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She wrote music reviews in college. She was a field organizer for a candidate for State Senate and a social media marketer. And she majored in journalism and theatre from the University of Madison-Wisconsin.

But, first and foremost, Paloma Nozicka is an actress. Her most recent Chicago theatre performances include “Sonnets for an Old Century” by José Rivera at the Steppenwolf Garage Theatre and Pegasus Players’ 25th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. Paloma Nozicka is ALTA’s Artist of the Month and an actress sin pelos en la lengua.

Where were you born?
Evanston, IL

How would your grandma describe you?
In an ideal world, she would describe me as an independent, intelligent, confident woman who makes her very proud, every single day. But I just called her to ask her, and this was the conversation:

Me: Hi Abuela! I’m answering questions for a survey and they want to know how my grandmother would describe me. So how would you describe me?

Abuela: Oh. Pues, no sé. Pues…estás haciendo lo que debes. (long pause)

Me: Ok…anything else?

Abuela: No. Estoy viendo mis programas ahora.

So there you have it.

When you’re asked the question, “what do you do?” how do you answer? What would you LIKE to answer?
You know, I used to have a severe stigma about telling people that I’m an actor. When you’re a certain age, people tend to assume that it’s a phase. When I would come home from college for holidays, my extended family would ask how my “basket-weaving classes” were going – they assumed that because I was majoring in theatre, my entire class schedule was loaded with “puff” classes (by the way, my tíos and tías are, for the most part, ruthless harpies). But now that I’m a bit older, I can proudly tell people that I’m a professional actor, and most people know that I’m being serious. Or, at least, they have the courtesy not to laugh in my face. Either way, I’m very happy.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? Any special talents?
I’m training for a 15K race right now, and I would say most people probably don’t know that it’s slowly killing me. Why anyone would ever want to run 9 miles in a row, I don’t know. I’m also a vegan, but that’s not really a talent so much as voluntary self-inflicted torture. Oh! I can play the piano (fairly well) and the trombone (poorly). I can also do a pretty realistic imitation of a seal. Aaaaand I just noticed that this question said “What’s the ONE thing people don’t know about you?” My bad.

What was the first piece of theatre you ever experienced?
The first play I ever saw was “The Importance of Being Earnest” when I was in junior high school. I don’t remember what the theatre company was, and I’m pretty sure the only reason I signed up to go was because I got to miss class.  But then I watched it, and it was funny and witty and perfect and Oscar Wilde, and the rest is history. I fell madly in love with all of it.

Why do you think you got into theatre?
I think, in the very beginning, my whole end game was to make people laugh. It’s so addictive, making people laugh. I discovered that acting in funny skits and plays was a great way to do that, so that’s kind of why I got into it. But the reason I’m still doing it is different—although I still love making people laugh, I think now I’m more focused on the experience of becoming a character. There’s a beautiful quote by Jonathan Safran Foer: “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” That quote has always stuck with me, because I often feel like life is too short to really live all of the lives I want to, to experience all of the things I want to experience. But with acting–I get to live those lives, as those characters. It’s the greatest thing you can ask for–hundreds of lives in one lifetime.

What’s coming up for you? Any cool projects you want to tell us about? (shameless plugs please!).
Yes! Oh yes. I am so stoked about my upcoming projects. I’m starting rehearsals for Jackalope Theatre’s fall production, “Long Way Go Down”, which I think will be a stunner—it’s topical and controversial and just everything good theatre should be—and that one opens in November. And then in January I start rehearsals at the Goodman Theatre for “Teddy Ferrara”, which is just fire. The script is so good. That one opens in February. I also just filmed MTV’s “Underemployed”, which airs in October, I make an appearance in that.

And I’m constantly updating my blog, youngtalentedbroke.blogspot.com, which I started in my last year of college, when I decided that I really was going to take this path and pursue my acting dreams. I know everyone and their mom has a blog, but I think mine is honest–it’s not a fashion blog, or a “look at me” blog, with pretty pictures of me going out and raging with my pretty friends, talking about how amazing my life is, etc etc. I try to write about real things that happen to me–not just the amazing stuff, but the pretty crappy stuff too. I’m adding a video section too (I hate the word “vlog”), so stayed tuned for that!