Nicole G. Leier – The Bridge Part 2
By: Ruth Hill
Last year, as a result of a crowdfunding project in which I was involved, an actress was brought to my attention whose career has been steadily on the ascent. While this gifted lady may not be a household name as of yet, I believe it is only a matter of time before that changes for the better. I am talking about none other than Nicole G. Leier (pronounced LEE-er). Shortly after her recent relocation to L.A., I had a chance to chat with her about life, the acting profession, and, of course, her upcoming works.
What can you tell us about your recently released Lifetime film Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart?
Because I have features and a skin tone very similar to Toni Braxton’s, I am often called upon to be her photo double. So when this film came about, her manager and producer decided I should play a part in the film. I was quite happy to do so, and they agreed to put me in one scene. I played a reporter on the red carpet, and I got to interview her in the film (almost like you are doing with me now).
You also will be making an appearance in The Bridge Part 2, which will premiere on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries this March. There was plenty of fan uproar about Part 2 being postponed until Christmas 2016. Now that the date has been moved up, what is your take on the entire situation?
When we were filming The Bridge, none of us (not even the director) knew that Parts 1 and 2 were going to air a year apart. I heard about the anger of the fans, but it was also a surprise when the decision was made to move the date up. There is even talk of this film becoming a television series–the fans sure want it. I think it would make a great series, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
You were recently cast in the pilot of “The Time is Right,” a sci-fi series that is still in development. What has been your experience with crowdfunding and pitching a show with a somewhat uncertain future?
I think crowdfunding is an amazing vehicle for independent producers and filmmakers, but it does take the right project to get the fans interested in supporting it. Also, it is important that indie filmmakers take advantage of the grants that are out there, which “The Time is Right” is now doing. It’s always difficult to get these things worked out because the people involved usually have big dreams and the writers have high hopes. It’s heart-breaking to watch the production team work so hard and then fall short of their goals.
In the case of “The Time is Right,” I think they just needed a little more time to see their dreams realized. It takes meeting the right person and you never know for sure when that is going to happen. I believe one day soon this series will go into production and I am very excited to be a part of it.
In “The Time is Right,” my character is the love interest of Ellen Dubin’s character. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to think about working with these actors like Ellen Dubin, Sebastian Spence, Cas Anvar, Russell Yuen, Elias Toufexis–I have been fans of their work for so long and they are legends in the business. I can hardly wait to get started on this series.
As an actress/person, do you have any role models who have inspired you when times are hard?
My role model is definitely my husband (Brendan Uegama) He works as a filmographer for Universal and the way he is with people is just amazing. I have learned so much from watching him. I also look up to and respect Meryl Streep. I get shivers from the tone of her work. I am amazed at how much she does and how much she has not changed in spite of her success. And she is so passionate about her work. I aspire to be like her.
I also highly respect Karen Kingsbury (author of The Bridge). She really treats all of us who were in the movie like family, and her door is always open to us.
If you had not been an actress, what would you have done?
Interesting you would ask. There was a period of time when I actually did quit being an actress. I had been working a while and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, so I decided it was time to give up and not be an actress any more. So, I became a flight attendant and for a year and a half that was my job. I really tried to give up acting, but I was so unhappy. In fact, during that time, I gained a lot of weight–I was up to 200 pounds.
Interestingly enough, I got a grant for one of my projects and I knew I had to make a decision. And this time, if I decided to come back to acting, there was no turning back. Well, the grant came through in record time–two weeks, which is practically an industry record. And I knew I had no choice but to go back to what I really loved–to what I felt called to do and where my heart was.
I returned to acting and after that time, I also began to make healthy decisions in my lifestyle which led to my weight loss. It was much easier to lose that weight once I was doing what I was meant to be doing–acting. And now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. There is no doubt that my destiny lies with acting and films.
Do you have any other projects in the works that you are at liberty to mention?
I have two projects that I will be able to mention soon. They are in the works and I can’t say much about them right now.
But I do have two independent short films I am working on. The one I am most excited about is one I co-wrote called Human Survival of the Psyche. Because it is based on my life story, it is very inspirational. I set out to make a film that shows everyone who thinks that they can’t do the impossible, really can. Don’t give up on your dreams because if I can do it, anyone can. Dreams are possible.
My husband, Brandon, got to work on the recent Hallmark film All Things Valentine as a cinematographer and he was very fortunate to get to work with director Gary Harvey, an amazing human being with an inspirational cancer survival story.
How do you balance your professional and personal life?
In our case, it works perfectly that both my husband and I are in the industry. We have always been able to bring a sense of balance to our lives, and our work is our passion. We both feel strongly about that so it just works very well. We love what we do. While we take some time off together for vacation every year, we just couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We share the responsibilities and we are both driven in our work. We might tend to be workaholics, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. We recently did move to L.A. from Canada. We worked very hard to fulfill a lifelong dream of obtaining a green card and being able to work and live in L.A. Although we both have had careers in the industry for years, we are ready to start this new adventure together. This has been our dream, and now it really is coming true.
And, indeed, Nicole is a dreamer. To chat with her for, but a brief time is to sense the passion she has for what she does. For her, the sky is not even the limit and she is just the type of person to not retreat. Once she decides she is going to do something, she will not rest until she is able to view its realization. Exhilarating stamina and purpose will propel her to the fruition of her labors, and in the end, I believe I can see the day that everyone will know this dreamy-eyed girl who never gave up on what she is convinced is her purpose in life. And because of the fire of her enthusiasm, she is going to take all of us along for the electrifying rollercoaster ride of a lifetime.
Be sure to follow her on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NicoleG.Leier ) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NicoleGLeier). Also, look out for this charismatic actress in The Bridge Part 2 this March on the Hallmark Mysteries & Movies Channel.