It is a Christmas wish that we would all love to have offered: a chance to live our dream. In Hallmark Channel’s holiday film A DREAM OF CHRISTMAS, a young woman is given just that chance by a Christmas angel. Starring Nikki DeLoach, the film sparkles with joy and whimsy, and we cannot help but root for her and hope she gets all she has wished for. With one Hallmark film to her credit from last year, Nikki is more than at home in the magical world where amazing adventures and miracles happen. In an exclusive interview, Nikki shares what made this holiday film special for her and the happiness working with Hallmark brings to her life.
What drew you to the Hallmark film A DREAM OF CHRISTMAS?
NIKKI: I think what drew me to this film was the message. Also, I loved the character of Penny Atwell, whose story I found to be very relatable.
Who do you portray and how would you describe your character? What do you most admire about her?
NIKKI: Penny Atwell is a good sister, a hard worker, a good wife. She’s a dreamer. She doesn’t give up. She’s always had a lot of hope. She’s the woman who wants a happy marriage and wants to be fulfilled in her career. She wants it all! But we find Penny at a place in her life where, despite all her efforts, her life isn’t turning out the way she had planned. And so she’s on the precipice of losing that hope of having a wonderful life. In a moment of frustration, she exclaims that she wishes she had a different life. And so the journey begins. What I admire about Penny is the fact that, in the end, she not only realizes what’s truly important in life, but she creates the life she’s always wanted without having to give up on her dreams.
What journey does she undertake in this film?
NIKKI: At the beginning of the movie, we see a woman who has worked so hard to have it all. After all, society tells us we can have it all, right? But, just like Penny, I’ve found that the road to having it all is often paved with sacrifices and disappointment. Sacrifices that women usually have to make much more so than men. But, what Penny learns is that without her family, friends, and community, all the money and success in the world won’t make you happy. And in the end, Penny does get it all. What I’ve learned is that sometimes we just have to shift our perception on what the “ALL” looks like. It might just be better than we would have ever imagined!
What was your favorite part about working on the project?
NIKKI: Bringing a story like this to life was one of my favorite aspects of the project. Also, I was able to work with some amazing people, including Cindy Williams, who has always been a comedic heroine of mine. And she is EVERYTHING and more that you imagine her to be.
What was it like working with Andrew Walker in this film?
NIKKI: He’s a doll. Andrew is so easy to work with. He’s got a great attitude and is really there for you as an acting partner.
This is your second Hallmark film as you previously starred in CHRISTMAS LAND. What is the appeal of working on Hallmark films?
NIKKI: I love the fact that my entire family can watch a Hallmark movie together. My nieces, my grandmother, my Dad…everyone! Most importantly, they always deliver such beautiful messages. In a world where we are often bombarded daily with negativity, I think that’s so important.
What was the one thing you learned or took away from working on A DREAM OF CHRISTMAS?
NIKKI: More, please!! 🙂 I love working for Hallmark. I love telling the stories they tell. And on a personal level, I was reminded of that great life lesson, that my journey is mine. No one else’s, and I wouldn’t want anyone else’s journey. Everything in my life has been on purpose, for a purpose. This is a really beautiful lesson to remember.
If you were granted a Christmas wish by an angel, would you take advantage of it? Why or why not?
NIKKI: Yes, because I trust that I would make a very carefully considered wish! I mean, if I could wish that no more children went hungry knowing that this wish would come true, I would make it right now! I pray for that wish to come true every day.
At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the amazing variety of roles and projects you have worked on?
NIKKI: I’ve been so fortunate to play so many different characters, both dramatic and comedic. I’ve learned more about humanity, for sure. I’ve become more compassionate because of that knowledge. When you step inside a character you have to justify their behavior; why they think and feel the way they do. It teaches you a great deal about human behavior. It’s why story-telling often brings people together, makes people feel less alone. And with comedy…how great does it feel to sit with others and laugh. It’s a connective tissue for humanity.
What are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
NIKKI: I don’t have to say “yes” to everything. I am able to pick and choose what I want to do, and that is a tremendous luxury. One that I never take for granted.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten? What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
NIKKI: My acting studio, Warner Loughlin Studios, where I act and teach has been such a safe haven for me. I grow and learn both professionally and personally every time I step through those doors. I would suggest to find a place, a community of people, that offers you a safe, positive environment in which to learn and grow. Warner teaches us to leave our egos at the door; ego being the great killer of creativity. I’ve always loved that and try to always live by it in my work and my life. I would also say to find something outside of acting that really inspires you, a passion where you can channel your creativity and energy. And even better, if that passion is able to bring in income. I’ve been in this business over 25 years. It’s up and down. Having other interests keeps a person from riding an emotional roller coaster, which is dangerous. Lastly, don’t allow your self-worth to be determined by exteriors. You are always enough. Always.
What do you aspire to do next?
NIKKI: Create material. Produce. Write. Continue to say yes to inspiring stories and characters as an actor. More importantly, I am more passionate than ever to get out in the world and make a difference. I’ve always be involved in organizations that are doing great things in our world. But, I feel now more than ever that people not only need basics like food, water, clothes, shelter, they need hope, love, faith and joy. They need to know that everything is going to be okay. I’m determined to be a part of that movement. Most importantly, I want to be the best mom I can be to my child.
Do you have any current or upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
NIKKI: For right now, it’s A DREAM OF CHRISTMAS that airs on Hallmark December 3rd. After that…who knows! I’m ready and open to that next great adventure.
To see how Penny Atwell’s Christmas wish turns out and what her happy-ending truly is, be sure to tune in for the premiere of A DREAM OF CHRISTMAS on Saturday, December 3rd at 8:00 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.