Graham Parkhurst

Graham Parkhurst: From a Small Town to the Big Screen

Graham Parkhurst’s unexpected journey into acting began in a small town, far removed from the glitz of the film industry. Without much exposure to the entertainment industry, it was a high school play that caught his attention and ignited his curiosity for acting. “In grade 8, I watched a high school play and was like, ‘this is crazy, this is amazing, I want to do this.’ and I kind of fell in love with it instantly. And then, when I got to high school, I started drama class and the rest is history.” This fascination marked the beginning of a transformative journey.

In high school, drama class became a sanctuary for Graham, a place where his innate talents and personality flourished. When looking back on his favorite experiences from his time in theater during high school, he recalls that it was much more so about finding a sense of community and belonging. “I don’t think it was necessarily the productions as much as it was finding my people. Theater was full of extroverted, slightly kooky characters and as someone who kind of felt like I always had to put a cap on that, I enjoyed finding that sense of acceptance and community.” This community provided a safe space during the tumultuous teenage years, offering him a sense of identity and purpose.

Throughout his interview, Graham reflects on the importance of setting goals and persistently working towards them. “I’ve never really had a backup plan, even though that was advised by pretty much everyone,” he laughs. “I’ve always had this delusional ambition and I thought you know one day, if I keep going, it will work out.” He emphasizes the value of patience and perseverance in the unpredictable world of acting.

Interestingly, Graham’s career path was not linear. He spent over nine years in theater before transitioning to film and TV, a testament to his adaptability and commitment to his craft. The path was fraught with challenges and uncertainties, yet his passion for acting, in whatever capacity, never waned.

Graham’s story is a remarkable example of discovering one’s passion and pursuing it with relentless determination. His journey in the theater laid the foundation for a successful career in the performing arts. It highlights the transformative power of theater, not just as an art form but as a haven for self-discovery and personal growth.

Despite the lack of a clear roadmap, Graham was fueled by what he calls a “delusional ambition.” His mindset of not having a backup plan underscored his journey through the unpredictable waves of the acting world. His transition from a nearly decade-long theater career to film and TV was not a walk in the park. Faced with the industry’s inherent rejections and challenges, he leaned into his relentless drive, persistently pushing towards his goals.

It was only in the last couple of years that Graham got his big break, starring in the Netflix TV series ‘Glamorous’ as Parker. His reflections on his time on ‘Glamorous’ are tinged with fondness and gratitude. Working with Miss Benny was a highlight, as he describes her as “somebody who is so talented, so humble, so accepting, and so playful on set.” This experience

wasn’t just another gig; it was a transformative phase in his career, enriching him both personally and professionally. It was a long journey towards this phase of his career, one filled with many challenges outside of his control.

When the world came to a standstill with the pandemic, Graham Parkhurst found himself at a crossroads, both personally and professionally. The pause in his acting career, as he recalls, was “one of those blessings in disguise.” Known for his tenacity and ‘no backup plan’ approach, Graham embraced this unexpected hiatus with a blend of resilience and creativity.

In a candid conversation, he shares, “I was so stressed out before covid trying to juggle everything, so when it came and I had to reset, it was odd, but appreciated in a way.” This period of forced inactivity wasn’t just about waiting; it was a time for introspection and exploration. The actor, used to the hustle of film and TV, found solace in the stillness, remarking that it was “nice to step back and detach.”

Since then, Graham has made it a point to focus on staying present in life and even venturing out into different opportunities outside of acting. It was during the last year that Graham ventured into the world of modeling. “I thought ‘this is cool, never done this before, don’t know what it’s like.’ And then I absolutely loved it.” This foray into a new creative realm wasn’t just a stopgap; it was a journey of self-discovery and artistic expression. The actor found joy in collaborating with photographers, but also found a love for the more creative side of the process, pitching ideas and bringing visions to life. “The fun part about that is I kind of get to be creative as well, like pitch my ideas and then certain photographers will be like ‘I can bring that vision,’ now to have a little bit of success under my belt, people are wanting to team up which is really fun.”

Looking to the future, Graham expresses a keen interest in continuing this newfound love for photoshoots alongside his acting career. “I don’t really see myself as a model,” he modestly states, “but I absolutely have loved working with all the photographers.” His experience reflects a broader theme in his life and career: the importance of adaptability, openness to new experiences, and the relentless pursuit of creativity, regardless of the medium.

As our conversation moves forward, we discuss the challenges Graham faced going into the Western market as a Canadian actor and the differences between the two entertainment industries in general. He brings a unique perspective on the contrasts and comparisons between the Canadian and American entertainment industries.

“In terms of the industry, we don’t have as much of a star system in Canada,” Graham explains, highlighting a fundamental difference. Canadian artists often find themselves playing backup roles to American stars, navigating a market with less opportunity for significant breakthroughs.

This contrast becomes more pronounced when comparing it to the American industry, known for its star-making machinery. Graham notes, “In America, there is this feeling of unlimited

opportunity.” The U.S. market, with its vast resources and global reach, offers a broader platform for actors to achieve stardom.

Despite the challenges, Graham’s journey in Canada has been enriching. He acknowledges the rarity of his success, attributing it to luck and relentless drive, hoping that more Canadians are given the opportunity to play in both markets.

Through Graham’s eyes, we see the reality of working across these two distinct markets – a journey of balancing aspirations with practicalities, and a continuous search for opportunities that align with an actor’s ambitions and talents.

Finding success coming from a small town in Canada is no short of a rare occurrence. His story serves as an inspiration for fellow creatives coming from small areas while having big dreams. His journey through the unpredictable waves of acting is a tale of patience and persistence, peppered with wisdom for those who dream of following in his footsteps. His mantra? Slow down and take your time. “I feel like everything takes time and if you want it to happen right away, you’re kind of setting yourself up for disappointment,” he says. “That’s kind of the advice I give myself all the time, even now at this current moment, like slow down, stop comparing yourself, and try to enjoy what’s in front of you because you never know how long it’s going to last.” This philosophy, as shared in our vibrant conversation, has been a guiding star in a career marked by both uncertainty and triumph.

Graham’s philosophy is a blend of relentless drive and mindful patience, a recipe for navigating the capricious tides of an acting career. His story is not just about reaching for the stars but also about enjoying the climb, one patient step at a time.

Graham’s journey in the world of acting and modeling paints a picture of an artist ever eager to evolve and adapt. With a career that’s seen more twists and turns than a high-stakes drama, Graham’s outlook on the future is as dynamic and multi-faceted as his talents.

“Acting is where my talents lie the most,” Graham asserts, his voice tinged with the wisdom of experience and a hint of playful confidence. This isn’t just a profession for him; it’s a calling, one that he’s followed from the quaint stage of a high school theater in a small Canadian town to the expansive, unpredictable world of film and TV.

As our conversation winds down, it’s clear that Graham Parkhurst is not just another actor climbing the Hollywood ladder. He’s a storyteller at heart, with a deep appreciation for the journey and the people he meets along the way. His laid-back demeanor belies a fierce dedication to his craft, a trait that endears him to audiences and colleagues alike. Graham is not just a rising star; he’s a beacon of relatable ambition, reminding us that with patience, passion, and a bit of luck, dreams do find their way into reality.

Photography Lester Villarama @shotbylester

Styling Nikko Panti  @nikkopanti

Grooming Abraham Esparza @thisisbabe

Interview Robby Wong @shehatesrhude

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