Nothing Trivial actress Nicole Whippy appearing in TVNZ web series
She has been largely off our screens for two years, choosing to focus on motherhood rather than her career. But now actress Nicole Whippy, who made her mark as Michelle in Nothing Trivial and Kasey in Outrageous Fortune, is back in front of the camera.
In the latest season of local web series Auckward Love, a comedy based around the lives of four women in their 20s, Whippy appears as Thelma, a tough-talking real estate agent.
"Thelma is a bit of a power house in a little bit of a psychopathic way," says Whippy. "She's a fun character and out for herself."
Auckward Love was created by actors and partners Emmett Skilton (The Almighty Johnsons) and Holly Shervey. Skilton directs the series while Shervey is part of the core cast.
The other main cast members are Jess Sayer, Luci Hare and Jess Holly Bates, who plays Boyd's girlfriend, Eve, on Shortland Street.
This is the third season of Auckward Love and besides Whippy, other guest stars include Colin Moy (Shortland Street), Neill Rea (The Brokenwood Mysteries), and A Place To Call Home actress Sara Wiseman.
"Sara was my flatmate," says Whippy. "She's one of my best friends. We went to performing arts school together. We worked on Outrageous and Mercy Peak."
Whippy, whose acting CV includes dramas The Strip and Jackson's Wharf, decided to take a break from the industry when she had her second child, Vida, a daughter, who is now two years old.
"I was pregnant on set with both of them," says Whippy, 39.
"With Pearl (now eight), I was on Outrageous Fortune and did the whole season pregnant. Then I went back to work after 10 weeks and had to go back and do the final season of Outrageous.
"But with Vida I went, 'You know what? I can't do that this time around'. I just wanted this child and didn't want to go back to a set.
"It was nice not to have that pressure. The first time around it was like, 'Oh my god, I've got to back to the gym'.
"I did do DNA Detectives, which was quite a big shoot, when Vida was four months old. It meant that I ended up taking her overseas with me. I went to the States and Australia. That was quite intense. I did already have that in the pipeline and I did one other little TV thing.
"But I pretty much said to my agent, 'Unless something really amazing comes up, just leave me alone'. I don't even want to hear about it, I don't even want to know."
But when the chance arose this year to be on Auckward Love, Whippy was ready to strap on her acting boots again.
"It was a nice little job to go back to," she says. "It wasn't as full on as some of the work that I've done. It was a nice way of going, 'Oh that's right. I'm an actor too'."
Whippy describes herself as a "hands-on mother" who coaches netball and helps out at Pearl's school when she can.
Following some prompting from local parents, she began teaching acting classes to primary-school children and set up the Point Chevalier Drama Club.
Watching her drama students inspired Whippy to seek out theatre roles and she is currently appearing in the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire, until September 16.
Auckward Love, TVNZ On Demand, starts Friday September 8.
- TV Guide