Nikki DeLoach – Awkward
Q) You are writing a blog for the site “She Knows.” How did you get involved with the site?
A) This is something I am really proud of because it came from this place inside of me when I was pregnant. I had known of “She Knows” and was a fan of their website. It’s really a terrific website for women and was a big fan of theirs. I wanted to be a part of it in a bigger way than just doing interviews about “Awkward” and about being a mom. When you are pregnant, even though you have had friends that have gone through it or friends who are going through it while you are, there is something so isolating about it. Also, you are so worried about making mistakes and every little decision that you make. The truth of it is that as much research as you can do and as much preparation as you do, you are going to make mistakes and you are not going to know what to do sometimes. That’s okay. They have this whole expert section, whether it is on being a mom, Psychology, party planning, etc. I thought, “I’m kind of an expert in not being perfect. So, I’d kind of like to write about that.” A lot of these women on there are so good at what they do that I just kind of wanted to represent people who are out there going, “You know, I kind of fall on my face on a daily basis and it feels horrible.” I just wanted to be able to say, “No! It’s okay! We all fall on our face sometimes and it’s totally okay. That’s how you learn, grow and become a better person!” That’s where the inspiration came from and you can go to the site to check it out. Also, I tweet it out every month when it is posted. I love feedback! I love anybody who reads it and you can post comments and I will respond. It’s going to become more interactive as it grows. It’s really just a place moms can go and not feel alone in their journey and no matter what they do it’s all going to be okay! You can go on there and comment, ask questions and even give your own advice!
Q) You have an upcoming guest role on “The Exes.” What can you tease about what we will get to see?
A) It was just such an amazing opportunity and I felt honored to be in the company of such seasoned comedic actors like Kristen Johnston, Wayne Knight and Donald Faison! Every single one of them were so seasoned and such pros! I found myself watching all of the rehearsals – even the scenes I wasn’t in! I was just in awe of all of their decisions, their timing and how sharp they were. It was also really a great education because it is a different medium. It’s a multi-cam as opposed to a single-cam (which we do on “Awkward”) so there is a live audience. There is a different rhythm to that and a different form of comedy. It was such an incredible experience. My character is so different from Lacey. She’s this innocent, doe-eyed daughter of a military man, played by the incredible Stacy Keach. I kind of fall for one of the main characters who presents himself as being someone who he is not. Of course, shenanigans ensue. Hopefully, people will tune in because it is a really great show on TV Land and a really funny one. The actors on there are just really wonderful. I hope people tune in to watch!
Q) We have gotten to see this wonderful relationship between Jenna and Lacey come full circle. Talk a little about the evolution of their relationship on “Awkward.”
A) I think that is one of the things that makes this show so special. They have really taken good care with the mother-daughter relationship from the start. Even though it is a comedy and a lot of things are heightened and it’s a little over the top, but the one thing that they have been great at is grounding the mother-daughter relationship and making it relatable and universal. I think that no matter what age you become a mother whether you are in high school like Lacey or whether you are in your late thirties or early forties there are growing pains. You are trying to figure out the right thing to do, with good intentions. Sometimes good intentions go awry and you have to make room for forgiveness to allow that relationship to grow. The writers have done a beautiful job with Lacey and Jenna. We have seen them having a very distant relationship and Lacey wanting to be so involved and making that mistake to opening the door for forgiveness. Jenna is getting to see for the first time her own mother struggle with being a mom. She has been there from the beginning and she had never let go and she has never not been there for her daughter, even though sometimes Kevin would leave and not come back. Lacey is always there. That’s also helped Jenna understand that even though her mom makes mistakes, she has had the best intentions and loved her more than anything else in the world. That does not mean that Lacey is not going to continue to be inappropriate and make mistakes. There is still a learning curve being a mom. I think there is always a learning curve because just when you think you get the hang of it you drop the ball again. It’s kind of like the universal thing with relationships, they are always growing and they are always maturing. You are always, hopefully, becoming wiser and a better version of yourself. I’ve just been really lucky to play that out as Lacey on the show.
Q) Your relationship with Ashley Rickards seems to bleed into the show as well. How has that relationship evolved?
A) There was this weird connection immediately between Ashley and I. I just wanted to Mama Bear her and also be that big sister to her because she grew up in the business since she was really young just like I did. So, a part of me understood her journey and a part of me understood the weight of carrying an entire show on your shoulders. Just instantly we had a connection and we all share the same legal name – Ashley Nicole. We even have the same name! How our relationship has grown is that at the beginning it was really just having a professional respect for each other, each of us showing up in these small scenes and big scenes together that were very emotional and knowing that we have each other’s back and knowing that we are going to be there for each other. It grew from this place of respect professionally to this real, true relationship that feels like family. We’re there for each other on a personal level, too. I’ve actually experienced that with everyone on the show. Now, we’re family. We’re in each other’s weddings and we throw baby showers for one another. I talk about Jillian Rose Reed and how she is my I.C.E. At first she was confused and was like, “Does that mean I cool things off for you?” I was like, “No! You’re my In Case of Emergency (I.C.E.) person!” I think that each of us plays that role in each other’s lives in some amazing way. It’s been more than just a show and just a job for me. I now have this family that I will have forever.
Q) Now that we are in senior year, the fandom has grown a lot as well.
A) A lot of the buzz and everything that came from the beginning is just because we had amazing fans that tuned in who told their friends to tune in, who told their friends to tune in, who then told their friends to tune in. Also, writers like you and critics talked about it. I don’t know where we would have been in terms of our critical acclaim without the media and press really stepping in and talking about the show. I can only image as an audience member…When “Breaking Bad” ended I cried because I won’t have it anymore, ven seasons ending like “House of Cards” and being desperate for the next season to come. We’re so grateful and thankful for our audience because they have continued to tune in and they have continued to spread the word. It’s the reason we get to go to work every day and do something that we love to do with people that we love to work with. It’s a really blessed situation.
Q) Lacey and Val make quite a friendship. There is great comedic moments between the two of you.
A) “Valacey” is our relationship name. That has been one of the most wonderful discoveries along the way for the writers. It was realizing they could put these two characters together and watch them go! Besides getting to do amazing scenes with Ashley and exploring that mother-daughter relationship, my other favorite part of the show is the work I get to do with Val. In real life, we’re also best friends, which is incredible. I think on camera there is this absolute mutual respect (the same with Ashley) that we’re going to be there for each other. Whatever she puts there she is going to catch and whatever she puts out there I am going to catch. I can’t tell you how many hours and hours we’ve spent together before episodes going over scripts and finding things to do, spring boarding off of what the writers already gave us and figuring out how we can even take it to that next level and do something even more ridiculous or how can we find that heart in this where you can really see the true friendship. We have just spent so many hours together laughing and having so much fun. I don’t even want to think about the day where the two of us can’t do that anymore because it is going to be such a sad, sad day for us.
Q) Since we are approaching Senior Year, what do you hope fans take away from this season of “Awkward?”
A) I hope that they take away from this season that high school isn’t forever and your life continues to grow and only get better. I hope that they can relate to these characters and the journeys that they are taking and see a piece of themselves in them. I think every single one of these characters are beautifully nuanced and they all have such heart to them. Even Sadie, she is the way she is because of her family life and has been kind of bullied in her own family. I think if the audience can see themselves in one of these characters and really take that journey and feel like they aren’t on their own or isolated in their journey then we have done our job. Also, if we can make you laugh…You never know where somebody finds themselves when they turn on the TV to watch something. You can be having a really bad day or a really good day and sometimes that fifteen minutes or an hour that you take to watch one of your favorite programs really turns your day around. if we can do that for anyone, then we have done our jobs.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to share with fans about the show and the upcoming season?
A) I would just like to say that you should tune in to the back half of “Awkward.” It’s a real ride with a couple of cliffhangers and surprises at the end. Don’t miss an episode! Also, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support and all of the love. It has been such a blessing to be a part of this show and no show can be on the air as long as we have without the support of fans and people tuning in every week. So, thank you! Thank you so much!