We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole de la Cruz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is something that drives my career and my life as a whole. I don’t like to live with regrets or thinking of the “what ifs” so I just go for it. Almost six years ago, my mother took the risk of moving us across the country from South Florida to Los Angeles in order to give me the best possible environment and opportunities for my career. We went from a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 2 story house in a gated community in Wellington, FL to a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles. That alone was a big risk for her to take as a single mother with two teenagers but she saw the value and the opportunities the move could bring and went for it, despite outside opinions.
By her example, I myself learned to take risks when it seems like the best option and to not let fear hold me back. I took a risk when I decided to finish high school online in order to graduate a semester early. I did so because I wanted to be finished with school in order to focus on my career, my singing, my acting, my creativity. I took another risk when I left my job at Starbucks. Someone had asked me, “Well what about money? What are you going to do now?” My answer.” I’m going to work on my music, my career. That is my priority. Everything else will fall into place.
Last year in 2020 I started probably one of the biggest risk taking ventures to date. I formed my own production company, Reign Productions. Since last year, we have been working on our companies first feature film, Lifeline. Our goal is to get the film on a video-on-demand platform such as Netflix or Hulu, as well as submit it to festivals such as Sundance and Cannes. The film industry, especially the indie film industry always comes with such a big risk, but a first time director/writer who is only 20 years-old? That is definitely a sentence to stop people in their tracks. At the beginning of this project, when we were acquiring production team members for our film I was unsure how I would be perceived, and if I would be taken seriously. It is such a risk entering into this industry especially at such a young age and as a latina female, that I thought people may overlook me. However, so far I have achieved much success and respect. People talk to me without regards to my age, and if they do? Well, in the words of Ariana Grande, “Thank you, next.”
Without taking risks, you miss out on what could have been. You may have all these great plans in your head but fail to act as you focus on all the negative outcomes instead of the opportunities that await. It may be cheesy, but I truly believe that if you really believe you can do something and you put all you’ve got into it, then you can achieve it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up, I was surrounded my music thanks to my mom who, as previously mentioned, is a professional violinist. When I was about nine or ten, she decided to put me in singing lessons as she saw the passion I head for it. Shortly after, I auditioned and was accepted into a magnet arts school in West Palm Beach, FL for their vocal department. From there my love for music and singing got stronger, and my musical knowledge grew. Flash forward to today in which I have released four singles to date, two official music videos, merchandise, and performed at various live shows and events around LA. My most recent win was the release of my music video, “Moonstruck,” on January 1st, 2021 through VEVO. The video gained over half a million views in a matter of days. This was also my production companies first official project.
Currently, more music is in the works, my style being similar to Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera. A pop, rock, RnB vibe that is slightly edgy. What sets my music apart from others is my approach. Many times when I’m writing, I am writing for others, meaning it may not be personal experience that my work is derived from, but the experiences of others, of stories I’ve heard, of different perspectives and outlooks people have on the world.
For music and acting the hardest challenge to overcome is getting social media exposure. Social media has become so prominent in today’s society that even actors are being turned away for roles if they don’t have enough of a following. Learning how to be more present and discoverable on social media is definitely a learning curve that I’m still learning as the world of social media is ever-changing.
As for my company Reign Productions, the company is founded on the principles of passion, creativity, new opportunities, and perspectives. I started this company with the intention of sharing character driven stories that really open up people’s minds and perspectives. Today, so many people see in black and white, and miss the grey area in situations that they are not accustomed to. They see something unfamiliar, something they don’t understand, and they run away. Figuratively speaking of course.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For places to visit I would recommended Runyon Canyon, the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood & Highland, Larchmont, and if you’re up for a two hour drive north, Solvang, CA is a really beautiful, serene place to visit.
Almost over a year ago I went vegan so some great places I would recommend are Sage Plant Bistro, SunCafe, Pura Vita, and Tacos Tu Madre.
I think the most exiting thing to check out is the view of the city from Runyon Canyon. It is beyond beautiful and absolutely breathtaking. Standing there, looking over the city, it energizes you, you feel on top of the world, like you can do anything. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother, Maritza Ortiz, most definitely deserves a shout out. She is the reason I have this “go for it,” mindset, she is the reason I love music, as she is a musician herself, she is the reason we are out here in LA right now, and she co-founded Reign Productions with me. Along with her work in the film industry, she teaches private violin, viola, cello, and piano lessons, she is a real estate agent, a life insurance agent, and a QHHT practitioner. She has the hardworking spirit and drive of an entrepreneur, willing to take as many risks as needed to get where she wants to be.
Other: Our Film’s Facebook Page: Facebook.com/lifelinemovie