‘Days of Our Lives’: Will Nicole Reveal Mackenzie Horton Is Really Rachel Black?
She’s the bad girl you love to hate. We’re talking about Nicole Walker, played by Emmy-nominee Arianne Zucker on Days of Our Lives. Nicole’s been involved in many secrets over the years and now, she’s in the thick of another one as she is slowly piecing together that baby Mackenzie “Mickey” Horton is, in reality, Rachel Isabella Black, the baby that Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) and Brady (Eric Martsolf) thought had died at birth.
In reality, it was Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) and Xander’s Eric’s (Greg Vaughn) baby that passed away. Revealing this will throw many lives into turmoil. Nicole, who went through several travails before becoming a mom herself to little Holly, is in a pickle. What’s going to happen?
TV Insider chatted with Zucker about Nicole’s current story, her charitable endeavors, her upcoming Lifetime movie Nanny Danger, and if she threw her hat into the Emmy ring this year. (And, if so, whose hat did she throw?)
Nicole’s going to be in a position where she’ll either have to stay quiet or step up. Where’s her head right now?
Arianne Zucker: Nicole has been shifting to the sides of being more balanced than she used to be. She has Eric in her life. She doesn’t want to screw that up. [Finding out about Mackenzie/Rachel] means that she has to get in the middle of something. [Laughs] Darn it! I kind of love that this character has made adjustments. It’s nice to see characters change throughout life. It’s pretty cool. But I think she feels very uncomfortable that the person she loves with all her heart [Eric] could be hurt in all this. Nicole is holding the cards. How do you not want to know?
So, Nicole will either be magnanimous or be selfish?
Yes. I think Nicole is in the middle of two things. It’s human nature, in some ways, to be selfish. I think it’s common for people to do what’s best for them. I like to believe that there’s a lot of good in people and they’ll choose to do the right thing. Maybe 40 percent of people choose to do the right thing? Nicole has been caught up so many times in doing the wrong thing. This time, it’s about doing the right thing.
Has being a mom herself to Holly changed Nicole?
Yes. Parenthood changes people dramatically you’re thinking about someone else other than yourself; it takes the context mem me, me off you as an individual. So, I think that definitely makes a huge difference in someone’s life and it grounds you more. This thing needs you and it if doesn’t have you, then, it dies.
Last year, you got to play a dual role of sorts in that Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) disguised herself as Nicole. How much fun was that?
So much fun because that character is so freeing. There’s so much you can do with her. The writers, I think, really enjoy writing [Kristen] because she can be so outrageous and because she’s so forgivable. There were similarities between [Nicole and Kristen]. I got to sink my teeth into that character. I was a little sad when I had to stop playing her.
I never had the [Nicole] mask on but the gentleman who made the mask showed me what it was like to pull it off. Stacy did a great job of pulling it off. When we did the initial reveal, I thought she really…pulled it off. Cameras, actors, artist…everything. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that storyline.
Was it a while before you ever met Stacy?
We actually had met in passing prior to that story. When I was leaving, she was kind of coming on… we weren’t in the same scenes but we were in the same story. I’d watch her and her mannerisms, how she acts. Stacy’s a very physical actress. Taking on her physicality was really fun. It was pretty cool. It’s hard, but fun, especially when you enjoy it.
Did you submit a reel for Daytime Emmy consideration?
I did. I submitted when Holly goes off the cliff. It was right when I came back. It was before it was revealed that Nicole was Kristen.
So…the ballot will say Arianne Zucker as Kristen…or Nicole?
It’ll be [for] Nicole. Nobody knew I was playing [Kristen at that time]. I didn’t even know I was playing Kristen.
I’m going a little “Inside Baseball,” but you were Kristen then, no? I’m sure they’ll figure it out. What was the fun part of playing Kristen when everyone thought she was Nicole?
You get to play little things. People started to say, ‘Wait. Did Nicole just say that?’”
How much fun was shooting A Mermaid for Christmas?
Oh, [my character] Tiffany Devereaux! What a joy! She was such a fun character to play. I think Michael Caruso [the film’s executive producer/writer/director] wrote that with me in mind. The words were hilarious. I got to do some physical comedy bits, but be straight and bitchy. It was a blast for me. I thought they all did such a great job on that movie. I wish we had more. Talk about wanting to be greedy! I’d love to make a movie about Tiffany. It was great.
What’s the latest with your nonprofit, ARROW HEART Adventure Camps, which works with youths in need by getting them out into nature and helping them build skills?
We’re still doing that that. We have kids who want to be in the program. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself. My executive director in Idaho used to be a police officer…the non-profit does all these amazing things with kids and outdoor adventures. We’re talking about bringing it out here again into Los Angeles. That would be so cool, but we need funds for that. We have a team in Idaho. That program is so solid. Kids know what to expect. They come in and are ready to go. We have actually have a way for people to donate with them spending their own money. We’re connected with Smile at Amazon. You can make your Amazon purchase and [a donation] goes to our nonprofit.
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Teaching our teens critical thinking skills out in the elements and how to get to safety in a mild situation. Every year, 12 teens and Jr. mentors go through our program in Idaho. Help us grow stronger when you shop on Amazon. Choose Amazon Smile and search for ARROW-HEART Adventure Camps. Thank you 🙏
You’ve got a Lifetime movie, Nanny Danger, coming out later this year with General Hospital’s Coby Ryan McLaughlin (ex-Shiloh) and Scarlett Fernandez (Charlotte). What’s it about?
[Laughs] So there’s this nanny and there’s…danger. It’s a fabulous Lifetime thriller. I play the mom.
And you have a nanny who’s…dangerous?
There’s an extra twist in this one that’s really cool. The director, Gigi Gaston, is a former Olympian, who competed in hunting and jumping. I decided I’m totally going to be a fan on the set. She was incredible to work with and we established a nice relationship.
Does Coby play your husband?
Yes. I saw some of his work on GH. He was really good. We got a scene in the movie where we ad-libbed a little bit. He was really fun to work with.
And Scarlett plays your daughter. Someone in casting knows their soaps!
Yes. We have to work quickly in the [Lifetime movie world], as well. They don’t have as much dialogue as we do in daytime, but the scripts are dialogue-heavy. You have to know what you’re saying and what you’re doing. You’re also on location where you have to move quickly. They have to move cameras quickly and get different setups. It’s a lot of work. They want people in there who know where to stand and where their light is.
Back to Nicole and, specifically, her daughter, Holly, it’s been said that once paternity and custody are established, babies get aged up to around 7 or 8 and then a few years later…
Exactly. How would you feel about playing parent to a teen someday?
I’m excited about that [happening someday]. I love my relationship with my own daughter. Being able to add that on-screen would be great. I love working with kids and I love working with babies. They challenge you. You can’t control them at all if they’re crying or are uncomfortable. That’s what babies do. You have to just go with it and, as a result, your interactions are a lot more real.
Days of Our Lives, Weekdays, NBC