Art and Culture

This section implores us to reconsider the idea of making it.
We offer a candid glimpse into the lives of those who create for a living.


Meet Nikiya Palombi.

Dancer, Actor, Model.

Ballet was Nikiya’s first love. Coming from a military family, she trained throughout her childhood at several schools across the country including The Eastern Connecticut School of Ballet and Movement Laboratory. At age 11 she landed a solo role in Kirk Peterson’s American Nutcracker with the Hartford Ballet and went on to perform with International Ballet Classique and The Opera Company of Philadelphia. She is now a freelance performer. Look for her in Jordan Matter’s new book Dancers After Dark slated to be released in 2016. ”

Nikiya’s modeling career took off after she began working as a body paint model for Make Up For Ever in New York. She now works regularly with MAC Cosmetics and can be seen in Make Up For Ever’s Pro Finish shade finder in Sephora stores. She has appeared in NY Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week, Philadelphia Fashion Week and for TJ Maxx, Macy’s and more.

After a few moments acting, Nikiya decided to dedicate herself towards the development of her craft. She studied at The Gately-Poole Conservatory and worked on numerous projects in Philadelphia & New York before relocating to Los Angeles. Her theatre experience includes ‘The Mute’ in The Fantasticks and ‘Lady Capulet’ in Romeo and Juliet. She has appeared in commercials, music videos and a growing list of award-winning independent films.

In her free time, Nikiya enjoys studying accents and languages. She is an American (don’t let the name fool you). She is also an avid hiker, skilled marksman and loves to cook (as long as the recipe calls for wine).

Nikiya is one to watch, we decided to give her the Proust Questionnaire.

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A: Truly living in a moment. Experiencing life in a completely connected way.

Q: What is your greatest fear? A: Regret

Q: Which living person do you most admire? A: My Dad

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A: Sometimes I have a really hard time saying no, even when I should.

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in others? A: Lack of passion

Q: What is your greatest extravagance?
A: Food. I’m really particular about my coffee. I special order it from Brooklyn even now living Hollywood. I also love to cook and I’ll happily splurge on fresh, organic ingredients and a good bottle of wine.

Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue? A: Patience

Q: On what occasion do you lie?
A: I think people in general lie a lot more than they’d like to admit. I know I do. Knowledge is power, so you can’t give everything away all at once.

Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse? A: I say “cool beans” a lot

Q: What is your greatest regret?
A: There have been times where I’ve unintentionally hurt people. I don’t set out to hurt someone, but I certainly have and I hate that.

Q: What or who is the greatest love of your life? A: I believe I recently met my soulmate, something I didn’t previously believe in. It’s a love that has enhanced every aspect of my life. I feel so grateful, so lucky.

Q: Which talent would you most like to have?
A: I wish I could play the violin really well. It’s such an incredibly sexy instrument.

Q: What is your current state of mind? A: Grateful & excited

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: There was a moment after my knee surgery where I learned the depth of my own determination and resilience. For a long while after surgery I couldn’t do anything on my own and I’m a very independent person so this really made me feel like shit. One day I was home alone and I wanted to get a shower, but there was no one there to help me. I couldn’t put any weight on my leg, or bend it for that matter at all since it was in a full brace and it had to stay elevated. I just made up my mind that I was going to do it though. I had to make several trips up and down a flight of stairs to bring milk crates to prop my leg up on and things. It was quite a process and so I went up and down the stairs on my butt and finally slid myself up slowly against the wall into the shower. When I finally was situated with the water running down me I let out this cry like I was a warrior. It’s funny to recant this story now, it seems a bit silly, but at the time it was the greatest feeling of accomplishment I’d ever experienced. That moment has gotten me through a lot of things since then. I’ve found myself saying “well you did that, so this is nothing”

Q: If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A: A man.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: I have a stuffed dog that my Dad got me when I was just born that I hadn’t seen in years. He’s a rottweiler named Scout. When I left for California I couldn’t afford a plane ticket home to see my Dad before he deployed and I was really broken up about it. My Dad sent me Scout with a note saying he’d always have my back.

Q: What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?
A: Living for another human being. Ayn Rand said you can die for another person, but you can’t live for them. It’s true.

Q: Where would you like to live?
A: I’m loving LA but my ideal would be splitting my time between here, Brooklyn & Italy.

Q: What is your favorite occupation? A: I always wanted to be a spy.

Q: What is the quality you like most in a man?
A: I need to be with a man who challenges me, inspires me, respects me and makes me laugh… and let’s be honest the sex needs to be good too.

Q: What do you most value in your friends? A: I need to be able to trust them.

Q: Who are your heroes in real life?
A: My Dad, my friend Taryn and the men & women of the US military.

Q: What is your motto?
A: I could break it down into two quotes:
“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” – Albert Einstein “I never saved anything for the swim back” – the film Gattaca

If you want to know more about Nikiya visit her at