Nicole Oliver is one of the most respected talents in the film industry as an actor and steadily climbing as a go-to voice director in animation. Nicole’s newest role is the supporting lead alongside Holly Robinson Peete (Morning Show Mysteries: Murder Most Fair, Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy) and Dion Johnstone (Sweet Magnolias, Star Falls), along with Patti LaBelle (Star, Christmas Everlasting) star in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries “A Family Christmas Gift,” a new original premiering Sunday, December 22, (9 p.m. ET/PT), on Hallmark Channel as part of the network’s annual “Miracles of Christmas” programming event.
1. For the people who might not know you, could you introduce yourself?
Absolutely!! My name is Nicole Oliver. I have been working in the film and television industry for almost 30 years as an actress, voice-over performer, director, and producer.
2. What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry and how did you get started?
I danced when I was a young child, and that really sparked my creative juices. I ended up doing the high school play in my grade 12 year, and that made me start thinking about pursuing a career as an actress. I auditioned for the Acting Program at York University in Toronto, Ontario, and after four years, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Theatre, landed an agent, and was fortunate enough to start working pretty soon after graduating.
3. You are currently starring on “Hallmark Channel’s A Family Christmas Gift”. What can you tell us about your character and how does it feel like to be a part of this show?
I play Leah Andrews, the best friend of Holly Robinson Peete’s character, Amber. Leah loves her friend and her community and really wants to see everyone be happy and live their best life. It is always a blessing to be a part of a Hallmark Christmas project, but this film was extra special. Having the opportunity to work with and see the legendary Patti Labelle sing a Christmas song at almost Christmas time…pinch me! A truly once in a lifetime experience, and I can’t wait for the audience to feel the Christmas joy and spirit!!
4. You also have a role in “Man In the High Castle.” What was it like to be part of this popular TV series?
Playing Zina on Man in the High Castle was a challenging, physical experience. It took about 3 ½ hours to apply the prosthetic makeup on my face, neck, and arms, and then about 90 minutes to remove. The days were LONG…but the content was fulfilling. My character really embraced the possibility of hope, and I was able to play some scenes with the lead character Juliana Crane that were a completely different tone than the series usually carries.
5. Who would you love working with on a project and why?
Oh wow….such a long list! I am currently obsessed with The Morning Show on Apple+. The writing on that show is an actor’s dream; so to be able to work with any of the creative leads on that project would be brilliant. From an actor point of view: Reese Witherspoon, Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock, and Olivia Coleman. Brilliant performers.
6. What do you hope to achieve through your art?
I have never been asked that before- great, interesting question. I just hope that my performances can touch people in a way to bring them some joy, introspection or even a pleasant bit of distraction from some of the challenges in their lives. Art is meant to inspire, provoke and soothe…so to be able to bring a little piece of that to others would be an honor.
7. You are a very successful voice actor including “My Little Pony”. How does animation differ from your on-camera roles?
With animation, it usually doesn’t matter what you look like; I can be anything from a young girl to an old witch to a talking toothbrush! Animation is very expressive and allows for great exploration into the edges of what is possible as a performer.
8. You are now directing animation, can you tell us more?
Yes! I have recently added voice director to my resume and have directed several animated series and specials for Netflix, PBS, etc. My job is to work closely with the animation director and lead team and direct the actors to get the performances we need to bring the animation to life.
9. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
I have had a great career to date with many, many highlights, but I don’t feel I have reached my peak yet! “Wonder” was a beautiful project to be a part of, working on “My Little Pony” for almost a decade and being able to interact with fans from all over the world has been mind-blowing…but being able to say that I am a working performer for almost 30 years, the mother to 2 beautiful, healthy young men and that I have been married to my husband for almost 2 decades…that makes me proud.
10. Which artists influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking and career path?
Meryl Streep has always inspired me with how she juggled her family with her career aspirations. She is a once in a lifetime kind of performer and has inspired many women in my industry. Other inspirations are Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith- to still be following my passion in my later years, like they are, would be fulfilling.
11. What is the best vs. the worst thing about the entertainment industry?
The best and worst thing about the industry is the people. There are many people who are collaborative, supportive, inclusive, kind, generous, respectful…and then there are many, who are not. It’s a tough industry, but it is an industry of possibility. We do have the power to make our own projects, share our own stories and surround ourselves with good people who move forward with respect.
12. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to “eat the bread.”
13. How do you deal with the stress of the entertainment industry?
I am able to deal with the stress of the industry because I have an amazing family and circle of friends who listen, give me hugs, cheer me on, and remind me to not take it all so seriously. Oh, and yoga. Self-care is essential.
14. What is one philosophy that you live by?
Be kind, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
15. Do you have any advice for people who want to get started in the industry?
If it is a passion for you, then go for it. Make sure you can put a roof over your head and some food on your table, but follow your dreams while you can. “What could have happened if….” is a terrible sentiment to have hovering in your soul day after day.
16. What plans do you have in mind for the future?
I want to keep working, keep breathing, keep being, keep loving, and try and get more than 6 hours of sleep per night! Oh, to dream!
17. What are some causes that are dear to your heart and hope to bring awareness to in the future?
I lost my father almost 25 years ago to heart disease. Heart and Stroke charities and areas of research are very important to me.
Thank you so much to Nicole for the interview. You can find more information about her and her work on: