2014 Honoree

Nikki Renēe Daniels

Singer, Actress, The Book of Mormon

“It seems that we have to wade through what we think about appearances before we listen to what they really have to say about the issues.”

Who inspires you the most?

From a professional point of view, I would have to say Audra McDonald. I worked with her on Broadway in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and she is an absolute force onstage. I learned so much about what it means to commit fully by watching her. And obviously, for her to have won her 6th Tony Award at such a young age, she is an inspiration to actresses of all races.

What do you now know about yourself that you wish you knew ten/fifteen/twenty years ago?

You can’t force success in my business. You have to just keep doing good work, and trust that the right opportunities will come your way, even if it takes longer that you think it will.

Fill in the blank: You can never have enough _______.


What City best describes your personality?

I’d have to say my hometown of Atlanta. It’s a big city with plenty of hustle and bustle, but at its heart it’s an old fashioned loving place to be.

What gets you through even the toughest days and what are you most grateful for?

I’m most grateful for my family. No matter what happens at work, or what rejection comes my way- and there are plenty in my field- I know that my husband and daughter love me for me.

What socio-political women’s issue do you care about the most?

At the moment, it would have to be equal pay in the workplace. It’s time for women to be compensated fairly for equal work.

Do you feel that women are typically presented fairly in the media?

I don’t. You look at female politicians, even politicians’ wives, and they are picked apart about what they wear, how their hair is styled, how their makeup looks- it seems that we have to wade through what we think about appearances before we listen to what they really have to say about the issues.

Despite separation between Church & State, religion still seems to govern decisions regarding women – abortions, birth control, etc. How do we shift power over women’s bodies to women?

I wish I had a better answer for this, but we just have to keep fighting the good fight. I’m amazed that we are seeing restrictions to basic birth control, in this country, in 2014. Voting for politicians that have women’s empowerment at heart is a good start.

What is your best read? Favorite character you would most like to be?

My favorite book is Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Since I play other people for a living, my favorite character that I would like to be is myself on a day off!

What will it take for women to be viewed as equal to men?

We just have to keep going. There are so many women doing amazing things these days- we are CEOs, we are four star Generals, we are writers and producers, we are Senators and Secretaries of State. The world is wide open to my 15 month old daughter- I hope she will grow up believing she can be anything that she wants to be.

What was your best decision to date?

It sounds cliche, but marrying my husband. Every aspect of my life has been better since we’ve been together.

Worst decision?

I really can’t think of one- every decision that I’ve made has led me to where I am now, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Social media has exploded. How can women use it to market themselves without seeming narcissistic?

I love this question, because for the longest time, I hesitated in making a fan page for myself on Facebook, getting a website, joining Twitter, making my own CD, etc. because I didn’t want to look conceited. I don’t think that it even enters the minds of men that promoting oneself is narcissistic, it’s just doing what you need to do to be successful. So I say, don’t worry about being narcissistic- let the world know about your accomplishments!

Write a fortune you’d like for all women to receive in a fortune cookie.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Being able to star on Broadway at night, while still being able to put my daughter to bed.

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