Most people know me as Hilary from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since the Fresh Prince, I've acted in other television and film projects, but my primary focus has been on my children (I have two kids now) and my nonprofit organization Sweet Blackberry whose mission is to bring little known stories of African-American achievement to kids.

Right now, my husband and I are trying to make a new independent film about childhood that we call Little Feet. My kids are the lead actors! We really appreciate Reddit's help with the campaign since we won't be able to release the film unless we reach our goal. We're offering a lot of great rewards with people like Steve Buscemi, Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones), Jennifer Beals, Rosie Perez, and yours truly, so please check it out!

Having a cup of tea at reddit headquarters with Victoria who is helping with my AMA. Looking forward to taking your questions - ask me anything!

This has been AWESOME. I love it! I want to do this every day! But I can't. But I will definitely be doing this again in the future. Gotta get moving, gotta get back into my life, but thank you so much for showing up and asking me questions, it's been great. And please take a look at Little Feet's campaign and visit us at Sweet Blackberry to check out what we're doing over there. Peace and much love, all the best.

Comments: 1125 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

BakedTitan2318 karma

How come he don't want me man :(

KarynParsons1835 karma

That's so sad!!! That episode makes me cry to this day.

KarynParsons1600 karma

I remember when he had to do that scene, he spoke to me about it ahead of time, and he particularly spoke with James Avery (aka Uncle Phil) who gave him advice on how to approach the scene. And whatever he said, and acting with James, as you can see from the performance was invaluable.

Fistandantalus946 karma

That was the best performance I have seen Will do. I get shivers every time i see or even think about that scene. He nailed that performance.

KarynParsons1078 karma

I just got chills when it was brought up ! Me too.

mr_mccarthy859 karma

Would you recognize Allen the cameraman if you saw him at the Oscars?

KarynParsons1301 karma

AOW! Yes! Absolutely! Allen and I are Facebook friends.

Velorium_Camper788 karma

One of my favorite roles you've been in has been Emily from Major Payne. What was your favorite part about filming that movie?

KarynParsons856 karma

Awww. I loved Emily! Damon was my favorite part. He was SOOOO funny and I probably blew so many takes of his good stuff because I laughed. We both cracked each other up. At one point, he made them put a scrim between us during takes because he couldn't say his lines straight because my face was contorting trying not to laugh. He was SO funny.

Velorium_Camper722 karma

One of the best Hilary moments was when Will and Carlton blackmail her. How hard was it to film the slaps/barks/and other antics?

KarynParsons688 karma

The hardest part was not laughing through it. The mechanics of it were fine, because if it was hard for me, it was okay, because it would be hard for Hilary. But the laughing part was the difficult part. We all had a difficult time getting through it and blew quite a few takes cracking up .

Frajer587 karma

Why did they kill off Trevor?also do you think Hilary and Jazz wound up together?

KarynParsons1436 karma

Trevor's death was a horrible tragedy. I still have not recovered from that. LOVED Trevor. Loved Brian Stokes Mitchell. But I admit…the bungee drop was kind of funny. It's such a 90's way to go.

I think they probably had something going all along? No I'm kidding, but I don't know. That's hard. Maybe? Maybe she was trying to keep that thing alive from Ice Tray. (Do you guys remember that episode with Don Cheadle as Ice Tray, and he and Hilary hooked up and she was going to go back with him back to Philly, and then he wanted to trade in his first class ticket back for two tickets in coach and I was like "no thank you!")

Xinchy564 karma

I'm reading every reply of yours in Hillary's voice.

KarynParsons570 karma

Hahaha! Are you translating it over there into Hilary speak or is it just me?

ben_yc501 karma

Is it strange that I was relieved when Hilary's fiance died? "So you're saying there's chance!"

KarynParsons562 karma

Hahaha! You're bad.

asad-khan459 karma

Hey Karyn, now I've been told in AMA's ANYTHING can be asked. Me and my bros watch Fresh Prince growing up and still do. And we always wanted to know, did you and Will ever have a thing?

KarynParsons859 karma

No. There was probably curiosity in the very beginning just naturally but nothing ever happened between us. And we quickly became like real cousins.

Velorium_Camper343 karma

What was the best advice you've heard James Avery give?

KarynParsons777 karma

As far as acting, I heard him say: when you're crying, you don't want to cry. Most people are trying NOT to cry. And as a person, we could have a drink and I could talk about it, but he gave me so much advice over the years, I would have to sit and think about it, but it's so enmeshed in me,… god I'm going to start crying. I can't think about it because I will get too emotional.

Fistandantalus288 karma

Karyn, congratulations on your success. I fondly remember watching Fresh Prince and really appreciated how all of the characters worked well together, and had a believable, close nit, caring, family.

Sweet Blackberry is a great idea. I wish you the most success in helping kids.

My questions:

  • What kind of tea are you drinking?
  • If you had an opportunity to work with any actor or director from past or present, who would it be and why?
  • Who would you say is your greatest influence in your life?
  • Who would win in an arm wrestling competition? Hilary or Carlton?

KarynParsons395 karma

Earl grey, with stevia and almond milk.

Peter O'Toole, because he is magic.

My mother always. But growing up I had a sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Sipperly, who became Mrs. Bone (just in case any of my sixth grade friends see this), who influenced me tremendously in terms of creativity.

Oh that's easy. We all know it would be Hilary.

Fistandantalus113 karma

Awesome, thanks Karyn.

Can't go wrong with Earl Grey, that's for sure.

Two big thumbs up for Peter O'Toole, he is a legend!

And cheers to your mother.

I have another question....because you are were on Fresh Prince for many years, did you find you missed out on a lot because of it? Education, social stuff, family, etc. I assume you had a very busy schedule between learning lines, rehearsals and tapings, and very little time for anything else.

KarynParsons243 karma

Did I miss out on things? I'm sure I did, I was dedicated to the show, I was there for six years, five days a week, I mean, it was my job. And I probably could have utilized my downtime a lot better. I look at it now, hindsight is 20/20 and I can look back and say "wow, all that time in my room, I could have learned a language" but I did gain a lot from it. I can't regret any of that time.

AnotherMansCause283 karma

Hi Karyn

Can you do the Carlton dance?

KarynParsons515 karma

No! If I worked hard enough on it, I probably could but I've tried to drop into it and it doesn't come easily to me. I guess I can kind of do it? I'm trying right now? If I worked on it, I could probably get it.

ben_yc278 karma

Hi Karen, I loved Fresh Prince as a kid and of course that meant I had a crush on you at some point. My question is, how did they explain the Aunt Vivian character change to the cast? Does the second Aunt Viv look as strange to you as she does to me when you watch reruns?

KarynParsons371 karma

Well it was like Darrin in Bewitched (I might be going back too far for some people but they switched the Darrins). We went three seasons with one Aunt Viv, three with the other, obviously it was not a deal breaker for audiences ultimately. Fortunately we sustained it.

Ardew215 karma

Hi Karyn,
Loved you on Fresh Prince and always remember you curly hair. =) Was wondering if you ever got sick of the curls and wanted to straighten it? Thanks for taking the time for an AMA.

KarynParsons308 karma

I've straightened it and I straightened it on the show quite a bit during some seasons, and quite honestly, I don't think I look right with it straightened. And when we would straighten it on the show, my hair would start to break like crazy, and I would have to wear wigs, and you'd be all like "I can't go out there like this! You can't shoot me like this!" and there was nothing else to do but go out looking like that.

strwberrycoughin08211 karma

Good Morning!

I was wondering if the cast of Fresh Prince ever discussed a reunion before Mr.Avery passed away? (may he RIP) Any chance of doing one now, maybe a tribute to him as well? Hope all is well with you and I wish you luck on Sweet Blackberry and everything else you pursue!

KarynParsons363 karma

We never had a formal reunion but we got together several times. James' passing is still so fresh that we had his memorial, which was incredibly moving, and a tribute to him, so as far as any other kind of tribute, maybe we will down the line. I would love that. I miss him terribly.

KarynParsons313 karma

And thank you for your kind words.

Scholles01196 karma

Hello Karyn!

How did your career develop after Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Did all employers linked you to Hilary and tried to offer parts similar to that one or were you able to detach from that character and play other roles?

KarynParsons342 karma

There was a lot of typecasting. There were some rooms I couldn't get in because people said they already "knew what I did" based on Hilary. However, probably more doors opened for me because of Hilary than were closed to me.

Phluxed154 karma

Hi Karyn!

Besides the show ending, was there a truly sad moment for you during the filming of FPoB?

KarynParsons643 karma

The show's ending was pretty damn sad. I didn't want to walk off of that stage. And I kept thinking I shouldn't! They can't get mad at me if I keep messing up and refuse to walk off. But ultimately I was a good girl and walked off like I was supposed to.

I don't know about sad, but when the OJ verdict came down, that was very difficult day for me. Because we watched the big screen, they had split the screen to show black people watching the verdict together and white people watching the verdict together, and it was a very divisive thing the news media was doing, and it was hard to be part of a family that was so mixed - our writers and producers were black and white but predominantly white, and a predominantly black cast, and a mixed crew - but to feel the differences of opinion and the feeling of divisiveness that was being pushed through the TV was upsetting. And the thing is, it wasn't about us, it wasn't about our reaction, 't was more that I experienced it with these people, experiencing it with my family. I remember when the verdict came down, I ran to my dressing room and I was quickly comforted by Ta, Will and Alf, who quickly came to my room in that order, because everyone realized it was a difficult situation. It was a sad thing that I experienced with them, it was not about them, it was just that I experienced it with them.

RingChingChing129 karma

Can you give me a rough estimate of how many times someone has approached you and started singing the Fresh Prince theme song? It's the holy grail of TV theme songs, in my opinion.

KarynParsons198 karma

I probably don't get it half as much as Will does.

hellohobbit126 karma

What's your life motto? Words to live by?

KarynParsons343 karma

Be the change you want to see in the World. That's my original quote, no it's Gandhi.

TheExtremistModerate122 karma

Thanks a bunch for doing this AMA. The Fresh Prince is one of my favorite shows of all time. In fact, it's the reason my fraternity won second place two years ago at our school's annual lip sync competition. Anywho.

When founding a nonprofit, what in particular made you choose the path you did? What made you passionate about this cause? Were there other things that you were/are passionate about that you also considered advocating?

KarynParsons200 karma

WOW. WOW. Wow, that was great. Oh wow.

LOVED the shorts. Loved the backup dance moves. Very West Side of Philly story. It was quite accidental. My mother is a retired librarian. When she was working in the library, she headed the largest black resource center in California, and would call me and tell me about incredible stories she came across, and she told the me the story of Henry Box Brown, a slave who literally mailed himself in a box to his freedom across state lines, and I was so fascinated by the story and then couldn't believe I had never heard that story, I would tell my friends and couldn't believe NO ONE had heard this story, I thought well this HAS to be a kids book.

Then I thought that I wanted to do a series of Kids books about more people whose stories I had heard who were amazing. In school we hear about a handful of stories, great stories, but there are so many out there that eventually, when I started the company, I actually started it as a for-profit, I had not thought of the business model, I just wanted to get the stories to kids. Living with it a little bit I recognized that a nonprofit was what I wanted to do, and changed it, but it was completely accidental in that way. I wasn't looking for a cause, I just found out about these people and wanted to get these stories to young kids, the same way that we know Little Red Riding hood like the back of our hands, i thought that it would be great if kids knew about Henry Box Brown or Garrett Morgan the inventor. I wanted to plant seeds in kids early about people who inspire and who can empower them.

killmesara118 karma

How fresh was the fresh prince? I mean did he smell? I bet he did after that long cab ride.

KarynParsons150 karma

HAHAHA! Yeah, one big stinky boy.

Action_Hank__179 karma

I guess aerosol paint wasn't such a good substitute for antiperspirant after all.

KarynParsons271 karma

Haha! I just had to have that explained to me.

Snutchy100 karma

How was it working with Janet Hubert? I remember seeing or reading the past that she wasn't the easiest. Thank you for your AMA.

KarynParsons162 karma

Though there were difficulties in the third season that many know about, Janet was an awesome actress and incredible to play off of. Always.

Snutchy123 karma

Excellent. Thank you for your response. Good grief did I ever have a crush on you while I was in school.

KarynParsons203 karma

I don't know what to say to that, that's sweet. Thanks!

Velorium_Camper91 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. Did you pull any pranks while on the set of the Fresh Prince?

KarynParsons292 karma

I'll have to think on that. BUT I can tell you that there was a situation where Alfonso and I used to carpool every day because we lived down the street from each other, and one day, in between shooting, Will got Alfonso to slap me across the face! MIND YOU, I had slapped him first, but STILL. Will messed with Alfonso's mind, "How you gonna let her do that to you?!" egged him on, and Alfonso finally gave in and slapped me across me the face! Will thought it was hilarious, everyone thought it was hilarious, but I got him back.

I left that day without telling him, and I was the carpool ride. He went out to the parking lot and no ride home!

jumpstart_thisparty90 karma

There's no way you're 47...37, maybe. Love you, love the hair, love Fresh Prince, everything you're doing.

No questions, just keep being awesome!

KarynParsons147 karma

I love you SO MUCH MORE.

Frabjous_Alice84 karma

Hi Karyn! Can you tell us which role you enjoyed the most?

KarynParsons158 karma

Hilary. Without a doubt. Loved all the stuff you're not supposed to do and saying all the things you're not supposed to say!

Frabjous_Alice52 karma

That's awesome! Would you say your Fresh Prince experience was really positive overall?

KarynParsons105 karma

Without a doubt. It was great.

Hbnickc9383 karma

What was it like having will on set? There are plenty of YouTube videos where he's messing around with everyone and it just seems like a great time. Any funny stories we might enjoy?

KarynParsons342 karma

Will is just like he seems. Full of energy, very funny, likes to play. He mooned James Avery offstage, James was on camera and Will mooned him offstage once. He's a joker and very playful. He wasn't like a George Clooney going around doing pranks all the time, but one thing he did that was hilarious: We had a line one week that kept changing, the writers were having fun with this line, and they would say "Dara can tie a cherry stem with her tongue" and then it would change to "Dara can do this," or that. And one day it became "Dara can fit a whole orange in her mouth." Will thought he'd try it himself. He shoved a whole orange in his mouth, a WHOLE ORANGE, peel and all, the look of satisfaction when he pushed the last of the orange in lasted for a millisecond and was replaced by terror when he realized he didn't know how to take it out. It was SO FUNNY. He went from so proud to panicked. I don't remember how he removed it, it was so funny and I was laughing so hard.

suz231173 karma

Hi Karyn, I'm excited about the film and helped in the kick-starter campaign. From the clips I've seen your kids did a great job. Do either of them want to be in the tv/film business? Caught the acting bug?

KarynParsons95 karma

Thank you so much for donating! My son seems completely disinterested, he could care less, and he's six. My daughter, however, just did a short film. We're not encouraging her to act right now, we just want her to be a kid, but her attitude has been great. And she is interested in a lot of things, so hopefully she will explore a lot of things. But she loved acting in the movie with her brother and her father, and loved seeing the whole thing come together.

PorschUH65 karma

Hello Karyn. I'm glad you are doing well with exciting and fulfilling new projects. I must admit you were a huge childhood crush of mine. I just wanted to say hi and thank you for entertaining us for so many years! On that note, do you ever watch reruns of Fresh Prince?

KarynParsons110 karma

Almost never, however my daughter got into watching for the first time last year. And so I saw some pieces of episodes and that was weird.

Fafoah55 karma

Hi Karyn! Do you and the rest of the fresh prince cast still get together and hang out from time to time? Also would you ever consider doing another sitcom?

KarynParsons111 karma

Yes and yes. I see the cast whenever I can. I live in New York now, so I don't get to as often, but Tatyana was here a few weeks ago and we had a great time. We really are a family, so when we see each other we pick up where we left off. We see each other whenever there's a big occasion, and we try to see each other as often as we can. And sure, I'd do another show, if it was right!

shimmyshimmyy54 karma

What was the best moment working with Will Smith?

KarynParsons167 karma

God, the best moment? Throughout, throughout, it was always great working with him. I think one of the funniest moments that I had on camera with him a lot of people have seen in bloopers, when he was telling me to move on from Trevor, and he kept coming up with different lines about how I was going to end up marrying some guy named Grady who eats soup or something like that and be wearing rhinestone gauchos, he just kept coming up with different lines, and I could not contain myself! I think he was surprising himself too with the lines he was coming up with, they were his, they were all Will that time. Another line he did which I was off camera watching which was one of the biggest laughs I ever had was when he got grounded, and he yelled at Uncle Phil "why don't you just do me like Kunta Kinte and cut off my foot!??!!" THAT was funny. And then there was "Hey Kool-Aid."

genderwar52 karma

Hey, thanks for being here!

Looking at your colleagues from Fresh Prince, who was the actor most like their character? How about the one most different?

Connected, but a little different: do you think it is possible to play a character without bringing anything of your true self into it?

Thanks for being here and thanks for being a part of Fresh Prince. It has been one of my favorites since it started.

KarynParsons111 karma

Will was the most like his character. Alf and I were the least. Alfonso and I were the least like our characters.

Thank you for saying that, and that is a very insightful comment. Because as much as I like to think I'm not like Hilary, it's true. My dad always teases me that I was able to do that character because she lives in me somewhere. But I still deny that.

Im_A_Chef51 karma

Did you ever end up with a fool named Grady?

KarynParsons124 karma

Hahaha! No but I have my rhinestone gauchos on, and a shirt that says JAM!


Good Morning Mrs. Parsons and welcome to Reddit. I speak for everyone when I thank you for coming to our site to do this. My question for you is this, Having worked on different shows and movies, how do you adjust from working with a wide variety of actors/actresses? For instance, working with the cast of Fresh Prince and more recently with Denis Leary and the folks on The Job. That has to be a huge adjustment. So how does a skilled actress do it?

KarynParsons83 karma

First off, thank you for your kind words. The Fresh Prince was a truly unique experience. We played house for six years. We were crazy about each other. It was hard to leave. But I'm lucky to say I've had really good experiences with the actors that I've worked with from the Fresh Prince onwards. When you've got good professional people working with you, the experience is going to be a good one. It's been smooth for me.

tditz922348 karma

  1. How did you cope with the death of Trevor? (my favorite episode!)
  2. What was your favorite episode to shoot?
  3. How did you get the role of Hillary?
  4. Was the success of the show a shock to you?

KarynParsons118 karma

  1. Karyn or Hilary? For Karyn: when we came back after the summer and read the first script and saw that Trevor died my first reaction was "OMG! They can't get rid of Brian!" and then I laughed. But I was really saddened that the actor and the character weren't going to be on the show. I'm glad they allowed Hilary to mourn him on the show. But I loved working with Brian, my scenes with him, and watching Hilary and Trevor's relationship develop. That was a hard one to get over.

  2. I think it was the blackmailing episode. Because the dinner scene, barking like a dog, was fun, but one of the biggest surprises I got was when I come to Carlton for help and say that Will wants me to wash his "dirty draws" and Carlton turns and says "Will ya do mine?" The audience didn't just laugh, they didn't just clap, they started stomping their feet in the stands. If you watch the episode, you'll see I am trying so hard not to laugh in the stands, because I couldn't believe they hated me so much! We had to wait so long while they were clapping and stomping.

  3. I auditioned and auditioned and auditioned, for the casting assistant, and casting director, and writers, and Quincy Jones (Which was incredible) and additional producers, and then the network. It was a long process.

  4. Yes. We were just having fun, I was not thinking of it in terms of going out into the world. It's a hard thing to realize when you're just in the moment having a good time and rolling around being silly, it's hard to fathom that it's reaching so many people. And they're being affected watching you. So when we started having success, it felt strange. And particularly we had such huge success AFTeR the show went off the air, and that was really odd and surprising.

Tripleshotlatte38 karma

Hi Karyn! You were so great and funny on "Fresh Prince."

What was a typical work week like on set? Did everyone just show up Monday morning, get the new episode script, and memorize it over the next few days until shooting scenes on Thursday or Friday?

Was it like 9-5 or longer most days?

And finally what is one thing about being a TV star that most people don't know about (could be related to the first two questions)?

KarynParsons88 karma

You almost have the schedule down pat. We would show up on Mondays, do a table reading where everybody sits around and read the script. Then we would have a couple hours to kill while the writers made adjustments based on what they heard in the reading. Sometimes they would send us home if the script needed too many rewrites, otherwise we would go through the stages and run whatever scripts were in good enough shape. Tuesday and Wednesday we rehearsed onstage. And at the end of those days, we did run-throughs in front of the writers and producers. And then Thursday, sometimes we would pre-shoot (we would do them if we needed them with the cameras, or just more rehearsal and run throughs. Friday we shot the show all day without an audience, and then loaded an audience in the evening, and shot live. And 95% of what was aired was the live, they only went to the other if they ABSOLUTELY needed it. It didn't match apparently, my friend who was the AD on the show, she would be there in the editing room would say that the energy would be entirely different.

KarynParsons84 karma

And what people don't know? That it's a lot of work, and in TV, we're not improvising, although Will would change lines sometimes. He'd consult with the writers first but we weren't improvising. We're doing the lines that the writers gave us, and I'd say that the laughter is NOT canned it's real. And sometimes it really boosts you and feels really exciting. And then it will burst and go silent, which can be really eerie.

Tripleshotlatte28 karma

Awesome, thanks Karyn! Were the writers open to suggestions from the cast about changing lines? Like: this bit or joke isn't working, why don't I say it like this? or, I know my character really well now and this isn't what she would really say? Or, this joke is just dumb, let's not do it?

Or was the tone on set more like, actors just do your job and say the lines given to you?

KarynParsons65 karma

No, the writers were completely 100% open. Our tuesdays after we did our run through, we would go through our script with them and tell them problems, and they listened. They would respect our opinions and our thoughts as the actors.

freshprincefan1136 karma

Finally joined Reddit just so I could post here. I was a huge fan of Fresh Prince growing up -- thank you for your work!

I bet others will cover the show, so my questions are about "Little Feet".

What do you hope you accomplish with the film, and who is Alexandre Rockwell?

Also: If we donate, can we go bungee jumping with you and Trevor? :)

KarynParsons60 karma

Ohhh! Bungee jumping as a reward would have been a great idea! but seeing as I've been traumatized by bungees that won't happen. HOWEVER, I will do outgoing voicemail messages! I'll even do it as Hilary Banks. And that Alex Rockwell guy is my husband. We want to get the film out to audiences. It's a beautiful film, and it's been incredibly well received at festivals and we want to get it out to audiences.

spceddie35 karma

what do you like to do on your down time?

KarynParsons90 karma

Down time? Wow, what a concept. Dreaming about it now, and having a drink with my husband sounds really nice. Hanging out with friends sounds great. I like to read. Is that boring? And I don't get a lot of time to do all the reading I would like to do.

komalhemani32 karma

Is there a dream role that you would absolutely love to play? Or is there any actor or actress in particular that you really want to work with?

PS, I love you and thank you for doing this AMA!

KarynParsons49 karma

Shoot, I'm never good with these answers. I don't know! I have to think about it, this is a hard one for me. I can think of a lot of actors that I really admire and like to watch. But it's not that exciting for me to think about being in a scene with them, I'd rather watch them. And as far as a part that I'd like to play, I've been asked that a lot and I couldn't have told you that a part like Hilary would be such a fun, great part to play. Even when I first auditioned for her, I didn't put that much into it at first, and then later she would go on to be the most fun for me to play, bar none, and I had written her off as this silly little nothing part initially. So I think we're so surprised by those things.

Epicmidget30 karma

When did you first start to be interested in becoming an actress?

KarynParsons59 karma

When I was six. I used to watch Jodie Foster a lot. And I wanted to do what she did. And then I checked out some play books from the library and got hooked on doing little plays.

narshall30 karma

Little Feet looks really cool! what's your role in the production and how did you come to be involved?

KarynParsons82 karma

I gave birth to the babies that star in it. I married the guy that directed it. It's dedicated to me.

shittycats29 karma

Yo, I like turtles. Do you like turtles? Also, how's your day going so far?

KarynParsons71 karma

I have a russian tortoise at home. It's not a turtle, it's a tortoise, but I love turtles too. My day is going great, this is really fun!

ichegoya24 karma

I have no questions, but I'm glad you're doing things you love and trying to make a difference. I loved the Fresh Prince; I think it was a show that broke some stereotypes and helped broaden some peoples' horizons. Good for you.

KarynParsons42 karma

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean a lot to me. I can see now even more than I could when we were doing the show that what you're saying is true.

vinochick21 karma

Hi Karyn! Thanks so much for doing the AMA! I'm a huge Fresh Prince fan and have seen every episode. I have a LOT of questions but I guess, being from Philly, I wanted to know how it was to work with Will? I always imagined all of you having so much fun on the set! Thanks again!

KarynParsons61 karma

We did. I looked forward to going to work every day. Honestly. And it was very hard to leave behind. It was just a laugh fest. We had deep conversations, we had times we were laughing so hard we couldn't stand it, we were banned from Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles at lunch because we'd come back and we were lethargic, we couldn't move, we would get in giggle fits especially if we had seated scenes. If we had a dinner scene where everyone was seated, immediately everyone would be like "OHHH why'd you write this?" because we couldn't get through them. It was like being in church, we would all start giggling. It might have started because of that first season episode when I got blackmailed and I had to bark like a dog seated at table, that might have set the tone for future seated scenes, because those are like FORGET IT, we couldn't get through them. The directors would get mad at us.

Njrome20 karma

Hi Karyn, I've been a big fan ever since Fresh Prince! How was it working on Major Payne?

KarynParsons39 karma

Major Payne was a gas. The kids were adorable and Damon was hilarious. And very fun. I think it was very buggy and wet, and I got a bite on my forehead that looked like an egg was coming out of it that freaked everybody out (You'll notice in the movie my bangs change!) But I survived and mostly had fun.

orangegluon19 karma

Oh wow, it's Hilary! I used to watch Fresh Prince all the time, I still think it's one of the best examples of a perfectly paced and executed sitcoms. How did you feel about the finale? If the series went on past the finale, where would the plot have probably gone?

KarynParsons45 karma

Oooh, good question. And yes, I think that our show runners and director and writers did a tremendous job as well. We were definitely spoiled on a lot of levels. I wasn't crazy about the finale myself, but I don't think I ever watched it all the way through, so maybe I am not being fair. I wasn't really emotionally present when we were doing it, because I was going through the trauma of saying goodbye to the show, so maybe that's why I don't like the finale.

But where would it have gone? Good question, because soon enough we would have had to see Will and Carlton get into the professional world of their choosing or destiny or however they got there, and that in itself would have been interesting. As far as Hilary, I think she would have started to become a tragic figure, but that's just me.

khmeroldiez19 karma

Hi Karyn, thanks for doing this AMA. After being on The Fresh Prince for 6 seasons, do you think you will ever be part of another TV project that will last for several years again?

KarynParsons38 karma

Obviously, I couldn't say, but I would insanely lucky to a show run that long. And if I could have a familial relationship develop out of it, that would be even more incredible.

tditz922318 karma


KarynParsons54 karma

Lori Petty is one of my best friends, Tank Girl.

tditz922318 karma

Do you still keep in touch with the rest of the cast? Reunion episode???

KarynParsons45 karma

I never thought that there would be a reunion show, but now that we don't have James, I can pretty much assure you there won't be one.

bmorestoney10 karma

How was working with Denis Leary on The Job?

KarynParsons23 karma

Great! A really good actor, a whole different brand of comedy and I thought the Job was such a good show! So did the critics, but ABC was in the habit of yanking things early at that time so we didn't get a long enough run I believe. It's a shame.

tditz92238 karma

I have heard people say that the writers of "Fresh Prince," were committed to making white people look stupid. It seemed as though every time a white person was on the show, they were arrogant, rich, white snobs. I don't agree but I can see how someone could make that argument. Do you recall any incidents or accusations about this issue?

KarynParsons24 karma

I don't remember any accusations, but I would say that there may have been a little truth of that for one or two episodes. But since it only lasted one or two episodes, I would have to say it was just about those characters, and I would say that you would also want to look at the fact the writers who wrote those episodes were white themselves.

endurance203 karma

Hi Kayrn! Starting out in Hollywood can be challenging and many aspiring artists don't have alot of money. Even so, do you think young actors/actresses should sign up for health insurance? Thanks!

KarynParsons7 karma

That's a good question. Are you talking about union actors? If you are talking about union, I want to say yes, but I don't know enough about the coverage to answer that properly really.

dayofthedead2042 karma

Hi Karyn!

Thanks for doing this ama.

So is your pronunciation Porsche or Porscha?

KarynParsons5 karma

There's Portia De Rossi, and then there's the car. The car is Porsche.

WavedKnave2 karma

I still love watching the Fresh Prince re-runs. Hilary was definitely a key part of the comedy. Could you fill us in on what happened with Aunt Liv number 1? Why did she disappear? :-o

KarynParsons4 karma

Ohhhhh. There were contract disputes? And that's pretty much it? There were contract disputes.

ImBatman19712 karma

Hi, Karyn! It's Batman (Joe) from Facebook! I'm very new to Reddit too, actually just now. I just wanted to say hi, and to tell you that your kindness and fine subsistence as a person is very admirable, and I'm a huge fan of Sweet Blackberry! It's a brilliant and refreshing concept that is long past due. And by the way, as much as we all loved Hilary, we also love Emily in Major Payne! What an irresistible and charming character that had great chemistry with Damon. My daughter used to make me watch that movie weekly and of course I didn't mind. I have just one question. Where do you see Sweet Blackberry in the future? Adopted by educational systems? Well, thank you for being awesomely yourself, and have a great weekend! Good luck towards continuing happiness and success! :-)

KarynParsons4 karma

Yes, I would love to see Sweet Blackberry in the school systems. As it is, a lot of schools across the country use Sweet Blackberry as a teaching tool. We have a lot more plans in the works for ways of teaching children through media about African-Americans and history stories that you just don't hear. So yes, I would like to see it in the schools and in homes as well.

JeffBanks1 karma

watcha doin lately?

KarynParsons4 karma

Sweet Blackberry! I have a nonprofit organization called Sweet Blackberry and the mission is to bring little known stories of African-American history to kids. I also have two kids, my son who is six and my daughter who is ten.

paulvs881 karma

It seems you would have easily been type-cast as a bubble-head dummy. Was it hard to break away from that?

KarynParsons3 karma

I had quite a few opportunities to play similar parts. But it wasn't that interesting for me.

plurntup1 karma

What do you think the key to achieving happiness is?

KarynParsons4 karma

I'm not an unhappy person, but if you're talking about contentment, I think that is something I am working on all the time. I think Love is so much of it, and I mean that in love of self, truth, I think that's a huge huge part of it, I think when we can all get to our truth and be honest and true to ourselves and the world and to everyone around us we are almost there. We are pretty much there. That's all there is in truth and honesty and I think if you can truly have that, and truly be that, then you can be happier. If you are honest with yourself and others.

improbablewobble1 karma

Hi Karyn! I was a little white boy with a big crush on you and Tatyana. But now I'm here to ask the hard-hitting questions, and no side stepping now. Okay, here it is: I'm sure they were both lovely and talented, but, gun to your head with a split second to decide, who do you go with, Aunt Viv Classic or Aunt Viv 2.0?

(For the record I was always an Aunt Viv Classic man, myself.)

KarynParsons2 karma

My perspective is different from yours! I refuse to go there with you! Two wonderful women.