Gracious as can be, Marini insists she doesn’t want to come off as ungrateful. “Not to sound like I’m complaining, but I get to see the breakdowns,” she says. “I would say at least double if not more of the roles are for men. It’s not comparable at all. And on top of that you have twice the amount of girls.”

She notes that there is an abundance of badly written material, in female characters who don’t seem authentic. “The women are an afterthought, there for eye candy,” she says. “Look at how many comedies are these fat, old men with hot young wives! It’s a challenge. You also have to ride the youth while you can, and it’s different for a guy. You can still have a career and not be in the gym 24/7.”

“There’s more pressure on women to look a certain way, and it’s always been that way,” she adds.

She feels her stint on  “Parks and Recreation” were pivotal in that respect, providing an opportunity to work with Amy Poehler,  “the brilliant mastermind: a smart, funny woman.” The feeling that she was on even footing with a woman as well-respected as Poehler was “just awesome,” she says, as was time spent with the rest of the cast. She recognizes that landing the job with “Parks and Recreation,” without being asked to change to fit the role, was a rare opportunity.

Whether it’s spending thousands of dollars finding an agent who will actually represent you (imagine that), or going into meetings with men who ask you to twirl for them in a two-piece, success in Hollywood is an uphill battle. Marini recounts one incident where a male agent “didn’t even look up at me once. He was texting the whole time. I almost felt like, ‘Am I being Punk’d’ right now?'”

Don’t get her started on the endless number of headshots she’s taken over the years. While she’s a fan of taking pictures, headshots are a different animal. “It’s daunting. Everyone has their two cents about what you should have in the shot. I’d love to never have to take one again, even though I have to,” she says.

She also described the experience of dating an actor for six years—Sean Wing, who was the lead on “The Whole Truth”. “It’s not that it’s a competition so much, but you both want it so bad,” she explains. “And seeing it come so easy for him, him never having to submit to agents because someone walks up to him on the street just because he’s a good-looking guy. He has the talent to back it up, but he never had to get a side job. As a good-looking guy it’s just so much easier than it is for a good-looking girl.”

Mara Marini as Brandi Maxxxx in "The Debate"

While the roadblocks will pop up as long as she puts herself out there, she’s looking forward to other projects, including a pilot that she is currently working on. She says she would love to work on “30 Rock” and “Modern Family,” and was elated to hear that “Arrested Development” is returning on Netflix for a fourth season.She also expressed interest in going back to her dramatic roots with primetime hits like “Downton Abbey” or HBO’s “True Blood”.

While she won’t appear in tonight’s finale of “Parks and Recreation”, you can check her out in “The Debate,” which aired on April 26 this year. She reprised her role as Brandi Maxxxx, but this time running against Leslie for a seat on the city council.

Marini suggested she’d love to come back, in whatever capacity. “It’d be cool if Leslie decided she wanted to help her out, help her leave the porn industry behind and help out the city,” she says with a laugh.  “… if she could help the city in some way that would be a dream come true.”

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Christopher Peck is a former Blast television editor

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