DC producer Katrina Parker proves that you can have it all Forty-two year old Katrina Parker, known affectionately as “Kat”, certainly knows all about carving out a niche in today’s entertainment business world. A mother of three, a wife, and a two-time entrepreneur, Kat has strategically positioned herself to be successful in any endeavor she chooses. “There are only two people that can stop me from being a success: me and God,” she declares.
Her career in the entertainment business began two decades ago when she was scouted to become a model in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. “I wasn’t ready,” Kat remembers, “I was very introverted and didn’t have any confidence.” Though the experience allowed her to come out of her shell, the attempted “pimping” by the promoter of her first fashion show caused Kat to set her run-way dreams aside.
“I was turned off from the industry for 10 years,” she recalls. Despite her unfortunate experience, Kat’s ambition to be successful in life was undeterred. As a single mother of her first-born, AJ Fuller, she opened her own cleaning business, which thrived due to her foresight and professionalism.
“That’s when I learned how to be a businesswoman,” she boasts, “[that experience] taught me that I could do anything that I want.” But, after marrying and giving birth to her two youngest sons, Zackary Parker, now 12, and Derek Parker, now 10, she decided to relinquish her business to pursue her career as a full-time mother and housewife.
“I’m a 21st century woman, with 1950’s values,” Kat admits with a laugh. “If dinner is late I don’t feel good about it. I help with homework and I’m home when my kids get in from school. It’s important. Women don’t do that anymore,” she laments.
Despite Kat’s complete commitment to providing the best home for her family, this ambitious woman was called back into the business world behind the scenes, and, with the support and encouragement of her husband of 14 years, Al Parker, she’s back with a bang. As owner of STRIKING EMAGES, an entertainment production and make-up artistry company based in the DC Metropolitan area, Kat has found a way to merge her love of fashion and entertainment with her skills as a businesswoman.
“If you’re hungry enough you’re going to make it, but if you don’t love what you do, you’ll never succeed. I never met anyone who was passionate about something, that didn’t succeed,” she says.
Kat definitely has a passion for her work and confesses that merely sitting on the set of a video or backstage at a fashion show still has the power to arouse her.
Now, with television producer certification in hand, Kat is embarking on her new journey: producing and hosting her first television show that is, as she describes, “Entertainment Tonight meets Fashion Police.” Each episode will de-mystify elements of the business of fashion and makeup, profile industry professionals, demonstrate business “how-to’s”, and promote self-worth and confidence for young up-and-comers.
“It’s important to know how to turn yourself in to a business [when you’re a model]. [Aspirants need to know] who to look for, who to talk to, how to sell themselves, how to be confident, and how to make themselves stand out,” Kat testifies.
Kat hopes that the show will be a place for young models to learn what it takes to make it in the business – something she wishes she had been taught at the onset of her own career. She also wants the show to provide a forum to discuss pertinent social issues.
“I watch [the VH1 show] “I Love NY” with my kids. We laugh, but we also talk about it and what it means.” Kat thinks that it is important for young people to understand the difference between the fantasy of television and the reality of life. “Yes, my show will be a show about fashion and entertainment, but we will also talk about “how do I keep the connection with God is when I model”, “how do I remain true to myself”. They’ll learn the importance of knowing their industry, but they’ll also learn that they can do whatever they want.”
In the midst of her busy schedule as wife, mother, model, actress, motivational speaker and television producer, Kat creates equilibrium between her home life and business life by getting her husband and children involved. She brings her boys to production meetings, backstage at fashion shows, and on set.
“I take my kids just about everywhere! It’s important to let your children see what you do. I want all of my kids to have their own business. I don’t believe in anyone working for anyone,” she says.
She attributes a lot of her successful balancing act to God and her devoted marriage. Not only does her husband support her endeavors financially, but he too has acquired a television producer certification so that he would be qualified to help. Her children have taken quite an affinity to her work as well, and her youngest son is looking to produce his own show: an ESPN-like sideline news show to highlight is little-league football team. Because of her “open-door” policy, her oldest son, now 20-years-old, has seen her build her success from the ground level.
“He’s proud of me. He’d never say it,” Kat laughs, “but he’s proud.”
STRIKING EMAGES, has been a dream come true for Kat. Having worked with in films like Chris Rock’s “Head of State”, completed modeling work for the multi-million dollar company Clairol, and make-up design for magazines like “Today’s Black Men”; Kat has structured STRIKING EMAGES as a place to showcase her versatility and house the further development of her many business ventures under one common denominator: building inspiration. Despite all of the hardships she faced from growing up as a child in a less-than-supportive family, to competing as an older woman in the highly competitive modeling world, Kat wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’m glad to have gone through it all to be the person that I am today. If I had to choose whether or not I’d walk this path to get to this place again, I would.”