Language lessons aside, her time in Spain gave Parrilla the chance "to explore the free side of me that I don't touch upon often because my life is so structured. It served me well, and opened me up so much so that I could play Trina. She's this free bird." Her ethnicity was never specified at the outset, but Trina will eventually be revealed as Latina, which pleases Parrilla. Her mixed heritage has allowed her to play many ethnicities, but she's proudly aware of improved opportunities for Latin actors in Hollywood.
What else is on her wish list? Acting opposite Robert DeNiro, and lots of travel, with Africa and Asia on the top of her agenda. "But it's hard to find someone who wants to go to Africa." Single, Parrilla lives with her cat Lenny, "who's been very patient with me and my hectic schedule." Boyfriends are perhaps less so. ''One guy works weekends and I work weekdays. I guess I'll see him in June," she says, confiding that she'd "love to find someone. I feel like I'm at the age where I'd love to meet that person."
She doesn't rule out dating an actor if he's the right guy, and looks don't particularly matter to her. "All the men I've dated in the past are so different. I honestly do go for personality. But I've never been one to go on a date blindly. I've always met people through friends and work relationships," she notes, though it is important to her that a man share her interests. "I love to travel, I love languages, I love outdoor activities and music. I have to find a man who is well rounded and not intimidated by me, someone who's diverse and socially outgoing and successful. It's hard to find because I'm 30 years old and such a career-focused woman."
Asked to supply three words that best describe her, Parrilla responds with a question of her own. "Can it be 'Good in bed?'" she laughs, before offering three alternatives: giving, moody, and open. "I'm very direct." Indeed she is, and it's made for a candid conversation. What is she proudest of so far in a life of dramatic accomplishments, globetrotting travels and other enrichments? "Listening to my inner voice," she responds thoughtfully. "I don't think people do that enough."