Exclusive TV Goodness Q&A: Instant Mom’s Sydney Park [INTERVIEW]
Sydney Park is a 16-year-old actress who once tested out her comedy skills at the Hollywood Improv at the oh so early age of six, making her the youngest performer to ever grace that stage. And she hasn’t slowed down since. She competed in the first season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. You may also recognize her from her appearance on an episode of Hannah Montana or maybe from her guest star stints on That’s So Raven and CSI: NY where she played Ellie, the adopted daughter of Sela Ward‘s character, Jo Danville.
Currently, she’s starring in season one of the Nick-at-Nite comedy, Instant Mom, opposite powerhouse Hollywood vets Tia Mowry-Hardrict [Sister, Sister, The Game], Michael Boatman [Arli$$,Â Spin City, The Good Wife]Â and Sheryl Lee Ralph [It’s a Living, Designing Women, Moesha].
TV Goodness recently talked to Park about Instant Mom, her favorite TV showsÂ and learning from some of the actors she’s worked with including Miley Cyrus and Raven-Symone.
TVGoodness: Tell me a little about Instant Mom and your character.
SYDNEY PARK: Instant Mom is about a former party girl, Stephanie Turner, played by Tia Mowry-Hardrict. She married my father, played by Michael Boatman. His name is Charlie Phillips. Heâ€™s a cardiac surgeon in Philadelphia — he has three kids. He thinks that Stephanie is very energetic, young and hip. And she has a funny dynamic with the kids. She wants to be like their best friend and their mom at the same time. She just went from a weekend mom to a full-time mom. So my character, Gabby Phillips, is like 14 going on 20. Sheâ€™s really sassy and sheâ€™s very head strong, she has a funky style. [Stephanie] has an interesting dynamic with Gabby, because they are both trying to grow and find their dynamics in the family so a lot of hilarious situations kind of pop up and itâ€™s really, really cool.
TVGoodness:Â Speaking of Tia, Michael as well as Sheryl [Lee Ralph], what is it like to work with these TV veterans?
SYDNEY: Â Itâ€™s really an incredible experience working with all of them. Youâ€™ve got Tia, youâ€™ve got Sheryl, and Michael Boatman, and they are such talented people.Â We all just really connected. Theyâ€™re great people to work with. Thereâ€™s lots of laugh and that is so important. Because when you are working with people every day and many hours, you want to have a good experience. Iâ€™ve been having a great experience with everyone.Â Learning from Tia and Sheryl and Michael, their comedic timing and how professional they are and to just be in their presence — they are really great people.
TVGoodness:Â Did Tia give you any advice?Â She was a child star with her sister.Â Youâ€™re pretty young yourself so I wanted to see if she has given you some guidance on how to deal with all the pressures of being a kid in the business.
SYDNEY:Â She really has, you know? And not only to myself, but to my younger brothers on the show played on the show by Ty Williams and Damarr Calhoun. Sheâ€™s given us some really key, vital information like make sure you always stay grounded, be kind and professional. Never get into drugs, never get caught up, that you are a grounded person, that you focus on your business and you continue to be a kind person and genuine. Itâ€™s so great because she doesnâ€™t really have to say much because she portrays all the incredible positives, the positive side of the industry.Â She is the perfect example of a young, female actress in the industry.
TVGoodness:Â So you would say that itâ€™s a pretty family oriented set and everyone works like a family.
SYDNEY:Â Yeah, definitely. Weâ€™ve really bonded. Just hilarious moments, itâ€™s so great, itâ€™s so, so great. And Iâ€™m so happy that we are coming back for a second season. And itâ€™s going to be really great. Iâ€™m just proud of everyone.
TVGoodness:Â Congratulations on that! I want to switch gears for a second.Â So I read that you were the youngest comedian to be on stage at the Hollywood Improv. True?
SP:Â Yes itâ€™s true. I was six years old and I had just moved here to LA. And my mom was working at the Hollywood Improv. I used to do little pre-shows in the dining room while people were eating. I would just be my spunky six year old self with my pixie cut, it was really funny. So one night, I told my parents, I said, ‘Look, I want to do stand up and I just want to do it.’ And my parents said okay and put together a three-minute set. And I wrote it and they helped me tweak it. And the first comedian that put me up was DeRay Davis. To this day I call him my Uncle D. He put me on stage on one of the toughest nights. It was Mo Betta Monday. Itâ€™s the toughest crowd and itâ€™s always the most crowded. And it was great and I just loved it. It kind of kicked off my career.
TVGoodness:Â And do you still do stand up?
SYDNEY: Actually, I want to get back into it. Mark Curry, who is working on See Dad Run, actually did a guest spot on one of our first episodes. He was saying that I should definitely get back into stand up.Â I want to, itâ€™s something that definitely sets you apart from everyone. You know, there are not a lot of 16-year-old female comedians. Theyâ€™re really are none?Â So itâ€™s important. I feel itâ€™s an important part of my career. Thatâ€™s how I got started. And itâ€™s great and now that Iâ€™m a young lady, thereâ€™s a lot of stuff to touch on.Â So I want to get back into it.
TVGoodness:Â Yeah, I saw you do stand up on Americaâ€™s Got Talent. I couldnâ€™t believe that this kid comes out there and just nails it.
SYDNEY:Â Thanks. Whenever I do standup itâ€™s always really fun. Itâ€™s liberating because itâ€™s such a personal thing and itâ€™s so intimate. To be able to get up on stage â€¦..there has been many times that I have bombed and just did a horrible job but thatâ€™s what comes with stand up. That goes with anything. Youâ€™ve got to learn. It makes you stronger, it makes you better. Itâ€™s great. I definitely want to get myself back into it.
TVGoodness:Â Thatâ€™s awesome.Â We are called TVGoodness so I was really curious, what TV shows do you have to watch?Â That you love?
SP:Â Hmmm. Okay, I really loveâ€¦Iâ€™m actually kind of getting into Big Bang Theory.
TVGoodness:Â Oh, so good…
SYDNEY: Yeah, and Vampire Diaries and Breaking Bad. I know Breaking Bad has had the [series] finale and everything but I am obsessed with that show. And I think itâ€™s one of those timeless shows because the actors are just amazing and theyâ€™re so committed to their characters. And I just really love the show. Those are my three main ones.
TVGoodness: Youâ€™ve worked with some pretty big kid stars: Raven-Symone and Miley Cyrus.Â When you are working with these kids going into their adulthood what did you learn from them?
SYDNEY:Â You know, Iâ€™ve had the opportunity as a young kid in the industry itâ€™s important to surround myself with people around me that are a good examples. And I had the opportunity to obviously talk with Miley and Raven. Raven was really a grounded person and so was Miley. And Miley was so sweet and her whole family was so welcoming. And people can say all they want about her, my personal experience with her was really, really positive.Â I still have a letter she wrote to me while we were in rehearsal.Â She was saying that I hope you go so far in your life and I see so much light in you. She was really a genuine person. I think that being kind to people and making sure you are grounded and real, really goes a long way. One thing that I have learned in this industry — your relationships with people can get you really far. If anything itâ€™s probably the most important thing in this industry. You knowâ€¦actorsâ€¦..if you have a good relationship with someone, a good reputation, you can go far. Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to work with some really just great, genuine spirits.
TVGoodness: Thatâ€™s a nice story about Miley. Is there anything else about the show you want people to know?
SYDNEY:Â Instant Mom is one of those shows, you really can just sit down with your family. It will make you laugh. Itâ€™s real and every family can relate to it. Thereâ€™s so many hilarious scenarios that are going to come up.
Check out the talented Sydney Park on Instant Mom, which airs Sundays on Nick-at-Nite and NickMom. New episodes return in 2014.
Interview edited for space and content.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Maahra Hill Talks The Irrational
I’m a Jesse L. Martin stan back to the OG Mothership Law & Order (pour one out for Lennie Brisco, y’all), although I admittedly tapped out on The Flash at a certain point. This season, Martin has been back in his old NBC stomping grounds with The Irrational, a different,…
George R. Olson, Tim Rozon, and Sarah Levy Talk the SurrealEstate S2 Finale
[Spoilers for the SurrealEstate Season 2 finale.] How’s everyone doing after the finale? As we close out the second season of SurrealEstate, some of our merry band of misfits are scattering to the winds–Zooey to law school, Phil to the Vatican, and Augie back to his think tank with Rochelle,…
Previewing SurrealEstate Season 2 Finale + Revisiting the Season with George R. Olson
[Warning; General spoilers ahead.] Strap in, SurrealEstate fam, because we’ve arrived at the Season 2 finale, and it’s a doozy. As we saw in the closing moments of last week’s episode, Susan is back. But because we have one more episode left, it’s not as simple as all that, as…
Tyler Hynes Talks Through His Eight-Film Hallmark Holiday Library
Things you realize when you have to re-record your shows on a new DVR – just how many Hallmark movies your people have done. Fan favorite – and one of ours – Tyler Hynes has done eight Christmas movies for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries since 2018. Alongside…
Spencer Creaghan Talks About Creating SurrealEstate’s Signature Sound
SurrealEstate is winding down its second season, with two episodes left, and just as in Season 1, Spencer Creaghan’s music continues to be a character unto itself. And every week, he shares tidbits with the fans via his s social media channels, something he started to help give them an…
Andrew Walker Talks Christmas Island and the Magical Hallmark Community
[Warning: Spoilers for Christmas Island.] Now that the Screen Actors Guild strike has been resolved, we’re able to resume regularly scheduled programming and interview our favorites and yours. Up first, earlier today, I spoke with Andrew Walker about Christmas Island, which premiered last weekend and encores tonight and through the…
George Olson and Danishka Esterhazy Talk SurrealEstate “I Put a Spell on You”
[Warning: Spoilers for the episode.] Tonight’s fun new SurrealEstate found Luke caught up in an especially bewitching woman, Kay, played by Tara Yelland, Susan trapped in her house, and Zooey learning the ropes. In the next part of my conversation with showrunner George R. Olson and producing director Danishka Esterhazy,…
Danishka Esterhazy Talks SurrealEstate: “The Butler Didn’t”
[Warning: General spoilers for the episode]. Tonight’s new SurrealEstate, “The Butler Didn’t,” follows the team as they investigate the years-earlier mysterious death of a woman whose ghost now reenacts her hanging by dropping over the banister from the second floor to terrify anyone on the landing or at the bottom…
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…