By Nadine Matthews, Special to the AFRO
Many people talk about what they would go to the ends of the earth to do. For actress Nicki Micheaux, the desire to create a better world is more than just talk. Micheaux has literally gone to the ends of the earth in an effort to make the world a better place.
“I did a volunteer trip to Zimbabwe a few years ago and I worked at an orphanage. It was very eye opening. We were working with the older girls and trying to help them maneuver into society,” Micheaux tells the AFRO.
Micheaux says this without any fanfare but Zimbabwe, where the South Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, is one of the southernmost nations in the world. Perhaps most widely known for the controversial dictatorship of Robert Mugabe, it lies, just north of South Africa and west of Mozambique. Micheaux did her volunteer work at the renowned Rose of Charity Orphanage founded by a mom and concerned citizen, Sima Moyo, to help the numerous orphaned children in the area.
For Micheaux, who is the mom of an eight year-old and thirteen year-old, her experience in Zimbabwe is just one chapter in a life story where “giving back” has been a central part of her identity and sense of purpose. She has worked with international charity Oxfam for many years. “They’re a great, solid voice for women because Oxfam talks about how we need to lift women and really understand that if you lift the women up, you lift up the culture. No matter what country you’re in, if the women aren’t educated then you lower the entire society. If you lift the woman, you lift everybody.”
Micheaux, a longtime actress known for her work in fare such as family drama “Lincoln Heights,” “Animal Kingdom,” the HBO comedy “Veep” and “Castle” will soon be seen in the wacky, yet charming, pulp drama “Lowlife” due for release in theaters and on digital platforms April 6. Lowlife centers around Micheaux as Crystal, a woman in possession of scarce resources dealing with the consequences of her checkered past and the pressures of her current life dedicated to a man who is, perhaps, not worthy of her love.
Crystal encounters a succession of out of this world characters as the story unfolds. Micheaux describes her character as, “Someone with a lot to overcome. I looked at Crystal and asked ‘Why did she make these mistakes? What would it take for me to end up with my drunk husband running a hotel?’ It was a great challenge to see how small could I make her. ”
For fans of Micheaux, “Lowlife” might seem as something of a departure. Though being in projects that could be considered edgy is not new, “Lowlife” goes to a whole new level. Micheaux reveals she has always been a fan of stories that push the envelope and characters that eke out existences on the margins of society.
Early in her career, she was a temporary receptionist at Miramax Films. She says she does not have a #meetoo story about former Miramax head Harvey Weinstein. “One of the first scripts I read,” she recalls, “was Pulp Fiction. I just loved it. I remember reading the script and thinking the characters were so defined, I could hear them. It was like when you read a good novel and you hear the characters kind talking to you? They seem so alive. It just really jumped off the page. So it’s funny. I have always wanted to work for Quentin Tarantino.”