“They do give me advice like, ‘Learn everybody’s name and always be nice’ and things like that, but when it comes to acting, they kind of steer clear of it because I think they want it to be my own experience for me to learn about things in my own way,” Nico tells Variety from the family’s home in London.
The 15-year-old Brit made her acting debut last year in Tim Burton’s live-action remake of “Dumbo,” but she never explicitly told her parents she wanted to follow in her mother’s acting footsteps.
“I auditioned for ‘Dumbo’ and then it was kind of a whirlwind after that. We never had like a sit-down conversation of, ‘So this is what you want to do,’ Nico says. “It more just happened and now they’re kind of forced to accept it. But they are incredible supportive. I’m so lucky that they are and that they appreciate what I do.”
She currently stars in HBO’s new mystery thriller “The Third Day” as one of Naomie Harris’ daughters. Harris’ character takes her kids on a surprise getaway to an isolated island that turns out to be shrouded in darkness and inhabited by unwelcoming locals. It was filmed on location on Osea Island outside of London. “There’s a causeway that closes all the time [because it gets flooded with sea water] so you’re trapped there most of the time and we were living on the set because it’s not very big,” Nico says. “In fact, one of the houses they show I was staying in it. I remember one day I was having a bath and I could hear them filming right outside. It was really close proximity.”
While Nico says she hopes to one day fulfill her dream of being a waitress at an Italian restaurant after watching her older sister Ripley wait tables, she’s found her passion in acting. She finds inspiration from seeing other biracial actors succeed, especially Zendaya.
“It’s just incredibly important to have that kind of representation through all facets of media, people of all different colors. It kind of reminds everyone that we’re all beautiful,” Nico says. “I can look up to someone like Zendaya who kind of has a similar background to me. It’s really heartwarming, but there were so many people that didn’t get to experience that because they only saw people who were so different to them. The beauty standard was so far from what they looked like look like. It’s so wonderful that young girls and boys can now grow up with all different kinds of representation.”
In fact, Nico texted with Zendaya on Emmy night last month when she for her starring role on “Euphoria.” “I messaged her and she responded and it was just an incredibly big moment in my life,” she says. “She’s a powerhouse. She’s so cool.”
As for working with her mom someday, Nico hopes her dad, who wrote and directed “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again,” will write something for them as well as direct the project. “My mom and I keep coming up with these crazy ideas for TV shows and movies that we always launch at him at dinner that he isn’t always loving,” Nico says. “But sometimes he finds one interesting. It’s just a matter of time. If not, I will write something for me and my mom.”