If she’s a book, she would be a huge hard-bound coffee table book. The lovely Famous in Love actress, writer and director speaks to us about their show, about acting as a profession, the #MeToo movement and her love for Hot Cheetos and DiCaprio.
Hey Niki, how are you today?
Hi! Pretty darn good, thank you!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in LA. I'm an actress, director and sometimes writer. I'm also a workaholic and a total foodie. Hmmm, what else... some of my favorite things are hot cheetos, anything from the 60s and Leonardo DiCaprio.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an actor?
I think I've known my whole life. Truly since as long as I can remember. There was a moment in the beginning of high school where I thought I could do something else like neurosurgery or fashion design, but I always knew deep down that I'd never be able to stay away from acting.
You play the character, Alexis Glenn, on Freeform’s Famous In Love. Can you tell us a bit about Alexis and what it’s like playing her?
Alexis Glenn is a force to be reckoned with. She is a famous actress who in season 2 grapples with the difficulties that come with having your own reality show and putting your life on a platter for the rest of the word to feed on. I love playing Alexis because I never know what she's going to do next. She's so exciting and spontaneous. It’s truly a dream role.
What sets you two apart from each other? Any similarities?
I'm super close with my friends and family and Alexis keeps herself a little more isolated. I think she lives a pretty lonely life deep down. We're definitely both career obsessed, but I would never go to the crazy lengths she would to keep mine afloat.
How much of the show rings true to to what the film industry is like in real life?
It is a TV show so it definitely dramatizes everything, but it all stems from reality. I know that Marlene and some of the other writers have been inspired quite a bit by this industry and experiences they or friends of theirs have gone through.
In both seasons of the show, we see Alexis’ struggles with staying relevant in the industry. What are some insecurities you’ve dealt with as an actress?
Acting is a tough game. I always say you need to have unbreakably thick skin to even think about making it in this town. Your job is literally to give 110% to something that there's a 1% chance of you actually achieving. For some reason I've always been really good at taking rejection, so thankfully that hasn't affected me too much. However, the not knowing of when or if the next job will come is really hard and probably my biggest struggle with my job.
What are some issues in Hollywood you’d like to see the show take on if it’s picked up for season 3?
Good question! I'm really excited to see how they would present the whole #metoo movement on the show. Everyone in the FIL family is such a huge advocate of #metoo, so it would be interesting to see how they choose to tackle that.
Outside of acting, you still keep busy in the film world. Can you tell us about your other endeavors in the industry?
Yes! When I'm not acting, I'm directing. I've been directing for the past four years and I am so in love with it. The most recent project I did was a short film called "Then & Now" starring Madeline Carroll and Sterling Beaumon. That should be out very soon, so stay tuned!
What’s been a career highlight for you?
Booking Famous in Love was one of the best moments of my life, let alone my career. I'd never done any TV before or even gotten that far auditioning for a TV show at the time, so it was so surreal. I knew I was ready though, and I was just so beyond thrilled to be able to bring Alexis to life.
What film has influenced you the most and why?
Another good question — that's really tough. The film that has influenced me most as a filmmaker is Pulp Fiction, but I wouldn't necessarily call that my favorite movie. Oh, and No Country For Old Men. I learn new things every time I watch that one.
If you could be a book, what kind of book would you be and why?
I would be a big coffee table book with a hard cover and a really cool old Hollywood photo on it.
What charity do you hold close to your heart?
PATH is a charity I hold very close to my heart. PATH stands for People Assisting the Homeless and they continue to do amazing work for homeless people in LA. I can't stress enough how important of an issue this is and this charity tackles it profoundly and beautifully.