BY: NADIA CARRIERE
Actress Arianne Zucker is loved by soap fans for her role on NBC’s Days of Our Lives, as the mischievous and cunning Nicole DiMera. From baby stealing to boyfriend snatching, her character is forever getting into trouble but it’s her complex nature and underlying sensitivity that keeps us all captivated. In December 2009, Ari became a mom after giving birth to her beautiful baby girl Isabella Reece, her daughter with hubby Kyle Lowder (Rick, The Bold and The Beautiful). After taking a short 8 week maternity leave, Nicole is back and causing the usual stir in Salem!
I recently had the chance to talk to Ari who called me from the set during a day of shooting. She spoke to me about her life as a new mom, her company Lowd Suga and it’s new organic line of baby clothing ‘Izzy Reese’, eco-friendly living and her role on the popular daytime soap, Days of Our Lives.
CM: Congratulations on your little girl Isabella Reese! How has life changed for you and your husband since becoming parents?
AZ: Well, we’ve always had a lot of pets so I feel like I’ve had a little bit of practice in that area. I know animals aren’t the same thing, but in the sense of there being that responsibility – you have to make sure they are OK, that they are fed. They are like my kids, I’ve had them forever.
Isabella is such a good girl, we are really lucky! She is so much fun and she has already taught me so many things and I think Kyle would say the same thing. I’ve never been a mum before so I’m learning quite a bit, thanks to her. We are really lucky!
CM: Do you share the responsibility equally?
AZ: I would say it is probably 60/40 more on Kyle because I’m working all the time. He cooks for me and always has dinner on the table. His schedule is different then mine so he has the ability to do that. I am very fortunate, he is an amazing father!
CM: You had a short maternity leave (8 weeks), what was it like returning to work?
AZ: It was definitely a catch-22, because after Izzy was born all i wanted to do was be with her, but at the same time I really missed everyone I worked with. I love my job so much and the hours are not bad at all. We are never here past 5 p.m., and if we are it’s very rare, so the hours are great! You know, you hear moms especially stay at home moms talk about how nice it is to have “adult talk”? I feel like we have a nice balance. When Kyle isn’t home I have a wonderful nanny so I’m pretty comfortable and don’t feel guilty when I’m away.
CM: Many of the actors on Days have small children. Do you ever arrange play dates with your co-stars children?
AZ: Izzy is only 6 months so not yet. When she starts running around a little bit then definitely!
CM: Tell me a little bit about your company Lowd Suga. How did the name come about?
AZ: Lowd Suga is a combination of my married name Lowder and my maiden name Zucker, which means ‘sugar’ in German. Originally when we went to register the name Loud Sugar it was already taken, so we took the ‘r’ off the ‘Sugar’ and combined both of our names.
CM: Your jewelry pieces are very affordable, yet classic and stylish! Do you design them all yourself?
AZ: Some are wholesaled and some are designed and made by me. Sometimes while I’m at work an idea will pop in my head. We have 15 weeks off a year now so, when I have some time off I like to sit, create and have that little bit of time off for myself while my baby naps. The jewelry line is the other creative side of me, it really is a joy!
Also, jewelry is jingly and blingy and the baby loves it!
CM: What is the difference between your Originals and Eye Candy Lines.
AZ: The Originals line is designed by me and the Eye Candy Line is the wholesale line. If I see something I like, things that are in style or pieces I have seen on other actors or celebrities, then I’ll purchase them. My pieces are more affordable then what you would find at higher-end shops.
CM: Your new collection of eco-friendly apparel and toys for children, ‘Izzy Reese Baby’ was just unveiled a few months ago. Can you tell me a little bit about the line?
AZ: When I was pregnant there was a lot of talk about eco-friendly products. Purchasing new carpet, low VOC paint – a lot of things that people do in the early stages of parenting. There has been so much talk and research done on the things that are put into our systems and our food these days. Although I’m not a fanatic, these things are in my thoughts.
Eco-friendly products are better for the environment and healthier for your baby. Yes those items are usually more expensive, but that is because there aren’t many people doing it. It’s a lot easier to buy things that are man made instead of buying things that are organic. With organic clothing you don’t have to worry about chemicals, they may not be as brightly coloured because of the natural dyes but they are good for your children. My daughter does have a mix of different toys, organic and generic but i do try to keep her in an organic’ish environment.
Kyle and I try to reuse and recycle as much as possible. I’m also very careful with water use. We put fake grass/synthetics instead of watering our lawns, we have plants that are indigenous to our land. So we are definitely trying to become more conscious. We have yet to get our solar roof but it is something we are looking into!
Even with my jewelry line, I like to reuse things and try to use jewels that were made in the 70’s. Gold and metals are one of the highest pollutants in the world, so I try to be aware of those issues and use things that have already been excavated. I don’t list jewelry on my site as often as I would like as I’m really trying to find companies who do use those products. It is also time consuming and we are in such an “I want it now” society, so a lot of people aren’t doing it as much. But that’s OK, we learn slowly but surely and one day someone will make it easier for everyone.
CM: Your character Nicole DiMera is in quite the story line at the moment and her scheming ways seem to have returned! Do you think her experiences with the baby switch changed her at all?
AZ: Here is the interesting thing about my character, Nicole is a survivor. She will do everything she can until someone tells her, “No you can’t” or, if she gets herself into a lot of trouble. She is never happy with herself and is forever looking for some kind of love. That whole baby situation hasn’t gone away, it is deeply suppressed and it drives her to do the things she does. Sydney was the one thing she could have and love and then she was taken away from her.
Nicole doesn’t realize that what she does is wrong, she is just trying to fill a void. It’s been a long time for me just loving this character and if I don’t love her, it doesn’t come across as authentic. I’ve found something with Nicole and I have sympathy for her because it really is a sad thing, especially as people get older. When you have these problems and feelings that are hidden away, they tend to come to the surface if you haven’t dealt with them.
Things keep happening with Nicole and we are really starting to see the desperation in her needs and being wanted. Its much much deeper especially since the baby switch.
CM: Did you prefer playing the softer or edgier side of Nicole?
AZ: Oh my gosh! Well, she is so bipolar and I really love that she can switch from one side to the other. The edgier Nicole is definitely more fun but the soft side is harder because I have to make sure people can really relate instead of listening to her whining and crying, otherwise the viewers will think, “Oh shut up already, you did this to yourself”. There is a very fine line between the two and it’s difficult on both sides. I am so used to playing the edgier side, but I think her softer side is actually more dark because she has never really been that way before.
I would have to say the softer side is my favorite now because its such a challenge.
CM: Can you gives us any hints on what to expect from Nicole in the coming weeks?
AZ: Lets just say that Nicole is trying to make sure she looks good, that she is in the good light. It’s going to get interesting!
Photo Credit: Arianne Zucker and NBC For Exclusive use on Child Mode