Hello, Nicole! Tell us a bit about you.
From a young age, I have been passionate about using art to make a difference. Since participating in 8 Days, a non-profit film about human trafficking, I have had the opportunity to speak on national talk shows (Steve Harvey) and raise awareness during the premiere tours across America and South Africa. As a young woman in the entertainment industry, I aspire to create equal opportunity and educate the public about important global issues ranging from domestic abuse to sexism. In 2014, I joined a talented team of bloggers to form Identity Girls and eventually established an interactive lifestyle blog called Light Above Dark. Soon after, I became an editor and contributor for the online college lifestyle magazine, Society19. Ever since, I have embarked on many creative adventures including managing a vintage-inspired accessory shop called Modern Musing and photography. When I am not busy studying film production in college, you can find me screenwriting, cooking, traveling, grooving to retro music, or mastering foreign accents. Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” and I intend to do just that.
You've been in the entertainment industry for a long time. How did it all start?
When my childhood best friend started taking acting classes, I was inspired to join. A couple of years later, I got the opportunity to perform at AMTC's winter convention in 2005. When I turned 8, my mom and I moved to California and experienced the entertainment industry firsthand. Then, the rest of our family joined soon after. The first job I ever booked was a PSA for Sundance TV. From there, I went on to act in numerous short films and TV shows including Criminal Minds, Brothers & Sisters, and Out of Jimmy’s Head on Cartoon Network, among others.
What have been some of your biggest opportunities during your career?
One of my biggest career opportunities was playing the lead in 8 Days, a non-profit film about human trafficking. At sixteen, I portrayed “Amber,” a young girl who was kidnapped and trafficked for eight days straight. Although this project was extremely challenging, it gave me the opportunity to do what I love and make a difference. During the premiere tours across the United States and South Africa, I was able to shine a light in the darkness and raise awareness about sex trafficking.
As a woman in entertainment, what have you learned from the media's perceptions and expectations of women?
Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has created unrealistic beauty standards for women of all ages. Since everything is magnified on film, television, and the like, people are growing more and more insecure by the day. From a young age, I always struggled with perfectionism—in school, acting, and even relationships. One day, my very own eureka moment arrived: “I am enough.” And, so are you! No one is perfect. That is the beauty of life. Each and every one of us has something special to offer.
How do you combat the constant pressure to conform, or compromise in such a fast-paced, intimidating industry?
Faith, family, and friends. Although it is easy to get lost, they remind me why I started in the first place. Sometimes, we define ourselves by grades, careers, relationships, and even mistakes. Yet, there is so much more that life has to offer. When you remember this simple fact, it is far less tempting to conform, compromise, and compare yourself to others.
What is one positive lesson you've learned from being a performer that you've carried into your "everyday life?”
Take everything one step at a time and be the best that you can be. Once you invest the hard work and effort, it is important to let it go and trust.
Do you have any current projects your working on? Tell us about those!
A couple of years ago, I starred in the horror film, Citrus Springs. Earlier this year, the film finally premiered! You can find it on Amazon and other streaming services. As a film production student in college, I am always busy screenwriting and developing prospective projects. Additionally, I own an accessory shop on Etsy called Modern Musing, contribute and edit for the online college lifestyle magazine Society19, and manage the lifestyle blog Light Above Dark. One of my newest passions is photography. You can follow my adventures @smo_lens.
How would you encourage women to embrace their gifts and passions in a compromised culture?
Don’t let fear stop you from reaching your full potential. You were created for a specific purpose. Although the world is a dark place, you have the ability to shine.
Last thing! What is the highlight of your day?
Devotionals and prayer. There is no better way to start the day. No matter what lies ahead, hope is always renewed in the morning.