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Interview: A Post-‘Django Unchained’ Career Conversation w/ Nichole Galicia (Syfy’s ‘Defiance’)

Interview: A Post-'Django Unchained' Career Conversation w/ Nichole Galicia (Syfy's 'Defiance')

Though Nichole Galicia began her career as a high fashion model strutting across runways around the globe, it was her breakout role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film “Django Unchained” that got everyone buzzing about her. In the film she plays Sheba, the de facto wife of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Calvin Candie. Most recently Galicia has starred in the Syfy series “Defiance” as Kindzi, a vicious femme fatale alien who is as respected as she is feared. Galicia took the time out of her busy schedule during New York Fashion week to chat with Shadow and Act about Kindzi and “Defiance”, working with Tarantino, and her upcoming project.

Thanks so much Ms. Galicia for speaking with me and with Shadow and Act, I’ve been really looking forward to chatting with you about your upcoming projects and all of the great things that you’ve been working on.

Shadow and Act:  Though you began your career as a high fashion model, working with everyone from Neutrogena to Vogue, you have most recently turned to acting. How different are these two worlds for you? Do you have any regrets about shifting your focus towards film and television?   

Nichole Galicia: I love modeling. It involves beautiful clothes, amazing locations and gorgeous photographs so what’s not to like? However, I was always meant to be an actor, so I have zero regrets.  My experience as a model has aided me in navigating the business side of acting, but I also use a lot of the techniques I learned as a model in my acting, like movement, subtly, and improv.

S&A: Quentin Tarantino is such a polarizing and well-respected filmmaker. Were you aware of “Django Unchained’s” plot prior to accepting the role of Sheba? Were you hesitant at all about becoming a part of such an iconic filmmaker’s filmography? 

NG: I read the script for “Django Unchained” before accepting the part, but honestly I would have accepted any part Quentin had to offer.  He’s Quentin Tarantino.  He’s a genius. I’m a huge fan of his work and have such an immense respect for him.  In this industry, if you don’t ruffle a few feathers you probably suck.  Quentin does not suck.

S&A: Can you tell me how you landed the role?

NG: I auditioned for a role in “Death Proof”, which was apart of “Grindhouse”, the film Quentin did with Robert Rodriquez.  Quentin loved my read, but said he had always envisioned the character as blond haired and blue-eyed and wanted to stay true to his vision. But he promised me he’d keep me in mind for future projects, so when “Django” came along he said he “needed a girl with confidence 200 years in the making” and that girl to my surprise and joy was me.

S&A: Were you nervous at all about working opposite Leonardo DiCaprio? I can imagine that for any actor that could be somewhat intimidating.

NG: I wasn’t nervous. I was excited. How many actors get to do scenes with Quentin Tarantino, Christoff Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio all in one film. It was amazing. I didn’t have time for nerves.  I did swoon a bit when Leonardo DiCaprio kissed me…twice. Yep I kissed Leo and it was spectacular.

S&A: To continue, I wanted to say that Syfy’s “Defiance” is really a creative series. It’s not often that science fiction television shows humans and aliens coexisting together, especially not all of the various alien species on this series. However, “Defiance” deals with this so eloquently. Is this why the show is so powerful? In your opinion, why does “Defiance” stand apart from other series with similar plots?

NG: The writing on “Defiance is exceptional.  In my opinion, that’s always the start of great TV. When you add in a super talented cast and crew you get magic.

S&A: On “Defiance”, you play Kindzi an alpha female Omec.  From the insane makeup and costuming to Kindzi’s fierce personality, this is unlike any role that you’ve ever had before.  What’s it like playing a character that’s so fierce and feared? How has playing her challenged you as an actress?

NG: Kindzi’s power was intoxicating.  Sometimes it’s hard to let characters go and I’m still not sure I want to let all of Kindzi go. What was it like? It was amazing.  I grew a lot playing this role.  Kindzi was very complicated and I’ve always been attracted to complex strong women.

S&A: Let’s talk about your upcoming film “Supermodel” where you star with Tatyana Ali and Tyson Bedford. From what I understand it’s a role that really blends both of your careers together.  How did it feel to step back in the world of fashion while acting? Can you give me more insight into the role and you character Amanda?  

NG: In “Supermodel” I got to channel my inner Naomi Campbell.  I played a legendary super model that probably missed an etiquette class or two.  It’s always a lot of fun to play a bad girl onscreen.

S&A: Who are your role models? Is there any particular actor or actress whose career you admire or look at as a model for you own?

NG: This is always a tricky question for me. I’ve never had a role model. I’ve never said I want to be like ‘that’ person. And I’m very aware that the people I see in movies and magazines or even interviews are not the people they portray, so I don’t really fall in love with celebrities. I admire my mother because no matter what that lady has my back. She’s a great friend, extremely loyal and you can take her word to the bank. Also, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. VBC as I call her is a phenomenal woman. She’s my friend, my mentor, the person who helps keep me sane in this crazy business and my support system. I’m lucky to have her in my life.

S&A: What is your dream role as an actress?

NG: I’m very attracted to strong, deadly female characters; the kind of girls that you’d think twice about before crossing. So basically any female Tarantino character would be amazing. The women that writer/director Pedro Almodovar writes remind me of my mom and my aunts, so one day I will convince him to cast me in a film.  I’m so enticed by smart, sexy, scheming women that wield the type of power that doesn’t require a weapon because she is the weapon.

S&A: Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me and congratulations on all of your incredible upcoming projects, I will definitely be looking out for them.

“Defiance” is broadcast on the Syfy network and in various international markets. It premiered on April 15, 2013, in the USA. The show takes place in the future on a radically transformed Earth containing new species, some having arrived from space, many others the result of contamination by terraforming technology. It was was renewed for a 13 episode third season on September 25, 2014, which premiered on June 12, 2015, and aired its last episode for the season on August 28, 2015.

“Supermodel” premiered at the American Black Film Festival in June and continues to tour the film festival circuit.

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Aramide A Tinubu has her Master’s in Film Studies from Columbia University. She wrote her thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger, and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can read her blog at: www.chocolategirlinthecity.com or tweet her @midnightrami

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