We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Ziza Bauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I look at risk as a gateway to growth. Healthy risk has the power to catalyst your evolution as a person, both personally and professionally, and I’ve always tried to keep that perspective when it comes to my “career.” I put that word in quotes because what I’ve done for a living has always followed my curiosity, and there’s a sense of risk with that. I’ve shifted from a lot of preconceived set paths: An acceptance to medical school to an editor at a start-up magazine, to a freelance food and travel writer, to now focusing on some personal writing and also starting homeopathy school. There’s always risk with a shift–but I think you can miss out on the unique mark you’ll leave on the world if you don’t.
Let’s talk work? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a kid, I was always writing. I distinctly remember being three or four years old and rapidly scribbling through books with a fake crayon “pretending” to have homework. I physically loved the process of writing.
My childhood was punctuated by stories and screenplays written on DOS computers. It never dawned on me, though, to pursue that as a career. A desire to understand the world–or perhaps a natural progression to all of my “Why” questions–eventually led to a biology degree in college.
I’m never satisfied with a surface-level answer. Becoming a doctor also seemed a respectable and secure thing to do, far more so than a creative career. It took actually getting into medical school to realize that I wasn’t ready to so singularly pursue just one thing for so long. I also credit living in Los Angeles, ironically, to part of that decision-making. Here I was in a city surrounded by people pursing their greatest dreams and passions, giving it their all. I knew there were other pursuits besides medicine that lit me up, and I was willing to change gears and give myself the time to figure it out. I could always go back to medical school later, if I really wanted to. (Or so I told myself.)
That changing gears wasn’t a smooth shift, though. I worked at a marketing company and then as a wedding planner for a few years, slowly getting into the groove of a creative marketplace and freelance economy. Writing along the way felt very natural, but it wasn’t until I was officially on-boarded as the online editor for a new women’s magazine, Darling, that I started envisioning what a “career” in writing could look like. A full circle moment that I’m especially proud of is writing an article for Life & Thyme about the culinary team at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was as if my previous life working in research labs and hospitals sprouted new leaves for me as a writer. I was channeling my same interest just through different gifts in a valuable way.
Writing is such a weird profession. The way I look at it is that it’s about tapping into this inner secret stream of life and teasing apart the edges to see where others can link in. That’s where the art is for me. Of course, in order to make money “as a writer,” you can’t always have the art front and center. There has to be a time and place for writing that is actually adding something to a space, versus just taking up space. Sometimes words are needed to bring in practical needs, highlight things or directly solve a problem, but it’s my opinion that you can still gild those edges with a little art too, and that’s what I like to do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love the Getty Villa. I love the Getty too, but if we’re talking about some heart-to-heart time with a BFF, nothing feels more picturesque than strolling the grounds of the Villa, catching the glint of the ocean and absorbing all the surrounding beauty through osmosis. Magic.
Another classic nature spot that’s great for chats: Trails Cafe in Griffith Park. Especially on one of the rare days when you can catch a faux fall-like morning. It’s such a fun place for visitors. If I’m over that way, I’ll also probably swing by Kettle Glazed for my favorite blueberry donuts.
A farmer’s market run would be included at some point, stocking up on hummus, bread, cheeses, veggies, all the necessities for a great dinner. Wine included, of course. I love Tilda for great natural wines, also Botanica, Lou’s and DomaineLA.
A homemade dinner that lingers over wine and grappa is my favorite kind of evening and that feels so Californian to me. I’m pretty fanatic about grappa, and surprisingly haven’t found a place in LA (yet) that beats my home collection. Casita del Campo in Silverlake is also fun for Mexican food. I love the vibe. And their smoky margarita. I’m also obsessed with Hugo’s Tacos. There’s one in Atwater and Studio City. My go-to is a white bean and vegan cheese burrito with guacamole and their honey chipolte salsa. I could eat one every single day and never tire of it. So, of course, I would initiate my guests.
I’d keep going…but this would very quickly turn into a menu of must-eats, and now I’m hungry.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a handful of girlfriends in my life (they will know who they are when they read this), that have always given me the time and space to feel fully accepted. They’ve taught me to trust my gut and valued my point of view. I’ve never had to be anyone but myself. Moving from such a place of inner confidence is a true gift in this world, and I don’t take that for granted.