Act’s Own Joey Parker Debuts His First Book + Takes His Movement To The Next Level

For the past few years, fellow MTV Act writer Joey Parker has been an unwavering source of inspiration for me. We met on Twitter three years ago, and since then I’ve never ceased to be amazed by his tireless work ethic, his boundless optimism and his commitment to reporting on positive celebrity news.

If you’re one of the thousands of users following Joey on Twitter, you know he’s been part of the MTV Act team for more than two years. And because Joey’s first book, The Joey Parker Movement: Against All Odds, comes out today, we wanted to get you the inside scoop on Joey’s backstory, what you can expect from his book and more!

ACT: Let’s throw it back a few years: How did The Joey Parker Movement begin?

PARKER: I launched it after a trip to Africa. I really wanted to come back to the states using my new perspective on life to begin using my voice in a positive light. As a pop-culture freak, I began to realize the need for a shift in the way we cover celebrity entertainment. With so much negativity thrown around, my site began to highlight the good that Hollywood has to offer.

ACT: You’ve been reporting on positive celebrity news for your site and MTV Act for a while now. What have been some of your favorite memories?

PARKER: Oh my, there have been many incredible moments. The first (hands down) would be when Jose Iniguez (former MTV Act editor) and I went and interviewed Robbie Rogers at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center in Los Angeles. It was such an important and powerful piece that I was proud and honored to be a part of. The second would be my recent experience at the Sundance Film Festival. I was blown away by how incredible Anne Hathaway was, and so down to earth. She was one of my favorite interviews yet!

"Song One" - Red Carpet - 2014 Sundance Film Festival
Photo: Joey interviewing Anne Hathaway — OMG!
 ACT: We’re so excited about your first book! What can we expect when we order it? 

PARKER: Well, I hope that you are not only entertained but left feeling a bit more inspired. I broke down the book into a fun layout — each chapter is a different life lesson. Along with that, each chapter concludes with celebrity pieces that they wrote for me. From Ian Somerhalder to Denise Richards, each chapter concludes in a powerful way.

ACT: Which celebrity’s story surprised you the most? 

PARKER: There were so many! I was very impressed with Denise Richards’ courageous piece. She opened up about how bullying has personally affected her children and how she encourages them to always stay true to their authentic voices. It’s an amazing one worth reading! Also, Paris Hilton’s foreword is fabulous!

ACT: It hasn’t all been easy, though. Your mom was diagnosed with cancer last year. How has your life changed since her diagnosis?

PARKER: On February 15, 2013, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and told she had a year to live. From that day forward, my life would never be the same. I moved back in with my parents in order to help out, and just do my best at helping to keep her chin up. She has helped me out so much in my life, there was no other place I’d rather be than to try and be a beacon of positivity during her tough days. My manuscript was complete when she was diagnosed, but I went forward and added an entire section after all this occurred. I truly want to help others through the tough days, because I know just how dark and gloomy they can be.

ACT: You’re always unfailingly positive. How do you encourage your mom and those around you to be optimistic? 

PARKER: As an Aquarius, I would like to say a lot of it is just built into who I am, but also a huge part of it is how I was brought up. My parents were both incredible, loving and supportive people who always encouraged me to pursue my crazy ideas and dreams. When my mom is having a tough day, I try to just talk her through it. Feeling the emotions is crucial, and breaking down is all part of the process. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we can begin to heal. Also, being positive and seeking the good around you is so much easier than the alternative. Facing reality can be tough at times, but, like I said, the alternative will hurt you more.

ACT: What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and become a journalist or write a book?

PARKER: Don’t [try to] be the next Oprah, but be the next YOU. It’s so important when you go on your journey to always embrace your authentic self. When you own your life, you will begin to pull your dreams toward you.

Networking is a massive part that has helped me tremendously. It is what got my book deal, my job at MTV and all the exclusive interviews I have landed. If you want to get into journalism, I highly suggest you make sure you have a Twitter [account]! You can access an elite group of people through the access of your keyboard.

You no longer have to live in L.A. or NYC to begin your brand. I never thought celebs would even listen to me when I reached out to interview them for my site, but I was wrong — they happily responded! While so many people use social media to tear others down, you have the power to create an amazing future for yourself. So, stop doubting your abilities and get to work!

Photo: (Joey Parker/Getty)

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