Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parrilla Weighs in on Gay Rights

Do you love a good fairytale? In the ABC series Once Upon a Time, the sleepy New England town of Storybrooke revolves around fairytale characters frozen in the modern world.  It’s a modern take with thrilling twists, hints of darkness, prurient princes, ostentatious costumes and even an evil queen. Simply put—it’s brimming with gay goodness!

Lana Parrilla, 35, is the woman behind the dual personality “Regina Mills” and “The Evil Queen.” After a few lack-luster movies, Parrilla made a name for herself through roles on Spin City, 24, Swingtown and Miami Medical and was recently awarded an ALMA Award for Favorite TV Actress in a Drama for her role on Once Upon A Time.

In her newest role, Parrilla quickly became the character viewers loved to hate, her beauty and extraordinary costumes balancing the evil deeds perpetuated by her character. But come to find out, the “evil queen” isn’t all that evil in real life.

Parrilla has championed LGBT rights in several arenas, from working on an upcoming short film addressing suicide among LGBT youth and speaking out in support of marriage equality at the Human Right Campaign’s August Gala.

Despite a bout of laryngitis and a grueling production schedule, Parrilla made time to call Watermark from her home in California.

“My voice is much better than yesterday,” she assured. “My friend said I sounded like The Evil Queen who smokes two packs of cigarettes.”

WATERMARK: How did you get involved with HRC?
LANA PARRILLA: A good friend of mine, Raven Tony, has been dying to get me out to Cleveland and asked if I would come to the event. I thought it was as simple as just going to the event. So, I said, "Sure, I'd love to come!" Then, he asked if I would speak at the event. So, I did and everyone was so wonderful. I had an incredible night!

You spoke about your cousin and his struggle with coming out. As a straight ally, what advice can you offer to those that may be grappling with the decision to come out?
I would say to find a support system, even if it's not at home. I know there are groups and hotlines that offer support for coming out. Always stay true to yourself. I think that's the number one most important thing. Worrying about who you are or living in a lie, I think, is a fate worse than death.

I experienced that in a different way. Everyone in my family, for a long time, didn't want me to be an actress. They knew it was going to be a long road and it would be difficult. I've been doing this for 17 years. It wasn't because of me [that they were against it], it was just because they knew it would be challenging. But I couldn't help but do what I love. I knew if I tried to do anything else, I would be miserable. It's like when you try to be someone you're not, you're not only going to be worse off yourself, but for everyone in your life.

Clearly, you're aware of your LGBT fan base.
Yes, I am and I love them!

Read the complete interview at our media partners, Watermark


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