Aubrey Plaza of NBC’s Parks and Recreation: Wilmington Native Is Building a Buzz in Hollywood
Wilmington native Aubrey Plaza builds major Hollywood buzz.
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High School Hijinx
Plaza used her sense of humor to stir things up at Ursuline Academy. “I was always interested in rocking the boat and making people laugh and doing weird things,” she says. “I think a Catholic all-girls school is a good setting for that.”
Once, when deciding that Ursuline needed a Raiders mascot, Plaza donned a red cape and mask and climbed the scaffolding in the gym during basketball games. Another time, she draped herself in a large box and followed her principal home after school. Every time the principal turned around, Plaza disappeared inside the box.
Plaza also led a “mustache protest.” Discovering that the school handbook did not prohibit facial hair, she encouraged students to wear fake mustaches to school one day. Eventually, her partners in crime removed the fake hair, leaving Plaza as the only mustachioed student. She got detention for “failure to remove mustache when asked,” says Plaza, with a chuckle. “I was just always trying to create some type of drama.”
Like most comics, Plaza has a serious side. Soon after 9/11, she helped organize a candlelight vigil to Rockford Park to commemorate the victims of the attack. The vigil ended up involving hundreds of people—mostly friends, family, and students from Ursuline and Salesianum.
Plaza ended her high school career on a funny note by orchestrating a mock swordfight.
Plaza praises her home state often, and her character actually mentions Delaware in the film “Funny People.” She remembers cruising Concord Pike as a teen, hanging out at the Golden Castle and taking family trips to Rehoboth and Bethany beaches. In high school, she’d hang in Dewey with her friends and “tried not to get arrested.”
As a teen, Plaza worked at the now-defunct Classic Video store on Delaware Avenue, where her aunt, Bonnie Armstrong, also worked. “I loved working there because I got to watch movies all day,” Plaza says. “As an aspiring actor, that was a great way to learn.
“Wilmington says it’s a place to be somebody, and that’s really true,” Plaza says. “It’s kind of cool to grow up in a small-town environment but still be close to all the big cities.”
Despite her television and filming schedule, Plaza comes home regularly to visit her parents and younger sisters, Natalie and Renee.
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