BY NATASIA LANGFELDER
The talented Nicole Pacent is an actress, singer and model. She’s also one of the few out bisexual women in Hollywood. Her fans know her best from the web series, “Anyone But Me,” in which she portrayed the lovable Aster. Now, she’s back and starring in the SHE4ME PSA for marriage equality alongside actress Gabrielle Christian.
As a member of the LGBT community, Nicole has a vested interest in furthering equality. She sat down with Lesbian.com to discuss the behind-the-scenes fun on the SHE4ME set and her advice to fans on how to navigate the world as a bisexual person.
How did you first hear of the SHE4ME PSA and why did you choose to get involved with this project?
Well, really, I was sort of there when it was being conceived. I heard about it from my manager Sue Melke. She introduced me to Nicole Conn because they had been speaking about it and collaborating.
Nicole wanted to bring me on board as the bride and I just jumped on board. From there, the next thing we had to do was find another bride. It really was a meeting of minds. I decided to do it because it’s a cause I’m very passionate about, obviously, and I like Nicole Conn’s aesthetic.
What was it like working with director Nicole Conn?
Nicole is really clear on what she wants. It’s always great to work with a director who is that way, that way you can give them what they want. It’s refreshing.
Did you know Gabrielle Christian was going to play the other bride?
Sue forwarded me some ideas on who would be playing the second bride. When they settled on Gaby, it was really cool because we had sort of been orbiting in the same circle for so long, but we had never met or worked together. So we finally got to meet. She is such a doll.
Judging from the blooper reel, there was a lot of fun on the set. Can you dish on any of the behind the scenes hijinks?
It was all shot in one day! There were so many moving parts that everything was going on at once. There was no time for anything really crazy like would happen on a longer shoot. But the atmosphere was very jovial the whole time and during the wedding scene people just started doing funny dances. Everyone was just really happy to be there and have fun with each other.
You’ve been out as a bisexual woman for most of your career. How do you think that’s affected your journey?
It has affected it vastly. I can’t imagine how the journey would be different in terms of being more positive or negative thus far. I really don’t know. I’m glad I did it. In terms of the feedback, I’ve never gotten flack for it as far as I know. Everyone has been really accepting both within the gay community and outside of it. It’s really been wonderful.
Part of Aster’s popularity was because I was out to the fan base. I got a lot more projects out of that. I don’t know how things would have been different. It shaped it in ways I’m aware of and not aware of. But I’ve never doubted it and I’ve never second guessed it.
What would tell young fans who may be struggling with their bisexuality?
There are challenges that bisexuals face that you don’t get if you’re straight or gay. People don’t have enough information. And I’ve experienced that in my life. But in terms of my experience with work it hasn’t been a problem so far, which is awesome.
People message me about this all the time and it’s really hard because I wish I had time to respond to all of them. I would say there’s no blanket anecdote in terms of coming out for everybody. It’s different for everyone based on family situations or the country you live in. I can’t say come out and be who you are because it’s not that easy in many environments.
But that said, the more that you are able to be yourself and accept yourself as who you are, not only the happier you’re going to be, but the less you are just going keep hiding for your whole life. Whether they’re a total nerd or a cheerleader or if you have a non-traditional sexuality, if you spend your whole life fighting that, you’ll get tired after a while. It wears on you. It’s generally just a better path to go down to accept who you are and trust you’ll find your way. I really do believe that.
Finding spaces that are more accepting and attending support groups are always really good ideas. Connecting with other people, making sure you don’t feel alone. Those things are paramount. For me, it was so important to be surrounded by the bisexual and gay community even before I came out.
It’s so cliche, I know! But the older I get I have to tell you that’s what it’s all about. The constant struggle of having to let go of the idea that I have to be something other than what I am. It’s not worth it. It’s a losing battle. Just be who you are!
“South of Nowhere” ended in 2008 and many fans were able to dry their tears by moving onto “Anyone But Me.” In fact, one of the YouTube comments on the video is “Aster + Spencer = Perfection.” Do you think Spencer and Aster would have ever hooked up?
That’s so funny! I think from Aster’s point of view, she was so young. Vivian was her second girlfriend, but like first real love. Spencer and Aster could definitely have slept together maybe later in life.
Tell us about your favorite interaction with a fan.
Oh man, there are so many, especially because I’m now friends with some fans as a result. I remember this one instance quite well. A couple years back, before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, there a woman who messaged me and came out to me. She couldn’t tell anyone but me. She wasn’t out to anyone else. But she had seen “Anyone But Me” and she felt like I provided a safe space where she could be herself. Her job was defending our country and she couldn’t come out. That was pretty incredible. I have to say that messages like that where people have come out because of “Anyone But Me” or because I’m out about my sexuality or anything like that is endlessly inspiring to me and sort of unbelievable.
If you could star in a remake of any movie, which movie would you choose?
“Star Wars!” There’s not even a question in my mind. I could die happy if I was in that.
I would want to be Princess Leia 110 percent. She’s such an awesome female character. I grew up playing Princess Leia on the playground. I love that time period, too, episodes 4-6, of course!
In my adult years, I’ve been able to look back at it and appreciate it on so many other levels, including how strong Leia is as a female character. She is tough and she’s sarcastic and in charge and not submissive at all. She’s just feisty and fun with a dry sense of humor. She’s the type of character I would love to play.
Where can your fans find you?
There are a couple things in the works. There’s a short film that I did that’s going to be released mid-April, “It’s a Cold Cold Night.” I play a pretty funny, wacko character my fans will love.