I met noted actor Nicole Ansari-Cox while doing a story for Hamptons.com about her husband, Brian Cox, the 2020 Golden Globe Best Actor in a TV Drama. He was appearing last August 2019, in a Guild Hall fundraising show for WordTheatre, with the show being produced by the wonderful WordTheatre Founder, Cedering Fox.
At the time, I was unaware of Nicole’s accomplishments as an actress, as she was just introduced to me as Brian Cox’s wife. I was a fan NBC’s The Blacklist, and didn’t realize she played a regular role during the whole 2015 season, and that she also was a recurring character in HBO’s American TV series Deadwood.
I asked her about what she loves about the Hamptons for this interview and she said, “I absolutely love the Hamptons, especially Amagansett and Montauk. My friend Jennifer Ford [Co-creator of the non-for-profit Bent On Learning, which brings yoga and meditation to inner city schools] introduced me to standup paddleboarding with Paddle Diva’s Gina Bradley and I got hooked. Sitting on an empty beach, looking out into the infinity of the ocean, and three hours later going to see a Broadway show is pretty unique. I had moments where I stood on the board in the bays and there was no one around and I just thought: this is Paradise!”
How did you become an actor? What was your first role ever in school and first big break professionally?
NAC: I knew that I wanted to be an actor from a very young age. I saw the film Casablanca around 5-years-old and said to my mom, “When I grow up, I want to do what she [Ingrid Bergman] does!” Whether it was the adventure, the incandescent beauty, or the fact that she got Rick! Around the same time, I got to play the fire in Rumpelstiltskin at my sister’s kindergarten performance and my fate was sealed. I never questioned it and feel blessed that I have always known and followed my bliss.
In high school, I got my first leading role as Toinette in Molière’s The Hypochondriac and also got cast as a nasty teenager in a film about bullying. I got my first big break on a German TV show called Tatort, but I would say on a more international scale, my first big break on TV was a recurring role in HBO’s Deadwood. In the theatre, my big break was doing Rock N’ Roll on Broadway and in the West End with my husband.
How did being an actor influence your decision to have children and since affect your career?
NAC: I didn’t really “plan” on having children, because I really enjoyed working as an actor all over the world and being free to move around. Once our two boys were born, it became a reality to me that I had to settle down and live in one place and be present. We were still moving around as a family, between LA and London, and eventually settled in NY when we transferred to Broadway from the London West End and I found great schools for the boys. I was able to work as they were growing up thanks to my mother, who has been stellar in helping me cope with the workload of running a household, caring for the kids, and having a career. Without her, I am sure that I wouldn’t have had a career.
There was a moment of truth when we were living in LA where I had to ask myself if I wanted to continue the struggle of being an actor with all the pressure that it entails. I trained as a yoga teacher and decided I could transition and teach yoga and meditation, a lifelong passion of mine. As soon as I had decided that, I got the offer to do Deadwood and do the show on the West End, and so it continued. I am extremely blessed to have been able to be with my boys and witness their growth into the handsome teenagers they are now and work as an actor at the same time. Would I have had a bigger career without children? Possibly. But, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being a mother and wife has given me grounding and gave me a purpose beyond anything I could have imagined. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true. But those of us, male or female, who “hold the fort” so to speak, need support, or else the flower will die.
How do you believe having two successful actors as parents has impacted your children?
NAC: I think both of our sons chose the acting profession because this is all they know! Our son Orson, who just turned 18 and is a senior at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, surprised us when he announced that he wanted to audition to a drama high school and got in. Torin, our younger son, always seemed to be an actor and is a sophomore, also at Frank Sinatra High School. They grew up on film sets and in dressing rooms in the theater, so for them it feels totally natural to continue the legacy. And both Brian and I just want them to be happy.
Who in the family was proudest when Brian won his 2020 Best Actor in TV Drama Golden Globe for his role in Succession?
NAC: We were all so proud!!! Brian and I Facetimed our boys, who were at home in NY, in one of the breaks at the Golden Globes, from the bar area. They were so happy and proud. My father was taking care of them while we were away for a couple of weeks during that time and I will never forget his beaming face. I suspect he was the proudest! Brian has worked so hard in his career. For me, this was long due.
Is there a possibility of you and Brian working together on the big screen or anywhere else?
NAC: Yes! We are currently rehearsing in London. Brian is directing me in a play called Sinners by Israeli writer Joshua Sobol. It is the story of a university professor who is awaiting to be stoned to death for adultery. I am also co-producing it with Lawryn Lacroix and the play is executive produced by Hamptonite and Broadway producer Jayne Baron Sherman. We are planning to bring the play to New York next.
What are your most immediate professional plans?
NAC: I will be performing Sinners in London from February 26th till March 14th at the Playground Theatre! I fly back to NY the following day and start rehearsals for a showcase of a new play, Memorial, based on interviews of the survivors of the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand by a young playwright called Adam Ashraf Elsayigh, as well as Arianna Stucki. I play the mother of a young man who died in the shooting and creates beautiful art to express her grief. Both plays give voice to the voiceless.
After a series of thanks, she did this interview from England, I thought back to my first meeting Nicole at Guild Hall and thanking her for her assistance on Hamptons.com getting the interview done with her busy husband. She floated through the Guild Hall Garden Party like a ballerina in Swan Lake. She was so much fun. It was when my wife, who was talking to her, called me over only did she open up about her career.