It wasn’t long ago Parker Young was rehearsing lines in his theater class, or running the pigskin down the football fields of Catalina Foothills High School.
Five years after graduating, Young continues to partake in his passions- only now he does so with a national audience.
Young recently landed a role on the ABC sitcom, “Suburgatory,” where he plays Ryan Shay, a high school football star whose shallow, tactless demeanor is counterbalanced by his boyish innocence and good looks.
Before landing the hilarious, over-the-top role, Young took a leap of faith, moving from Tucson to the Hollywood area soon after graduating high school. With plans to attend Pepperdine University, Young moved before the semester started in hopes of getting a head start on his acting career.
At first, his new surroundings in a much larger city took some getting used to.
“It was really rough,” he said. “I left a safe environment in Tucson with my best buddies. There was some serious shock waking up each day and not knowing anybody.”
Young was fortunate enough to land a few commercials early on, including one with Axe Body Spray, and he made an appearance on the popular soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
He eventually auditioned for his current role in “Suburgatory,” and much to his delight, he caught the attention of producers.
“It’s the biggest role of my life,” he said. “It was another normal audition, and I thought I was too old for the role, but I loved the project and put a lot of energy into it. I met with the producers, and I ended up being their guy. Hollywood is finally being nice to me.”
“Suburgatory” follows the lives of Tessa Altman (Jane Levy) and her father, George Altman, who have recently moved from Manhattan to the suburbs, where the Shay family soon befriends them.
Tessa unexpectedly falls victim to Ryan’s good looks, despite considering him a “knuckle dragger,” and the two develop a short-lived relationship.
Young said he is enjoying his role as Ryan Shay, and hinted at a potential rekindling of the relationship with Tessa in future episodes.
“It’s a fun role to play,” said Young. “He’s just so sadly, pathetically dumb. It gives me a lot more freedom to do fun things like shirtless dancing,”
Young said the road to becoming an actor required him to break out of his comfort zone, and he advises aspiring actors to take preparatory action.
“Keep doing things that scare you,” he said. “Do dance classes, do voice lessons, do whatever it is that scares you, and you will become open and ready. Dive in 100 percent. Don’t do it 50/50, because it will always be a 50/50 result.”
While Young plans to be a career actor, he said the challenging path he has taken would continue to serve him well, regardless of the line of work he encounters.
Despite his growing success in California, Young said he can’t help but miss the old days of Tucson, where he grew up playing soccer at Fort Lowell Park, hiking Sabino Canyon, and playing miniature golf at Golf N’ Stuff.
Suburgatory airs on ABC on Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30 p.m. central.