‘Parks and Recreation’: Aubrey Plaza Reveals She Suffered From Impostor Syndrome Before Getting the Role of April

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Aubrey Plaza for the role of April Ludgate. The Parks and Recreation alum manages to steal the show with her puckish charm and daring wit. It’s also safe to say that no other person can properly master the chemistry she shares with Chris Pratt. Plaza is absolutely perfect for the role, yet there’s one person who never thought she would get the part in a million years. That person is Aubrey Plaza herself. Find out why the actor thought she was a “fraud” in the beginning stages of the series.

Aubrey Plaza with Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones
Aubrey Plaza, Amy Poehler, and Rashida Jones | Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Aubrey Plaza was destined to play April Ludgate

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April Ludgate’s original name on the NBC series was “Aubrey.” Talk about destiny! It’s almost as if the role of the deadpan goth was specifically written with Plaza in mind. Yet despite perfecting the role, the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World actor refused to believe she was good enough to be on the show.

In the first season of Parks and Recreation, April seemed like more of a background character. Yet starting around season 2, we got to see April emerge into a fully formed individual. The character was suddenly three dimensional with insecurities, fears, and unique interests. Slowly but surely, April arguably became the most fascinating character on the show.  

The ‘Parks and Recreation’ star didn’t think she belonged on TV

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After getting fired from her job as a waitress, Plaza had officially hit rock bottom. She confessed to Sam Jones in her Off Camera interview that she had “no idea what she was doing.” Yet that all changed when she had a meeting with the creator of Parks and Recreation, Mike Schur.

Alison Jones, the casting director behind the series, said Plaza was the “weirdest person” she’d ever met. Because of the actor’s peculiar persona, Jones thought she had serious potential for the role of April. Jones told Schur that he absolutely “had” to meet her.

Yet despite being ideal for the part of April, Plaza was under the impression that she was a “complete fraud.”

She revealed in her Off Camera interview, 

“I was just keeping my head down, just trying not to make a loud noise. I was just like at any moment, they’re going to discover that I’m a complete fraud, and I have no business being on television.” 

Aubrey Plaza worked several odd jobs before her big break in Hollywood 

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Before the actor’s claim to fame, Plaza was working several odd jobs that she probably doesn’t miss. One of those jobs was working as a mascot in a giant costume. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Plaza said the mascot she played was a British children’s book character named Noddy the Elf. The soon-to-be celebrity would get paid to dance around in the mascot outfit while getting snapped in pictures with strangers.

One day, her boss told her that she needed to get a picture with Donald Trump. Considering he was at an event where she was present, her boss at the time said, “The only thing you have to do tonight is get a picture with Donald Trump. That’s all I need you to do. Do it, or you’re fired.”

According to Plaza, Trump was extremely annoyed with her as she kept trying to harass him for a photo while in her terrifying costume. Finally, she was able to get him in a picture. Recalling the instance now, she says she wishes she could convince Trump not to run for president. She joked, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have just tackled him to the ground in that moment.”