Canadian actress Mara Marini had a breakout performance in season 3 of Parks & Recreation that led to a recurring role on the show – and more Hollywood gigs.

Mara Marini On Brandi Maxxx

On Parks & Rec, Marini played aspiring local politician and porn star Brandi Maxxx, who seeks to align herself with Amy Poehler‘s Leslie Knope. She was only meant to appear on the NBC comedy for a single episode, but Poehler spotted a talent and wrote Marini into the next one as well.

“After the first couple of takes, Amy turns to me and says, ‘You’re really funny!’ Which was like the best compliment in the world ‘cause I look up to her so much,” Marini told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “They called me back and Amy actually wrote me into the next episode. She wrote and directed the next episode I was in called “The Debate,” in which I was running against her character and Paul Rudd’s character Bobby Newport for City Council.

In total, Marini played Brandi Maxxxx in seven Parks & Recreation episodes – including the two-part finale.

“What they did with the character over the arc of the seasons, and getting to be in the finale was just the best thing in the world. I was hoping so much that they did exactly what they ended up doing with my character, so I couldn’t have been happier [to be a part of the finale],” Marini said. “It was so, so surreal and so amazing to be part of – as far as I’m concerned – comedy history.”

Marini, who considers working with Rudd and Chris Pratt the highlights of her time filming on Parks & Recreation, also had a blast behind the scenes. Poehler, in addition to being a great actor to work opposite, made sure that the cast and crew had a good time when the cameras weren’t rolling.

“One thing she does that I just adore is, some of the days she’ll have a dance party in the make-up trailer after lunch to get people kind of going again,” Marini revealed. “So, there’s like Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd and we’re all just dancing in the make-up trailer. It just made for such a fun experience; it allowed everyone to be their best, to be happy to be there…. She’s just so positive and so great.”

Marini parlayed her success on Parks & Recreation into a guest-starring role on ABC’s Black-ish. “That was so much fun! Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross are such a dynamic duo. They are so fun together – apart too – but together they are really something,” says Marini.

On the episode she appears in, titled “The Real World,” Marini plays one of Rainbow’s college pals named Shawn. Years out of college, the formerly overweight Shawn is no longer “fat Shawn,” but “phat Shawn.”

“They had a body double for the “past” photos. Then I come back and I’m not fat. I’m ‘phat’ Shawn and I’ve lost all the weight except in all the right places, apparently, because I had like five or six different butt pads on to make it look like I got a little more going on in the back,” Marini admitted.

Currently, Marini can be seen in J. Neil Schulman‘s Alongside Night. And though the actress remained tight-lipped about her role for fear of giving away the plot, she did reveal that there’s a snake involved.

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