Originally from Aurora, Illinois, Nicole is the first member of her immediate family to be born in this country. Her mother is from British Guyana, a country whose name we apparently had trouble pronouncing. Nicole groaned when she heard us say it. "You're butchering it," she said.
Her father is half East Indian, half Chinese. Growing up in such a cultural mix informed Nicole's dating preferences. "I've always liked dating different types of people," she says. "My whole family does. Holiday photos look like Benetton commercials."
In high school, she was twice crowned homecoming queen. She also was a sprinter on the track team, a skill that came in hand when she had to outrun classmates jealous of her drop-dead good looks. "I'm a success, and those people who were mean to me along the way can go to hell."
When she turned 16, Nicole bolted to Los Angeles. While living with family, she worked as a hostess and a supervisor at a Discovery Zone. Two years later, she finished high school and answered a roommate-wanted ad in the paper. The three men who had placed that ad must have thought they were dreaming when Nicole walked in. She swears they were perfect gentlemen during their cohabitation, and never once hit on her. But they still managed to screw things up. One night, as the four roomies watched a movie, "One guy snapped on me for not buying groceries and eating their food," she says. "But I had a shit job. They all had good jobs." Three days later, she returned to Illinois.
Nicole is both a model and an inventor. Her latest brainchild, the Optical Ear, addresses her biggest pet peeve -- dirty ears. "It's a handheld mirror that lights up," she explains. "Two rotating mirrors are attached to it. You face another mirror and stick the Optical Ear inside your ear canal. Then you can see the reflection." Ever since Nicole pointed this out, we can't stop looking into women's ears. But we haven't seen any as cute as Nicole's.
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