One of the best parts of working here at Fangirlish, is the opportunity to interview up and coming stars in film, music television. To learn of new projects, shows and the dreams of those behind them and what prompted their path into the limelight.
This time is no different, as I was fortunate enough to be able to ask a few questions of the incredible Nikki Leigh. Starring along side Denise Richards in the Blackpills series ‘A Girl Is A Gun‘ starting May 2017, Leigh already has an impressive resume under her belt, not to mention a degree in sociology!
The series is gritty, as it follows three women living in Los Angeles who go missing, creating wave of panic in the city. While the police suspect a serial killer is behind the disappearance, the three women have actually joined a secret guerrilla camp where they train to avenge the injustice of a misogynistic system that humiliates and exploits women.
1) What drew you to acting as opposed to other forms of self expression?
Acting allows you to relive a moment in time. You get to relive someone else’s love, tragedy, pain, happiness, fear, sadness or excitement. I love the challenge of making the audience believe that I am who I am portraying. Being an actor requires a great amount of vulnerability. Acting expresses the real truth or story while using our body, emotions, words and actions. It is very deep and being able to express the emotions of that character is such a beautiful release.
2) You studied at California State University of Fullerton and graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Sociology. What are your thoughts of the importance of taking this step, before turning your sights fully towards Hollywood?
Everyone is different, but I think education is super important. A degree stands for so much and no one can take that from you. It is an accomplishment that represents strength, perseverance and focus. Life and working in Hollywood requires all of these things.
3) Do you feel your educational background has helped you navigate the industry in any way?
Of course! My Bachelor’s is in sociology and I believe I use what I learn every day, whether it’s while out running errands, going into an audition or being on set. Sociology is the study of people in their environment and what affects them culturally to act the way they do. I think, with acting, an actor does that kind of research every time before they can properly be the character. You have to study and become someone else who acts, thinks and reacts differently than you, and these differences are due to their sociological influences.
4) Out of college you hosted a Sirius XM show where you interviewed celebs. Do you think this experience gives you an edge when being on the receiving end of these interviews?
Radio definitely helped me with conversational skills in so many ways including interviewing. You have to make sure that there is no dead air which keeps your mind quick which allow for you to keep up a conversation more fluidly.
5) Who was your favorite person to interview?
One of the things I loved about interviewing artists on the radio was that I got to interview some of them as they were starting out and I have been able to watch their climb. One great example of this was my interview with O.T. Genasis, who at that time was known for his hit ‘Jackie Chan’, and then in 2014 he came out with ‘CoCo’ and it was a smash hit. He was everywhere and his song was playing in every club. I was so proud of him! He was such a nice guy and I felt that he earned that!
6) You have made appearances in Two and a Half Men, The Wedding Ringer, NCIS and more. What is the difference between filming TV vs film?
Well one difference is that TV is usually shot with multiple cameras. Another is that in TV you usually only have a couple of rehearsals to get things right and with feature films they can have a week or two to rehearse with the director so that they get the character down. Also, when I shot Two and a Half Men we shot in front of a live studio audience. I thought that was so cool but it was nerve-racking at the same time. Leading up to the live performance we rehearsed all week, each day having a revised scripted based on what worked and didn’t work the day before in rehearsal.
7) You will soon be seen starring in Blackpills’ A Girl Is A Gun with Denise Richards. Tell us a little about this show.
This show follows three women (Santa Fe, Nenuphar and Vegas) who go missing and cause a wave in the city they are from. While the authorities believe it is a serial killer who causes the disappearances, the women are training in a guerrilla group to take on the misogynistic men who run the city and exploit women. I am very excited because it couldn’t be a better time to have a women-empowering show.
8) Blackpill is a new streaming service. What is the advantage to these kinds of services and the programs they offer?
The biggest advantage is that you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want. We live in a fast-paced world and most of these streaming services allow you to watch from an app on your phone when you choose to. Or even when you are home you can put on whatever show you want to watch instead of having to flip through channels.
9) A Girl Is A Gun has a very strong female theme, empowerment against misogyny and exploitation. Why is such a series important in today’s climate?
Lately there has been such a beautiful coming together of women and it’s undeniable that women empowerment is a significant topic in today’s society. “A Girl Is A Gun” couldn’t be coming out at a more perfect time. Although I believe that a strong female-led show should be important no matter the timing within society, right now this show can influence and represent a woman’s strength and determination.
10) What drew you to the role of Santa Fe?
Her struggle. Santa Fe starts off completely content and in a comfortable routine but later, due to some very impactful events, she finds herself as one of the leaders of a new revolution. Her journey was beautiful, scary, brave and unknown. I was honored to place such a character.
11) The tag line is ‘you were born a woman, not a slave’. This is a very strong line. Do you consider yourself being a ‘girl power’ advocate?
I am all about that girl power! To me ‘girl power’ represents confidence. Being confident in one’s work, daily life, relationships and overall success. It’s what will get you noticed. It is important for every female to have that inner girl power and to encourage it in others. Every female should feel free, confident, and powerful because they are.
12) If you hadn’t been drawn to acting, what do you think you would be doing?
If I wasn’t drawn to acting I think I would have gone on and got my Master’s degree in sociology or psychology. From there I would have probably started a practice or been a life coach. I love taking a neutral position and helping people with what they are going through.
13) You love working with children and helping them improve their confidence. What are some tips for young people to become more self assured?
It is important that each child understands that they are different and that’s what makes them great. There is only one you, so always be the best version of you that you can be. Understand that life goes at a different pace for everyone and to just have fun and trust yourself. No one is perfect and failure might happen, but know that it is how you rise up from being down that makes the biggest impact on who you are.
14) Describe yourself in one word.
15) What would be your dream film/collaboration?
It is my dream to play a superhero in a movie, and starring alongside Jason Statham would be a pretty perfect collaboration! Jason is so bad-ass and after I saw him in the movie “Spy”, I think he is hilarious. I would do my own stunts and everything!
Be sure to check out A Girl Is A Gun, streaming on Blackpills new service starting May 2017.