Introducing Nina Bloomgarden, who is not only effortlessly cool but also literally blooming – the 24-year-old American actress can currently be admired in the comedic thriller The Resort on Peacock as Violet. She can also be seen as Nina in Hot Pink on Amazon, in the CREATOR+ feature Jane as Camille opposite Madeleine Petsch, in the Netflix/Sony feature Fatherhood and the feature Good Girl Jane as Emma. She is a name to remember.
With Schön! Nina chats about The Resort, how to navigate life in your twenties, the best advice ever given to her and so much more.
Let’s start our interview with a conversation about The Resort. Tell me more about the story and your role.
There are so many genres within The Resort. It’s funny, and then suddenly you’re sobbing, and then suddenly you’re laughing again. It’s about the toxicity of nostalgia and how we all yearn for a moment in time in our past that we want to go back to. It’s kind of what happens when you get that when you do get to go back and it’s never the same. I think it’s also about grief, loss, and grieving the past and what you once had. It’s not what you expect it to be. I think people go in thinking it’s going to be a vacation story. Everyone’s been very surprised because it wasn’t what they expected. I think Andy Siara, the writer, did an incredible job at creating that.
Tell me more about what initially drew you to the role of Violet.
First and foremost, the team behind it is insane. Andy Siara, Ben Sinclair and Sam Esmail — when I read all those names together, that was pretty mind-blowing. With Violet, her life was very similar to my life. I lost my father a year ago. Then this audition came in two weeks after that and at that point, I’d only read the pilot and didn’t really dive into Violet’s loss but slowly, as I would audition more and get more sides from different episodes, it was just very odd how similar our stories were. I feel like Violet has certain aspects that I don’t have in her life and certain personality traits that I want for myself. I think she’s very headstrong, she’s fearless and I think I could use a little bit more.
What would you say are more similarities between you and her, other than that you both lost someone? Or is it more that there are a few similarities, but then you’re entirely different or was it easy for you to get into character because you have some similarities?
I think there were a lot of other similarities. That’s always kind of nerve-wracking — playing someone who is similar to you because there are moments where it doesn’t feel like you’re doing enough, on the job it feels like it is almost too easy. It was a big lesson in knowing we are at a very similar place in our lives. In the early 20s, lost a parent, lost a huge staple in our lives. Everything’s kind of turned on its head. Where I’m at is exactly where she’s at. I don’t need to force anything. That can be difficult sometimes when you’re supposed to be playing another person.
As you mentioned, your character is heavily weighed down by grief because of her mother dying. What has involvement in the show taught you about how to deal with loss and grief?
You can’t escape it. You have to ride it out and it doesn’t get any easier. The minute you think you have a handle over it, it smacks you in the face again like a wave. Everyone grieves differently and I will say, Violet had a different story in terms of where she was when her mom passed and I was very much present in there while my dad was dying. I feel like Violet couldn’t be, it was too painful. I think both things are valid. I feel really lucky to play someone who did process things differently at the time of death because it gave me more of an understanding of other people and why other people can’t be there. You gain a lot of empathy for people.
When you found out that Violet was going through something similar to you, was there ever a moment where you hesitated because it reminded you too much of my own life ?
I think it helped me a little bit more. I viewed it more as a gift. This came at this time for a reason. I viewed it more as a healing thing rather than something to run away from.
Is there any other great lesson that you learned while being on set, something that you will remember forever?
I think just the cast and the time that we had was so magical and great. I think in terms of that, I learned just to lead with kindness. We’re all little parts on this huge moving machine and no one’s bigger than another person. We all have important jobs. No one’s job is any more important than someone else’s — the crew and the cast, anything. I also learned to have fun on set and have fun doing the job. It’s my life at the end of the day and I want to feel happy in my life and fulfilled just forming connections and forming bonds that I think will last a lifetime now was special. I think that was a lesson I learned.
You worked alongside Cristin Milioti, William Jackson Harper, Skyler Gisondo and Nick Offerman on The Resort. Have you learned from them or is there anything that you think you taught them?
I feel so lucky to be working with these people this early on in my career. They’re people who I’ve kind of looked up to and respected growing up like when I was in high school. I would follow Cristin’s career and I’d play roles that she had played on Broadway or something. I would just get cast in the school play and play her roles. Getting to work with her now was just really exciting and even getting to call her or any of them my friends is so mind-blowing and exciting. I learned so much. Just being new to film and TV. I feel like I had a strong base in theatre. When I graduated college and started auditioning for film and TV and booking, it was a huge wake-up call. Getting to work with people who also have a strong background in theatre and film, there are just a lot of lessons about how to be on set and how to prepare and how to have fun, enjoy scenes and it’s so different.
How long have you been in film and what do you think are the difference between theatre and film?
They’re both so different and separate in my head and I love them both in different ways. I love the rehearsal process that theatre gives you, there’s time allocated for discussions and exercises and getting to know your character. You have all this time to talk to the director and talk to your actors around you and kind of build this thing. But then, in film and TV, a lot of the preparation is kind of by yourself. That was a really big transition for me. There can be sometimes more room to play with the film and I think it’s just separating and viewing them differently.
What is something that you love about the art of acting that you think can’t be found in any other career form?
It can be extremely healing. You might get something and then it’ll feel far from you. Then, suddenly, as you dive in you realise you might have similar trauma or you might start just getting affected by something that you never thought had a place in your life. You realise you need to work on this part of myself or I need to dive deeper into whatever that is because something has happened to me playing this role. I like to immerse myself a little bit in their lives. If they have a specific job or hobby or something, it’s a gift to get to learn a new skill for a couple of months and using it selfishly as a way for me to find a new hobby or find something that I love.
How do you normally spend your day?
Oh, man. I struggle with depression so sometimes it’s a whole lot of nothing. I’m kind of beginning to embrace that a little bit more with the hopes that something will come from nothing. I try to see friends, I try to move or create some sort of routine. I think in this line of work it’s hard to have a routine or sense of stability. So, lately, I’ve been spending my days kind of trying to build just that.
Sometimes that’s enough. I feel you.
It takes a lot of time. It takes up a lot of my day trying to be like okay… [laughs]
Let’s get out of bed. No, but I feel you because I think we are the same age. You’re 24 right?
Me too. I think being in your 20s is hard. How would you describe your style? Are there any items that you currently can’t live without?
My style has changed. I feel like it changes but yet like there’s a similar thread in it. I’m a very casual person, so maybe that’s it. I like to be comfortable but still a little chic. I made it a point to kind of stop buying fast fashion when I was in college. I have a lot of vintage things or statement pieces. I want to get back into statement stuff and I think when I switched over from just buying fast fashion or going to fast fashion stores, I was like okay, I just want it to be vintage or I invest into something that will be with me for life. I try not to follow trends. It’s easy to slip into that but trends come and go so quickly.
Do you go thrifting like vintage shopping a lot where you live? Where exactly are you from? From New York?
I’m from New York originally, but I live in LA now. I try to go thrifting. LA has such good flea markets so I try to go and sift through stuff. I love clothes, it’s important to me.I think growing up I wasn’t like that but as I got older, it helps me feel more confident, like it’s a uniform. If I’m wearing something that doesn’t feel me like I feel very uncomfortable.
What is the best advice you can give to anyone who is navigating life in their early 20s? Or is there any advice that someone ever gave you that kind of stuck with you?
There is probably so much advice given and so much good advice and advice that I’m probably going to say right now. I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that it’s okay if you know that advice doesn’t hit you immediately, it’s going to drop in when it needs to drop in. Things change so quickly. I think I was very set in my ways and then I wake up one day and feel this weird shift would happen. Life throws you curveballs so you need to adapt to it sometimes. I think the biggest thing is advice will hit you when it’s time.
What do you want to be remembered for? So, are there any attributes that you want people to think of when they hear your name? It’s my favourite question to ask at the end.
I don’t want to say kindness again, but I guess kindness. I just want to be remembered for being a good, real person.
Especially when you’re in the public eye. I think it’s probably even harder.
Yeah. I just don’t ever want to not be myself. I want to…
Always stay true to yourself.
Yeah, and help others and be a mental health advocate as well. I want to be remembered for telling everybody to be in therapy.
The Resort is streaming now on Peacock.
photography. Zachary Larraz
fashion. Tabitha Sanchez
talent. Nina Bloomgarden
hair. Graham Nation
make up. Denika Bedrossian
set. Hildur Yeoman
words. Maja Bebber