Nikki DeLoach Talks Two Turtle Doves, Authenticity, and Advocacy [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Nikki DeLoach is back on Hallmark Channel tomorrow night with a new holiday movie that reunited her with Love to the Rescue co-stars Michael Rady and Michaela Russell and that film’s writer, Sarah Montana. Two Turtle Doves is a warm, touching film that acknowledges that the holidays aren’t always quite so shiny and happy for everyone, especially for people doing their best to put one foot in front of the other on a path laden with grief and sorrow.
In the movie, DeLoach plays Dr. Sharon Harper, a neuroscientist who dwells in the matters of the brain and finds herself tested and awash in emotions when she returns to her late grandmother’s home for the first Christmas since her death. Luckily, her grandmother has assigned her a to-do list to help navigate that. A “12 steps of Christmas,” if you will. She shares those steps with the family next door. Single dad Sam (Rady) and his daughter Mikayla (Russell), and brother, Alex (Zach Tinker).
I spoke with DeLoach earlier this week about diving deep into matters of the heart and mind, reteaming with her Hallmark tribe, and being a voice for women and Alzheimer’s. “Lesley Demetriades, the director, came to Hallmark with this idea. She’s one of the deepest, most kind, compassionate, intelligent souls I’ve ever known. Outside of directing, she helps people move through grief and trauma. It’s not a second job, It’s a calling, I would say, and she’s really helped a lot of people,” says DeLoach.
“She wanted to tell a story, she and her mother, [Christine], came up with this idea, about, “What is it like to move through grief during the holidays? What does it do to your body?’ The way Sarah brilliantly brought it to life is to have this character, whose job it is to research trauma on the brain and body…Grief is part of trauma. What happens when this character who [is supposed to] have all the answers [doesn’t have them] for herself when she’s going through that thing?”
“The second Lesley told me about it, I wanted to do it. It’s fascinating and interesting. We have our jobs that pay our bills and then we have everything else where we want to be good in the world and investigate life’s big questions of, ‘How does trauma affect the brain and why aren’t we taking this more seriously and talking about it?’ How do we do that in the context of a Hallmark movie [which usually] keeps things light. That’s where we bring in the mystery and love.”
“[Sam] is grieving his wife and I am grieving my grandmother. [In life], we’re all going to go through this. We don’t have to go through it alone. That’s a big theme in the movie. The journey and the path of grieving is like a ride. One day, you’re happy and the next, you ‘re reminded of [your loss]. And you can find love along the way.”
“The key to all of that is openness. You just have to be brave and courageous enough to open yourself up and find the love inside of what may be a painful experience. I’m really proud of Hallmark for telling this story. I know it’s a bit of a departure. I feel like it’s time for Hallmark to tell bigger stories and I’m really, really happy that I get to be a part of it.”
DeLoach was instrumental in getting the band back together after the script came her way. “I called this whole crew ‘The A Team.’ We had Ashley Squires, the creative executive at Hallmark, who’s so smart and brave and pushing the needle forward in her storytelling with every movie she does, and Sarah and Lesley, who are one-of-a kind souls,” she shares.
“And Michael and Michaela are creative soulmates for me. Every once in a while, you meet someone where it just happens there’s no work or effort that has to be put into [creating chemistry]. It’s connected and deep and authentic and joyful and creative and inspiring. They are two of those people in my life. To be able to do two movies this year with them was an absolute dream. I’m begging Hallmark to put us on a TV show together. This magical combination doesn’t happen very often. We love each other so deeply.”
“I sent a message to [casting director] Penny Perry and said, ‘I’m doing this movie. If you want to give me an early Christmas gift, can you make it part two of the Michael, Michaela, and Nikki story?’ and she texted me and said, ‘Happy early Christmas.’ I was so excited. I could not have been happier. When something works you really have to pay attention to that and I’m so glad Hallmark put us together again.”
What We Are is DeLoach’s labor of love, an online community dedicated to helping women celebrate life’s messiness and the journeys that often takes us on. The idea came from her best friend and co-founder, Jennifer Dede, when they were in their late 20s. “We were at a time in our lives when you start asking those big questions [about] who you are and who you want to be and how you want to live,” she shares.
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to be anything but the most authentic version of myself. I don’t want to pretend [life is perfect]. I just want to be who I am…all the time. We started this journey of a friendship [based on], ‘let’s show each other the messy and be who we are. This movement started and our friends [wanted in].”
“I think in a world where Instagram friendships [celebrate perfection, it often means] you’re not there for each other on your darkest days…even with people they called their best friends. We started an online community where we can pull in every magical, wonderful, amazing woman we can find and tell their stories and highlight the messy.”
“Our whole thing is, ‘Vulnerability is your superpower.’ We want to inspire women to be vulnerable and truthful and honest about their lives and who they are and lift that up. [Beyond being a boss babe], it’s also awesome to be courageous in your pain and be able to speak on the things that are making you feel vulnerable and sad.”
“It was really important not to show stories of just famous people or celebrities, we also want to show regular women living their lives. [Sometimes they reach out to us and tell us their stories] and we ask them to share it by writing about it.”
DeLoach is also involved in fundraising and advocacy for two organizations that are close to her heart, which she openly shares on Instagram—the Alzheimer’s Association and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Her Dad has dementia, and her younger son was born with a congenital heart defect and has been treated at CHLA.
She’s most proud of the Alzheimer’s Association and the speed with which they can activate. “If someone brings research or a drug to the National Institute of Health, it could take years to even start the work [because of government red tape],” she explains. “You could go to the Alzheimer’s Association with research and they can fund that today.”
“The Alzheimer’s Association has zero red tape. They have their own in-house doctors. They’re incredible. I go to their conferences. I talk to their doctors. They’re remarkable human beings. Same with CHLA. I’ve never seen such determination and care and drive to find the answers and save lives. They’re in it for all the right reasons. The clock is ticking on all of that because they’re very serious issues sand life and death. The quicker we can know, the quicker we can save somebody’s life.”
If you want to help either organization, info is online here and here about how to donate, and there are Walks to End Alzheimer’s all over the country right now, including one this Saturday at the LA Zoo.
Photos ad Videos Courtesy of Crown Media.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People, which US audiences still have not been able…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…