An Interesting Dive Into Aubrey Plaza's Life And Career

In case you haven't noticed yet, Aubrey Plaza has come a long way from playing April Ludgate in "Parks and Recreation." She found fame through the show with her biting nihilist character, and now years later, her career has only grown. Every new movie and TV show that Plaza features in sees her unfold a new persona that surprises, enthralls, and endlessly entertains.

Over the years, Plaza has proved that she's much more than the role that made her famous. And she definitely doesn't belong in the box of being seen as the "weird" star who only does comedy. "The more you know her, you realize she's very big-hearted and, in a way, insecure," "The White Lotus" creator Mike White told GQ, explaining how Plaza's acting prowess goes far beyond dark humor and deadpan deliveries.

Now that we've established that there's more to Aubrey Plaza than meets the eye, let's get to know her a little better.

Aubrey Plaza's parents named her after a song

It seems like Aubrey Plaza's parents knew their little girl was special right from the start. In 2018, the actor told W Magazine that she was named after a song called "Aubrey" by Bread, a beloved pop group of the 1970s. The lyrics go as follows: "And Aubrey was her name, a not so very ordinary girl or name, but who's to blame?" Sounds about right.

As for the older origins of the name, The Bump suggests that the name Aubrey was derived from the name Alberich, the king of the dwarfs in medieval German legend. According to Britannica, Alberich would guard the treasures in a Nordic waterfall in the guise of a salmon. The name is used for both boys and girls today, but it was originally a masculine name. Plaza did her research and told W Magazine that she might be the only Aubrey Plaza in the world.

She was fired from a restaurant before landing her breakout role

Aubrey Plaza wasn't born into a star-studded family. Her parents, Bernadette Plaza and David Plaza, were regular people who worked at a convenience store when she was a kid (per Vulture). "We started out with nothing, but my parents worked really, really hard, and we kind of moved up," she told The Guardian in 2012. Plaza's mom and dad, who went on to become a lawyer and a financial advisor respectively, might not have been a part of the entertainment business, but her love of comedy was born when her mother introduced her to "Saturday Night Live." Before we came to know her as the perpetually apathetic yet lovable "Parks and Recreation" intern-turned-assistant April Ludgate, Plaza was waiting tables while auditioning for acting gigs on the side.

As someone who never subscribed to being a corporate slave, Plaza lived by one policy: To never let anyone stop her from chasing her dreams, even if it came at the expense of her job. Speaking to W Magazine, Plaza revealed that before she landed her life-changing role in "Parks and Recreation," she had been fired from her waitressing job. Her audacity paid off when fortune smiled on her and she landed two roles — "Funny People" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" — along with her "Parks and Rec" gig in the same week. And just like that, she was never puked on or "treated like a stripper" by drunk customers again (via Vulture).

She didn't let April Ludgate be a dumb blonde assistant

Even when Aubrey Plaza was an unemployed college graduate looking for work after being fired from a restaurant, she never stopped marching to the beat of her own drum. When she met "Park and Recreation" co-creator Greg Daniels for the first time, he told her that the character she was auditioning for would be Leslie Knope's "dumb-blonde assistant" (per Vulture). The only problem was, Plaza didn't want her April to be some unintelligent eye candy, and she made her feelings known.

"I was like, 'Your idea is stupid,'" she shared in a 2012 interview with Vulture. Not only was she outspoken about it, but she also had an idea about how April Ludgate should be portrayed — smart, caustic, and deadpan. April stans know exactly how that went. Thanks to Plaza, April became one of the most memorable and unique characters in the show.

She lived at a Days Inn in L.A. while pursuing acting

After Aubrey Plaza's mom kindled her passion for comedy by introducing her to "Saturday Night Live," she convinced her mom to let her be a part of Philadelphia's ComedySportz branch, a comedy theater and improv school. Plaza believed that she was going to make it big someday and went on to join NYU in the hopes of taking classes at the Upright ­Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Plaza told Vulture that she was "delusional" to think that her comedy dreams could come true, but with her acting prowess and charisma, she was slated for success. Her life did a 180 after landing her first acting project, but it would be a long time before she could live like a star. According to Cosmopolitan, Plaza lived at a Days Inn on Hollywood Boulevard when she first moved to Los Angeles. Comedian Lennon Parham was one of her inn-mates, and they lived with a group of Swedish tourists.

In case you were wondering where Plaza lives now, Dirt reported that she bought a $4.7 million mansion in Hollywood Hills in October of 2022.

Aubrey Plaza isn't mean in real life

If you're a "Parks and Recreation" fan, chances are you'd expect some snark should you get a chance to meet Aubrey Plaza in person. Many fans and media have a preconceived notion of how Plaza is because of her many dry characters. "It's a lifelong pickle that I've found myself in," Plaza said in an interview with The Independent. "I've had so many moments where I'll say something very sincerely and people will completely think that I'm taking the piss out of them."

In fact, Plaza thinks that it's weird how she has inadvertently become the queen of deadpan. "I was never sarcastic or petulant. In high school, my superlative wasn't 'Most Likely to Hate the World,'" she told Vulture. Though she may always be April to many, Plaza is far from the character in real life. In an interview with The Cut, she revealed that people are often a little mean to her when they meet her for the first time, as they expect that's how she is herself. Plaza says she's more than happy to play into this expectation and will give people exactly what they're looking for.

Although she isn't mean, she likes to joke around and keep things fun — a trait that doesn't always work in her favor. When she had a stroke at 20 years old, her friends thought she was doing a bit before she was taken to the hospital.

April Ludgate was specifically tailored for her

Now, it's one thing to get lucky and land three acting gigs in a week while unemployed. But since we're talking about Aubrey Plaza, it shouldn't come as a surprise that she inspired the "Parks and Recreation" team to tailor a character specifically for her. First of all, she didn't even officially audition to play April Ludgate in "Parks and Rec." She simply had a meeting with the creative team early on (per NPR). Allison Jones, who was one of the people responsible for assembling a cast for the show, called executive director Michael Schur to tell him that he must talk to Plaza because she was "the weirdest girl" she'd ever met, according to Schur (per AV Club). Plaza impressed the team to such an extent during their first meeting that the role went to her. She basically landed the part by being her authentic self and not trying too hard.

Speaking to AV Club, Schur shared that they wrote April's part specifically for Plaza, saying, "Aubrey came over to my office and made me feel really uncomfortable for like an hour, and immediately I wanted to put her in the show."

Being typecast inspired her to prove herself

When "Parks and Recreation" first came out, some people thought it was going to bomb. At least that's what Aubrey Plaza told Cosmopolitan. The show's cast celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special reunion at the Dolby Theatre in 2019, and Plaza thought it would be a low-key event. That's when she realized how big of an impact the show still has. "And it's just so funny because when we were on the air, we were always being told that we were going to get canceled. Our ratings weren't that good," she told Cosmopolitan.

The show became a big hit nonetheless, and Plaza's popularity skyrocketed. She never wanted her role to define her, but she was inevitably typecast. She didn't really mind, but she wouldn't put herself in a box either. "I think you just have to be really proactive in changing that narrative for yourself," she told IndieWire. She thought people's perception of her was a gift because that meant her performance was so powerful that it convinced them to believe that she was indeed her character. That gave her the power to surprise them every time she took on a different kind of role. "So I started to try to think of it like that and be a little bit more positive and less bitter about it," she said about being typecast (per IndieWire).

She secretly married her long-time love during the pandemic

In May 2021, Aubrey Plaza casually dropped an appreciation post on Instagram for Jeff Baena, her long-time love, to celebrate the production kickoff of his movie (and hers) "Spin Me Around." The photo itself was sweet and innocent, but the caption was what made everyone and their mothers gasp. Plaza referred to Baena as her "darling husband." Media outlets soon confirmed the news and congratulations started pouring in.

Plaza's rep told People that she and Baena had tied the knot after quarantining together. They kept it a secret until the actor posted the picture on Instagram. She detailed how it happened during an appearance on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." "We got a little bored one night," she said before revealing that they turned to a website called "," a service that provides officiants for quick same-day weddings. It was their 10th anniversary and Plaza wanted to do something special. She had suggested getting married as a joke, but things got serious real quick and suddenly they were gearing up to tie the knot in the next few hours. There was no one available to marry them, but they struck a deal with an officiant who was in Alhambra that day, and he agreed to come in two hours for extra pay. Plaza and Baena married in their backyard. "I can't remember a lot of it, it was fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure it's legal," Plaza told Degeneres.

She channeled her love of the supernatural into a book

Remember when Aubrey Plaza did one interview after another while dressed like a witch in 2021? That was around the time she was promoting her Christmas book, "The Legend of the Christmas Witch," which she co-authored with Dan Murphy. "Each year a mysterious figure sweeps into town, leaving behind strange gifts in the night," the official description for the book reads. It's the story of Santa Claus' sister, Kristtörn, who was raised by a witch after being separated from her brother as a child. During a witchy appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to promote the book, Plaza revealed that the main character was based on herself. She likes to dress up as a witch on Halloween every year, and one day she decided she'd do it on Christmas. "I had this idea about dressing up like a witch and going to scare children while also throwing presents at them," she told DeGeneres.

Plaza has always had a thing for witches. "My hag thing goes way back," she said in an interview with Rolling Stone (via MTV). When she was a college student, she had a blog called "Salty Sea Hag," an outlet to share her political humor with the world. She doesn't update it anymore, but it's still a delight to read.

Aubrey Plaza is a low-key prankster

If there's one thing that Aubrey Plaza loves as much as witch costumes, it's pranking people. No one's safe from her japes, especially her colleagues. In 2015, she gave her "Parks and Recreation" co-star Aziz Ansari a gift that, for better or worse, he'll probably never forget. During a chat with Conan O'Brien, he revealed what the strange gift was, saying, "She wrote me this nice note and it says, 'Aziz, no words can describe how much I care about you, but a pack of my blood and a shard of my hair.'" Ansari then produced a vial of blood with hair in it. While Plaza told him it wasn't her real blood or hair, it's still quite the memorable gift.

Plaza hasn't changed her razzing ways, and we're here for it. In a November 2022 interview with GQ, she detailed how she spooked her "White Lotus" co-stars by orchestrating an elaborate prank connected to their hotel's haunted rumors. She arranged a Blair Witch–style symbol on the floor of her co-star Adam DiMarco's dressing room, and she even made another to match in her own to give herself an alibi.

She was once booted out of an award show

Aubrey Plaza's antics aren't everyone's cup of tea. Case in point: Will Ferrell. Four years after Kanye West infamously interrupted Taylor Swift during her VMA acceptance speech, Plaza pulled a similar move during the 2013 MTV awards night. Ferrell was in the midst of giving his acceptance speech after receiving his Comedic Genius Award when Plaza got up to the stage, seemingly taking him by surprise when she attempted to pry the golden popcorn out of his hands. According to ABC News, they weren't doing a bit for laughs, and Plaza, who had the title of her movie "The To Do List" written on her chest, was kicked out of the show afterward.

As awkward as the whole scene was, Ferrell's reaction to it was priceless. As Plaza attempted to take his award away, he calmly asked if she was okay. "Aubrey Plaza everyone, just like we rehearsed it," he said with a hint of sarcasm. In a now-deleted tweet posted after the awards show, Plaza said that the incident "went better than planned!" (per Rolling Stone).