Lana Parrilla has been working in Hollywood for years, but it wasn't until she stepped into the role of Regina Mills — also known as the Evil Queen — and ABC's Once Upon A Time back in 2011 that she finally started getting the credit she deserves as an actress. Playing a royal on TV comes with plenty of perks, from that amazing wardrobe to the joys of green screen magic, but if there's one thing she's has proven is that she's more than deserving of her regal status even when the cameras stop rolling on set. That's right, I said it: Lana Parrilla is a real-life queen.
Growing up in Brooklyn before moving to the West Coast following her father Sam Parrilla's passing in 1994, Parrilla has never been shy about her ambitions, and she's been working steadily on TV and in film since the late '90s. And while the success Once has afforded her in recent years might go to some actors' heads, Parrilla remains as grounded as ever. She's consistently proven herself to be gracious, kind, and completely and totally into her job — which only makes it all the more enjoyable for her #RegalBelievers to witness.
Here's why Lana Parrilla deserves regal status ASAP (as if there was ever any question).
She Truly Embraces Her Role As The Evil Queen
When you're playing a role for several years, it's natural that you'd become attached to the character, but Parrilla truly loves Regina and embraces her, flaws and all. Even when she's not on set, Regina is never far from her and it's clear she loves playing such extremes out in front of the camera.
She's A Vocal Ally Of The LGBT Community
Sure, plenty of people would love to see equal rights for members of the LGBT community, but Parrilla has been consistently outspoken about the need for more acceptance not only in Hollywood, but in our local communities, as well. Her dedication to the LGBT world has meant everything to those that are a part of it, and made her fans even more fiercely loyal to their queen.
She Loves Her Fans & Treats Them Well
As loyal as Parrilla's fans are to her, she is back to them, too. When meeting fans at conventions or during other public appearances, she's always been more than happy to stop for photos, sign autographs and express her appreciation for all that her #EvilRegals have given her. To see a star that truly understands the important relationship with the audience that supports them is amazing, to say the least.
She Has An Amazing Sense Of Humor
Everyone knows laughter's the best medicine, and Parrilla's no exception. She loves having a laugh on the Once set and anyone who follows her on Instagram can tell she's got a fantastic sense of humor. Is there any better quality a human being (not to mention a queen!) could have? I don't think so.
She's Not Just An Actor, She's A... Rapper?
I don't even think I need to caption this, so I won't. I'll just say that someone asked Parrilla to rap at the Spooky Empire conventional panel last month and, well, needless to say, she delivered. GET IT!
She Works Those Royal Costumes Like Nobody's Business
It's not just anyone that can pull off both the tailored professional businesswoman look AND the extensive costumes required during those flashbacks of the Evil Queen, but Parrilla does more than just pull it off, she OWNS it. Has anyone ever been so fierce in royal garb? NOPE.
She's Basically Fearless — Or At Least Not Afraid To Try
One of the most important qualities you can have in Hollywood — and in life in general — is courage. It means doing stuff that might scare you to death because you know you can do it and you want to prove it not only to yourself, but to the world at large. Parrilla has courage in spades, and I think it's fair to say it pays off.
She Knows The True Meaning Of Beauty
There's no denying that Parrilla is physically beautiful, but she knows that true beauty is more than skin deep. As she explained during a recent interview with Bella magazine, "It’s honesty, a truth, a love for oneself, and an acceptance of who you are as a human being. Living life by your own code makes your external beauty that much more appealing. Ultimately it’s what’s on the inside that people are drawn to." Spoken like a true queen.
She Understands The Value Of Hard Work
Parrilla may be getting plenty of attention now as Regina Mills, but Once is far from her first time at the rodeo. In fact, she's been working her butt off for nearly two decades to get where she is. "I love when people say to me, 'You’re an overnight success!' Actually, I’ve been doing this for 18 years." Parrilla clearly knows that you don't get anywhere worthwhile overnight, but she's never given up — lucky for us!
She Takes Her Responsibilities Seriously
Celebrities may not be asking to be role models, but it comes with the territory, for better or worse. When you're in the public eye, you have the power to influence those who look up to you, and Parrilla wants to do the best she possibly can with that platform. "We have a huge hit that’s changed my public persona in the world and has given me a lot of responsibility that comes along with that. Being a part of this show has given me such an incredible fan base and I want to be a great example of a strong, successful woman for them."
Ugh, my heart. And for the record, you're doing an amazing job with that, Parrilla.