I first came across Nichole McAuley when I saw she was going to be a guest at The Hollywood Show, a popular autograph convention based in California. Although I didn’t buy her autograph, I was fascinated by reading her biography on the site. With stints as a dancer, a model, a singer, an actress and a make-up artist, I knew she must have some interesting stories to tell, and she shared them with me on September 5th. I hope you all enjoy getting to meet her.
Say hello to Nichole McAuley!
Johnny: Hello, Nichole.
Nichole: Hi, Johnny. How are you?
Johnny: I’m good. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Johnny: Alright. I have my questions ready to go, and I’m starting out with this one: You started out very young. What made you decide on a performing career?
Nichole: I started dancing when I was 3, and did my first recital when I was 4. I knew, from that very moment, that’s exactly where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I think it was just something that was born into me.
Johnny: Alright. You did work as a child model. What were your favorite ad campaigns to work on?
Nichole: I worked on the Dittos Jeans ads. I worked on the Luv-It Jeans ads. I think those were probably the most fun for me because I got to work with other kids my age and we all got each other. They always had a lot of fun assignments for us, whether it be on a beach or in a movie studio, so I really enjoyed doing that when I was a kid.
Johnny: Alright. What did modeling teach you that you would carry with you to your acting career?
Nichole: I think, most of all, it taught me self-confidence, self-awareness, good self-esteem, how to be disciplined when you are on a set…Those are the things that I really took from that into the acting.
Johnny: Alright. One of your earliest acting jobs was on the short-lived Tim Conway Show. Since he was well-known for cracking up his co-stars, did you find it easy or hard to work with him?
Nichole: Oh, he was wonderful. He was so good to us. We were quite young at that time, so we were always off in another rehearsal studio while the adults were in their studio. We only came together when we were performing the live show, but he was very kind and generous and really good to us. It was like a dream job. It was a lot of fun.
Johnny: Alright. You did performing work for L.A Gear Shoes. What did that entail?
Nichole: Oh, my goodness. That was such a wonderful period of my life. We toured all over the world, all over Asia, all over Europe. We had a lot of amazing sports stars. I grew up watching sports with my dad, so it was super-exciting to meet Joe Montana, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal…I mean, you couldn’t get any better than that…just performing everywhere, and the fans that we had would come out each time we were coming back to that city to do whichever collection, Spring or Fall. We would do amazing singing and dancing shows, so that was probably the best part of that.
Johnny: Alright. You were a live version of Barbie for Mattel, even taking your performance to the George H.W Bush White House. What was the most rewarding part of playing Barbie?
Nichole: Definitely meeting all the kids. They were so excited, and so interested in just talking to me and touching the costume and telling me about all the Barbies that they had. Truly because of the magic of kids’ creativity and imaginations, they were like, “I have you with the Dream House” and “I have you with the Barbie car” and “I have you as a nurse”. They were just so full of life and excitement and gratitude that they got to meet you and talk to you. That was the best part of being Barbie.
Johnny: Alright. You played Barbie in the late 80s/early 90s time period, and so did Little Mermaid actress Jodi Benson, who voiced her in a workout video, and would later play her in the Toy Story Sequels. Did Pixar consider you for the role of Barbie in those sequels, or were they set on Jodi?
Nichole: They were completely different departments. I was Live Performing Crew, so it had nothing to do with each other. No, I was never in the mix for that.
Johnny: Aaah, okay. According to IMDB, you had an uncredited role as Veronica in Brain Smasher: A Love Story, which starred one of my all-time favorite comedians, Andrew “Dice” Clay. What was he like to work with?
Nichole: He was really nice. He stayed mostly to himself. He was very professional. I didn’t really get to interact with him too much, but when he was on set, he was very nice to everybody, very cordial…A nice man.
Johnny: Alright. Another uncredited role came in 1994 with the movie I’ll Do Anything. Were your scenes in the musical sequences that ended up being edited out, and if so, have you ever obtained a copy of the original musical version of the movie?
Nichole: I did not. I was actually one of the popcorn staff who was always in the offices, and I was a stand-in on that movie as well for various characters. I wasn’t really in any of the musical numbers.
Johnny: Aaah, okay. Shame what happened to that movie. It started out as a musical, and then they totally frankensteined all the musical numbers out, leaving just one, and turning it into a standard comedy.
Nichole: Which was a shame because I know Prince did some music for that movie.
Johnny: Yeah. You worked on Star Trek: Voyager as a double for Jeri Ryan’s character of Seven Of Nine, as well as frequent uncredited appearances as a Starfleet Scientist. What was your favorite part of working on that show?
Nichole: Working on Voyager was always magical because it was Trekkies. I grew up watching the original Star Trek with my family, so being on the show, I got to do a lot of different things. My favorite part was probably when I got to be the Tarlac alien because that kind of gave me my own little spot. Just going to work every day with these same actors was just really nice because everybody was kind of like a family. They all worked together for seven years, and you always knew what to expect and how the day was going to go. They always had amazing directors, and they rotated the directors so you would always see somebody that you had worked with before. It just made it very comfortable and relaxed.
Johnny: Alright. Some alumni of the Star Trek franchise look fondly upon their fans, as with the cast of The Next Generation and Star Trek V co-star, and one of my previous interview subjects, Spice Williams-Crosby. Others, like William Shatner, tend to look poorly upon the fans. What are your feelings on Trekkers?
Nichole: Well, I just got done with the Las Vegas Star Trek convention last month, and it was probably one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had as far as fans. They were so grateful, and so courteous and kind. They would come to the table and say, “Thank you so much for giving up your time and meeting us. We really do appreciate it”. I even had a veteran come to me saying, “We loved Voyager, and you gave us something to look forward to when we were deployed, and we could watch something that gave us a little bit of comfort from home”. That was really inspiring to me, and actually gave me goosebumps when she was telling me about it. To me, that’s what we’re there for, to help people be entertained. They enjoy the show, and they feel like they get to know the characters, and they really do follow you. To me, that’s amazing.
Johnny: Yeah. I just have to wonder about William Shatner. He doesn’t exactly seem to have the greatest fondness for fans. I’ve been on line for several conventions, and people who have attended conventions with Shatner have discussed seeing him there. They say he doesn’t speak to people at all when taking pictures, just in and out as quick as possible, and that’s what led to my question since I know that, for some veterans of the show, it’s something that they try to escape from.
Nichole: Which is a shame, because it was a really wonderful experience.
Johnny: Alright. You did some work for Playboy in the 1997 video Cheerleaders. I’ve interviewed several Playboy veterans, and almost uniformly, they had good experiences with the company. What do you recall the most about working for them?
Nichole: It was just like working for anybody else. The experience was very professional…Great crews, other girls to work with. I had a great time. It’s a proud moment to be part of the Playboy franchise.
Johnny: Alright. You’ve also ventured into the field of make-up design for movies and TV. What has working behind-the-scenes provided for you that working on camera has not?
Nichole: It’s hard to say. It’s not to say that it’s provided something more. I think it’s just creative in a different aspect. It’s also great to work with other actors and help them feel comfortable because they know that I’ve been in front of the camera, as well as behind the camera. Part of being a make-up artist’s job is that you’re kind of like a psychiatrist and a therapist and a girlfriend and a friend. You kind of help set the tone of the day for the crew. It’s just a different part of the process.
Johnny: Alright. Who have been your biggest influences as a make-up artist?
Nichole: Probably Kevyn Aucoin for beauty. I love Laura Mercier’s products. She’s a very strong make-up artist who developed and continues to own her own line, which is really amazing. I learned from various different people. You take a little bit from everybody, so there’s not one specific person that is the holy grail of make-up. I think there’s so many people who have things to offer.
Johnny: Alright. In your opinion, what’s the most interesting make-up design you’ve created so far?
Nichole: Well, I don’t do a lot of special effects, and to me, that’s more of that type of a question. I worked on a movie called Terror Toons 2, where we brought cartoon characters to life. That’s probably some of the creative, fun make-up I’ve done.
Johnny: Alright. Which 5 talents, either in front of or behind the camera, would you most like to work with that you haven’t had the chance to yet?
Nichole: Oh, my gosh. That’s a hard question. There’s so many people out there whom I’m love to work with, including Drew Barrymore, Quentin Tarantino, Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Murphy and Jessica Lange.
Johnny: Alright. To my next question: Since you started out young, and were introduced to America in 1977 on 60 Minutes, what would you say has been the biggest change in the entertainment industry between 1977 and 2017?
Nichole: Oh, my goodness. There’s a lot of things that have changed. Probably the ratings and what you’re allowed to get away with on film and television as far as nudity and profanity and action and killing. They used to not show any of that, and now they show all of that, so that’s probably the biggest change.
Johnny: Yeah, I can definitely see that. I mean, I was born in 1982, came of age in the 90s and graduated in 2001, and even up to 2001, there’s a lot you couldn’t get away with on network television or even cable. Now…
Nichole: You can get away with everything.
Johnny: Right. I mean, you’ve got graphic violence on The Walking Dead, graphic language on the Adult Swim cartoons…There definitely have been a lot of changes. That might be the biggest one. On a different note, some child entertainers, like yourself, have been able to achieve a sense of normalcy into adulthood. Others have not, leading to tragedy and even death. How have you been able to retain your sense of self?
Nichole: I stay very grounded by surrounding myself with people who are like-minded and my parents. They have kept me very grounded as well, in as much of a normal life as possible. I think being connected to animals, and doing a lot of things outdoors, and thinking about things other than just myself, has kept me very grounded. Contributing to rescues, or volunteering wherever I can when people are in need, keeps you very real.
Johnny: Yeah. I’ve seen you posting on Facebook about your work in helping rescue animals that have been affected by the wildfires that have been going on over the weekend. I hope they’re all safe and doing well.
Nichole: Yes. We have protected a lot of animals. Hosing down the horses, keeping them from overheating and collic, has been really important. When I reach out, I have friends that come and help, and that’s really important. They feel the same, so we’re all good so far.
Johnny: Fantastic to hear. Now I come to my final question, which I end most of my interviews with, and it’s this: If you could go back to your youth with the knowledge that you have now, would you do anything differently?
Nichole: No, I wouldn’t. I would just keep persevering as much as I have, and I think I’ve turned out pretty good, so no. I wouldn’t change a thing because my life is where it’s supposed to be, and I’m extremely grateful for it. I love what I do. I’m one of the fortunate people where every day I wake up in the morning, and I get up and do something I am passionate about.
Johnny: That’s fantastic to hear. Well, that about does it for my questions. Thank you very much again for taking the time out of your schedule to speak to me, and I look forward to more of your work in the future.
Nichole: Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it.
Johnny: Alright. I’ll catch you on Facebook.
Nichole: Perfect. Have a wonderful day.
Johnny: You, too, Nichole. Talk to you soon.
Nichole: Okay. Bye bye.
Who will I Flashback with next? Stay tuned.