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What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 1/30/2006 05:34:00 PM

Jay-Z and Nelly's "Video Vixen," Isley Nicole
Source: SOHH


After appearing in Snoop and Dre's The Wash, posing for The Source, Vibe and King, and being featured in music videos for Jay-Z and Nelly, Chicago beauty Isley Nicole is set to star in an upcoming film called Broken Rhyme, making her a Player to Watch in 2006.

Ohio-born/Windy City-raised Isley Nicole was happily working as a hairstylist in the Chicago salon she owned when she learned of her first opportunity to act.

"One of my clients came in and she was talking about doing work on a film. She was going to be an extra. I was like 'Oh my God that sounds like fun.' She told me how to get extra work and I called some agencies. While still doing hair I went on the job for some extra work and got a part in the movie Soul Food. I had only two words in it, but I thought I had arrived."

Isley Nicole realized immediately how much she loved acting and made sure to approach her career the same way she treated her salon, as serious business.

"Right after that I started taking acting classes, got an agent and began taking professional pictures. Then I booked my first national commercial for Marshall Fields. Commercials pay ridiculous. I knew if I was going to make a move to Los Angeles I had to do it while I had money saved from that commercial. I was the first one out of everybody," she says, referring to the Chicago entertainment clique that had started to form, including comedian, DeRay Davis and director Coodie.

For Isley Nicole, just moving to the West Coast was a giant accomplishment.

"When I first got to L.A. I went straight to the Pacific Ocean and just broke down crying. Half my dream was achieved because that was something I'd always wanted to do. When you live somewhere like Chicago that is more conservative and tell people you want to be an actress, people think 'Are you serious?' I had a lot of people talking bad about my decisions. When I got to that beach I was just like, 'Oh my God it's on! I feel God's presence'.

Even before her move, Isley Nicole had discovered money could be made doing music videos. Her first video was "Hay" for Chicago rap group Crucial Conflict, and the list has grown to include videos for Dave Hollister, Destiny's Child, Jermaine Dupri, Jadakiss, Keith Murray, EPMD, Common, Warren G, The Eastsidaz, Three 6 Mafia, Mase, Young Jeezy, Nelly and Jay-Z. While some actresses have found video work to be limiting, Isley Nicole says that's never been the case for her.

"No, I don't think there is a stigma on them. Videos have always gotten me more work. That's how I started. I don't have any problems doing videos, I won't do any booty shaking though. It's funny but I actually get recognized a lot from the Dave Hollister video "Baby Mama Drama" where I played the mean baby mama opposite Allen Payne. That's how I met Beyonce and Destiny's Child, I ran into them out and they remembered me from that video and I ended up doing "Bills, Bills, Bills" with them."

When asked her thoughts about the controversy surrounding former video model Karrine Steffens and her recent publication of Confessions of a Supermodel, Isley Nicole spoke very frankly.

"How do I feel about Karrine? Well I think to each it's own, but she made video girls look real sleazy. Most video girls in Los Angeles are real models that come to work, shoot, then leave and go on with their lives. Being a groupie and capitalizing on it worked for her. I just don't want young girls to read her book and think, 'I'm going to be just like her!'"

While Isley Nicole has managed to survive as a working actress since she moved to L.A. in 2000, she still says the hardest part of the struggle is breaking through.

"The biggest struggle is getting them to use new people. Once you make it, it's cool and everything is gravy, but it seems like in this industry as far as African-Americans go, they don't give us many chances. With white people they will use new actors all the time, but with African-Americans they will only do movies with Gabrielle Union. We love her, but come on. Don't we want to see some new people like the white people get to see new people? That goes all the way around too, even with directing. Coodie and Chike are experiencing the same thing because everybody only wants to use Hype Williams."

Over the course of her career Isley Nicole has discovered much of her success has depended on her dedication to her craft as well as her ability to meet new people.

"I studied for a good year before I left Chicago and then continued to study once I moved here.I'm also very outgoing and friendly. I meet people easily. I moved out here with a friend and she ended up moving back after six months and I think it was just she didn't have that same outgoing nature. In L.A. people don't come up to you. I think that's why I'm still here. I'm not intimidated by anybody. I've been here going on six years."

During the course of those six years Isley Nicole has enjoyed a career playing a variety of roles in videos, films and on television.

"I've worked with Snoop and Dre, all kinda people. I'm on a different level with them, I get respect, but I want to do something very big. I just had a talk with Bernie Mac and he was very inspiring, one of the most inspiring people I've talked to. He's also from Chicago, I think that's why he opened up. He just said 'Stay focused on your craft and keep studying and studying and studying and studying. Don't give up. Right when you got the gun to your head and you think you can't take no more, that's when you get that call.' I love Bernie Mac."

The advice from Bernie Mac will no doubt prove invaluable, but Isley Nicole credits her cadre of fellow Chicago transplants for keeping her grounded in La-La Land.

"There is a community. We show each other so much love. It's very cliquish out here. We've all realized you can't do it by yourself. We all are pretty much real, we know each other. We tell each other how we feel when we are fucking up. You need that. These people will not tell you, they want to laugh at you. It makes the game so much easier. Kanye, all of 'em got our backs. Coodie and Chike, Deray and Godfrey, Malik it's a lot of us out here."

Isley Nicole's Play-o-graphy
Projects for 2005/2006
"Music"- Leelah James video
"Trap Star"- Young Jeezy video
"Unpredictable"- second version of Jamie Foxx video
"Chi State of Mind" - GLC video
Broken Rhyme- Film directed by Detrick McClure, starring M-1 of dead prez, will soon be making rounds at film festivals, startin with the Pan-African Film Festival
Gap Commercial- airing soon
Secret Society- Isley Nicole penned screenplay which she plans to produce
K-Born- Isley Nicole featured singing hooks for his project
Rhythm D- Singing for his album
Isley Nicole's Watchlist
Rhythm D- "Producer, featured on Snoop's new album, worked with Eazy-E."
Detrick McClure - "Director of OutKold and Broken Rhyme."
Coodie & Chike- "Directors, "the new Tarantinos," definitely going to make a huge mark on this game"
Sylvia Hillman- "Prolific writer-she can write anything, wrote feature Near Misses, which will be at 2 festivals this year."
GLC- "His album is push play, his album is cold."
Claudia Jordan- "Actress, former 'Price is Right' hostess, also done videos."
DeRay Davis- "Comedian from 'Wild & Out' and 'The Barbershop'."
Godfrey- comedian
Johnny Mack- "Writer, writes Jamie Foxx's jokes, Diddy's jokes for the VMAs, writer on the show 'Cutz', has a movie he is trying to get made - so funny, going to be huge."
Larry Sims- "Singer, dancer, hairstylist."
Lake Payne - "She is a very talented comedian on the rise."
Quote of the Year
"Your weaknesses are defined by the secrets that you keep."

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