Recently known for her role as Mary Singleton on TNT’s original series, Heartland, Danielle Nicolet is a dedicated actress on her way to stardom. Beginning her career in the early 90’s, Danielle’s reoccurring role on the TV series, Family Matters was only a stepping stone to television shows such as Angel, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and UPN’s Half & Half. Adding to her growing list of accomplishments, Danielle has also been featured in movies, Shadow of a Doubt, Where Truth Lies, and National Lampoon’s: Loaded Weapon 1. With stunning good looks and a great sense of style, Clutch reached out to Danielle to talk about fashion, acting, and her passion.
Clutch: You originally had a career in gymnastics…what made you turn to acting?
Truth is, I always wanted to be an actor from my earliest memory. I’m from a small industrial town in the midwest, and it’s not a place where the arts are encouraged in kids. So when I found out that gymnastics was something I happened to be good at, I thought I could use it as a way out of Ohio and into the industry. Yeah, my Dad got me a video of the movie “Fame”, and I watched it way too much as a kid. I formed a lot of fantasies about how I would find my way here! So after we moved to California for me to train, and my knees went bad, I told my parents the truth about wanting to be an actor and my mother relented and became supportive.
Clutch: Who are some of your inspirations?
I’m inspired by both of my Grandmother’s. (Only one is with us) They are two of the strongest women I have ever known. They taught me that it’s possible to love fully and be tough at the same time. I’m inspired by anyone who overcomes diversity in life and thrives!
Clutch: What has been the most challenging role for you?
Honestly, the most challenging role I’ve played yet is Mary on Heartland. It’s emotionally draining to deal with life and death issues everyday.
Clutch: Your most current role is Mary Singleton in Heartland- tell us about your character and are there any similarities between the two of you?
Mary is the head ICU nurse on the transplant ward of St. Jude’s hospital. She truly brings heart to the show. She’s the one in the hospital who always remembers the real person inside the patient and fights for their recognition. This means she has to be a bit of a ball-buster with the doctors at times while always staying empathetic to the patient. Also, she is in the middle of a juicy love triangle with Dr. Griffith and Jessica! Mary is in love with Dr. Griffith and he is in love with Jessica. Lots of fun to play!
Clutch: You’ve had the opportunity to do several films as well as television shows- do you have a preference?
All in all, my preference is film. Mostly because I really enjoy exploring new characters. Films are an amazing experience in the sense that shooting one is like this crazy ripple in time. You invest everything into a movie… all your time, attention, and every last drop of energy. The rest of your life almost stands still until you’re done. But the process, unlike tv, has a beginning, middle and an end. It’s very satisfying.
Clutch: Which actors/actresses would you like to work opposite in your future projects?
On a comedy front: I would love to work with Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona is the funniest movie ever!), and Will Smith. As for Drama, Don Cheatle is at the top of my list, right next to Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Kate Blanchett.
Clutch: What advice can you give to aspiring actors/ actresses who are just starting out in the business?
My best advice would be: Know who you are. So many actors in this business are trying to emulate someone else. They want to look like them and pattern their careers after them. Well, that doesn’t make any sense! You’ve got to figure out your strengths and capitalize on them. The people you idolize have already done that!
Clutch: You are currently working to raise awareness for prisoners that have been wrongly convicted. Tell us more about this and what attracted you to this cause.
I wish I knew exactly what started it. I’ve been doing it for so long I can barely remember where I started! I have always been appalled by injustice, and American apathy about it. As a nation we are people who pride ourselves on being “tough on crime”. What we often forget in our zeal, is that when we let prosecutors politicize the process and just “close that case” quickly, 2 in 100 times they are getting the wrong guy. It’s important that we insist that proper investigations are carried out or the real criminal is left on the street to victimize others. We are far too willing to get cases closed at the cost of an innocent man’s life. So I work hard to bring awareness to those who have had their freedom taken unjustly. (This is the part where I ask people to visit: www.vincent-simmons.com and www.innocenceproject.org)! All I ask is for regular people to imagine what it would be like to go to a maximum security prison as an innocent man or woman and live the rest of your life around real murderers and rapists. To have all your freedoms and privacy ripped from you and have no one believe that you didn’t do it. It happens all the time. It can happen to anyone. We must demand only the best, and full accountability from our law enforcement.
Clutch: How would you describe your style?
My best description would be rock and roll hippie chick. I love my jeans and tanks. It’s all about creative and ethnic accessories, and the right shoes! I don’t believe in having my outfit define my style. I define my style by what I choose and how I put pieces together. I like the simplicity of the hippy look. There’s something really sexy about clothes that move and show shoulders and hips. It looks real, and feminine without trying.
Clutch: Who are some of your favorite designers?
My “go-to” designer is Catherine Malandrino. When I need a dress for an event, or start to feel nervous about what to wear, I reach for a Malandrino dress. Her clothes are youthful, sexy, but classy. Plus, I know that they will fit well, and compliment my body. When it comes to casual, you can’t get me out of my Rebecca Beeson t-shirts and pants! As for shoes: I ALWAYS hit my favorite store, ‘Lush’ first. They are in Studio City, and make most of the shoes they carry themselves. The shoes are trendy and creative. The type that make people stop me on the street.
Clutch: What products do you carry in your clutch; what cosmetic items won’t you leave home without?
My Bobbi Brown lip kit, Clinique powder and Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Moisturizer. Also, like to keep a mini mascara in my bag. If I’m out clean faced and need to impress quickly, nothing makes me look ‘put together’ better than a little mascara and lip gloss. That and a little Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding on my hair and I’m great!
1.Perfectly Real Compact Makeup, $22.50 , Clinique, Sephora 2. Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, $7-$38, Miss Jessies 3. Tawny Shimmer Brick & Lip Kit, $2.99, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics 4. Shea Butter Moisturizer, $11.99, Burt’s Bees, Drugstore.com