Nicky Whelan is an Aussie bombshell who’s making it in Hollywood
Hollywood’s full of golden dreams, ambitions and countless blondes, but hear us out: Nicky Whelan is a cut above, and it’s not just cuz of her cute Australian accent.
Prior to moving out to Los Angeles, Nicky hosted a travel show in Australia and before that, she was a dancer and teen model. She tried acting despite having no experience with it — and it worked out!
While you may have seen her in “The Wedding Ringer” with Kevin Hart and “Tragedy Girls” at SXSW, watch this space for the Aussie stunner to make a splash in “Inconceivable.” We chat about how she transitioned into acting, why she plays characters with a complicated past and her app, I Am Nicky Whelan.
I’m excited for “Inconceivable,” which reminds me of “Single White Female.” You play Katie, a creepy hot mama whose obsession to be a mom of another child goes fatal. Although you don’t have any kids, why have you chosen to play this role and how did that challenge you?
Nic [Cage], who I worked with before, brought the script to me. He was offered the role in it initially. He said, “There is a great movie with females.” It’s all female leads. I think that Hollywood now is starting to slowly embrace women [leads] in movies. It was an opportunity to be a lead in a really strong film that relates to a lot of women on different levels. Obviously, we go a little crazy with it and my character’s scary. It was a character and an opportunity I never had the chance to play before.
I find your character’s backstory to be very fascinating. What exactly was her motive for wanting to be the mom of a kid who is not her own child?
When she was in her early twenties, my character was trying to make money. So, she sold her eggs to families. Actually, they’re her children, but they’re not her children at the same time. Now that she can’t have children, she wants to make sure that her eggs are her children.
Your character, Katie, reminds me of someone so similar. I’ve never watched “Neighbours,” where you play a 20-something bisexual woman, Pepper Steiger. What made you play complicated characters and what aspects of yourself did you see in her?
I got asked to audition for “Neighbours” as I always wanted to do acting. It was my very first role. It was a really great show…to start acting, [as] I had no experience, and it guided me through. We perform every day. We shoot, like, 48 weeks. It was more about learning to be on a set and perform. Now, I sort of go back and forth between comedy to drama. It’s really what comes across in front of you that interests you.
If there’s one genre you like better, would you do comedy or would you pick drama?
I’ve done both and I do prefer comedy. I really love the vibe of comedy. It’s a little trickier, but in the sense of being cast. It is a much larger set to be on. If I get work, I’ll take the challenge. It’s hard to be on a comedy set, I got to be honest.
I also love comedies, too! Which one is your favorite?
I don’t really have a favorite. My husband, [former football player] Kerry [Rhodes], loves comedy and he loves sketches. So, we do go regularly to standup shows in Los Angeles. We had a stand up comedian at our wedding, recently. I love live comedy shows [and] movies.
Congrats on being married! Since you’re married to an actor, what has he taught you and what have you learned from him?
Kerry is starting out in the acting world. We met when we did a skit for Funny or Die. He’s very funny and he works really really hard. It’s good because we both understand the field we’re in together and we try to work together when we possibly can. We’re bouncing off each other. We have a movie coming out called “Tragedy Girls.”
What’s your biggest fear?
I don’t think in the world of acting that I have a great deal of fear. I don’t see it too much about work so much. If I get an opportunity, I will pick it up. I might’ve [had one] when I was younger. Moving countries from Australia is more of a fear than Hollywood. As you get older (I’m in my 30s now), you fall on your feet and there is a different space in your life. I wouldn’t say I’m fearful. I just got to get my motivation and drive going.
As someone who started out in Australia, what culture shocks have you discovered when you moved out to America?
I’ve been traveling here since I was 18 and moved here when I was 25 or 26. So, I was very familiar with L.A. I think it’s not too much of a major culture shock. Not many people realize that there’s an enormous transition moving to a new country by yourself. You know, America offers great opportunities for actors, especially in Los Angeles. You have to be here, you have to be in it and further the sacrifices that need to be made. I found my husband here [along with] some wonderful friends.
Apart from acting, you have an app called “I am Nicky Whelan.” Why have you decided to document your life behind the scenes?
Sadly, it’s the way the world is moving now. It took me a long time to get on Instagram, Twitter and all these places. I slowly got into the mix and sort of snap back and I realize how much [power social media] has. Whether I agree with it is a whole other thing. I try to portray positive things; I try not to get too political or crazy on any of my platforms. I promote what I do [along with] my friends and family. There’s so much marketing tools and things to do. It’s very overwhelming, especially I was alive and performing in a time when social media wasn’t around. It’s a little strange, but I’m embracing it. There’s something to be said for hard work. Social media is a whole new world [laughs]. You just sort of got to be in it, right?
Right! Especially in the age of Trump. When you disagree with something, people jump on you. Do you hold back when you share on social media sometimes?
I think when you have a lot of followers, you have a certain amount of responsibilities to make sure that when you do, whatever you decide to post to put out there. You will be having an effect on people. Platforms give people a place to express the way they feel. Personally, I’m trying to push out my work. It’s scary out there, so I think when you shine a bit of light…you have responsibility to get things clean and keep people afloat in positive ways.
What was the most random moment you cried to?
When my dad came to Los Angeles recently, he had to have a major heart surgery. I didn’t know if he was going to make it back in L.A. to my wedding, which he did. When I saw him at my house and he arrived, I was crying because I was happy that it happened.
That’s so sweet that you were able to see your dad. How close are you to your parents?
Very close to my family — I always have been. Mum and dad are still together, I have a wonderful sister and three older brothers. We’re all very close. It’s hard living far away from them.
If there’s one thing you wanna change about LA, what will it be and why?
In Australia, I managed to have a career on television. But, when I finished work, I would come home to my friends and family. In a city where the number one priority is in the industry, I think Los Angeles is saturated with that. It can be a little bit exhausting sometimes. It will be nice if had a lot more in the city than just business. I mean, L.A. is a great city and I love living here. But, I noticed that from being in Australia to here.
What do you like to do during your downtime?
Well, I have a beautiful home in Sherman Oaks. I love being at home with my friends and family. I travel a little bit when I’m not working. I don’t have time to do hobbies as it’s been a little busy lately. I’ve tend to be working on some projects. If I do have a day off, I end up cleaning all day and go food shopping.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure when you’re in the supermarket?
I love my chocolates. I’m never short of chocolate.
Would you rather do organic or non-organic?
Normal, old-school chocolate. Everything from M&Ms to Kit Kat, I love it all. If I go to Whole Foods, I pick up organic chocolate, but it’s not a priority when it comes to candy [laughs].
Last but not least, if you have any advice for anyone who is gonna move out of the country, what top tips can you give us?
I think moving to different countries is a whole different experience depending on where you are going. You know, I just think you really have to have the money…and drive – I moved for work. You need to make sure that you are set up, know people and have a plan. [You need to] certainly know the area where you are moving to. At least have one or two really great people to go to; you want to feel safe and secure.
Photography: Rosanna Faraci
Make-up: Trace Makeup