By: Donna Freydkin
As the Evil Queen/Regina of ABC's "Once Upon a Time," Lana Parrilla has cast a spell on audiences.
She's emerged as a fan favorite especially this season, when Regina found love with Robin Hood, only to have him die in one of the show's most dramatic demises when he sacrificed himself to save her. And she battles to stay on the straight and narrow, but Regina's darker impulses are barely held in check – and Sunday's season finale is a doozie, promises Parrilla.
In person, Parrilla is funny, forthright and outspoken. And yes, she admits that she can intimidate people. "I have heard that, yes. I don't necessarily pick up on it but I've been told people are scared of me – like, my whole life," says the Brooklyn native.
So much so that during her tender years, Parrilla – now married to software exec Fred Di Blasio – says she was something of a lone wolf.
"No one ever really would ask me out. I think it's that New York edge we were talking about it – don't even think about talking to me. That was something I had to work on, to drop the edge and be a little more open and social," she says. "Once I started putting myself out there a little more, people weren't so intimidated."
Speaking of social, her show's fans are – vocal, to say the least. "I think I do an OK job at managing it. It's hard, because I'm married and have a family. Through social media, I'm able to connect with fans, but if I go rogue for a few days, everyone thinks I was hit by lightning. I have other people to give to," she says.
That being said, you'll never catch her complaining about being the center of attention. She's happy to chat with fans online, and take pictures when appropriate. "I love giving to the fans. I think it's really important. Our fans are so passionate and supportive. How do you not celebrate that?" she says.
It's an open question whether Regina returns to her evil, destructive ways in season six, or continues to soldier on as a moral stalwart. Parrilla has no idea what's in store, and the showrunners aren't sure yet, either. But here's one big way she's utterly different from her alter ego.
"I like to be tucked in at night. It's true. I like someone to put the blankie around me and kiss my forehead or my lips. It's just so sweet, right?" she says.