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Interview: Nichole Galicia

In the season three premiere of the hit Syfy series Defiance, we are introduced to a new Votan species known as the Omec. Once thought to be extinct, their arrival is certain to cause some problems for the people of Defiance.

One of the Omec is Kindzi played by actress Nichole Galicia. The up and coming actress has been making a name for herself in film and television. She recently starred in films such as Django Unchained, Supermodel (produced by Datari Turner) and She Was My Eve (directed by Jamie Foxx, exec produced by Ron Howard). On the small screen, she’s appeared in the hit series CSI: NY.

Nichole sits down with us to talk about her character and the Omec, what it’s like getting in and out of make-up and what she did to prepare for this roole.

Pop Culture Principle - How much did you know about the series Defiance before you accepted the role?

Nichole Galicia - Zero, but I am a quick study. I of course watched both fabulous seasons before accepting the role.

Pop Culture Principle - What can you tell us about your character Kindzi and the Omec race?

Nichole Galicia - Kindzi is every character I have ever wanted to play rolled up into one. She is tough, smart, and has plenty of attitude. The Omec are the first race, the god race, they predate all the other Votan races. Their sudden arrival in Defiance, after the other Votans have settled in nicely, makes for interesting interactions.

Pop Culture Principle - Did you do any type of preparation for the role of Kindzi?

Nichole Galicia - I auditioned and less than 2 weeks later I was on set so I did not have much time to spare in my preparations. And just to make things complicated, I was in New Zealand at the time, 19 hours and one day into the future away so I auditioned, did my callback, went to producers and tested for the network all by self taping myself. This role was meant to be mine because that never happens. So when I was booked I did what I do to research every role, I started in a museum.

The foundation of all my characters are based in art, it is where I find my inspiration. So I immediately went to the Auckland Art Gallery and to my surprise there Kindzi was on the wall: face tattoo, spear, regal garb and fearless attitude. My Kindzi is a Maori warrior at heart. Specifically she is based on Mrs. Pikirakau painted by Kiwi artist Gottfried Lindauer. Pikirakau was affectionately called “Blood Queen Mary”. According to the Auckland Art Gallery, “she killed six rebels & stripped them of their arms, for which Sir George Grey gave her £30 and requested her not to fight again. ” Needless to say, she was an extremely effective warrior, much like Kindzi.

In additional to creating a character, I needed to get my body in the best shape ever so I worked out with G Force Home Training in Toronto and had a personal trainer come to my house 5-6 days a week. If you can survive a workout with Gidon, you can survive anything! I also went to Pilates, yoga and ballet barre classes and did some boxing. To be a warrior, first one must look like a warrior.

Pop Culture Principle - How did you approach playing an alien character as opposed to playing a human character?

Nichole Galicia - I did not approach Kindzi differently than I would a human character. Aliens and humans have the same basic needs. What I did do was I layered an animal into my character. There is a lot of cat, in Kindzi. A big cat, like a shiny black panther that when she smiles at you, there is a sparkly “ting” in her fangs. Unfortunately if you are close enough to see her fangs you are probably dinner. The makeup, contacts, the prosthetic teeth and language helped a lot so basically I focused on my objective, rather than being an alien.

Pop Culture Principle - The Omec speak their own language. Did you work with a language or dialect coach and how was that experience learning the language?

Nichole Galicia - My language is called Kinuk’aaz. First let me say I am still in awe of our language creator David J. Peterson. This man is brilliant. Learning this language was a challenge, but I am proud of the results I yielded. David created the language Dothraki for Game of Thrones among other languages including all of the languages on Defiance and has said that Kinuk’aaz is his most challenging language to date. It is a mixture of Zulu, Georgian and German. There are lots of growls and aggressive consonants that one must master to speak Kinuk’aaz fluently but I hope fans give it a try.

Pop Culture Principle - The Omec where long thought extinct. Will we learn about their backstory and what happened to their race during the season?

Nichole Galicia - Yes, all will be revealed! Stay tuned. Defiance airs Fridays at 8/7c and it is the best season yet. The writers really outdid themselves on season 3.

Pop Culture Principle - The Omec have a very unique look. How long did it take you to get into make-up and what was the process like?

Nichole Galicia - Depending on how much skin my costume showed my hair/makeup/clothing/contacts time took on the short side 3 hours on the long side 4.5 hours. Taking it all off was an adventure as well. I wrapped last week and I am still finding purple in creative places. I must say despite the time demands I quite liked the purple. An Omec knows how to enter a room! You can not miss us!

Conrad Coates who plays my father, stands and walks like a man, he takes up space. Add purple, gold, some hints of pink, and freckles to all of that and we had magic. The prosthetic contacts just brought the entire look together. It was tough being painted head to toe at 4:30am in the dead of the Toronto winter but it was also fun! When James Cameron calls me to do the next Avatar I will be ready.

Pop Culture Principle - Defiance is a popular series and as an actor, what has it been like coming onto a series that has been on the air for two seasons already?

Nichole Galicia - I felt like the new kid at school. I was in a foreign country, entering into a TV family that was clearly knit, hired in the 11th hour, and just like magic it all worked out. Our number one: Grant Bowler, went out of his way to let me know he was there for me should I need anything. Everyone was super supportive, the cast and crew on Defiance are all good people.

I was assigned a set dad in one of our executive producers Michael Nankin, he actually called me and said “I want you to think of me as your Set Dad, come to me first if you have any questions or concerns.”, and the rest was all gravy. My only complaint was the bitter cold, filming outdoors in -30 degree weather was beyond brutal. Other than that I could not have asked for a better role, a more talented cast, or more supportive crew.

Pop Culture Principle - Are the Omec a race to be feared or can they be trusted?

Nichole Galicia - Well…why not both. You can trust me to do what I say and should you disobey me, you should be afraid. See, we are a simple race of aliens.

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Pop Culture Principle - What have you enjoyed so far about playing your character and being on Defiance?

Nichole Galicia - I loved being powerful and feared. Ha, I have the biggest smile on my face. After this role I know what James Bond feels like. It is such a rush. Kindzi is always unexpected, she is tough and she is skilled. I am forever spoiled, I do not know how I will ever play another pretty girlfriend after breathing Kindzi’s air.

Pop Culture Principle - This is your first time working in the science fiction genre. Would you like to do more science fiction work in the future?

Nichole Galicia - I have always been a huge fan of science fiction, science fiction has always been so inclusive of black women so I am happy to join the ranks. I would love to do more sci-fi. It is smart, its forward thinking, there is tons of action and adventure, what is not to like.

Pop Culture Principle - What can fans look forward to with the Omec and Defiance the rest of the season?

Nichole Galicia - I can not give away any of the season but I think you should all start practicing the phrase: “Kindzi k’uttemaz”

We would like to thank Nichole for taking time from her schedule to talk with us. You can catch all new episodes of Defiance every Friday night at 8/7c. You can keep up with all of Nichole's latest news, projects and her social media sites by visiting her official website here.

**Photos courtesy of Elisabeth Caren**

**Defiance photos courtesy of Syfy/David Lee/Ben Mark Holzberg**

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