Jay-Z and Alicia Keys said it best, “New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothin’ you can’t do!”… and actress Nicole Sousa took that quote to heart and moved to NYC to follow her passion & dreams!
Originally born in Angola and then living in England, Nicole trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York and now splits her time between our great city and the sunshine in Hollywood, California.
A lover of Shakespeare and martial arts (she practices at Mendez Boxing in NY), Nicole is one of those special and unique talents you just want to chat with, and so we did!
When did you first know you wanted to become an actress?
Oh definitely when I was about 11 and we got cast in Julius Ceaser, for our secondary school play in year 8. I was so upset that I had to play Cinna and I was so mad at my teacher for giving me that role, I was like “Oh yea, you think you can give me just three lines, I’m going to make them the most memorable three lines in the entire play just you wait.” Funnily enough everyone remembered my line “O Cassius If you could but win the noble Brutus to our party.” My friends and I still laugh about it to this day. Even when I was not speaking I was always “on” always in character, I was so determined to be the best Cinna there was. That’s when a light really sparked for me.
You are originally from Angola… what other actresses from back home inspired you? Or which American ones did you watch growing up?
Growing up, I watched Gone with the wind so many times I lost count. I loved those kinds of films, Scarlett O Hara and her determination to never stay down was so inspiring to me. I fell in love with Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel. Then there was Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess and I discovered Dorothy Dandridge in all her glory and then there was Sidney Poitier. I really love old films because as kid that’s what I would watch and that is what made me fall in love with cinema. Then as I grew up there were these exquisite, powerful, illuminating actresses like Viola Davis, like Halle Berry, Sophie Okonedu and Naomi Harris that made me see that “I can do this too.” These women and so many more take my breath away, they inspire me so much and I am so grateful that they came and paved the way so that we may continue in their footsteps.
Was it hard breaking into the entertainment industry having been first from Angola, and then living in London before ultimately now moving to the United States (New York / Hollywood)?
I think it is as hard as any new venture really. When you move somewhere new you have to build your base, kind of from scratch, and while it is difficult you learn to put yourself out there. It always seems like it’s easy from the outside, but you never really know how long people have been sculpting at it, carving their ideal careers, putting in the hours and sleepless nights. It is definitely a lot of hard work, but if you are persistent you can do it. We have this saying in Angola which translates to “Who runs for pleasure doesn’t ever get tired.” My mum would always say this to me when I would complain about how difficult or how it would seem that nothing is happening. She would remind me Hey, this is what you wanted so go after it with everything you have.
You have a new web series coming up… tell us about it and your role?
Yes I do! So I wrote this sitcom, it’s called ‘The Studio.’ It’s about two girls, new to LA, who each lease the same studio apartment from a divorced couple who refuse to talk to each other. The problem is the girls could not be more different. Yara (Who I play) is a high strung young professional, who has just moved from Angola to work at this new social media company (that’s failing). Mary-Joanne is a free spirited, ukulele news reporter from Minnesota trying to make it in the news business. It’s about how these two polar opposites, juggle sharing a tiny space, while trying to find their feet and pursue their goals in this new city. It really explores a lot of cultural differences and personal experiences I have had, so make sure you tune in!
You now split your time between Los Angeles and New York, which coast do you like better and why?
Hmmmm, they are very different and great in their own way. LA has it’s gems which I am beginning to discover. But I have to say I feel really at home with the hustle and bustle of New York, the melting pot of different cultures, the pacing of it and just the electrifying energy of it. It really ignites something in me, It’s a connection words can’t explain.
Where is your favorite place to eat in NYC?
This is so hard! I have so many… ok if I had to absolutely pick one, it would have to be Samba Kitchen and Bar. It’s a Brazilian restaurant in hells kitchen, the food is so good and the atmosphere is cozy and homey!
Besides acting, you also write. What new projects have you been writing?
Besides The Studio, I am also collaborating with a friend to develop a series for a Brazilian network. I think we are in such a multi-cultural, global time that it is important to keep all doors open and I love incorporating different cultures experiences into what I write.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
That would have to be “ What’s yours is yours, it’s already written” which my mum tells me all the time!
Where do you see yourself and career in five years from now?
Hopefully on set playing a kicking ass strong woman, or you know on set playing a spunky Shakespearean character, or you know just on set playing! But really just continuing to work and getting to play amazing characters, hopefully have a series that I wrote out there, sharing my stories with the world.
And final question: What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for making things happen, always finding a way and being persistent as ever.