Chasing big city dreamsPublished 9:12pm Saturday, June 15, 2013
The studio apartment about five blocks from Central Park is a world away from the sleepy city of Suffolk.
It’s where 2008 Nansemond River High School graduate Nicole Lockhart, a budding actor, writer and model, plots her next audition, novel or screenplay.
Lockhart, who at Nansemond River was in the school’s award-winning theater club, says she has met with success after setting out for New York City.
She moved to Manhattan two years ago after majoring in acting in North Carolina’s Elon University’s fine arts program.
The 23-year-old was recently one of two young women selected for an advertisement that appeared in “Cosmopolitan” and “Fitness” magazines.
“I went through several rounds of callbacks for the job,” Lockhart said. “We shot for print ads and also the video.”
Lockhart said she loves the adrenaline and glamour of the set, but also described it as no walk in the park.
“There’s always a ton of things going on behind the camera to highlight just you in front of the camera,” she said.
“We had a wonderful crew and director to take care of us and help us get through the long day. It took 13 hours.
“After about 10 hours it becomes manual labor to smile. It’s a lot of repeating the same things and doing exactly the same things … which can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.”
Lockhart said her first novel, which is about “a misguided young boy,” would be published this September.
The novel, which took her about three years to write, is about “bullying and creating your own identity and finding you own worth.”
Lockhart was also a featured extra in a movie, “Concussion,” that went to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where she hopes to return next year, being under consideration for a festival screenwriting scholarship.
But for Lockhart’s friends and family, including dad Vince, mom Terri, and — a 2013 graduate of Nansemond River High School — sister Jala Lockhart, the biggest thrill has been discovering Nicole inside the pages of a national magazine.
“A friend of mine from college happened to be reading ‘Cosmo’ and found it and had to ask if it was me,” Nicole Lockhart said.
Moving into a shoebox apartment in the big city in the hopes of making it as a writer or actor is something many youngsters either don’t have the guts to carry through, or are talked out of by their parents.
But Lockhart said, “Create a plan and go do it. … If you trust yourself and trust your work, you can absolutely make a living at this.”