NIKKI LEIGH’s WORLD – Military Appreciation, Turkish, Cartwheels and Sunflower Seeds


Nikki’s World

Let’s catch up on what’s going on in Nikki’s world, and we mean Nikki’s world. You are currently in Turkey filming a movie. What can you share with us about the film? Oh my! First off, the script was in broken English. In my audition tape, I sent in three scenes from the actual movie. I sent my audition tape in on Friday night and on Monday I was on a plane to Turkey.

Tell us about your character in film. One thing I want to say about Jessica is that she is very sweet, warmhearted, very accepting, and very non-judgmental. She’s a real beautiful person. She is the lead female role in the film. She is the wife of the main actor. It is romantic-comedy, family romantic-comedy.

Is it a big studio film or Indie? It is being produced by the largest production company in Turkey. I was chosen to replace an actress who was originally Jessica in the first film of the series. The first one was filmed six or seven years ago.

Will we see it in US? It will be released in Turkey and Europe but I am not sure about USA release.

Okay, so probably no USA release. What language is the film in? I get this script in broken English and in getting the role you have to do a contract. In the contract, it says they are going provide you with a translator. I am like hell yeah! I can learn some Turkish while I am here. I hate that I only speak English. I took Spanish classes when I was in school but I wouldn’t say that I am fluent. I get to Turkey and I meet everybody and the freaking assistant director tells me tomorrow you have a meeting with the acting coach / translator. Then she hands me a script all in Turkish. I get there the next day. I do my fitting and I sit down with her (the translator); it is a big surprise to me I am doing the whole movie in Turkish.

You are not speaking English? Nope. I am doing the freaking whole movie in Turkish. A dream of mine is to learn a language. Surprisingly, I am actually good at Turkish and I am having an amazing time here. Everyone here thinks language is a talent of mine now.

Turkey and Sunflower Seeds

Was this your first visit to Turkey? Yes, and I it has been amazing since I got to learn the language.

What strikes you most about the culture in Turkey? They are so giving. They are so simple. They are really beautiful people. We are filming in all these little villages. For my birthday, they gave me sunflowers and fresh picked grapes (which are amazing!) from their own garden. The Sunflowers were so amazing. I never knew how sunflower seeds were harvested. The Turkish people love sunflower seeds. The villages taught me how to properly eat sunflower seeds. There is an actual skill to eating sunflower seeds.

Do you converse with them in Turkish? Yes

Do they laugh at your Turkish? No, I get so many compliments on my Turkish. It is strange. The director and other actors are constantly helping me improve my Turkish.

Birthdays and Turkish Icons

You just celebrated a birthday. Happy birthday. We understand you went to Cyprus to celebrate. Tell us a little bit about Cyprus. I went to north Cyprus. It is a mini Vegas. It’s all on a beach. I love that. You are on the Mediterranean. It was the perfect birthday for me to relax. I am very lucky my birthday fell on a Turkish holiday called Bayram so everyone is off. It felt like a holiday for my birthday.

What will you remember most about Cyprus? I had the best thing in the world happened to me in Cyprus. There is a Turkish pop star who you could compare to Madonna. Ajda Pekkan is her name. She was having a concert for Bayram. During the concert, I am front row, kind of like a dinner concert with great food, and our table meets the front of the stage. All of a sudden a cake comes out and Ajda comes out and sings happy birthday to me in Turkish and waves her arms to the audience to join in. Then after, she did speak a little English and we had a short conversation. She is a real Madonna of sorts to these people.

Cartwheels and Happiness

As we were reviewing the photos we noticed you’ve got some serious biceps. What’s your fitness regimen? One thing I know about fitness is to always keep your body guessing. Don’t do the same workout regimen all the time which is why I like to do sports and try new things. I was a gymnast when I was a little girl and I was always doing handstands and cartwheels. I have had these arms since I was like 5.

Do you still do handstands and cartwheels? I’ll do a cartwheel every now and then. When I feel extra happy.

Have you been able to get your workouts in while on location in Turkey? I travel with resistance bands and occasionally I get into the hotel gym. It has been tough due to the early call times.

Nikki Salutes The USO & Our Military

Not your normal Kandy shoot. Why a tribute to the military? OMG! When we were talking about the shoot I remembered that 2016 was the 75th Anniversary of the USO, that is what made me want to do this. I wanted to show military appreciation.

It is quite the tribute to the fighting men and women of our Armed Forces. You’ve got a B-29 bomber, a General’s car from WWII, a helicopter from Vietnam, a troop carrier from the Korean war, a C-141 Starlifter from the Vietnam war, even a single-engine bi-plane from 1930. What was it like taking a trip through our 20th Century military timeline? We had an amazing location that really stayed true to our history; fighter jets, helicopters, military vehicles and all the while learning the history of the planes and equipment. It was an educational shoot as well.

It was really amazing to me we were able to around real life bomber planes and cargo planes that were used in historical events. It gave me a whole new respect for our history and meant more than just an ordinary photo shoot. Plus, I had my favorite crew with me – hair makeup, photographer and stylist.

Which aircraft was the most impressive to you? I enjoyed the cargo plane, it had so much history and richness to me. Our consultant on location let us know that it is so big that they throw events inside it. I found that amazing.

Photos by Mario Barberio | Hair and Makeup Michelle Vanderhule | Stylist Joi

Download the 5 Year Anniversary issue inside the Kandy app for Nikki’s entire interview and her patriotic pictorial tribute to our armed forces.


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