Nicole Butler, aka ‘She Shed Cheryl’, from the State Farm commercial that has garnered nearly 1.5 million views on YouTube alone, has a lot more on her mind than who burned down her she shed. The dedicated and successful Chicago native and Los Angeles living actress took time to talk with us about her new show “Sister President”, mental health, going viral, handling rejection, money, the lessons she has learned in her 15 years of acting in LA, and what she wishes she did before moving to Los Angeles with only $200.
As the Super Bowl approached, the biggest event for commercials annually, I was eager to know more about starring in a commercial that garnered so much attention in a world that is oversaturated. “Well, it really did increase my visibility not only in entertainment but amongst people in the street. They will shout ‘she shed’ sometimes or want to take a picture with me. It did take some time to adjust to the new attention and I did not always know what the appropriate response was, but now I have realized that people like the commercial, it makes them happy, makes people laugh, and I like to be a part of that!”
As a working actress in LA for over a decade, being recognized must have felt like a sign of validation but Nicole shared that fame was not the goal or a part of the equation for her. “I loved the craft and have worked hard on my craft. Other people are celebrities, I never intended to be one, but I am learning how to navigate it.”
Nicole has secured spots in several national commercials including Pizza Hut, Progressive Insurance, Target, and Walmart, but not every audition ends in success. The inevitable rejection that comes with being in Hollywood can take its toll on anyone, but Nicole knows it is just business. “I learned early on that there is rejection, but it is not personal. The casting directors most of the time do not know me personally, so why would it be personal? I try to stay as sharp as I can so that when I go into an audition, I am consummate and I can feel like, ‘here’s what I have and hopefully you can use it’. If not, I want to do a good enough job for you to call me back and think of me for other projects. I’d be crying every day if I took it personally.”
As a new decade rolls in, so have new challenges and goals. Nicole wrote, produced and shot the pilot for her new TV show, “Sister President”. She then raised the money to green-light the production of the first season which finished shooting in January and is set for release in April! The TV sitcom is about two sisters who become interim President and Vice President for six months. “The things that I address are things that I see going on around me politically, human issues, and relationship themes between these two sisters, that are middle-aged black women which is a demographic that I do not think gets represented with dignity as much as I would like! I want to bring societal issues to the forefront, address mental health issues to try to diminish the stigma, and to make people laugh!”
Incorporating a character that struggles with anxiety into the script was important for Nicole as she recognized that mental health issues are an epidemic in our country. It is something that millions of Americans suffer from annually, including Nicole who takes medication for her anxiety. I was curious about how she is able to curb this and use it to her advantage in her career. “The upside of the way I am affected by anxiety is that it pushes me to do things out of a sheer will that I otherwise am not sure I would do. The downside is the collapse of energy after, so I really need to listen to my body and what it needs. Selfcare is key and managing my time accordingly.”
by Catherine Michelle