Believe it or not, Emmy-nominated TV host Nina Parker manifested one of her life goals: starting a clothing line. “I put it on my vision board, like ‘This is something that I want to do.’ Maybe a couple of weeks after that, I got a phone call from Reunited Clothing. They said, ‘We watch you on Nightly Pop. We really enjoy your style. We’re looking to do a plus-size line. Would you be interested?’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy. Vision boards work. Manifestation works.’” One year later, her plus-size collection of fun and flattering pieces (ones she herself wears) is hugely popular, sold in Macy’s stores and online. It’s not all vision boards, though. Parker does the work. A lot of it. She co-hosts E!’s Nightly Pop and is an E! News correspondent, regularly appearing to discuss pop culture. Through years of experience hosting, she’s learning to celebrate her wins and contemplating her next steps, despite what she describes as Melrose Place–style drama behind the scenes. Up next: acting. She lives in Los Angeles. Here, how she gets it done.
On her morning routine:
I am a host for Nightly Pop, but we also have Daily Pop on E!, a live morning show, and sometimes I fill in there because one of the co-hosts is on maternity leave. If I’m doing Daily Pop, I’m waking up around 5 a.m. If I don’t do Daily Pop, my day starts a little bit later. I have to be there around 7 a.m., so I’ll get up around six. I get to sleep in a little extra hour. I stumble into the bathroom to take a shower. I prepare a protein shake — I don’t really have breakfast. And I have a Nespresso that I would die without. Then I’m on my way. I drive to work. My commute’s five minutes, and I’m just off to the races. I instantly get into my dressing room, and we start hair and makeup.
The good thing when you’re filming is you get ready on set. I’m able to really roll out the bed and go because I get ready at work. So that’s nice. I spend about an hour and a half in hair and makeup. I have a meeting with my wardrobe stylist about what I’m gonna wear for the day. We collaborate on jewelry, shoes, and the outfit. While I’m doing hair and makeup, I have a meeting with my executive producer, my other co-hosts, and other producers for the content of the day. I go over scripts during that time as well, and then I hit the set.
On her clothing line with Macy’s:
A lot of times people need to just know you’re interested. You get pigeonholed into one thing, and people don’t know that you’re interested in doing things outside of that scope. It’s just as simple as saying, “Hey, I’m interested in doing this,” for people to see you in a different light. For me, it was just opening up and saying, “Hey, I’m around. I’m trying to do this thing,” that allowed people to see me in this new space.
There are a lot of really cool people involved at Macy’s that have a lot of expertise, but for me, it was just really important to not look at any other designer and go do what they did. It was just like, What do I want to wear that’s not available as a plus-size woman? It’s just as simple as wanting a spaghetti-strap top — it’s just not available, right? They act like they can’t make it in a bigger size. I’m like, What are the things that I just want to wear? I go off of that. I see women on the street whose style I love, and I’ll ask them if they’re okay with me taking a picture, not using their face. I have all these random photos of people on the street with cute style. We’re putting out a collection almost every month of 10 to 15 styles. We go by season, where we want to go, what kind of color palette we want, and then I’ll create a version of what I want to see, of what I like. It can be as simple as a shiny legging or a really cute crop top. I really love camo, so I was like, “I want to do something camo that’s feminine.” Just different fun things that I feel like we haven’t seen before.
On celebrating wins:
I’m still learning to do that, to be honest with you. As a Black woman, people make you feel like you should just be grateful to be in that space. I’m really hard on myself, and I’m very quiet about my success. I’m learning to do little things. My girlfriends, we go out to dinner or we have drinks. We do something small to celebrate that moment. I’m trying to just really live in it and appreciate it. It’s little things, like rewarding myself with a massage. It’s hard for me to reveal what I’m working on and what I have going on to a lot of people. I really keep that close to the chest. But in that small circle that I have, we really try to celebrate each other.
On competition and criticism:
It’s been some Melrose Place type of drama. It’s so funny because you get these clichés when you move to L.A., “You can’t trust anybody” and “People are gonna be out to get you.” I never really subscribed to that, but within the last three years, my work has gotten more visible. I’ve always been a hard worker, but now more people are seeing it. And I think people have a problem with seeing someone else win when they feel they should be succeeding more. They may feel like they should be getting it. I am Black, and I’m plus-size. People will put you in a category and think that you can’t achieve. A lot of people accept that, like, You’re right. I can’t get this because I’m this way. I never subscribed to that. I don’t care if I look like the part. I deserve it. There are a lot of people who have an issue with that. I’ve dealt with people sending emails to companies and saying, “She shouldn’t get this. You should think of me.” It’s disheartening. It’s one thing not to like me, it’s another thing to actually do something to sabotage me or interrupt my bag. I’m from the Bay Area; we don’t really get down like that. It’s been hard to not respond how I want to respond. But understand that I have a greater goal, and I have to bring that in. I’ve had to just say, “I must be doing something right because you’re so pressed.” I have to put it in perspective. I have a small group of family and friends that I can talk to, say whatever, and get rah-rah with, and then I let it go. Ultimately, people aren’t pressed about someone they’re not threatened by; that allows me to accept that and know that I’m on the right path. With anything good comes criticism and negativity. It’s just the way it is.
There are some career decisions that aren’t right for the person next to you, but they’re right for you. People give advice based on their own experiences, and it’s okay to listen, but it doesn’t have to be written in stone for you. You do what’s best for you, it’s your life. Whatever fears they may have they may project onto you, it’s none of your business.
On dealing with self-doubt:
I’m human, so I deal with self-doubt just like anybody else. I don’t really get nervous when I’m doing a project or if I’m in front of a crowd, but I do later think to myself, Did I do this right? Did I say this right? Right? I really overthink after the fact, which is good, because if you do it during the fact, during the moment, it’s really difficult. For the most part, I’ve gotten to a really good place. I really love myself, and I’ve never been this secure before. It’s definitely hitting different now. I’m okay with failing. I know I’m gonna drop the ball sometimes. I know I’m not going to be perfect. I know there are gonna be times where people don’t like what I do creatively or like my clothes or whatever. I’m cool with that. I’m no longer in a place where I need to be loved by everybody. The right people find you. I struggled with it for many, many years. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was extremely insecure. I’m 42 now. This is probably my first summer where I don’t care if I have a “summer body.” I feel good, and I’m also attracting people that treat me the way I treat myself. That happened before, too — when I was talking bad about myself, and treating myself horribly, I attracted horrible people. Now that I love myself, I’m attracting people that give me that love back and it has nothing to do with how I look. I’ve eased up on myself and given myself grace. That’s really, really helped with any type of self-doubt that I deal with.
I absolutely consider myself ambitious with a capital A. I’m an alpha female. I’m competitive. I have a lot of things that I still want to do. I’ve stopped telling myself I can’t. I haven’t told anybody this, but I really wanted to get into acting. I thought, You can’t do that. I had a lot of self-doubt in that area. I could host with my arms behind my back, but acting is a different type of vulnerability. I had to admit to myself that it was something I was interested in. It was something that I wanted to pursue, and so I made active steps to do that. I recently booked an acting gig, and I was like, “This is crazy. Does life really work like this? You just manifest what you want?” It’s a very out-of-the-box type of thing for me, but I’m interested in it, and I want to do more of it. I’m talking about it because, like I said, people may not know I’m interested. It’s something that I’ve made a goal of mine that I want to invest in. There are still so many things that I want to do in addition to what I’m already doing — like I need another thing on my plate, but I just think that’s a part of your evolution.