Nicole Hendrix is a producer, creative director, and the co-founder and executive director of BRIC Foundation, an organization that focuses on increasing representation for women and people from historically excluded groups in entertainment, media, and tech. She is also the co-founder of Concept Art Association, focusing on elevating and raising the profile of concept artists within the entertainment industry. Before joining the panel for the Zócalo, Arts for LA, ASU Narrative and Emerging Media Program, and LACMA public program “Is AI the End of Creativity—Or a New Beginning?,” Hendrix chatted with us in the green room about her best advice for young people going into the entertainment industry, her favorite restaurant in DTLA, and her 2024 New Year’s resolution.
What’s your current ‘Roman Empire‘?
Of course, Sam Altman OpenAI … But also, I just got a dog, so I’m thinking a lot about dogs and children. It’s been cool seeing a puppy and a 3-year-old interact. So that’s been my entire brain.
We’re coming up on the new year, do you have any resolutions for 2024?
Learning to say no more. I’ve been a ‘yes and …’ person pretty hardcore for all of my life. And I think now that everything has just grown so much—because I technically have three companies—and with a child and a dog, it’s just learning to say no.
‘Yes, and…’ is often associated with improv. Did you ever try your hand at comedy?
No, but I have a lot of theater people in my family. So that’s just kind of like what I was raised on. It’s just more of a philosophy—if someone wants to do something, I’m generally down.
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be in the FBI and do surveillance. I actually went to Sacramento State because it was a feeder school for the FBI.
What is the best training you had when you were aspiring to work for the FBI that translates to your career today?
I’m very confident that I can figure anything out. And that if I don’t know how to do something, I’m very good at figuring out who to ask and then asking.
Did you ever have a situation where you thought you could figure something out, but it didn’t go as planned?
My husband and I are DIY-ers. And we were renovating [our loft in downtown Los Angeles]. And I was in the bathroom full-on tiling things, and not understanding you have to float tile. It’s funny because the people that bought our place, I follow them on Instagram and every now and then, they’ll post pictures about their dog or their baby on the bathroom floor that we tiled, and I’m like oof, I’m glad you have to live with that and not me. But I think it’s about leaning into it and making it work.
When you lived in downtown L.A. where was your favorite place to go?
Badmaash. I like places that you can go alone. I feel like a lot of restaurants with really good food, it’s like a whole ordeal if you want to sit alone at a table. I like a place that has a bar where you’re not necessarily having a drink at. I like that kind of culture of community, so you can have good food and not feel weird about sitting alone.
What piece of pop culture—be it a film, a TV show, or something else—best captures where AI is going?
I think the anxiety for me is the potential for unchecked mass unemployment. And knowing that the U.S. is not necessarily set up for mass unemployment. So when I saw Ready Player One, and they’re living in the ‘Stacks,’ and I was always like, what happened to make them live in the Stacks? And I love technology. But that’s why I really try to focus on the job aspect of it, because if [AI] was just a tool, they’d be advertising it next to Adobe, right?
What’s your best advice for young people who want to get into the film and TV industry?
Be kind. So much of being in the industry is your personal relationships. So just being kind, being thoughtful, and networking because it is still very much an exclusion by familiarity industry.