We are so happy to announce our new Mentorship Program Co-Chairs, Nichole Naccash and Vincenzo Hinckley! Both of them have worked with Off The Lane as Mentors since 2020. Nichole and Vincenzo are an artistic power couple and have even formed their own independent film company together, called 99 Cent Productions. We’re so excited to have their fresh and inspiring minds leading this program. Learn more about them below!
A little bit about Nichole…
Virginia native, Nichole left the mountains for a move to London, England, where she pursued her education in theatre performance with the Theatre Academy London. After returning to the states, she performed in concert with both Tony winner Kelli O’Hara and music legend Bobby McFerrin at The Ferguson Center for the Arts. Since then she has traveled the world starring in national and international tours! Nichole is a graduate of Christopher Newport University, where she received a degree in Music-Theatre/Dance Performance. She now resides in New York City, where she can be found starring in audition rooms and cabarets across the city.
In Vincenzo’s words…
Should this be in first or third person…Vincenzo, me…I…umh…oh well, whatever. I was born in Catania Sicily to the coolest parents ever. I have an older brother and a younger sister. I’m an avid reader, learner and rock climber. I trade the market and I’m okay at it. I love helping youth move forward and learn from my mistakes so they don’t have to make them. I speak two languages fluently and two more halfway decently. I’m learning Russian. Love cooking and homesteading. I live in Washington Heights with my gorgeous fiancée Nichole and we are hedonists…just kidding. When I’m not doing all this stuff I work as a contractor and sometimes bartend but the biggest passion of mine is Film and TV- Okay WOW, no wonder people write these in third, all these “I’s” and “me’s,”…ew.
Q&A with Nichole and Vincenzo:
1. Have you had a mentor In the past that helped you get to where you are today?
Nichole: Unfortunately, I have not been lucky enough to have that guidance in my life. However– that is what made me so passionate about this program! Rather than having a specific mentor guide me along my path, I’ve been thrilled to have surrounded myself with really talented friendships. Watching their experience has certainly guided me on my own!
Vincenzo: I’ve been blessed to have a few. My good friend Ricky Wayne who is an insanely talented actor as well as savvy businessman, as well as my former teachers Kathy Laughlin, Rus Blackwell and Sean Patrick Folster whom have all imparted wonderful lessons that have kept me going during my career and which I look forward to sharing with others.
2. What made you want to become a mentor?
Nichole: I know firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate these transitions on your own, and really love that OTL has provided resources for artists moving to the city and entering the field for the first time! If we can offer experience and guidance that gives a little cushion during this transition, then our hard experiences have all been worth it!
Vincenzo: I’ve always loved steering people in the right direction and I believe it’s just as beneficial for the mentor as it is for the mentees. You get the joy of appreciating and witnessing multiple successful careers and limiting their mistakes, and it actually reminds you to take your own advice and reinvigorates old habits that could still be helpful in your own career.
3. What is the best piece of advice you can offer our new mentees/any up and coming performer?
Nichole: Never be afraid of change! Our industry is constantly changing and adapting, and you have to be malleable. The biggest success stories come from people who have accepted new opportunities with open arms, and I know firsthand that my career has been a path I never would have imagined!
Vincenzo: Don’t let people (especially industry people) push you around. Don’t apologize for good work. This also means when you’re in the work, whatever type of work that may be, don’t cut yourself off. You’ll be surprised to discover something great and slip into a groove. If you mess up, keep going; this doesn’t apply to rehearsal, just performance.
It’s showBUSINESS (not show-hug-me or please-hire-me) so be surgical and scientific about how you approach that very real and very necessary aspect of performance and the work.
You are enough (meaning not every character has to be jaw-droppingly different from who you are, THAT is interesting enough). Know who you are and be honest artistically. Learn your own style, everyone has one, not one process works for everybody all the time.
What’s your emotional thumbprint? Your inner emotional life is way more interesting than any idea you might have about how the scene or cadenza “should be played.” Or how the choreography “should go” or even what trajectory your career “needs to have.” Just enjoy the ride.