Actress Nikki Leigh talks being cast in dramatic roles, and filming new feature Ay Lav Yu Tuu. Also Nikki shares breaking into the business
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY
- Los Angeles, California
Actress Nikki Leigh talks about being cast in the dramatic roles, and filming the new feature film Ay Lav Yu Tuu. Also Nikki talks about breaking into the entertainment business, and advice for aspiring actors.
You grew-up in Cypress, California and later moved to Los Angeles. How did you first get started in the entertainment business?
My decision to make the move to Los Angeles came about because I was hosting a radio show Monday to Friday on Sirius XM and it only made sense to get a place where I was working every weekday. Plus I had just graduated college and it was time for me to move out of my parents' house!
During your career you've been cast in films including The Wedding Ringer and Open Marriage. Which do you find more challenging: comedic or dramatic roles?
I find dramatic roles more challenging, but not challenging as in hard for me to do exactly. It is more challenging in the sense that with drama there is a lot of emotion and sometimes you have to take your heart and feelings to a dark place. Or maybe it's a place that you have already tried to overcome.
What can you tell us about your upcoming film Ay Lav Yu Tuu with Steve Guttenberg?
I am super proud of that movie! I can not wait for everyone to see it! It is so funny. Think of it like a 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' type humor, where the funniest parts are the cultural disconnects that happen in the film. I can also tell you that I speak Turkish in this film. I am one of the leads and I went over to Turkey not knowing I was filming this in their language either. I auditioned in English and, when negotiating the role, there was no mention of me speaking a foreign language. Thankfully I had the best language coach. But unfortunately I only got her for the first two weeks, not the whole two months I was there. This meant I really had to learn it. No messing around!
We often talk with people who are interested in breaking into the business. What advice would you give aspiring actors?
Don't take things personally. This industry is all about rejection. You develop super thick skin because you go into these audition rooms and you basically get told what you are not and it really tests the individual. You just have to keep remembering that there is a perfect role for you and you alone and you might need to do a long search before it manifests. But don't give up! If you feel this is what you are meant to do then the more you believe it the more others will believe it!
A large part of the audition process is rejection. How do you personally handle rejection?
I just don't take it personally. I understand that there is a role out there for me and the casting directors, producers etc, are looking for something specific so if I'm not their vision then that's okay. I am just grateful that I got to go into the room and have a chance. I got to go in and show people what I can do. Every audition I walk into I make sure to do my best and then I leave it in the room. I usually throw my sides out after the audition so that I don't go back and think about what I did in the room.
Actors tend to get overwhelmed when seeking out representation. How did you find the right agent?
I had to go through a lot to finally get the agent I have today. Finding representation is very difficult and you will go through quite a few frogs before you find your prince. But keep believing in yourself and you will find that agent who believes in you like you do. The goal is to find someone who is excited about you and wants to work for you. Do not just settle. This is your career, your life.
What are you working on now that you can tell us about?
I am working on a show called Sangre Negra where I play a race car driver named Amanda Bolt. The filming has had a lot of space in between each film day but it's coming. I am thrilled to play a driver. Amanda is a bad ass driver and a strong female in a male-dominated world. I'm not sure you know this about me but driving is one of my favorite things! I keep asking production to let me do all the driving myself! I am trying to make sure that I get race car driving school or something out of this!