're friends with, who you're not friends with. Me, being out of the loop, kept me from being able to work. It left me being out of the circle."
Parker explains that despite appearing in several Tv shows and movies, she is far from being financially well off.
She continues, "I don't feel like I made a lot of money. There are only about three per cent of actors in the entertainment industry that are able to provide for themselves without getting a day job. People are under the assumption that actors make a whole grip. But from all of my career, the most money I made was on an ABC Tv show. With that money I was able to buy a home. I bought a condo. After I bought the condo, we only did one season. That money was gone. I invested it.
"Actors, especially black actresses, we don't make that much money. The majority of the films that I've been in, even though they've been successful, they were independent films.
"Another fallacy about Hollywood is that we're all out here living like stars. These cars that we drive aren't ours. It's all smoke and mirrors. A lot of these reality shows that you're watching, the homes that they're renting for the show, they aren't going to be in after the show wraps. I'm strong enough and honest enough to tell you the real (story). Actors don't make that much money. We really don't."
Parker's desperate times have been caught on camera for her new reality show and she's glad she can show others that Hollywood isn't all glamour and wealth all the time: "I am not the only person going through homelessness... I am not the only person in America right now on unemployment... As I stood in those food stamp lines and humbled myself and did what I had to do for my son... I did it because I want other people to know that they are not alone. It's a national issue.
"I genuinely believe that God wanted me to talk about it. I just have to have courage and know that it was the right thing... It was still an embarrassing situation for my whole family, not just my husband but my nieces, cousins, in-laws. The majority of our family found out on national television like the rest of the world. I genuinely believe that this is something I'm supposed to be doing."