She may play an eccentric but loveable teen in the NBC hit comedy “Parks and Recreation,” but Aubrey Plaza is a savvy comedian whose talent has made has made her one of Hollywood’s notable up and coming starlets. The 27-year-old– who calls Wilmington, Delaware home – has transformed what might have been a simple support acting role into a character that forms the backbone of the sitcom’s story line while juggling a career as an in-demand film actress with five movies coming out next year.
Plaza, who graduated from New York University in 2005, once dreamt of one day making an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” and while she didn’t quite end up on set as she hoped (she did serve as a page and as an intern in the design department, though!) the actress did get her big break when she impressed the writers and creators of “Parks.” But as everyone knows, good things come in three and that year, she also landed roles on director Judd Apatow’s film “Funny People” and the film adaptation of the graphic novel “Scott Pilgrims vs. the World.”
And now? As a nominee for the 201212 ALMA award for “Favorite TV Actress – Comedy,” the actress (whose father is Puerto Rican), Plaza represents a new wave of Latino actresses ruling the airwaves alongside fellow nominees Victoria Justice (“Victorious”), Naya Rivera (“Glee”), Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and Bella Thorne (“Shake it Up!”) – all gorgeous, sassy actresses who’ve carved out a space for themselves as in-demand comedians and personality actresses.
“I decided I wasn’t going to have a backup plan, so I said yes to most everything and just did as much as I could,” Plaza told New York University’s alumni magazine of her journey to achieve her professional goals. “But there were definitely times when I was, like, sitting on the subway after an audition that went terribly and writing in my journal that I’m a failure and I have to go back to waiting tables again.”
Plaza’s signature deadpan humor is one that stands out among her peers and true to her reputation, no topic off-limits –not even her Puerto Rican heritage.
“I was always kind of using my differences to make people laugh. I don’t even look Puerto Rican, but there were only 40 people in my class, so it was kind of joke to be like, “I’m the only diverse person,” Plaza told NYU’s alumni magazine. “But I was the only diverse person.”
So although actress Naya Rivera may have taken home the gold for her role in “Glee,” one thing’s for sure about Plaza. Her attitude – refreshingly original and wickedly funny– definitely makes her a winner.