ARTICLE ASHLEY SIMPSON
PHOTOGRAPHY HEDI SLIMANE
THE DETERMINED YOUNG ACTRESS IS BLAZING A PATH FROM THE HOCKEY RINK TO HOLLYWOOD WITH A ROLE IN THE HITCHCOCKIAN BATES MOTEL
Doe-eyed actress Nicola Peltz has just returned to her Westchester, New York, abode after making the rounds at Paris Fashion Week. “I’m obsessed with Miu Miu,” she says with little prompting. Soon she will head out to Los Angeles for the premiere of her new television show—the hazy, haunting psychological thriller Bates Motel. The series, which tells the story of a young, pre-Psycho Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his twisted relationship with his mother (Vera Farmiga), enlists Peltz as an unassuming friend and love interest of Norman’s. “On a superficial level, I’m a girl her age, I went to high school, I had boys, I had drama, I had the whole school experience…but what happened in her life is completely different from what happened in mine, and that’s what makes it so interesting [for me],” says Peltz, whose father, Nelson Peltz, is an American businessman and self-made billionaire. Since first watching the original Hitchcock classic at age 13 with her grandmother, Peltz has been transfixed.
“I watch it today and I still jump!” she says. The young actress, who first gained widespread attention for her role in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender (2010), took to the dramatic arts early. “I come from an ice hockey family, and I used to go to the rink all the time and play with my six brothers,” recalls Peltz. “My mom [former model Claudia Heffner] always told me there was no way I was ever going to be an actor—that she wasn’t going to drive an hour into the city every time I had an audition.” But Peltz kept on asking—at ages 9, 10, and so on—and when she got her first role, with the Manhattan Theatre Club at age 13, her mother’s resolve wore down. “I had no idea what I was doing,” she says, “but my passion was so strong that my mom realized it wasn’t a phase.”
Today Peltz is seeking out her next “strong character role” (recently she was cast alongside Mark Wahlberg and Shia LaBeouf in Michael Bay’s forthcoming Transformers) while enjoying some quality time with her sizable family. “They are my best friends in the world and my toughest critics,” she says. “I’m not sure what’s next, but I have an older brother and sister at NYU, and I’d love to go to Tisch. I also have a brother acting in L.A.”
Bates Motel is out now on A&E
Makeup Darlene Jacobs (Frank Reps) Hair Tuan Anh Tran (Frank Reps) Photo assistants Rudolf Bekker, Mario Sanchez, Mike Lopez Production Yann Rzepka Location Siren Studios, Los Angeles