The last time many of us saw Parker McKenna Posey regularly on television, she was playing little Kady Kyle on the hit ABC sitcom, My Wife and Kids. We practically watched her grow up in front of our eyes for five seasons back in the early 00s. However, Posey is all grown up now, and the 22-year-old beauty is taking on a new role that she hopes will set her apart both in the industry, and from the child character she played for so long.
Posey stars in the new BET series, Games People Play, alongside Lauren London, Sarunas Jackson (of Insecure fame) and Jackie Long, among others. An adaption of the book by Angela Burt-Murray, the show is set in L.A. and tracks a murder involving a famous basketball star (Jackson), his wife (London) and the players in his orbit, including Posey’s character of aspiring actress Laila James. It’s a about the cutthroat tactics people, particularly the main female characters, use to succeed. The trailer alone proves that viewers are going to be taken on quite the ride.
We talked to Posey about taking on a role like nothing she’s done before, getting comfortable enough to do sex scenes at this stage of her career, her bond with Lauren London, and why even though she would love for people to stop seeing her as only “Kady,” she’s grateful that they still do.
MadameNoire: It’s been a while. You have had some roles here and there over the last few years, but obviously, people know you from My Wife and Kids. For those who don’t know, can you share what you have been up to?
Parker McKenna Posey: I did a lot of work with Stand Up 2 Cancer. I have my own swimsuit line, it’s called Honeydip. I basically spent a lot of time working on stuff like that. Also, I’ve just been a working actress, which is what they like to call us actresses who audition all of the time. I’ve had my fair share of testing and all types of stuff. I’ve even worked on pilots that didn’t work out, so I’ve definitely been working on things you guys probably haven’t heard of. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.
I was going to ask you if you had become more selective about the roles you were choosing or if “the game” per se had become a bit more difficult when it comes to nailing down roles and having shows actually be picked up?
I just think after My Wife and Kids it was a really big transition for me, in my career and just in life. It was definitely different for me. I kind of just stuck with it and here I am.
What was it about Games People Play and the character of Laila specifically that drew you in?
I really like it because it’s different from anything I’ve done before. I’ve definitely been offered other roles, to answer part of your other question, but they were just too sexy, and I would have been doing stuff that I wasn’t really comfortable doing. I didn’t want to just play the sexy role. I definitely think I have way more to offer than just that, and that’s something that’s funny. When I signed on to the show, I didn’t really realize how much sex my character has. I thought she was this sexy girl and of course she was going to mix stuff up, but I’ve really done things on here that I’ve never done before. I really have shown my range and that’s something I really appreciate of the writers. They really put in their best efforts and gave me a lot of good stuff to do. But just reading the show, I love how it’s based on three women who are just living in L.A., trying to be successful and make the best out of their careers and their lives. It was really important to me to work on a show that is based on three beautiful Black women who are out here living their best life.
And as you mentioned, there are sex scenes on this show, and that’s something different than what you’re used to. How did you get comfortable to go to that next level with your work?
To be honest, I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I’m sure you guys can see that based on my Instagram and stuff like that [laughs]. I don’t really have a hard time showing off my body in a way. It was interesting to do my first sex scene and have a whole crew there while I’m basically naked [laughs]. But I made sure my sister was there, my older sister, and everyone made sure I was comfortable. Everyone on set was super, super chill. I was just explaining this to my boyfriend. I think that people feel like, “Oh you’re there and he’s touching you and you’re naked and everyone’s looking at you and they get to see your body!” It’s not like that at all. Everybody is feeling super awkward. I don’t think anybody wants to be there. Our director, Janice, she’s such a sweetheart. She asked me every five seconds, “Are you okay? Are you comfortable?” She made sure there was no one in the room other than the camera people. So I mean, I felt super comfortable. I’m already comfortable anyways, but it being my first time, it was just a fun experience. It was actually fun. I had a good time; and it was quick! It was like two takes. They didn’t have me doing like nine different takes, different angles, anything like that [laughs].
What would you say to people who see you as little Kady? The sex scenes will probably be a shock, but you’re grown now, you’re 23. However, some people can only look at folks in one way. Does that ever annoy you that people still see you as this child character so many years later?
You know what? I’m sure when I was 18 and really trying to like break free of that character, it annoyed me, but now I just feel super grateful. I realize that my show was one of the biggest Black shows ever in life and that is such a huge accomplishment. So at the end of the day, if people want to refer to me as Kady until I’m 80 years old, that’s my biggest accomplishment. I’m happy people still see Kady. But it is funny when people come up to me still and they really think my name is Kady or they’re like, “Oh my God, you’re so big!” I’m like, did you want me to stay three years old for 20 more years? [laughs] At the same time, I get it. The show is in syndication so you can always find it on a channel every week and I’m literally a child. So it’s interesting when you see somebody as three years old, and then you see them as [they are]. I still have the same face and the same voice and people tease me about it all of the time. I know it can be a little awkward or confusing for people when they meet me, but I hope when I do different roles like this or future roles, people can see me as an actress, not just one character.
Another reason you were probably comfortable doing the sex scenes for your show is because your body is bangin’ [laughs]. We see the photos you post on Instagram, and you’ve become fitness goals for a lot of people. So what jumpstarted your love of fitness and wanting to take care of your body and build muscle?
You know, I think that exercising, which I’ve really been slacking on these days [laughs], but being active, even something as simple as hiking, it’s really important. Something as simple as waking up and working out can make you feel better about yourself and make you feel better mentally. I found that when I was working out consistently with my trainer, I felt way better and more energized. I was prepared for anything the day would throw at me. I definitely think it’s important to exercise, even if it’s just for freakin’ 20 minutes a day. Get your heart rate up and your body right!
Lastly, I wanted to ask you about one of the other main stars of this show, Lauren London. Obviously, she’s going through a major tragedy in the loss of her partner, Nipsey Hussle. I saw the message you shared about her and the relationship you guys have built being on the show. Can you speak on that relationship and how you’re feeling about all that she’s had to endure as of late?
From day one, even at my audition, I saw her at my testing and we’ve always just had very serious, deep talks about life and the men in our lives. It breaks my heart what she’s going through; but at the end of the day, she’s a very strong woman and she can handle anything. I know this isn’t anything she ever dreamed of happening; but as the cast and being her family in a way, we’re just here to support her and make sure that we’re sending her love and light.
Check out Games People Play, which premieres Tuesday, April 23, on BET at 10/9c.