Charlotte Nicdao talks glitter, jazz music and only wearing red
Charlotte Nicdao never planned to become an actress.
The actress, who plays lead engineer Poppy in Apple TV + Mythic Quest, once had completely different career aspirations: she wanted to play jazz for a living.
“I was training to be a jazz musician when I was 15. I wanted to be a singer,” says Nicdao. Reverse. “So I listened to Ella Fitzgerald a lot. But I was also all about John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett. It was like my favorite bands.
Luckily, Nicdao’s creative journey took an unexpected turn when she found out that she enjoyed performing in front of a camera. And on Mythic Quest (who comes from Always sunny in Philadelphiafrom the creative trio Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz), Nicdao isn’t just getting by – she’s absolutely on the rise.
” I always loved this kind of television: that kind of dysfunctional family comedy in the workplace, ”she said. “Everything is really exciting.
To celebrate the arrival on May 7 of Mythic Quest Season 2 on Apple TV +, Reverse spoke with Nicdao to better understand what drives her, her red phase in high school and “Asking Jeeves” about goo.
What kind of child were you?
An early one. I think I wanted to be an adult from about the age of four. When I was a teenager, I fully believed that children were ridiculous and that I was way beyond that.
Who was your favorite band at 15?
I was a little weird. I was in training to be a jazz musician when I was 15. I wanted to be a singer. So I listened to Ella Fitzgerald a lot. But I was also all about John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett. It was like my favorite bands.
What clothes did you wear too often in high school?
I went through a very embarrassing phase where I tried to tie my whole identity to the color red. And I literally only bought red clothes. And if you look at pictures of me in high school, I’m still all dressed in red. It was very strange.
What is your first memory of the Internet?
Ask Jeeves? We had a big, clunky PC in my house. The thing I remember asking Jeeves the most often was how to make dough. You know, how to make a little potion and put glitter in it, and all that. I do not know why. But I was typing that in Ask Jeeves, and then going to make myself a sandwich. And then I would come back and by then the answers would have loaded.
What’s the truth about love you believed when you were 15?
I was very pretentious. I didn’t really think there was love. Which is different from now. I’m a romantic in my own right, but I think when I was 15 I was like, “Love? Please.”
Which high school teacher did you like the most and why?
I try to think. Look, I had a bunch of high school teachers who were really cool and taught me some cool stuff. I can’t think of one in particular because now I just think about how I was a difficult student and wonder if any of these teachers would think of me as fondly as I think of them.
What do you consider your first big break from work and why?
It was a show called A wURLd gURL. Like I said, I had a pretty narrow outlook, I was training to be a musician, but my dad does a bit of acting work. And her agent would offer me auditions from time to time if she had no one in her books who matched the file. And so I auditioned when I was 17 for this show. It was scripted, it was like a children’s comedy, I guess. And I got the main role. I lived in Melbourne, Australia, and the series was shot in Sydney, Singapore, and Hamburg, Germany.
And so for my last year of high school, I did my last year of high school remotely, and I traveled the world and shot this TV show. In my mind, once again – I can’t stand myself – I thought this was a funny joke. I was like, “Is this funny? I’m on TV now. And I came back and immediately started going back to college to do jazz. And it wasn’t until a few years later that I was like, wait, actually, maybe I really like acting!
What do you consider your first professional failure?
Well, I actually went back to college. I still auditioned from time to time. And I auditioned for a show I thought I was made for: the character was written in Eurasian, which at that point I never saw. And I basically got the part. They had me do chemistry readings with other actors, and I screwed up. They gave it to someone else. I cried for two weeks. And then I was like, wow, I guess I really care about that. And that’s kind of the thing that made me decide I should be an actor.
What’s your unmissable prediction for the year 2030? And why?
Oh, we’re just starting to go back in time. Like we hit 2030, and we’re just going backwards. And live life upside down.
Wait, I thought you said “miss the prediction”. So I was like, what’s some kind of camp? Like a prediction that would never come.
Well … hopefully we can get our stuff out together before that.
What do you think your 15 year old self would say about your latest project?
She would say to me, “Why aren’t you a jazz musician?” “
No, I actually think my 15 year old self wouldn’t be able to believe that this is the life I lead in the job that I can do, and honestly, the reason I wanted to be an actor is because I have always loved television. I always loved this TV genre: that kind of dysfunctional family comedy in the workplace. Everything is really exciting. And, you know, one of my favorite shows when I was that age was Community. And now I’m working with Danny Pudi and Megan Ganz.
I think if you had told me that at 15, I probably would have freaked out.
HAZARDOUS PHASE is a Reverse series with interesting people talking about the most relevant period of their life. The above interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.