Fashion touches us all in some manner or another. And while the runway is always hot, one must also pay due attention to those who have little — if anything at all — to do with the world of fashion beyond their own personal style, to go outside the box, as it were.
This is where my spotlight enters…
This month, we head up north to Vancouver, BC for a profile on actress Nicole Oliver, who currently voices Princess Celestia and Cheerilee on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has an upcoming role in the film Taken Back: Finding Haley, and has been seen and/or heard on numerous shows, video games and films such as Stargate SG-1, X-Men: Evolution, Warhammer 40,0000: Dawn of War, and The Falling. Make the jump to learn more about how motherhood has played a part in her current roles, why she returned to Canada permanently after a stint in Los Angeles, and her advice on style, acting and life in general.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
A Brief Description of You and Your Work: I am a mother, wife, actress, who is over-extended yet over the moon — or perhaps, sun? :) — to be able to make a living following my passion for over 20 years. I have worked on the small and big screens, in animation, commercial voice-over, narration, reality television, and the theatre.
Some of your more recent roles — such as Princess Celestia and Cheerilee from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, hosting Crash Test Mommy, your upcoming role in Taken Back: Finding Haley — feature characters who either are mothers and/or possess mothering qualities, as well as a wicked sense of humour if the situation calls for it. You yourself are a mother of two, as well. How does your motherhood experience influence — if at all — the roles you play, and what experiences do you bring back into your own life from playing those parts?
Oliver: A wicked sense of humour and being a mother kind of need to go together in order to keep balance, perspective, and your sanity! :) Seriously though, I find that now that I have children who watch television, I am very aware of the projects I get involved with and how it may impact them. I try and bring a sense of honesty and integrity to my work, and portray real women in real situations with real reactions.
I have worked very hard to have the career I have today, so I am proud that my boys see their mother working hard, following her dreams, and sometimes struggling to achieve a successful balance between work and family. My work experiences feed my family life, and my family experiences feed my work life; I don’t think at this point I could have one without the other!
Almost all of your work has been done either in Vancouver or Toronto, with a brief stint in Los Angeles. How does Canada’s entertainment industry and culture compare/contrast to Hollywood, and what brought you back to Canada — and has kept you since — after your time in the States?
Oliver: We aren’t called Hollywood North for nothing! :) There is a vibrant Canadian film and television culture that celebrates and shares Canadian stories with the rest of the World as well as a strong Service Industry that partners with many other countries (The U.S., India, Germany, to name but a few) in order to deliver Internationally acclaimed product. Some performers may feel there are better career advancement opportunities in the United States than in Canada, but I see our entertainment industries as more aligned than contrasting.
In 1995, my father passed away at the young age of 52 years. His passing really made me question what was important to me, and how I wanted to define my life as I moved forward. Although my father was a powerful business man, at his memorial, everyone spoke of his kindness and celebrated him as a friend, mentor, and family person. At the time of my father’s passing, I felt Los Angeles was very much just about “the business,” and I realized I wanted more for my life. So, I moved home, was lucky enough to meet my husband shortly thereafter, and we now have two spunky boys. Broad strokes version, but hopefully you get the idea. :)
Aside from acting, what other talents do you possess?
Oliver: I can dance and sing, love to garden, and delight in cooking for big groups of friends!
How would you describe your personal style?
Oliver: I like to dress casual chic with a touch of whimsy. I love pops of bright colour (like purple or orange) and I adore bold, chunky accessory statements and drapy scarves. I do have a wicked weakness for shoes and handbags… but I haven’t met very many women who don’t! I covet the Hermès Birkin bag, love getting dressed up, but am equally as comfortable in flip flops or high heels!
Do you read any fashion blogs? If so, which ones?
Oliver: I follow my girlfriend’s blog, Fashion Forward 40, but I must admit that I am a newbie when it comes to following fashion blogs. Heck, I just started tweeting a few months ago, so baby steps!! :) Your question has certainly got me checking out some sites online, but I do have a weakness and nostalgia for my monthly subscription to Vogue and W. Even though I can get fashion magazines on my iPad, there’s just something about flipping the glossy pages that is hard to replace.Be it in front of the camera or behind the mic, what has been your favourite moment as an actress?
Oliver: I am happy to say I have more favourite moments than not. I really, really, really love recording animation sessions with all the other actors in the room. It always makes me laugh, and the unpredictable moments of ad-libing and goofing around really make me marvel at what I get to do for a living. I feel blessed.
Why do you do what you do for a living?
Oliver: Growing up, I was going to be a lawyer, but my parents encouraged me to follow my artistic passions as well as my academics. They always said the worst thing would be to have to ask yourself “what would have happened IF?” Even though I have a Bachelors and a Masters degree, I am proud to be able to list Actress on my tax return year after year.
If you had to pick one item from your résumé that says, “This is what my career is all about,” which one would it be?
Oliver: I can’t pick just one because my career is comprised of so many different facets of the Industry, from producing to performing.
What advice do you have for my readers regarding…
Style: Embrace your own sense of style and celebrate the body you were born with!
Acting (voice, silver screen, small screen et al): Follow your passions, but educate yourself about the Industry. Be smart: Creative, but savvy, too.
Life in general: If a door opens, walk through it. A little bit like a fortune cookie, but it’s great advice.
Any final words?
Oliver: Thanks for inviting me to do this. It has been an absolute pleasure!
Nicole Oliver can be found on her official site at www.nicoleoliver.com, as well as on Twitter. She can be heard on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, whose third season is planned to air on The Hub towards the end of 2012, and can be seen in Taken Back: Finding Haley, set to air on Lifetime 11 August at 8 PM Eastern.
Photo credits: Cameron Miquelon (title card) and Nicole Oliver.