Las Vegas Cimarron-Memorial graduate Beth Riesgraf stars as Parker in TNT’s highly popular “Leverage” TV show, playing a cat burglar with unmatched prowess for stealing priceless works of art, a room full of orphans, and even the Hope Diamond- and putting it back, just because she was bored.
She’s back for a second season of “Leverage” that debuts 9 p.m. (PT) this Wednesday, along with her co-stars Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane and Aldis Hodge.
Born in Minnesota, Riesgraf moved to the Las Vegas Valley while she was in junior high. Her parents have two construction companies, and once her dad began working in Las Vegas and in California, it only took one visit for her mom to move the rest of the family away from the frigid winters.
Riesgraf was a member of the Cimarron-Memorial high school class of ’96, with a list of extracurricular activities longer than your arm, including being the student body president, prom queen, and voted the most admired senior.
She also was involved in photography and sports in high school- pretty much everything but acting. “Acting I always loved,” she said during a phone interview from Portland, Oregon, the locale for this season’s show, “but I think I was always kind of a character in real life. I was always goofing off and having fun.”
Riesgraf is also an accomplished photographer, sponsored by Swedish clothier WeSC, and her work has been exhibited in London, New York and Los Angeles and published in the likes of GQ, Jane and Nylon magazines. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 20 and took up modeling to learn more about photography from the other side of the camera.
Eventually, her agents started sending her on commercial auditions, and she found her calling, making the leap to movies and TV.
She works almost non-stop, taking a brief time out to chat while scrambling for some caffeine to help recover from her 19-hour days. “We’re working hard, working long hours. It’s a lot of work, but it’s awesome. It’s fun.”