Femme on Fire: Nichole Galicia

By Vanessa Butler Photography by Marc Cartwright

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Femme on Fire: Nichole Galicia:

Nichole Galicia may be known for her role in the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained, but after you finish reading this interview she’ll be best known for her high IQ (183), her love of art, her bright outlook on life and her incredible body. Okay, you probably already knew about that last one.

Aside from her on-screen work, Galicia has been keeping herself busy by writing a book on the Spanish art collective Equipo Cronica as well as sitting on the Junior Committee of the New York Center for Children, a charity that helps raise funds and awareness to prevent child abuse.

It was an absolute pleasure to speak with Galicia the morning after the Golden Globes; although she had been up partying until four A.M. she was revved up and ready to talk with us about her love for Franco Nero, her naked Golden Globes escapades, why she’s the one to call when you’re traveling to Madrid and of course all things Django.

*Playboy.com: *How were the Golden Globes?

Galicia: It was fun! It was incredible. I had a couple of deer-in-headlights moments. I started my day with—what’s the reverse of a naked faceplant?

*Playboy.com: *What? Elaborate!

*Galicia: *It was a crazy day from start to finish. My original dress for the Globes was destroyed at the tailor. I was going to wear it for the Django Unchained Los Angeles premiere, which was canceled, so I didn’t wear the dress. So when I picked it up, I didn’t even try it on because there was no premiere for me to wear it to. So I decided to hold onto it because I loved this dress and didn’t have a problem wearing it to the Globes. And the day before the Globes—don’t ask me why I waited so long—I tried to do my little shimmy into my dress and I was like, “Uh, my butt…what have I been eating?!” I could not get the zipper up, and when I did get it up, as my mamacita would say, it was “no bueno.” It was tight in all the wrong places. It’s now the day before my big event and I had no dress. My fantastic team of people scrambled and helped me find a new dress and get it in my suitcase and ship me off to Los Angeles, knowing that it doesn’t fit properly and I needed to find a tailor that could do an alteration for me the morning of the Globes and get me the dress back in time.

So my stylist finds me this amazing tailor in downtown L.A.—it was a little sketchy where it was—named Tony who speaks very little English. I had to dust off my Spanish skills so I could tell him what I wanted. I was not at all confident, but it was my last chance for having something to wear. He could not have been sweeter. After explaining what I wanted, I went into the little tiny room for the fitting. I started taking off all my clothes, as one does when you are going to try on a dress, and I decided in my infinite girlishness that I was going to put my five-inch heels on now so I don’t have to try and find shoes in my big huge gown. So I put my foot up and lose my balance a bit and I think, no problem, I’m going to lean back on the wall so that I can support myself when I step into my gown. But instead I immediately crash through the door and fall on my butt while I was completely butt naked—well, I wasn’t completely naked; I was wearing five-inch heels. I’m just…NAKED. In the center of the tailor shop. And Tony the tailor just looks at me and says, “Hola, Misses Galicia.” And I say “Hola, Mister Tony.” And there was just this second of both of us staring at each other and we then just burst into laughter. And I got up and I said “So…Discount?”

*Playboy.com: *I think that’s probably the best Golden Globes story I’ve ever heard!

Galicia: I said after that, everything is going to be crazy. I thought, I got my mortifying moment out of my way and I’m going to have a fantastically great time and that’s what I did. It was amazing being in a room full of people that you admire and have crushes on and want to work with. It was fantastic.

*Playboy.com: *You were modeling before you caught the acting bug. What made you take the jump?

Galicia: My modeling booker one day said to me, “You should take an acting class,” and I did. And I hated it and I went home and told my mother how mortifying the experience was, I was the absolute worst person in my acting class, it was just dreadful. I was completely out of my comfort zone and didn’t know what I was doing. There was no way I was doing that again. And my mother looked at me and said, “Oh, interesting, you finally found something you’re not the best at on day one. You’re going to stick with this for three months.” And I thought, what just happened here? She forced me to stay in acting class and I’m happy she did. I feel like I just accidentally found my calling. It was so freeing and fun and wonderful and challenging for me. It was the best happy accident ever.

*Playboy.com: *Were you a fan of spaghetti westerns before reading the Django script?

*Galicia: *Interestingly enough, I was a huge Franco Nero fan! I of course was excited to work with the amazing Leonardo DiCaprio and the amazing Jamie Foxx and Samuel Jackson and Don Johnson and all of the other fantastic people that were in our movie, but I remember the day that Franco and I were going to be getting our hair and makeup done at the same time in the same trailer. And…He’s sexy, you know? I’m not sure how old he is, but however old he is…he still has the goods. I always sort of found myself eating with him at lunch and chatting with him on break, and he treated me like “get away from me!” but lovely, and he just has this raw sexuality and way of looking at you. He’s amazing. I have watched like 40 of his films, including [the 1966] Django; he was the original Django you know! This entire experience was just pure fun. I am so spoiled, I don’t know what I could do after my full-on hardcore Tarantino experience, but I am looking forward to what is going to come next because that was an amazing ride.

*Playboy.com: *What was your favorite Tarantino experience?

Galicia: Well Django Unchained, as you know, has some heavy subject matter. So I thought I was in for long faces and sadness and tears for the three months that I was on set, but instead Quentin found a way to make this experience special and fun and enlightening. The work ethic on set was incredibly high. Quentin has a way of making everyone around him want to rise to his level, and I think people certainly did that. But then the fun ethic on set was also amazing. You would say something that was a line from a song, and you didn’t even know that it was a line from a song since you are just having a regular conversation; before you know it Quentin has it piped in throughout the entire set and people are dancing. And you’re like “what? What is going on here?” He’s just an incredible leader. I think he knew that the attitude on set started on the top and trickled down and he gave us a brilliant example of what to be like and we all followed his lead. I know it sounds corny, but it was the experience I’ve always dreamed of for myself and the one I wish for for every other actor. From the talent to the crew to the set to the amazing dresses that Sharen Davis, our costumer, made for me…I’m spoiled from the Tarantino experience. I don’t know what I’m going to do next without thinking “that’s not how Quentin Tarnation had it on set!”

*Playboy.com: *I have to say that my inner teen is green with envy that you got to smooch DiCaprio.

Galicia: Oh my god. Kissing Leonardo DiCaprio. I still call him Leonardo DiCaprio because he’s still the ultimate movie star. I have not gotten to the point where I felt like I could call him Leo. He’s just dreamy, like you want to eat him up. He’s sexy, smart, down-to-earth and regular. And then you think “Oh wow, he must be doing all of this to make me think he’s sexier than I think he already is because how could he be so normal?!” It was amazing working with him. Really, I get to work with Leonardo DiCaprio for three months? Really? Thank you, universe. I did something amazing in a past life to be planted here.

*Playboy.com: *Is it true that you have homes in Madrid, New York and Los Angeles?

Galicia: Madrid, yeah! Sounds fancy, right? I’ve lived all over the world. I have family in the East Coast and West Coast and Europe. I love Madrid. I used to live in London for a few years but my place in Madrid is where I go when I need to escape and immerse myself in art and culture. I’m a huge art fan; my favorite museum is the Prado museum in Madrid and I go there to clear my mind and reset things. I started my research for Django Unchained at the Prado museum walking through with my uncle. We have this ritual where we go to the Prado and we always get a guided tour to give us the greatest hits. But my uncle is a huge art buff—no one can give him a guided tour. So really he just gets the tour guide to check that he’s giving other people the proper tour. He spends so much time correcting or adding on things that the guide has forgotten that eventually they always say, “oh, would you like to give the tour?” and of course he says yes and then becomes the tour guide. And I’ve had this exact same tour since I was probably ten years old. We never deviate from the plan, so if you’re ever in Madrid and you wanna go to the Prado, I’m your girl. I give the best tours. It’s the perfect mix of education and fun, so don’t worry, I won’t bore you.

*Playboy.com: *And on the other side of the spectrum, I read that you’re a big F1 fan. What do you think of the new Circuit of the Americas F1 track?

Galicia: I am not a Formula One fan; I’m a Formula One fanatic. You know that thing that happens when the Beatles used to perform? That’s me. I am obsessed with F1. The Austin GP is remarkable, it’s so well done. I was not able to go this year, unfortunately, or I guess fortunately since I was shooting something with Quentin so I had to miss it, but everything you care about is just phenomenal. All the racers rave about it and the fans say it’s an amazing facility and I’m excited. I love Austin already, so I’m excited to go. Austin and the Austin GP; what more can a girl dream for?


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