Vanessa Parise is an actor, writer, and director. The middle of five children, she grew up in the small town of Westerly on the Rhode Island coast. Her childhood as a member of a large, extended, Italian-American family inspired Kiss the Bride (2002).
Parise graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in biology, and was accepted to enter Harvard Medical School. Instead, she attended a summer program at Circle in the Square in New York City and was invited to enter their two-year theatre program. She took a deferment from HMS and has never looked back.
While at Circle, Parise dove into the Off-Broadway theatre scene, earning honors in the New York Times for her performance of Sarah in "Seascape"). She headed out to Hollywood without any ties or connections, where she acted in television and independent films. Parise wrote, directed, produced and starred in Lo and Jo (1998), a short film which won various awards and accolades. Kiss The Bride was her first feature as director/actor/producer/writer. The film won Best Actress for Parise at Cinequest, Best Feature Film for Parise as writer/producer/director at the Hamptons and Sarasota, Best Actress (Talia Shire) and Best Score (Jeremy Parise) at Monte Carlo, Audience Award For Best Film at Rhode Island, Best Actress (Francis Bay) at Torino, and the list goes on.