Nichole Galicia – Once Upon A Time…

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

Nichole Galicia is a model and actress who has been seen in American drama series, “Defiance” as well as “Torque” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. We discussed her relationship with Tarantino and her experience working with him in his new film, “Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood”, modeling and her nonprofit organization, “The Orchid Foundation”. 

Let’s start with “Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood”. Tell us about the film and your role.
My lips are sealed as I signed an NDA. I can tell you that working with Tarantino for a second was EVERYTHING! I taped for this audition. I know Tarantino is a super visual person so I gave him what he wanted. I created period appropriate hair, makeup and wardrobe and then I dove into the character. I also added a surprise on my tape which I will reveal on instagram after the film is released.

I sent my tape and two weeks went by and I didn’t hear a peep from casting, from my team, from Tarantino. Nothing. So, I sent Tarantino an email basically saying just in case you are wondering I’m not breathing, sleeping or eating over here until I hear something, anything. He replied, “I loved it. Everyone loved it.” Later that day I got official word that I was booked. I am a Tarantino character two times over. The rest is just gravy. I feel so honored and so blessed.

What do you like most about Quentin Tarantino?
Everything. He is my friend. He is loyal. He is a genius. I have tremendous respect for him.

You’ve also worked with Leonardo Dicaprio and Quentin Tarantino in “Django Unchained”. How does this work in Hollywood? Are friendships built with people in the business that may consider each other for various projects, do agents make those things happen or both?
I can’t speak to how things work in Hollywood across the board but yes, like in every other industry, networks help, agents help and talent helps, of course. I’ve worked hard and/or smart for everything I have earned. I auditioned for Grind House with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino simultaneously after waiting for four hours in the waiting room, getting into the room and murdering my audition. I didn’t book that role but I did enough so that Quentin never forgot me and promised to write something for me. He made good on the promise with Sheba in Django Unchained.

“Django Unchained” was a controversial film for many reasons.  Describe the significance of your character Sheba and her role at Candie Land.
Tarantino described Sheba as a chocolate woman with confidence 200 years in the making. He wanted his beauty to be dark skinned…He was adamant about that. Tarantino told me “Nichole if you couldn’t play this role I would have removed her from the film. I wrote this part for you.” I’m lost about the “controversy”. It was slavery. Horrible sh*t happened. Many Shebas were forced into their positions for hundreds of years. The fact that some movie goers were moved to conversation and/or tears is just a testament to the fact that Quentin Tarantino delivered a powerful piece of art.

There were some intense scenes during the film. Describe what the set was like during the “Mandingo fight” scene. Did it affect you at all?
Did watching two men beat themselves to death affect me…was it hard? Yes, of course. If done right it’s supposed to be hard. It was done right.

Overall, how do you feel about the film and its impact?
The film, like all great art in my opinion, should be political and have a huge effect on society. I’m incredibly proud of Django Unchained.

What has been your favorite role to date and why?
That’s like naming my favorite child. I can’t do it. I love them all equally! However, Playing Kindzi on Defiance (Season 3) was soooooo amazing and grueling. Sheba (Django Unchained) changed my life, being given the opportunity to work with Tarantino for a second time in Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood will change it again. Working with Quentin is like being in a lucid dream.

As someone who has worked on major modeling campaigns, do you think the term “model” is used loosely these days?
Any girl who has had her bestie take her picture on the hood of a car is a model today. Instagram has changed the game. Make your money girls. I’m not mad at you. The world is changing. I suppose I need to step my social media game up but I’m still getting used to it. But, I love that girls everywhere from all walks of life have a means to earn a living at their fingertips.

In what ways has having a high IQ helped you navigate through life? 
Education has always been the most important thing growing up in my household. I hope to always be in a state of learning, expanding, improving and then giving back.

Tell us about The Orchid Foundation.
I started The Orchid Foundation more than four years ago. I wanted to give back to girls because I have been given so much. The Orchid Foundation’s mission is to mentor underserved high school girls. We choose girls that are excelling in their academic and/or extracurricular pursuits and help fill the resource gap presented by their socioeconomic backgrounds. Our “Orchids” are star athletes, honor students, poets, humanitarians and feminists packed into 14-18 year old powerhouses that deserve the same opportunities as the top ten percent.

The Orchid Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit so all donations are 100% tax deductible. You can give by visiting our website:  www.theorchidfdn.org. We have a ton of programs some of which include a college bootcamp, year round tutoring, SAT prep, impromptu etiquette classes, a financial literacy course, exposure to the arts, we do community service every year, etc.

Actor Chris Pine is one of our Orchid Angels. He is our Super Donor and he supports my girls every year. Atlantic-Pacific Capital and their CEO James Manley as well as Ed Zimmerman partner at Lowenstein Sandler and so many more have embraced our cause and taken an active role in the success of my Orchids. I’m very proud of the work I do here. One of my girls is going to change the world given the right opportunity. The rest are of us are going to be close behind holding her up.

Elaborate on “Sweat Equity”.
It’s our nutrition and exercise program at The Orchid Foundation. You can read more about it and our other programs at www.theorchidfdn.org but basically my Orchids have access to a nutritionist, Dr. Susan Vannuci, that has donated her services to us, she’s wonderful. We work with trainers like Michael Olajide Jr. owner of Aerospace who has been so generous with my our Orchids by donating one-on-one sessions, ropes, motivation, anything we need. Also we have an encouraging group chat where we share recipes, photos and a healthy dose of fun shade. This is not science, it’s sisterhood. We are fortunate to have world class experts in our corner supporting us along our journey. We stick together and attempt to make healthy choices fun.

How did you develop a love for Formula 1 racing? Also, break it down for people like myself who aren’t familiar.
Ahh, Lewis Hamilton is all a newbie needs know to fall in the love with F1. He is everything a sports lover needs. He is hot, he is super fast, he lives the life of a rock star and he is just flashy, classy and ruthless enough. Put a microphone in his face and he is the consummate professional. Then, google the bravest ballsiest in the sport, my all time favorite love, the dearly departed Niki Lauda and you will be hooked. I’m an F1 fanatic. What’s not to love?! We are talking about hot boys in fast cars in luxurious locations. DUH! You are missing out.

I had an Italian boyfriend who literally ignored me every qualy and race. So, it was learn the sport or break up. I did both but in the process I fell in love with Schumi, then cue the entry of Hamilton. The battle between Hamilton and Alonso was Shakespearian, like Iago and Othello. I’m an adrenaline junkie but fancy so I prefer to watch from the QuintEvents Champions Club.

When I was young and living in Germany (Army brat), my family and I visited Lloret De Mar, Spain. That trip stood out to me in particular because of the people I met there. What do you love most about Spain, Madrid in particular? 
Kent (my mentor, my father, my best friend, my partner in crime, my everything) made me fall in love with Madrid through the Prado. I grew up in the museums of Madrid. I give the best greatest hits art tour for non art lovers through the Prado! Period. I ate my way through Spanish cities and learned about the world through Spanish architecture and the language. Spain, Madrid in particular, will forever have a special place in my heart because it reminds me of Kent and Kent in large part made me the woman I am today.

I’m going to throw a few names out there. Say whatever comes to mind.

A.  Nick Cannon
Talented, super nice and funny!

B.  Diego Velazquez
Everything. I refer to him as my lover and the master of all masters. My favorite artist.

C.  Chris Pine
The reason I can keep the lights on at The Orchid Foundation. Aside from being a brilliant actor and gorgeous, he is very quietly philanthropic. I appreciate him immensely. Because of Chris’ generosity one of my Orchids can remain in college. We will fight you in the street over our beloved Chris Pine! We love you Chris.

Tell us something about yourself that most don’t know. 
I’m loyal to a fault. I have your front, back and both sides. I’m funny. I know things but know nothing at all and I once drove an F1 car 220 miles per hour around the Circuit of the Americas in Austin for 2 laps and I had the sore neck to prove it. 

Lastly, finish the sentence Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood using your own experience.
Once Upon A Time in…Hollywood I decided to go for what everyone told me would be impossible and I here I am. Thriving. Happy. Whole. Hard is something I can do in my sleep. Impossible just takes a little more time. Stay on your path. Step as if the light will appear.

Follow Nichole Galicia on IG @officialnicholegalicia.

Photo by Ryan West.

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