Nicole Ari Parker

Theatergoers will be in for a treat when Nicole Ari Parker hits the stage as Cleopatra in William Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, from September 5 – October 5, 2014—a part the actress has described as a dream role. In the past she has lit up the stage in Chicago and Romeo & Juliet; and the screen in roles in Boogie Nights, Brown Sugar, Remember the Titans, and the award winning show, Soul Food.

In addition to her acting, Parker is an entrepreneur, having created the Save Your Do Gymwrap to solve a common problem among women who love to workout; and a philanthropist, having founded Sophie’s Voice Foundation with her husband. We asked the question, ‘How do you do it all?’ and got her wisdom on finding balance, staying fit and eating healthy—and of course, we found out what is in her Ultimate Beauty Arsenal.

Congratulations on your starring role in William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, opening next month! What most drew you to this role and the story of this timeless love affair?
This has been a role I have wanted to play my whole career and having the same director as when I was on Broadway in Streetcar made it a must for me. Doing Shakespeare is one challenge an actor lives for--but getting to play Cleopatra is a dream come true.

When you're not on stage, what does a typical day look like for Nicole Ari Parker?
We have two children who have to get up, get dressed and get to school just like so many other moms have. They are the lights of my life and never cease to amaze me with some look or comment everyday. I have a company, Save Your Do, that needs my attention and whatever series, play or film I am involved in keeps me busy. I also have a handsome, kind and gentle husband to keep up with and take care of.

What has been the best moment of your acting career so far?
Each part gives me a chance to reach a new part of myself. Cleopatra will go down in my book as one of the most challenging and exciting.


A portion of the proceeds from our September COCOTIQUE Box will be donated to Sophie's Voice Foundation, the charitable organization you started with your husband, Boris Kodjoe, to raise awareness about children and adults living with Spina Bifida. What is the most important thing the public needs to know about how they can help?
Almost all Spina Bifida can be prevented and SVF is working hard to convince the countries outside the US who do not fortify their food with folate to do so. We raise funds to promote fortification, programs that support children and adults with Spina Bifida, and our newest initiative is to support and develop programs for diverse communities around health and wellness.

Many women are struggling to find balance among having a career, being wives, being mothers and juggling all the other hats they wear on a daily basis. Any advice for managing it all?
Make sure you make time for your partner and friends. Make sure you do some small thing every day to inspire yourself and protect your health.

How do you incorporate fitness and healthy eating into your lifestyle? What's your favorite workout?
Making dinner as a family is the best way I know to eat healthy and enjoy food and the company of family. playing with my kids, running with my husband, and yoga.

You actually created a solution to a common problem among women who workout often--how to preserve their hair! Tell us about how your Save Your Do Gymwrap helps women to save their hairstyles while being active.
I realized we spend a lot of money on our hair and I kept talking to women who wanted to work out, but claimed they couldn’t because of their hairdo. I realized if we could develop a material for a head wrap that would absorb the sweat before it could wreck our hair--problem solved! So our gymwrap is now on the shelves of 400 Wal-Mart stores and online at and It seems to leave only the problem of getting off the couch!

Let's talk style and beauty. What is your signature "off duty" style like?
Urban, eclectic, with a little dramatic flair!

Do you have a weekend, or Sunday night beauty ritual? If so, what is it?
Always take my make-up off no matter what!

What's your summer hair care regimen like? Do you prefer protective styles?
Right now I have Kinky Twists by Ephinie from

What 3 products are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal--those items you absolutely can't live without?
Bronzer, face cream and perfume!

Learn more about Nicole Ari Parker at her website, and connect with her on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.