Actor-ology: Nicole Beharie

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I love looking back the careers of actors who have suddenly stepped into the big spotlight of Hollywood because of one reason or another and have a certain blerd (black+nerd)-esque quality about them.

I usually do a small survey on twitter for Blerdnation to see is on everyone’s mind for the purpose of this profile; no need to do that this time (though I love to hear your feedback for next time!). I’m taking a moment to talk about my girl crush of the moment, the smart and adorable Nicole Beharie (cue women trying to discover her secret to getting their own tall, goodlooking, European arm candy):

Born and raised in the south, Beharie hails from West Palm Beach, FL and finished high school at the well known South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities. She then attended the famed peforming arts conservatory Juilliard where she was granted a fellowship to continue her dramatic training in England.

From all the interviews, panel, and photoshoots I’ve seen her in, Nicole Beharie is the ultimate bestie. That’s what makes her so great; she is bubbling with happiness, appropriate sass, and infectious laughter that makes her relateable and makes you feel good in the process. And as they should, big and small screen has taken notice. Here is a retrospective of what I consider the high points in her career for anyone would like to get up on their Behar-ology.

She is most recognizable from…
…the critically-acclaimed, historical-mystery-sci fi-buddy-comedy TV show Sleepy Hollow, where she plays Lt. Abby Mills, the “contemporary” half of a supernatural investigative duo along with Brit Tom Mison’s legendary Ichabod Craine. Don’t let the small package fool you, the girl is tough! If you have witness their natural chemistry, witty banter, and obvious affection that comes through on the small screen and in interview and panels, you can see why their are very dedicated fans (“Sleepyheads”, if you will) of “Ichabbie”. Those two just can’t stop being cute together.

You may remember her from…
…the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 (2013) where she played the woman behind the man, Rachel Robinson. There is sometimes pressure to portray someone who is still alive but Beharie does it with beauty and grace.

And you probably forgot she was…
…the woman who romanced Michael Fassbender (on and off screen) in Steven McQueen’s Shame (2011), a story of a man named Brandon who is on one hand sexually obsessed and on the other totally ashamed of this obsession, which manifests itself into profound loneliness. In some key moments of the film, through Brandon’s attempts at a meaningful relationship with Beharie’s, Marianne we get important glimpses into the depth of his fear of intimacy.

She has shown off her talent in small independent films… …where she won media attention for her breakout role as a struggling single mother falsely arrested opposite Alfre Woodard in American Violet (2008). She has also showcased her vocals, playing a Brooklyn singer-songwriter in My Last Day Without You (2011); her vocals were used on the titled song.

We don’t have to give her the title, she already considers herself a blerd…

On a red carpet interview for Sleepy Hollow: “I’m a little bit of a nerd, so I like [genre shows]. I always thought that there were black nerd girls […] who would be interested in [Sleepy Hollow].”

Talkback (What some of my fellow blerds had to say about why they love Nicole Beharie)…

J Quin (@InHollywoodland): I first saw Nicole Beharie in the film American Violet and the TV movie Sins of My Mother shortly after. Both are dramatic roles acted fearlessly and wonderfully by Beharie. I’ve followed her impressive filmography ever since. I instantly became a fan of the tiny actress with big talent. She has a undeniable on-screen presence and I’m looking forward to seeing where her gift takes her. Best believe that this woman is just getting started. I’m currently waiting on news about her being cast in a major action film, because she has proven on Sleepy Hollow that she can kick ass! I really wanted to see her as Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot opposite Michael B. Jordan, but that’s a topic for another day. Until then, I’ll be watching her on Sleepy Hollow on Monday nights! A Juilliard graduate and now a TV and film star, Beharie is an inspiration not to just black girls but to all young women, and because of this she is easily one of my favorite young actresses.

Are you as enamored with Nicole Beharie as I am? What is your favorite role of hers and why? Leave a comment below.

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