ELYSIAN’S 22 Questions with Jasika Nicole

by ELYSIAN Magazine

Q: What is one thing you can’t live without?

A: A project for my hands to work on. Whether it’s a drawing, a garment I’m sewing, something I’m knitting or a piece of furniture I’m building. Nothing makes me mind feel less stuck in my head than creating with my hands.


Q: Why is it important for women to support women?

A: Because our shared experiences make us one another’s best allies.


Q: If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?

A: The kid version of myself. I would give her a pep talk to get through her teenage years and tell her how her survival tactics are going to make her a fierce woman one day.


Q: What has been the most rewarding project of your career?

A: Suicide Kale, the indie micro-budget feature film my friends and I made several years ago. 75% of the film was improvised around specific plot and dialogue points to tell an over-arching story about four queer friends having a leisurely weekend brunch that turns a bit sour. It is the most collaborative experience I have had in film/TV and it was received so well by our community. I hope that at some point in my career I get to top it.


Q: When were you happiest?

A: I am happiest the further I get away from my 20’s. They weren’t awful by any means, but they were full of angst, self-doubt and a lack of my own self-awareness (like many people’s 20’s I imagine). They pale in comparison to my 30’s, and so far 40 is looking pretty exciting, too.


Q: What is the worst job you’ve done?

A: I answered a Craigslist ad in my early 20’s for hair models of color, and they dyed my hair blonde. Because it was double processed it ended up falling out in clumps about 6 weeks later and as a result I wore a newsboy cap every day for like a year and a half until enough of my hair had grown back in that I didn’t look like a walking disaster.


Q: Where is one place in the world you would love to visit next?

A: There are too many to name. I’m looking forward to visiting Japan, New Zealand, and as much of Africa as I have money and time for.


Q: How do you relax?

A: Usually by knitting or sewing.


Q: What is your daily skincare routine?

A: I only wash my face if it has makeup on it, otherwise it just gets splashes of warm water, a homemade shea-butter and rosehip oil based moisturizer, and SUNSCREEN, all day every day. I don’t use a lot of products on my face because I have sensitive skin and I have never noticed any difference when I pile on seven facial products compared to just using a couple.


Q: What is your most cherished beauty product?

A: Sunscreen. I usually make it myself, but Trader Joe’s has a wonderful zinc-based lotion that is super creamy and soft and doesn’t go on too thick.


Q: Favorite accessory and why?

A: I’ve never been big into accessories, but I do live in either small gold hoops or gold studs for my ears. I never take them out unless I am filming.


Q: What is your favorite high end brand to splurge on?

A: I have to be honest; I can’t really think of any high-end brands that have ever been a part of my regimen…so far I haven’t found that spending more money on products always yields better results (as long as the ingredients are comparable). The $5.99 eye cream I get from Trader Joe’s works better than the last three $50 eye creams I have used from well-known brands. The only exception I can think of is Kerastasse hair products, which are certainly more expensive than a drug store brand; that line is doing great things to my hair right now, although I have to cycle through hair products every couple of years when they stop doing their magic on my curls.


Q: What is the biggest misconception about your profession?

A: That it’s always glamorous and always fun. It is often those things, but it’s also work, which comes with the same cons that other professions do. You have to work with people you don’t get along with, sometimes you feel like you aren’t being heard or your voice isn’t being taken into consideration. The hours can be grueling. Sometimes you don’t feel proud of what has been accomplished but you have to grin and bear it because you want to be a team player.


Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A: Oh, god! I mention “nuance of flavor” whenever I am describing particularly delicious food. I do it so much I get on my own nerves, but it’s usually the most perfect way for me to describe a really good bite!


Q: What trait do you most admire in others?

A: Listening skills! I admire people who can sit patiently and hear someone else’s opposing viewpoint without immediately going into attack mode or getting super emotional.


Q: Who would play you in the film of your life?

A: I would not be interested in seeing my life on film…I’m happy with a well-written book.


Q: How would you like to be remembered?

A: As someone who reminded adults of how important it is to keep nurturing their own creativity.


Q: Can you tell us about your role on The Good Doctor and what it is like working with Freddie Highmore?

A: Carly Lever is a pathologist at the fictional St. Bonaventure hospital in The Good Doctor. She serves to be Shaun’s first girlfriend, and his first for a lot of other things! Most of season 3 focuses on the couple’s burgeoning romance and the ups and downs that most new romances are challenged with. Freddie is a dream scene partner and I have loved every minute of working with him.


Q: What inspired you to start your own fashion blog?

A: My blog isn’t really about fashion, per se. I have been sewing/knitting all my own clothes and making many of my shoes for about four years now, so the blog is focused more on pattern reviews and the process of making than it is fashion. I am less interested in sharing cute outfits and telling people how to style things than I am sharing the joy of making, and hopefully encouraging others to limit their dependency on Ready to Wear, which has proven to be detrimental to both our environment and the communities of people who work in the garment industry.


Q: Do you still find time to draw or sew now that your acting career has grown?

A: I’ve always been a maker, way before I was a professional actor, and this has served as an act of self-care for me from the very beginning of my career. I don’t show up to sets without my knitting needles and yarn, I go to out of town gigs with my travel sewing machine and a couple of patterns in tow, and I can draw virtually anywhere. The growth of my career hasn’t hindered my ability to make…if anything, making has become even more important for me as I get older and take on more projects.


Q: How do you foster your creativity?

A: I can’t say that fostering my own creativity has ever been a conscious effort, it feels more like it’s just a part of my DNA. It is how my brain functions best, and I don’t think I could stop it if I tried.


Q: What advice can you give to someone balancing multiple career fields?

A: I have none because I don’t have multiple careers. I am a professional actor who loves to make things in her spare time. My making is a hobby, and it’s important for me not to try and monetize it. This would be considered a hot take in some circles, but I don’t believe that just because we are good at something we have to turn it into a money-making venture. Very anti-capitalist of me! I’m perfectly content with my maker life being so self-serving. It would be exciting for an opportunity to come up where my intersecting interests aligned in a fun way, like being the host of a sewing, fashion or DIY show, but until that happens, I’m happy to just be an actor with a rich life outside of her job. 

Photographer: Jess Nurse

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