THE MANY FACES OF MICHELE HICKS
Michele Hicks was a top fashion model before she made the switch to film and T.V. She hit the ground running, working with some of the greatest directors in the industry: David Lynch and Michael Polish.
Michele tells Imagista about how she decided to become an actor, the moment she knew it was the right move and the upcoming roles she’s excited about.
Imagista: My first question is, you had incredible success as a model in New York and Europe – was acting something you’d always been interested in doing?
Michele Hicks: No. (laughs)
Imagista: So what happened?
Michele Hicks: I know. Everybody expects me to say that I wanted to be an actress since I was a child. I actually wanted to be a dancer when I was a child. It was something that in my 20’s, after being in the fashion business for a while, I was introduced to a number of people in that creative process and it was something I really wanted to explore and seemed like something that I would enjoy or be good at. I started taking classes and lessons and really started responding to it and so that…was my next career.
Imagista: Was there something in that process where you had a “eureka” moment?
Michele Hicks: Yes, it was my first film actually. The thing about the process, even in studying and doing workshops and stuff like that, you have to really delve in there to make anything resonate in a way. I don’t know, I didn’t respond to that process but it was definitely, probably my eureka moment was I got my first film which was Twin Falls Idaho and it was an amazing opportunity and an amazing first film to get. It was an amazing group of people to work with in that situation. I just remember halfway through shooting it that I called up my model agent in Paris and I said ‘Ok, this is it. This is what I’m doing now. I’m done.’ So that was my ‘eureka’ moment. You don’t know for sure until you actually, you know, flesh out a character and shoot a whole thing. That was my ‘eureka’ moment for sure.
Imagista: That’s very cool. Was there someone who’s had a tremendous impact or influence on you in your acting career?
Michele Hicks: There are a lot of people that have had an impact and influence. I would say different people at different times. There are so many women whose performances have influenced me for sure. You know, you’re just like, ‘holy shit. Like, I don’t know how she went there. How did she do that?” I mean, Cate Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine – I was dying. I was just in awe. I was so inspired by it. I want to be able to do a character that basically has a complete breakdown, you know. So, there are many people that every time you see a great performance, especially by a woman, seeing another woman, you’re just like, “Wow, you inspired me going forward.” There’s not one woman that’s jumping in my mind.
Imagista: Who do you admire most in the field and why? It sounds like Cate Blanchett is one of them. Are there any others?
Michele Hicks: As an actress there are many. There are so many performances. That particular film just sticks out in my mind right now. Who else? There are so many talented women, I don’t know how to pick just one or two.
Imagista: So it’s mostly women. What about men?
Michele Hicks: Definitely. I’ve worked with some great other actors. The reason I’m just picking out women is because when you’re looking at those roles, these are roles that you’ve could have done so you’re inspired.
Imagista: Is there anything you’re working on or is coming up that you’re really excited about?
Michele Hicks: I’ve been working on two different shows. I’m really excited about Public Morals, which will start airing in August on TNT. It’s a 1960’s New York cop/mobster drama.
Imagista: Tell me about your role
Michele Hicks: It’s a great role. It’s a great show. You’ve got 60’s New York, Irish immigrants, Westies, Hells Kitchen, there is so much to do. I can’t wait to see it. I can’t wait to see the stuff I wasn’t in to see how everything fleshed out. I’m very excited about that. Great character, I play a woman that was born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen, tons of siblings, Irish Catholic family, all her family are cops and she’s married to a mobster.
Imagista: Whoa, that’s a great premise.
Michele Hicks: Even her young son is now a rookie cop. So it’s very complicated. Everyone is related and it kind of crosses the line.
Imagista: That sounds amazing. Lots of opportunity for conflict.
Michele Hicks: Yeah, there’s a lot of conflict. (laughs) A lot of drama so it makes for a very interesting role.
Imagista: Do you have a dream role or dream person to work with?
Michele Hicks: There are so many things I’d love to do. It’s about the role. You get a role and you read it and you’re like “holy shit, I have to do this.” There are too many people. I’ve worked with some great people – David Lynch, Ed Burns on this – he was amazing to work with. I’ve been very fortunate.
Imagista: I’ve got one more question for you – if you weren’t acting, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Michele Hicks: I don’t know. I was in the fashion business before this so I’d probably doing something related to that. If I hadn’t been in the fashion business, I wanted to be a lawyer but I think I’d be pursuing societal change work.
Imagista: Do you have any hobbies?
Michele Hicks: I’m a workout junkie. I don’t know if that’s a hobby, I love hiking and doing massive treks through Alaska, Africa, the Grand Canyon. I like to be out there in nature. We’re so over stimulated in our society, I think that having the opposite of that and clearing everything out is really important and heals you a little.
Imagista: Is there anything else you’d like to touch on?
Michele Hicks: The other thing I’d like to talk about that I’m really impassioned about is I’m working with this organization called the Treatment Advocacy Group that is working on changing legislation to help families with severely mentally ill family members.