Nina Parker On Creating Space In Fashion And Media For Black Women To Feel Seen
Jack Waterlot

Already a trailblazer in entertainment media, Nina Parker is breaking even more barriers in affordable plus-sized style.

Her self-titled fashion line, available at Macy’s, provides stylish solutions for women sick of being tossed any old garments to cover their figures. It’s a natural progression for the host and pop culture commentator, who has long customized her own garments for the red carpet and the nightly news desk when more fashion-forward options weren’t always available.

“This is the experience of the plus-size woman on television. We customize a lot of stuff,” she said, noting the virality of her self-made Oscars dress worn for the 2020 red carpet. “I had been putting my own outfits and things together for a while, and not just for award shows, but just for on regular TV as well, just because there were not a lot of options for me. And I’d have to be dressed every day.”

Launching the line with Macy’s was a dream come true for Parker, who values the opportunity to bring sizes XL-4X in-store, where so many other brands relegate them to online-only, special orders.

Jack Waterlot

“I think with plus, a lot of us are used to fast fashion where we have to get something online. It was really important for me to be able to go in-store. Especially as things started to open up, you’d be able to see the collection and feel it and try it on and actually see the quality of it,” she said.

Taking a bit of a step back from the craziness of awards season on the red carpet, Parker was able to channel that bit of extra time and energy into her output. The Nina Parker collection has monthly drops, the most recent just coming along this past Friday.

“I really was able to take a little bit of a break this year and focus on my clothing line and Nightly Pop and really dive in. And my clothing line has just been such a blessing, a full-time job in addition to filming,” she explained. But being a full-time anchor to a longstanding entertainment show – Nightly Pop just celebrated 500 episodes! – and a fashion mogul comes with its own balancing act.

“It’s definitely work, and I definitely had to hire an assistant,” Parker laughed. Wearing her host hat in the early mornings, typically with 5 am start times, and her fashionista hat in the afternoons on into evening, it’s been a big adjustment. “I really do have like two full-time jobs. And so it becomes a little bit of a puzzle with your schedule, [my calendar] looks like a game of Tetris.”

While pursuing her latest passion for fashion, Parker still loves the genuine connection that comes between herself and her fanbase while hosting Nightly Pop.

“It’s really cool to be a part of. We started our show in 2018, and look, there are a lot of shows who started with us that aren’t around anymore. We have a really faithful fan base,” she said. “Because we have a late-night show, people go to bed with us. So for me, that’s most important, the connection. It does feel like a little family. On our Instagram page, I feel like there are fans that comment all the time, and now I know them.”

“Connecting with people has really become the thing that I love the most as opposed to recognition. A lot of times when you are on TV, you want to be seen, you want people to know who you are, for different types of reasons, but connecting with people is different. And that, I’m really grateful for.”

Aside from connecting with fans, Parker is grateful to be in the entertainment conversations and present a perspective that is often overlooked. As a Black woman in “mainstream” entertainment news, Parker is privy to conversations about coverage angles of certain stories and able to be a mouthpiece for viewpoints and concerns surrounding social issues brought to light through entertainment news that may go unobserved without her presence.

Jack Waterlot

“Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the only person of color or the only Black person there because our perspective is different,” she explained. “When we had everything with the Will Smith and Chris Rock situation, a lot of Black folks felt like this is a Black conversation. This isn’t a conversation for anybody outside of the culture. I think it sometimes can be difficult to have cultural conversations with people who are not necessarily in your community. But I think it should be more normalized that we’re having these conversations in a place that has a platform for us.”

“I had a conversation on my show. I forget what it was about, but I remember my co-host, who was white, said ‘I never even thought of it in that perspective.’ Because she didn’t have to,” Parker explained. “And that’s important, because sometimes people genuinely just don’t have the same background and it escapes them. It’s not intentionally obtuse, but it’s just like, ‘Hey, I never even considered it because this wasn’t my experience.’ And so that’s why it’s so important to have these different perspectives in these spaces.”

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