Nicole Bloom… Blossoming!

Jan 2, 2024

Written by: Casey Kaplan, B&NC Mag President   
Photos: Andrea Ceraso      
Hair & Makeup: Brett Jackson

Nicole and I were in the same First Grade class at Pound Ridge Elementary, and we were playmates around that age. I remember lots of playdates over at the Blooms, and was kind of captivated by them, and Nicole in particular. First of all, Nicole has a fraternal twin sister, Christine, and I’ve always been fascinated with multiples – even requiring twin and triplet dolls as a toddler. And she has another sister, Ava, who was a baby then, who we used as our real-life baby in our game of ‘house’. Nicole’s mom, Melanie, was really friendly and fun, and pretty, and was always running an activity and involved with everything. And she had a famous dad, David, which I knew mostly because I knew they’d moved around for his job before coming to Pound Ridge, and because he was away a lot and people would be talking about where he was and what he was doing there.

The funny thing is, if there’s one thing in particular I remember about Nicole, it’s that at six or seven years old she was already a performer! She was the first to volunteer for a play, she was the loudest in the choir, and whenever we did anything imaginary during a playdate, she would immediately jump in front and assume the lead role – probably shocking my own sense of primacy.

Then, when Nicole was 9, her dad died…and as the community mourned the very public tragedy, I realized David Bloom had been a famous TV Correspondent for NBC News. It all came together for me that when the Blooms moved to Pound Ridge, David had become an Anchor on Weekend Today. And that, before coming to Pound Ridge, the Blooms had lived in California because David was then covering the OJ Simpson trial, and that they’d moved to Washington D.C. when David was becoming even more well-known serving as a White House Correspondent. The news on TV was non-stop about how David was embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq – spending long hours cramped inside an armored vehicle – and about how he died, on the morning U.S. forces moved into Baghdad, from a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis, where a blood clot that had formed in his leg caused a pulmonary embolism. I lost touch with Nicole after that. She’d already transferred to St. Patricks for Second Grade, and then she went to Sacred Heart from third grade through Twelfth. I hadn’t kept up on where she was or what she’d done and, weirdly, she wasn’t really even on my social media radar, nor I hers.

screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.07.13 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.13.15 am

… So I was momentarily shocked when Nicole showed- up on my TV screen playing the part of Maude Beaton, as I was engrossed watching the Second Season of the HBO hit series The Gilded Age!

screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.07.21 am

I got in touch with her immediately so we could catch-up, and so I could tell her story here in B&NC MAG. We met on a crisp morning at her parents’ home in Darien – Melanie is re-married to Dan McNulty, a widower himself and dad of two, who became a wonderful father to Nicole and her sisters. Not having seen each other in so long was a little awkward, but Nicole is bright, bubbly, and cheerful, and we were soon at ease. She’s wholesome, with twinkling eyes, a radiant smile, and a classic beauty, something like a young Annette Benning…and she has the same polite little giggle she had when we were kids. I asked her to start where we’d left off…

“It really rocked us,” Nicole reflects, “we were such a close-knit group of five. But losing our dad gave our little girl crew an even stronger and more unbreakable bond. Our mom was amazing. She gave us space to grieve, but also didn’t allow it to rob our childhood. And this community was such a strong support system for us. All our friends’ parents swooped-in and took us around to all of our sports activities and theater rehearsals. Dinardos and Blind Charlies, our favorite restaurants in town, generously delivered many, many meals to our home! Tom and Meredith Brokaw were really incredibly gracious, kind, and supportive. Tom adored our dad, and our dad admired him so much. …And NBC kind of scooped us up after the loss too.”

Nicole adds, “After my dad passed, my mom used her public platform to raise awareness about Deep Vein Thrombosis, and I’ve tried to follow in her footsteps and do the same. For us it’s a way to honor my dad, and we hope we’ve helped bring awareness to this critical medical condition.”

“I’m 29 now, and my dad was 39 when he died, so it definitely makes me reflect on what I want to do in life, and the finite nature of time. Loss at a young age opens your eyes to the world. I lost the feeling of being protected. My dad was super young, he had this boyish energy, and he was incredibly smart, and the most kind and loving father. I really admire the courage he had to follow his passion, and I learned how important it is to spend the time you have with the people you love, doing the things you love to do,” Nicole says. “That’s why I’m an actor!”

 

screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.07.46 am

“I’ve always loved theater and everything Broadway! I remember when I was five, my parents took us to see the Wizard of Oz and my dad brought us backstage to meet Dorothy, and it was a really formative experience for me to see the backstage! You might remember that when we were in First Grade, Christine and I started acting classes at the Northern Westchester Center for the Arts. …And after my dad died, theater became a cathartic experience for me. I enjoyed acting and was making new friends doing it! A few years later, one of those friends mentioned that she was going to a summer camp called Stagedoor Manor – and I decided to join. Stagedoor is an intensive theater and performing arts camp known for their Broadway-level full-scale performances, rigorous rehearsals, and the famous alums they’ve produced, like Robert Downey Jr. and Natalie Portman. You’re surrounded by a ton of other people that want to do exactly what you want to do, and are simultaneously getting great joy out of the experience. I went to Stagedoor for seven years, and I still have a close group of friends from camp, including my random roommate from the first year who’s still one of my best friends!” Nicole says with a smile.

 

“I went to Elon University and initially had the intention of getting a degree in Journalism from their prestigious school. I’d done a lot of writing and broadcast journalism in high school, and of course my dad was a big influence. I love storytelling and writing, and I have a huge amount of respect for journalists. Access to reliable information is so important now, especially in this age of misinformation,” Nicole reflects. “But my freshmen year I went to see a performance at Elon of August: Osage County, and I was so blown away! And envious of everyone up on stage! I realized just how much I missed that community. So I spoke with the head of the acting department about transferring in, and two weeks before my sophomore fall semester, I got an email about an opening in the program, and I went back to school early for auditions. Luckily, I got the spot! I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting…with minors in Journalism and Psychology.”

 

And rounding out the explanation of her acting roots, Nicole adds, “Tim Russert established an award in our dad’s name for courageous and enterprising journalism, and every year since we were 11, my sister Christine and I have been presenting the award at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner in Washington D.C. That was definitely good training for getting-up in front of a large audience and lights and cameras and delivering a speech. …And I feel like when you’ve written the script you’re a lot more vulnerable than when you’re playing a character and reading the lines someone else wrote. I like acting

because you get to be a different person in a different world.”

 

“Right after graduation from Elon, I did a summer of live theater in Kentucky, playing the lead role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. I moved to Manhattan in the fall, and started auditioning…and nannying and walking dogs on the side to pay my expenses, like any other aspiring actor,” Nicole says without a hint of having been deterred. “I started to book a couple roles. I was in an episode of Law and Order: SVU – which is like a rite of passage for New York actors. And I got to be in an episode of The Affair – which was my first time eating on camera. I started the day eating potatoes and finished the day still eating potatoes,” Nicole chuckles. “One of the other actors finally suggested taking very tiny bites or pushing the food around on my plate – which was invaluable advice.”

 

“I auditioned for the protagonist lead of this little indie film, called 1BR, and I booked the role!” Nicole exclaims, with some of the same excitement as the day she got the news. It was a horror film about a girl who gets accidentally trapped into a cult in her apartment building. Filming in California was a complete whirlwind. I really had no idea what I was doing at the time, but the cast and crew were supportive and patient with me. It was an amazing first experience. The weirdest thing I had to get used to was performing out of order. We filmed the very last scene of the movie on the first night of filming – so I had to look at the whole arc and understand how I wanted to portray the character within the context of the story. That was so different from the natural progression of telling a complete story from start to finish, and in one fell swoop, in the theater.” Nicole was busy attending premieres and festival screenings for 1BR when the film was previewed on the festival circuit in 2019. When 1BR was released on streaming services in early 2020 – at the start of the Covid lockdown, when fresh content was being voraciously consumed by a captive national audience – 1BR hit #1 streaming horror film on Netflix. “I was a huge fan of Downton Abbey, so when I heard rumors that the same creator, Julian Fellowes, was going to be doing some kind of a similar period piece with a New York story, I told my agent that I would love the opportunity to audition if at all possible. …I auditioned for Season One of Gilded Age, but didn’t get the role. When they called me back about a role on Season Two, I was ecstatic!” Nicole declares. She plays Maude Beaton, a socialite and suggested heiress, on the HBO hit series.

screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.07.59 am

“The whole experience has been incredible! The cast and crew were very welcoming. I immediately felt like part of their tight-knit family. It was an education to work with such a great group of people and so many talented actors, with such a variety of experience levels. There are some really seasoned people in the cast, like Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski, and then some where this is their breakout role, like Louisa Jacobson, who had just finished grad school before starring as Marian in season one, and who was like my Gilded Age mentor. She’s become a great friend,” Nicole shares. “And Gilded Age is particularly fun for me, because I think that about half of why anyone acts is because we like playing dress-up, and the costumes for Gilded Age are as elaborate and historic as can be. Our costume designer and the entire costume team did such an incredible job. Every dress had at least three fittings! The intricate and ornate costumes and sets definitely helped me to completely immerse myself in the world of my character. A lot of the scenes were actually shot in the same Newport mansions where the folks from the real Gilded Age were partying in the late 1800s! I love period pieces, and I’d love to do more of them.”

 

Just prior to the actors strike, Nicole had wrapped We Were the Lucky Ones, a limited series for Hulu, based on a book

originally written by Georgia Hunter, a Rowayton neighbor. The storyline follows a Jewish family living in Poland during the start of WW2, and the journey of siblings who are separated through the Holocaust. Nicole comments, “I play Georgia’s grandmother in the series. We filmed in Romania and Spain. It’s unfortunately so timely, and it’s a story that has so much heart, and it shows the importance of perseverance, and the unbreakable bond of love and family. It’s heavy and beautiful, and I can’t wait for that to come out this Spring.”

 

“Now that the strike has ended, I’m looking forward to getting back to work. It’s back to the grind of auditions. It’s a hard

business, and you mostly hear ‘no’… but that makes the ‘yeses’ so much sweeter. And in this industry, work begets work, so I’m always curious and excited to see what will come next. Though I’m currently prioritizing film and TV, I would love to get back to the stage at some point. For me, there’s nothing like a live audience!”

 

About her personal life, she wouldn’t dish details for disclosure, other than the canned “I’m happy and

I’m dating” So, to be clear, it’s People Magazine – not me – that reported Nicole is dating Justin Theroux, an actor and filmmaker who was previously married to Jennifer Aniston, and that the pair has been spotted together in

Manhattan. “I’m not used to being in the public eye and I like to try and keep my private life as private as possible. But I do understand that any kind of success in this industry can come with media attention. It’s truly gratifying when people love a role or show I’m lucky enough to be a part of – that’s what I love about my job. And I guess we’ll see how the privacy thing goes…”

 

Like every Disney heroine, Nicole’s story includes tragedy and loss…that she’s spun into motivation and triumph. She’s a B&NC MAG Hometown Hero and, come to think of it, she’d be great as Snow White!

screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.08.23 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.35.29 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.33.42 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.08.07 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.34.31 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.33.31 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.34.10 am
screenshot 2024 03 06 at 12.35.47 am

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *