Nicole Ari Parker

Nicole Ari Parker (born October 7, 1970) is an American actress and model. She made her screen debut with a leading role in the critically acclaimed independent film The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995) and went on to appear in Boogie Nights (1997), directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Nicole Ari Parker
Parker in December 2010
Born (1970-10-07) October 7, 1970
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materNew York University
OccupationActress, model
Years active1993–present
Boris Kodjoe (m. 2005)

Parker has starred in a number of movies, including Blue Streak (1999), Remember the Titans (2000), Brown Sugar (2002), Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008), Black Dynamite (2009), and Almost Christmas (2016). On television, Parker played the leading role of attorney Teri Joseph in the Showtime drama series Soul Food (2000-04), for which she received five NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nominations. She also starred in the short-lived UPN romantic comedy Second Time Around (2004-05) and the ABC drama Time After Time (2017). In 2017, she joined the cast of Fox's prime-time soap opera Empire playing Giselle Barker.

Early years

Parker was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the only child of her divorced parents, health care professional Susan Parker and dentist Donald Parker.[1] After briefly attending a Montessori school, Parker entered Roland Park Country School, where she stayed through high school.[2] At the age of 17, she won Best Actress in the state of Maryland's high school theater competition. She became a member of The Washington Ballet Company before earning an acting degree in 1993 from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.[3]


Early in her career she appeared in several critically acclaimed independent films, including The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, Boogie Nights, 200 Cigarettes, and the 1999 Sundance Film Festival winner The Adventures of Sebastian Cole. She starred with her husband, model and actor Boris Kodjoe, in UPN's situation comedy Second Time Around.

After a string of odd jobs (including scooping ice cream), bit roles, and low-wage theater work, Parker was offered her breakthrough role on Soul Food. In several episodes of the series, she was able to show her singing abilities, which also served her well in roles as singers on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and in the movie Divas.

Parker also had a lead role in the 1998 film Exiled: A Law & Order Movie. She worked alongside Martin Lawrence in two of his films: Blue Streak and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. On Broadway she played Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Parker was lead actress in the 2013 NBC drama pilot Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, and later had a recurring role on Revolution. In 2014, she starred as a series regular in the first season of the TNT crime drama Murder in the First, opposite Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson.[4]

In 2017, she joined the popular and award-winning Fox series Empire, playing Giselle Barker in a recurring role during the fourth season. She has been promoted to a series regular for the fifth season.[5][6]

Personal life

Parker eloped with actor Joseph Falasca in March 2001. Their marriage lasted only eight months; they divorced later that year. She married her Soul Food co-star Boris Kodjoe on May 21, 2005, in Gundelfingen, Germany. She gave birth to their first child, a girl, on March 5, 2005. Sophie has spina bifida, which was diagnosed at birth.[7] Parker gave birth to the couple's second child, a son, in October 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The family attends the Cascade United Methodist Church when in Atlanta.[8]

Parker is an active member of the Democratic Party.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Other Women's Children Marcelle
1995 Stonewall Female Draft Officer
1995 The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love Evie Roy
1995 Divas Stephanie
1996 Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault Wanda
1997 The End of Violence Ade
1997 Subway Stories Sharon Segment: "Honey-Getter"
1997 Boogie Nights Becky Barnett
1998 Spark Nina
1998 The Adventures of Sebastian Cole Jenny
1998 Exiled: A Law & Order Movie Georgeanne Taylor TV movie
1999 200 Cigarettes Bridget
1999 Mute Love Mavis
1999 Mind Prey Weather Karkinnon
1999 Mirar Mirror Denise Scott
1999 Loving Jezebel Frances
1999 Harlem Aria Clarisse
1999 A Map of the World Sherry
1999 Blue Streak Melissa Green
2000 The Loretta Claiborne Story Christine Claiborne
2000 Dancing in September Tomasina 'Tommy' Crawford
2000 Remember the Titans Carol Boone
2002 Brown Sugar Reese Marie Wiggam Ellis
2005 King's Ransom Angela Drake
2008 Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins Lucinda Allen
2009 Black Dynamite Mahogany Black
2009 Imagine That Trish
2009 Pastor Brown Tonya Copeland Brown
2011 35 and Ticking Zenobia
2012 Vipaka Sophie
2014 Repentance Sophie Sanchez
2016 Almost Christmas Sonya Meyers
2018 How It Ends Paula Sutherland


Year Title Role Notes
1999–2000 Cosby Rebecca 3 episodes
2002 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Lillie Iv Episode: "Primum Non Nocere"
2003 The System Linda Evans Series regular (9 episodes)
2004 All of Us Traci Garrison Episode: "Playdate"
2000–2004 Soul Food Teri Joseph Series regular (74 episodes)
2004–2005 Second Time Around Ryan Muse Series regular (13 episodes)
2008 Never Better Allison Pilot
2010 The Deep End Susan Oppenheim Series regular (6 episodes)
2011 Big Mike Grace Peterson Pilot
2013 Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives Paula Pilot
2013 Real Husbands of Hollywood Herself 5 episodes
2013 Revolution Justine Allenford 8 episodes
2014 Murder in the First Jacqueline Perez Series regular (9 episodes)
2015 The Boris & Nicole Show Herself/Co-host 25 episodes
2015–2016 Rosewood Kat Crawford[10] Recurring role
2017 Time After Time Vanessa Anders Recurring role
2017-present Empire Giselle Barker Recurring role (Season 4)
Main role (Season 5-)
2018 The Romanoffs Cheryl Gowans
2019 Lip Sync Battle Herself Episode: "Boris Kodjoe vs. Nicole Ari Parker"


Awards and nominations for acting
1998 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Boogie Nights Nominated
2001 Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Remember the Titans Nominated
2001 Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Soul Food Nominated
2002 Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Soul Food Nominated
2003 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Brown Sugar Nominated
2003 Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Soul Food Nominated
2004 Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Soul Food Nominated
2005 Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Soul Food Nominated


  1. Kam Williams (2004). "Nicole Reflects on Real Life Role As Mommy-to-Be". Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  2. Sragow, Michael (12 June 2009). "City-bred Actress' Role In Kids' Film Reflects Grown-up Realities". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  3. Sragow, Michael (12 June 2009). "Nicole Ari Parker's role in kids' movie reflects grown-up realities". The Baltimore Sun.
  4. Lesley Goldberg (January 22, 2014). "TNT's 'Murder in the First' Adds 'Revolution' Alum". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. Andreeva, Nellie; Andreeva, Nellie (25 June 2018). "'Empire': Nicole Ari Parker Upped To Series Regular For Season 5 Of Fox Drama". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  6. Swift, Andy; Swift, Andy (25 June 2018). "Empire Promotes Nicole Ari Parker to Series Regular for Season 5". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  7. Boris and Nicole Open Up About Sophie's Spina Bifida, Celebrity Babies Blog, 15 January 2009.
  8. Rhone, Nedra; and Gracie Bonds Staples. "In Atlanta’s churches, prayers for president-elect", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9 November 2008.
  9. Hawkins, B. Denise (September 6, 2012). "Youth Summit Brings Democratic National Convention Spirit to Johnson C. Smith". Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  10. Andreeva, Nellie (July 20, 2015). "Nicole Ari Parker To Recur On Fox's Rosewood". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
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