Nikki Roumel just bagged her first major role in an upcoming Netflix show.
Born and raised in Guelph, a graduate of John F. Ross and currently enrolled in a film program at Wilfrid Laurier University, the 20-year-old actress will be seen playing young Ginny in Ginny & Georgia, a show about a mature 15-year-old girl who is on the run with her 30-year-old mother.
“I would definitely say I achieved my dream,” said Roumel.
Roumel is in nine out of 10 episodes of the first season which was filmed in Toronto in 2019 and is set to release this year.
She said the moment she learned she got the part was one of the most exciting experiences of her entire life.
“It was exciting, it was nerve-wracking, it was amazing,” said Roumel. “I remember calling my mom and dad right away,” said Roumel.
“We were all really really happy. It felt like everything was coming together. I mean its an experience, it's an opportunity and it’s something I love.”
Roumel said her love of film began when she was a child and she knew it was the career path she wanted to pursue. At 8 she wrote her first screenplays about child soldiers and mental illness.
“Obviously it wasn’t great but I knew I wanted to do that and I knew I wanted to get into acting,” said Roumel.
She said the deal with her parents was if she found herself an agent at age 12, they would drive her to her auditions. And sure enough, she did.
“My parents didn’t expect that I would actually do it because I was so shy,” said Roumel.
Roumel started her career at the age of 12 in commercials and independent films and then ventured into shows. Because she was really shy as a child, she said acting helped build her self confidence and taught her how to navigate through emotions in life.
“It taught me that its okay to feel different emotions, and it’s okay to access those emotions as well,” said Roumel.
The first independent movie she acted in was called Gitaskog where Roumel played an Indigeous girl. The film was about an underwater serpent based on Indigenous legends.
She later appeared in the Kiefer Sutherland show Designated Survivor, where she was seen in multiple scenes as the girlfriend of the president’s son.
“It was really cool. I got to meet Kiefer Sutherland and work with him,” said Roumel.
She said when she got the call to audition for Ginny & Georgia, she didn’t think she had a chance.
“I go for more of the cheerleading roles or girl next door and this one was edgier, it's darker, or more complex,” said Roumel.
After auditioning for the role once, Roumel got the part and filmed the season in four months in and around Toronto.
“I was worried you know how going from independent films and independent projects to bigger production was really scary but it was actually amazing,” said Roumel who also enjoyed spending time and bonding with the cast and crew members of the show.
“It was really amazing how involved everyone was and how down to earth and genuine human they were.”
Roumel attended a few acting classes in Lewis Baumander’s acting studio in Toronto in her early years. But for the most part, she says she learned on her own by researching acting techniques and practicing approaches she learned through YouTube videos.
“Being so passionate about it, you can feel it. I think it’s so important to feel the role you’re in and just reach those genuine emotions,” said Roumel.
She said her role model and the person who inspired her to be an actress is her older cousin Ally Roumeliotis who she always looked up to.
While Roumeliotis never pursued acting professionally, Roumel admired her initiative to try it as a child and was encouraged by her cousin’s energy.
Roumel says in the future, she wants to explore other aspects of the industry where she can write, direct and cast other actors.
“I want to be a casting director. Not many people say that because it is tedious work for a lot of people,” said Roumel.
She said as cliche as it sounds, she wants to help people achieve their dreams by recognizing their talent and opening doors for the same kind of experience she had.
“I think acting is really really competitive. You really have to be on top of your game 24/7. And there are so many people,” said Roumel.
“There so many actors out there. So much talent and I think I was at the right place at the right time.”