The Untold Truth Of Aubrey Plaza

You may know Aubrey Plaza as the distinctively deadpan intern April Ludgate on "Parks and Recreation," as the disenchanted romantic interest Daisy Danby in Funny People, or as the sarcastic Julie Powers in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." But there's a lot more to the actress and comedian than an apathetic attitude that, despite her many straight-faced roles, doesn't actually define her in real life. Plaza has starred in a variety of shows and has been featured in a number of films — and she has certainly got quite a future ahead of her in Hollywood.

So what else is there to know about the actress beyond the impressive work she's done thus far? What were young Aubrey Plaza's teenage years like? And where does she plan to take her comedic career in the future? Read on to learn the untold truth of Aubrey Plaza, a woman who's surely going places.

How Aubrey Plaza got her name

Aubrey Plaza was always going to be someone special. While her parents couldn't have known that she'd ultimately grow up to become a celebrity comedian and renowned actress, they certainly knew she'd be "a not so very ordinary girl," as the lyrics of the song "Aubrey" read. That's right: Plaza's parents named her after a song by the 1970s band Bread, according to an interview she had with W magazine. Bread, featuring singer-songwriter David Gates, was at the helm of the soft-rock scene of the early '70s, as noted by Rolling Stone.

"I think I'm the only Aubrey Plaza that exists in the entire world; I've looked it up," she told the magazine. "I did find out that my name means 'ruler of the elves.' If you look it up in a baby book, it's a man's name and it means king of the elves, so..."

It's no secret that this elf king isn't an ordinary girl.

She has two sisters, and one is apparently pretty similar to April Ludgate

If you find it difficult to imagine anyone else playing April Ludgate so brilliantly, it's probably because the part was written for her, as series creator Michael Schur informed The AV Club. He explained, "Allison Jones, who is one of the people who cast the show, called me and said, 'I just met the weirdest girl I've ever met in my life. You have to meet her and put her on your show.' 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." They quickly realized just how talented she was and started giving Plaza more screen time.

Aubrey Plaza, who has two younger sisters, Renee and Natalie, actually incorporated some of Natalie's personality into April Ludgate. Plaza told, "I get a lot of material from her for my characters. Just the way that she interacts with her friends and talks about what's cool and what's not cool" (via Insider). April also has a sister in "Parks and Recreation," who is named Natalie. 

Aubrey Plaza was a groomswoman in her dad's wedding

Aubrey Plaza and her two sisters, Renee and Natalie, donned suits for their father's wedding in South Philadelphia, according to an Instagram post the actress shared on Father's Day in 2017. "Happy Fathers Day to the coolest dad alive who let me and my sisters dress like this in his wedding last night ... #groomswomen #plazafamilia," she captioned the black-and-white photo of her and her sisters with their father – all in stylish suits with dark sunglasses — on his wedding day.

"It was a blast," she said of the nuptials on "Conan." "My family loves to party, and that's what we did all night long."

Plaza told host Conan O'Brien that her grandmother didn't approve of the idea, but that didn't stop the sisters from being groomswomen and Natalie, the middle sister, as serving as the best man. She also told O'Brien that the photo on her Instagram is just a "typical wedding portrait." Typical for someone like Plaza, that's for sure.

Aubrey Plaza felt like she was 'popular but not necessarily cool' in high school

Aubrey Plaza went to an all-girls Catholic school in her hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, as she told Cosmopolitan. And she explained to the magazine that she was "popular but not necessarily cool."

All of us can empathize with feeling different in some sort of way, especially as a teenager. But not being cool didn't seem to hamper Plaza's teenage life in any way. According to Cosmopolitan, Plaza was "disruptive but funny" in school and considered herself to be a "type-A overachiever." She and her friends were always being goofy, dressing up in public places and trying to get a rise out of passersby. "The funniest thing about it was that most people don't react, they ignore," she revealed.

Based on her silly adolescent antics, Aubrey Plaza was clearly destined for a successful career in entertainment and comedy.

This was what Aubrey Plaza's first kiss was like

Seldom do we hear good first-kiss stories; nine times out of ten, a first kiss story is a cringe-worthy one. And, to little surprise, Aubrey Plaza's first kiss takes the cake for being memorable in, well, not the best way.

According to an interview with W magazine, Plaza's first kiss was with a boy who ended up going to a juvenile detention center for kicking others with a screwdriver taped to his feet. Teenagers do a lot of stupid stuff, but this one is really out there. Unfortunately for Plaza, that first kiss in what she guesses must have been seventh grade isn't only a poor memory because of who it was with. She also remembers that the kiss itself wasn't exactly ideal — rather, she told W magazine, "I remember that it tasted like metal." She recalled that the boy had licked her teeth during their kiss.

We hope for Plaza's sake that her experiences have only gotten better since then. It doesn't sound like they could get much worse...

Aubrey Plaza was class president and student council president in her school days

Aubrey Plaza may play a number of dispirited characters on television, but she sure had a lot of personality and disposition in her student career. She was heavily involved in student activities throughout her childhood and teenage years, according to an interview with GQ.

Discussing how she was growing up in school, she told the magazine, "I was president of every club that I could be president of," noting, "Class president. Student council president, which is the ultimate." Plaza, who played volleyball and softball in school, noted to GQ, "I'm generally really interested in things and people," adding, "And I like things and people."

Of course, being the class president requires a certain level of school pride and involvement. Most class presidents are hyper-engaged with their studies, extracurricular activities, and sports. And, in many schools, class presidents have to be voted into their positions of authority. So, for Plaza to have served as president in multiple student organizations, it says a lot about her character in real life. But really, who wouldn't want Aubrey Plaza as class president? Imagine the dead-pan assembly speeches she'd give.

At just 20 years old, Aubrey Plaza had a stroke

While it may seem like celebrities have it easy, the reality is that they're just people, too. And all people endure challenges and hardships in their lives — some worse than others. In Aubrey Plaza's case, she suffered a stroke due to a blood clot in her brain's language center when she was 20 years old, according to an interview with The Guardian.

"It just happened," she told the publication. "I was talking, and I looked down at my arm — it was like my arm wasn't attached to my body. I couldn't feel anything on my right side. I blacked out or something for a minute, and then when I was conscious again, I couldn't speak."

As a result of the stroke, she was left temporarily paralyzed with expressive aphasia for two days. While she could understand what people were telling her, she couldn't respond to anyone through her speech. Fortunately, she recovered, and, according to The Guardian, "the experience put certain things into perspective."

She's experienced transient ischemic attacks

Although "Parks and Recreation" star Aubrey Plaza has recovered from her stroke, she told NPR, "The blood clot area in my brain will never be healed. It's a tiny, little black hole in my brain." She further explained that the stroke has left her with some lasting issues — although she said they are typically only noticeable to her. In the years since her stroke, she has also experienced transient ischemic attacks, which she described to the publication as "tiny little strokes."

Although the actor said birth control may have been the cause of the stroke, she's not entirely sure what's led her to have ministrokes. "Something's up with my blood," she explained to NPR, "but I don't know what it is." Nevertheless, the actor considers herself incredibly lucky that she was so young when her regular stroke initially happened, as that enabled her to recover faster.

What Aubrey Plaza did before finding acting success

It's no secret that actors have to work hard before they really earn a living. Many of them likely break the bank when auditioning before they ever actually land a role that'll pay the bills. That's why it's not uncommon for many actors to take part-time gigs to make ends meet while they look for work. Some, like Aubrey Plaza, will wait tables at restaurants, for example.

But while Plaza may be a go-getter, she seems to be more proactive in chasing her dreams than just taking on any kind of work. Speaking with W magazine, she said that her policy was to have "no loyalty to any establishment." She shared, "If they prevented me from auditioning or from following my dreams, then I would just quit right on the spot." She added, "That's not sustainable in the restaurant industry is what I was told."

When Aubrey Plaza first moved to LA, she lived at a Days Inn

If you've heard the term "starving artist" before, you won't be surprised that Aubrey Plaza didn't just make the big bucks right away. Nope, the famous face we all recognize today didn't even have a home to her name when she first moved to Hollywood, as she told Cosmopolitan.

Plaza moved from Queens to Los Angeles on her own and checked into the Days Inn on Hollywood Boulevard, where she went on to temporarily live "with a bunch of Swedish tourists." Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do and fake it until you make it.

Moving across the country is a big move to make — especially when you don't have a place of your own in which to settle. But Plaza wasn't the only funny woman in that hotel. She was at the Days Inn alongside Lennon Parham, an American actress and comedian. And both Plaza and Parham went on to find success in their careers.

Aubrey Plaza can't help but be a leader

Aubrey Plaza was a leader growing up, always taking on presidential roles in school groups. And that part of her personality stuck with her in adulthood. Once she had the chance to produce a project, she realized that she's drawn to leadership roles, she told Cosmopolitan. It's why she tends to take charge when she's on set, and it's also why she expresses a deep interest in the direction of the shows and films in which she acts.

"Once I produced something and I realized how much of an impact I can have, I could never go back," she said in her interview. "I've always gravitated toward more of a leadership position in whatever I'm doing."

When on the set of "Child's Play," for example, Plaza didn't serve as a producer, but she told the magazine that she acted like one. She said she was always "watching the monitor when other people were doing their scenes when [she] should have been in [her] trailer relaxing or something."

This is Aubrey Plaza's favorite movie

One of Aubrey Plaza's favorite films is "A Star Is Born" — specifically, the original Judy Garland version, as she told W magazine. The 1954 film that was written by Moss Hart and directed by George Cukor; Judy Garland starred alongside James Mason. Despite the talented remakes with stars Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starring in the 1976 version and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper taking the spotlight in 2018, Plaza loves the 1954 original thanks to Garland's performance.

"A Star Is Born is probably one of my all time favorite movies," Plaza told W magazine. "I was very obsessed with Judy Garland growing up," With Garland known for a number of famous films — including "The Wizard of Oz" (which had many things only adults would notice) in 1939, "Meet Me in St. Louis" in 1944, "Easter Parade" in 1948, "Summer Stock" in 1950, and many more — who hasn't been obsessed with the iconic movie actress?

Aubrey Plaza wants to play this comic book character

Aubrey Plaza has played so many roles in shows and films throughout her career. But there's one role she has yet to play, and that's the role of Catwoman. Catwoman is a character who appears in DC Comics' comic books, usually with superhero Batman. There have been tons of talented actresses who have played Catwoman already, including Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway. And who's to say that Plaza won't be next?

"I want to be Catwoman," the storied actress told GQ when asked about her "dream role." She continued, "I want my shot at Catwoman, and I want it soon."

We hope Plaza gets to fulfill her dream of playing Catwoman sooner rather than later, too. And we have no doubt that she will, given her track record of success in achieving her life's goals. Given the fact that she's been moving past strictly sarcastic roles in her acting career, it's obvious that Plaza is preparing herself to dive into different types of characters.

Aubrey Plaza isn't as deadpan in real life as most people may assume

While many of Aubrey Plaza's characters — like April Ludgate in "Parks and Recreations," Daisy Danby in "Funny People," and Julie Powers in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" – are sarcastic, the actress may not actually be so harsh in real life (though she does seem sharp-tongued!).

"When I meet people for the first time, they can't believe I'm not going to be mean," she told The Cut in an interview. "They'll do a thing where they'll be kind of mean to me, and I can tell they think that that's what I'm like." And since she said she's a "people pleaser," she'll usually grant their wishes of sarcasm. She went on, "Sometimes it's fun for me, because if I say something sarcastic or whatever, they'll eat it up; they aren't offended. I'm like, I know what you want. You want me to f***ing say something weird to you. Fine."

Still, she also told The Cut that she wishes people would stop assuming that she's going to do that "Aubrey Plaza thing" both in real life and onscreen. When actors get pigeonholed as one character type, after all, it can be difficult to break into different kinds of roles.

Aubrey Plaza named her dog after this celebrity

Aubrey Plaza loves actress Judy Garland so much that she actually named one of her two dogs after her, as she shared with W magazine. Her furry friend's name is Frances (nicknamed Frankie), named after Garland's real name, which was Frances Ethel Gum. (For those curious, Plaza's other dog is named Stevie.)

On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Plaza told host Ellen DeGeneres that Frankie is a "Dutch royal dog." She was bred for Dutch royalty "in the 18th century or something" she said in the interview.

While Frankie was a rescue like Stevie, Plaza tells herself that the dog has quite the epic past life. "I'm convinced that there was a Dutch prince who went shopping on Rodeo Drive and accidentally just, um, lost her — and then she went into a construction site and was hiding, and then they found her there," she said. "So [she] actually belongs in a castle." If Plaza keeps working as hard as she is, she and her dogs (Stevie included!) may just end up with a castle of their own some day.

When she was starting out, Aubrey Plaza was cast in multiple projects in one week

Aubrey Plaza has had a seriously successful career as an actress thus far — and it all sort of kicked off at once. In fact, she had all of her meetings for Funny People, Parks and Recreation, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in one week, and she ended up getting casted for all of them. While many people may feel overwhelmed taking on so much work at once, Plaza has proven to the world that she can handle it.

"My whole life kind of just changed over night," she told W magazine of her career in entertainment. She went from being a waitress in Queens, N.Y. to being a famous face in Hollywood in what felt like the blink of an eye. Since the onset of her television and film career, Plaza has captured fans' attention in "Child's Play," "Dirty Grandpa," "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," "The To Do List," "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Legion," and more.

Aubrey Plaza was once a page for NBC

Three years before Aubrey Plaza would appear in NBC's "Parks and Recreation," she memorably played a page in one episode of "30 Rock." As it turns out, Plaza could draw on her own experience for the performance. 

Back in the day, the struggling actor was an actual page. However, as she told Elle, she didn't last too long at that job. "I stole this NBC page uniform after I was encouraged to leave the Page Program. I wasn't outright fired, but it was suggested that I leave, so I never gave it back." Plaza doesn't quite recall where it all went wrong for her, but she acknowledged not understanding how those kinds of workplaces typically operate. The actor said she may have sealed her fate by telling a joke about "Jesus being crucified."

As the "Legion" star detailed, her job as a page was to give tours of the studios. She kept herself amused by making up outlandish stories about the soundstages. Later, while interning in the NBC casting department, Plaza scored a walk-on part, assuring higher-ups she could just put her uniform back on and give the same speech she had memorized. Thus, she said, "My stolen uniform and I made it on to the first season of '30 Rock.'"

She 'humiliated' herself in front of Ryan Gosling

Most women wouldn't know what to do if they suddenly found themselves face to face with Ryan Gosling, and Aubrey Plaza is no different. As the actor regaled Rolling Stone, when she was at the height of her "Parks and Recreation" fame, Plaza met Gosling at a juice bar and he told her how much he loved the show. Unfortunately, Plaza didn't recognize him at the time. "I said, 'Thank you. Are you an actor?' He kind of smirked and said, 'Yeahhh...' I asked his name, and he said, 'Ryan,' but it didn't click," she admitted.

Plaza later confessed to Vanity Fair that the incident haunts her. She reasoned, "He recognized me and was being nice to me. Then I forced him to have the most awkward conversation because I kind of thought he was familiar." Plaza realized who Gosling was once he walked out, but there was no way to save face at that point. However, she made a point of apologizing, writing, "Dear Ryan, I am an a**hole. Aubrey" on a napkin and handing it to one of the producers of his movie, "Drive." 

Aubrey Plaza was in a serious relationship with Michael Cera

Their "Scott Pilgrim" characters couldn't stand each other but, in real life, Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera were in a full-on romantic relationship. During an appearance on RuPaul's podcast, Plaza confirmed, "I dated him for a long time" (via Vanity Fair). When Mama Ru asked how long exactly, the actor dished that they'd dated for about "a year and a half" after initially meeting while filming the cult comic book movie, which was shot on location in Toronto.

In fact, they took a cross-country road trip together, from Chicago to Los Angeles, and even toyed with the idea of getting hitched in Las Vegas. Although Ru suggested that their romance could've simply been the result of spending so much time together during filming, Plaza clarified they really cared about each other, noting, "We love each other, and we're still really good friends. He's just a weird little freak, and we speak the same language." 

Aubrey Plaza got married during the pandemic

In keeping with her desire to stay under the radar, Aubrey Plaza casually announced that she'd married long-time partner Jeff Baena during the COVID-19 pandemic, describing him as her "darling husband" in an Instagram post. While appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the actor deadpanned, "We got a little bored one night. We got married and I'll tell you how: That's real, look it up." The couple tied the knot on their 10-year anniversary, figuring they should mark the occasion somehow.

They checked online to determine whether getting married that quickly would even be feasible, and from there it took a lot of convincing to get the officiant to agree to come over and conduct a small ceremony in their backyard. Plaza also ensured their union got the blessing of their neighbor, a practicing witch. "She went in her house, rummaged around, [and then] came out with a rosemary wreath that she gave me. She literally cackled," the "Ingrid Goes West" star shared. "I created a very quick love altar in our yard. Facts of our love, little stones, smoke, fire — things of that nature." Their officiant notably wore a Hawaiian shirt for the occasion.

She was once kicked out of the MTV Awards

MTV award shows are synonymous with shocking onstage antics. Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards, back in 2009, still stands out among the worst offenders (via Billboard). However, Aubrey Plaza had a similar incident at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, after which she was kicked out of the show.

Rolling Stone reported the actor stormed the stage while Will Ferrell was accepting his Comedic Genius Award. She tried to take it, but Ferrell wouldn't let go, leading to an excruciating moment in which neither party seemed to know how to react. The "Legion" star then sat back down, leading Ferrell to quip, "Aubrey Plaza, everyone. Just like we rehearsed it. Perfect, it was perfect. Not too long, not too short. Right on the money." MTV subsequently confirmed it was not a planned bit, and Plaza was ejected by producers for her misbehavior.

It seems the actor was attempting to promote her movie, "The To Do List," at the time, since she had the title written on her chest. On Twitter, Plaza made light of the situation in a since-deleted tweet, thanking Kanye West "for the advice." She added, "Went better than planned!"

She plays for an A-list basketball team

The Pistol Shrimps are the most well-known recreational basketball team in Los Angeles, which is no small feat considering how many there actually are out there, according to Romper. They gained a massive online following, as well as major buzz even outside their hometown after proud team member Aubrey Plaza flew the flag on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." This even led to a self-titled documentary about them, released in 2016.

Plaza told ABC News, "Talk shows are weird. Like, I never know what to say on those things and the questions are normally like, 'Well, what are you up to?' So I just talked about my basketball team and then I guess it went viral, as they say." The rotating players are predominantly from the entertainment industry.

As the "Parks and Recreation" star told GQ, "I heard about the team through friends. I love organized sports and haven't been on a team since high school, so I weaseled my way in." The Pistol Shrimps were originally created by actor and writer Maria Blasucci, who got the word out among her similarly creative, fun-loving friends, and the rest is history.

She said people are 'surprised' to learn she's Puerto Rican

In the Season 2 episode of "Parks and Recreation" titled "Sister City," April Ludgate speaks in Spanish before quipping, "My mom's Puerto Rican. That's why I'm so lively and colorful." As it happens, Plaza is really Puerto Rican. In an interview with Jack Rico, Plaza revealed that she does indeed speak Spanish, but admitted that she's "not very fluent."

During a chat with Cosmopolitan, it was revealed that her identity would be featured in the Hulu show "Olga Dies Dreaming." Plaza admitted she was nervous about portraying her true identity. The star elaborated, saying, "I'm half Puerto Rican and it's such a big part of my identity as a person, but as an actress, I feel it's never been a real focal point." It's not for lack of trying, though, since Plaza has often encouraged writers to pay homage to her heritage with her characters, including April.

Plaza continued, saying, "I think a lot of people are surprised that I'm Puerto Rican. It's always been this struggle to feel like you belong, and this script was a lot about that." However, she argued that it gave her the opportunity to dive deeper into her background than ever before.