While on set for the Showtime television show “The Affair,” Elon University senior Nicole Bloom ate more potatoes in one sitting than she had in her entire life. During a dinner scene, she was required to clear her plate — but the scene had multiple takes.
“I was eating a lot of these potatoes and then we shot that scene for probably five hours,” Bloom said. “I ate so many potatoes, I never want to eat potatoes ever again.”
Bloom got the opportunity to appear on the sixth episode of the third season of “The Affair” after her agent in New York City told her to send in a self-taped audition for the show.
About a week and half later, she received a phone call to film an episode — the next day.
“I had a lot going on with school and everything, but of course, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity,” Bloom said. “I hopped on a flight, and went to New York and we filmed an episode. It was a crazy, long day, but it was super, super fun and a great experience.”
During the episode, Bloom plays the 17-year-old daughter of a friend of the main character, Noah Solloway, played by Dominic West. Bloom’s character also has a short love interest between her and one of Noah’s sons.
Bloom got to set early in the morning, did hair and makeup, had her costume checked and rehearsed her scenes before filming from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. the next day.
“When I got to set, I was nervous,” Bloom said. “I didn’t know how it was going to play out. The hours are crazy, but everyone on set is really nice and working towards a common goal, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Between takes Bloom said West was goofing around and talking with the cast, which helped calm her initial nerves. To pass the time, they would play the water bottle challenge, where they attempted to flip water bottles and have them successfully land on tables, laughing the whole time.
“We’re working and taking it very seriously but then on breaks you can relax and bond with the cast,” Bloom said.
This wasn’t Bloom’s first time on television. Three years ago, she appeared on one of the episodes in the first season of “The Michael J. Fox Show,” and has been in several commercials.
“I don’t know if I want to watch it,” Bloom said. “I’ve been in a few commercials, so I’ve watched those, but it always makes you a little self-conscious. I might let my family watch it first.”
Bloom doesn’t audition too frequently in New York because her main focus is completing her degree at Elon, but she will send two or three self-tapes a semester and occasionally flies up for callbacks.
At Elon, Bloom has been a part of four stage productions, including “The Memorandum” and “Clybourne Park,” and is a cast member for Elon Tonight. Though Elon’s acting program focuses more on live theater, Bloom translated her experience to
“You don’t say one line and then cut,” Bloom said. “You do the entire scene, so you have to know how to keep the stamina when you do live theater.”
Bloom has been acting since she did community theater when she was 7 years old, but since joining the acting program, she has grown immensely. Taking classes in movement, acting and dialect has changed how she thinks about acting techniques.
“I think it’s creating a creative community where we feel safe to perform,” Bloom said. “Acting is interesting. You’re emulating real life, but there’s a lot more that goes into it, so it’s really nice to have a strong community and teachers that are very supportive.”
Kirby Wahl, professor of performing arts and Bloom’s adviser, said she has grown in both her understanding of basic components of acting and her confidence as a performer.
For example, Wahl said Bloom told him prior to playing the female lead in “Reckless,” Elon’s fall 2014 play, that she saw herself as solely a dramatic actress. But she was able to successfully portray a comedic role, showing her versatility.
“Not only is she an excellent actor, but she has what is sometimes called ‘emotional intelligence,’” Wahl said. “She can balance the often challenging nature of the actor’s work — investigating and empathizing with another person’s life experience — with the maintenance of healthy relationships in life and as a member of an ensemble of actors.”
After she graduates, Bloom plans to move to New York and work on more dayplayer roles, or supporting speaking roles, on television and hopefully become a season regular. But with a love for live theater, she wants to combine the two in her career.
“I’m a senior now, so soon I’ll be out in the real world and auditioning,” Bloom said. “Right now, we’re in preparation — meeting with casting directors and agents and working in theater and musical theater, TV and film, so this was a good first experience with it.”