Actress, model and mental health advocate, Nikki Leigh, is coming in hot to the Hollywood scene. She is a seasoned actress in the industry, but the world has recently opened brand new doors for her as she premieres her latest role in Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch.
After graduating with honors from California State University of Fullerton, she hit the ground running, accepting multiple roles in feature films and television shows, including CBS’s Two and a Half Men, NCIS, The Bet and The Bold and The Beautiful.
Celeb Secrets caught up with Nikki to learn more about her experience with acting, her favorite moments during shooting, her challenges as an actress, and her upcoming projects! Scroll down for the full Q&A and don’t forget to let us know what you think of her new movie by leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @celebsecrets.
Celeb Secrets: Hi Nikki! So great to chat with you. Congratulations on the release of Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch! Can you tell us about your experience with acting and what drew you to this project specifically?
Nikki Leigh: “Thank you so much!! It is so exciting to be able to talk about it out in the open now!! My experience with acting – well, I started acting once I was out of college. It’s funny because I would always hear that what you studied in college is never really what you end up using your degree for, except if you went into medical school or something like that. However, I got a Sociology/Psychology degree and that was the best degree for me in this acting career path. The Butch Cassidy project was a very special one for me. I love just about everything there is to do with the south and that western vibe so I was very excited to be a part of this. Not to mention that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the most favorite western classics of all time! The Katherine Ross role of Etta Place captured the hearts of many, including me, so to be able to love and understand that character and then get the opportunity to make it my own was a dream come true!!”
CS: It must feel so validating to have your dreams come true! What was it like working on this film? Do you have any standout moments from filming that you can share with us?
NL: “Working on this film was filled with all kinds of experiences, and I am so grateful to have gone through them with the cast and director/producers that we had. All of our hearts were 100% in this and our bond really grew stronger throughout it all. A standout moment for me was when I was doing a scene opposite Dee Wallace and remembering just how natural it was to connect with her and have these beautiful scenes of dialogue that held such ease. One more moment that I loved was when we were filming the ending on the horses. We were also coincidentally wrapping up our time filming together and our friendships had become super solid. It really was genuine which then came through on screen.”
CS: It’s always so much more special when it’s genuine too! What was the most challenging part about getting into character for this film? What was the most rewarding?
NL: “The most challenging part might have been the fact that there was an already-dearly-loved version of Etta Place, so the pressure was on to make it my own and attract the same level of endearment. They were mighty big shoes to follow. But the most rewarding thing was how natural it was for me to use a southern accent and get to put it into a character and show it off. The sweetness of a southern accent also helped me know where to take the character and how that would showcase an unassuming innocence which helps the character in some situations ;)”
CS: Okay! We’re intrigued! Tell us a little bit more about your character. Did you learn anything from her that you will take with you in the future?
NL: “I think an actor always learns something from a character that they play to some degree. Or it could even be that the actor is reminded of a situation or a part of life that they might have not faced yet or have faced in the past. Acting is all about life situations being portrayed in different settings, and it’s an instrumental part in one’s journey of life. One thing I felt about this character is that Etta is a lucky girl. She is honest and true to herself which is something that I took with me into my life. She loves both of the guys, and they both care, protect and love her in return. It was fun to have two men show interest while at the same time, they worked together to get a job done. The co-existing, teamwork and respect that grew between the three of them felt badass. It felt safe and beautiful. Plus, it is always fun to remind the guys when they let their egos get in the way that I have their back and can get them out of a bind! Never fear, Etta’s here. *giggles*”
CS: It sounds like you learned a lot from Etta! In addition to being an actress, you are also a model and social media influencer. What advice can you share on how you balance everything? How do you keep a good work/life balance?
NL: “That is a great question. I keep a balanced life by following my heart and intuition. Some days, I want to just focus on working out or my health, so I will do that. Others I focus solely on acting or working on auditions. And most is making sure to fill each bucket, every day, little by little. Self-care has a lot to do with it and I make sure to honor that. I am very hard on myself and expect perfection (that’s the Virgo in me) so I am constantly pulling my awareness into the present moment and aligning myself with what I am grateful for at that time. My Positivity Time Gratitude journal that I published on Amazon helps me do that daily. I got inspired to make it because of the Positivity Time live streams that I was doing on Instagram, revolving around gratitude. Each day, for about 4 years, I have been writing in different gratitude journals. I always had something I liked more in one over the other so I took the things I liked from each and created my own. I really enjoyed the process and hope to make more in the future. If anyone wants to look it up themselves, search ‘Positivity Time Gratitude Journal by Nikki Leigh.'”
CS: We’re totally going to check it out! Do you have any exciting upcoming projects fans should be on the look for?
NL: “I am not sure if I am allowed to say this, but let’s just say this isn’t the last you will see of Etta Place!”
CS: Lastly, we are Celeb Secrets. Can you share a secret talent of yours that fans would be surprised to know?
NL: “Secret talent huh, well, I can sing and dance. In fact I have been wanting to get back into dancing more. I miss it and it always makes me feel so good. I am also naturally really good at sports and picking up new sports. My athleticism is off the charts! *giggles*”