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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Actress gets waisted in her new memoir

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Monica Parker

Getting Waisted is Monica Parker’s personal memoir, which takes a candid look into her life as a serial dieter.  Parker, an actress and writer, shares tales of growing from a chubby baby into a chunky adult with passion and wit in this book inspired by her one-woman stage show, Sex, Pies & a Few White Lies.

Parker moved back to Toronto from Los Angeles almost five years ago. “If I hadn’t come back to Toronto, I don’t think I would have written the play, because L.A. is a place of distraction, there is always things to do because it is nice outside. It is a town about business, so you are always off negotiating, hustling or doing something.

“When I came back here and faced that first winter in 28 years – I didn’t want to go out. I hadn’t really settled here, I was a new, old girl. I knew the city but it wasn’t in my personal GPS,” she said.   “I would stand at the kitchen sink and say how did this happen, but I wanted it to happen, I wanted to be here near my family.  But, still it wasn’t home, so I decided to sit down and write a show.”

The show was a success, and from this, the Scottish-born actress fell into a speaking career. Through that, people suggested that she write a book. Not daunted by the fact that she had never written one, she was up for the challenge.  Parker wrote a lengthy proposal, sent it out to three American agents, two of which wanted to represent her.

Parker says writing the book was just a joy. “In the book, every chapter begins with a diet, how much money I spent on it, how much weight I lost and how much weight I gained as soon as I stopped it, including the three that nearly killed me.”

Parker says it was fun to rip open her guts and talk about everything that has been her life including her struggle with weight. “What I really got from this book was whatever challenges you are given in life, if you flip that on its head you really see those are the gifts you are given. I believe being a big woman has given me an amazing career, it has always separated me out from the pack.  It didn’t matter if I got older, I was always going to be a character actor. Being a writer has no age limit, but I also have all this experience of constantly being up against challenges and I know what to do. ”

She says that she doesn’t mind fat jokes, but doesn’t want them perpetrated on her. “I don’t mind saying things about myself, I find funny. I don’t feel that I am diminishing myself of anything, I feel it is a way of learning why we respond the way we do to things and a way of putting it out there so other people get comfortable.”

However, Parker said she does not like cruel humour. Parker said she respects honesty in humour and believes if you take pain in your life and put it into the light, then it has no power over you.

She hopes Getting Waisted inspires people to be more of who they are intended to be just as they are. To enjoy their lives and stop focusing on the negative and finding the positive in who they are. 

“Being Jewish has given me my lifelong love of food,” admits Parker with a chuckle. “The activity known as a Jewish family dinner is volcanic.  Everyone has an opinion, and everyone says it, all at one time. I would say that has added value to my humour.” 

Parker divides her time between Los Angeles and Toronto, where she continues to work in film and television. She was also the the co-writer of the film All Dogs Go to Heaven.

In addition to touring her one-woman show, Parker just completed two features films. She has a recurring role in Defiance on the Sci-Fi channel, alongside her husband, actor and fashion designer, Gilles Savard.

 

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