Fight for the Future
“I grew a tough outer shell. When I did auditions and heard a ‘no’ a thousand times, I was like, ‘Whatever, f**k you,’” says Marisol Nichols. From a rebellious childhood involving drugs and running away from home numerous times, to a successful acting career of over 20 years, Nichols proves to be capable of beating the odds. “I had no goals, no direction, and had no idea what I was going to do with my life,” the Riverdale actress recalls. “[Acting] saved me.” After a bad breakup, a 19-year-old Nichols found herself auditioning for a play, and with no real acting experience, she expected to be cast as an extra. Much to her amazement, she ended up cast as the lead role and her journey as an actress began from there. “It was one of those things that kind of came naturally,” she says.
While Nichols has found a successful career in acting, there is something else even bigger she is most passionate about – vigorously fighting to end human trafficking. After hearing horrific stories of children in brothels and child sex slavery, Nichols was in shock. “It takes the mind a while to comprehend something so evil,” she claims.
After continuously researching and meeting with different organizations, she decided to start her own foundation, Foundation for a Slavery Free World, to aid in eradicating this modern-day injustice. Through this foundation, Nichols was able to meet with different people in law enforcement, and jumped at the opportunity to go undercover to catch pedophiles (“Absolutely do I want to use my acting skills to do this”). After completing self-defense training with Navy SEALs and the vice squad, Nichols dove deep into the undercover work and became hooked. “I love it. I’m addicted to it. I wanted to quit acting and become a detective,” shares Nichols, who was also recognized a few years ago by Barack Obama with the distinguished President’s Volunteer Service Award. “Kids are astonishing beings. These kids went through the worst of the worst, and some of them still had smiles on their faces. They would follow me and the other adults around, and all they wanted so badly was to just be held,” she adds, referring to her Haiti trip to visit an orphanage that was populated by children who had been saved from human trafficking.
Nichols has her own 10-year-old daughter and constantly worries for her. “You can’t do this work and not ask yourself a million questions,” she says. As a parent, she feels it is a responsibility and duty to educate yourself and your children in ways they can understand. In an effort to reach a larger audience and enlighten others on this issue, she has been producing a documentary series for the past year that includes footage of undercover operations from different countries. “I want to show the world what is going on,” she says. “Children are our future. We have to demand that this changes. We have to stop this, and we have to stop it now.”
Writer: Gavy Contreras
Photographer & Videographer: Natalie Walsh
Stylist: Bailee Edgington
Hair: Gui Schoedler (for Exclusive Artists Management - using KEVIN.MURPHY)
Makeup: Crystal Tran (for Exclusive Artists Management - using tarte cosmetics)
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Luxe City Center Hotel (@luxecitycenter - luxecitycenter.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)