With a gravelly voice, a permanent five o’clock shadow, and an impish grin, Nathan Parsons has all the makings of a matinee idol. Although he has found great success this year with The CW’s The Originals, it was here in Austin that the young thespian found his calling. “My first professional gig was Gypsy at the Paramount downtown,” the 26-year-old reminisces. “That’s one of the most interesting ways to start out a career as a 10-year-old,” he adds with a laugh.
Parsons, who attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, credits his mother for instilling in him an early love of performing. “My mom was very good about taking me to shows—to get me a little bit more cultured,” he says. “As I started learning more and more, I realized that you could actually have a career doing this—playing pretend, all the time.” So, on the advice of his high school acting teacher, Parsons attended the Fine Arts in Acting program at the University of Southern California, where he was booking work within two years.
It’s clear that Parsons has always approached performing not just as a profession, but also as a true passion. Perhaps it’s because of that dedication that he has racked up ever-increasingly impressive roles, starting with a spin on General Hospital. “I spent three years there learning how to be a professional actor,” he says. “It was a great show for me to start out with. That was sort of the springboard.”
Most know him best from his duo of supernatural roles on two major dramas. In the last season of True Blood, Parsons starred as James, the soulful ancient vampire who has liaisons with both women and men in town. He is currently a fan favorite on another vampire show,The Originals. This time, however, he plays not a bloodsucker, but alpha werewolf Jackson Kenner. “He’s a really fun character because he can be a little gruff. But then he also gets us kind of soft inside,” Parsons shares.
He reveals that his next role might be behind the camera. “I’m working toward writing a script,” Parsons says. “It would be a story about soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. There are so many stories to be told—not just about being overseas in the military, but also transitioning back to normal life. That’s something really worth talking about—the people.”
Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.