In high school I was a bit of drama geek and hung out with a sort of New Wave crowd.  There was another drama geek that I knew, Nicole Oliver, who hung out with a more preppy crowd.  We were both head strong, ambitious, smart and more than a bit Type A. When we first met I had hair held into a standing position with too much Dippity Do and wore a lot of vintage men's shirts. She wore Ray Bans and had the perfect Kettle Creek canvas purse. It is safe to say that we butted heads more than a few times and really didn't like each other much when we first met. We were destined to be friends for the next 30 years.

It was like a platonic story line from a John Hughes movie, of a friendship across high school crowds. Somewhere along the line we started hanging out a bit after assembly rehearsal. Then there were shopping trips. We bonded over pop music like Wham (I still can't hear Wake Me Up Before You Go Go without thinking about a road trip we took to Montreal).  But there is no evidence whatsoever that we ever skipped class to have "beverages" at Pat and Mario's.

Since our friendship began before the internet, digital cameras or social media, I have no picture evidence of our trouble making in those early days. So here are separate photos of us from our Grade 12 year book.  Love how both of our outfits have elements that are back in style today. 

Flash forward almost 30 years. In those years Nicole and I have added many more stories, road trips, concerts and shopping. We both moved around, and apart for a while. Then we re-discovered each other in Vancouver. We have now added stagettes, showers, weddings, babies and 40th birthdays to our shared experiences. We happen to live a 10 minute drive from each other. We don't see each other often enough. But life is busy, and we both know we can always call the other up if we need a girlfriend to talk or share a bottle of wine. She is a busy actress, working in film, tv, animation and ads. She has a fab husband, and kept even busier managing two very active boys. I thought she would be a perfect Real Life Women Profile.

How would you describe your style?

My style has really evolved over the years.  I try to stay up with what’s fresh, but I am not as panicked about it as I used to be.  I’d say my style is classic with personal, playful twists.

Would you describe your weekend style different from your professional style?

ABSOLUTELY!!! My weekend style is very Vancouver, but I try desperately not to run around in Lululemon sweat pants.  I like to be comfortable but chic.  I love high heels, but most weekends I am wearing sneakers or my Uggs.  They are black and sparkly though - a little whimsy can go a long way.

What outfit/item makes you feel like a million bucks?

A fantastic bag or pair of shoes can immediately lift up my fashion feel.  But… I swear by a good fitting bra.  If the “girls” look and feel fabulous, even a plain tee can look fab.

You work in a high profile profession that expects perfection in appearances.  How do you manage running the boys to school and then heading to an audition?  Or an industry event?

Truth?  It takes time and help to pull it together and not look frazzled sometimes.  I am lucky to be able to work with some local designers (Shelley Klassen of Blushing Boutique, or Jacqueline Conoir) for special events.  I also use a make-up artist and get help with my hair (BIG LOVE to Nicole Harvie, stylist/make-up artist extraordinaire and Cindee and Sam at Halo Salon - Vancouver) if I need to walk the red carpet or have a really BIG meeting. But most times I am standing in front of the mirror and trying to cover the bags under my eyes from a sleepless night up with sick kids (laughs)!!!!

Any fashion/beauty secrets for my readers that you have learnt from working on screen?

So many!! Don’t be afraid of color, bias cut is where it’s at, and a light touch with make-up will go a long way.   Oh and I love accessories!!! So much fun and a real opportunity to showcase your individual flair and style.

Any advice on putting together a sexy night out outfit, from a regular person's wardrobe? 

Again, don’t be afraid of some colour.  Really play up that one part of your body you ADORE (we all have at least ONE).  But the best thing you can put on when you are hitting the town is CONFIDENCE and a SMILE - it does wonders.

What do you wear to a convention (she is the voice of Princess Celestia from My Little Pony franchise) that is both appropriate for pictures with fans AND comfortable?

A simple wrap dress or dress cut on the bias in a colour (yes, I am repeating myself), a tailored jacket for interest and to keep warm (some of those convention halls are COLD!!) and my heels.

If you could have the wardrobe from one of our former characters, who would it be?

Animated or live action? (laughs) Truth be told I have brought home a piece from almost every film/tv shoot I have been a part of.  It’s hard not to let a little bit of “you” influence each and every character, no matter how far away from your “real” self they may be.  My fave piece was a pair of FRYE boots.  I wear them with everything from jeans to leggings to long skirts.

How has your style evolved as you have come into middle age?

As I have gotten older I have become more appreciative of well-tailored, good-fitting clothes.  Even clothes bought off the rack or from a consignment store can and will look a thousand times better when they are tweaked for your body.  I also like statement pieces, be it a bold necklace, or a beautiful scarf or a classic handbag.  I want to be comfortable but chic, feminine but strong.

What is your secret to living a healthy life? 

Live, laugh and learn: I am embracing my laugh lines and the baggage of life that I proudly carry around with me.  I cannot wait to see what the next 40 plus years hold.  In my business, you really can’t take things to heart or too seriously- good friends and family helps to bring perspective and joy to some challenging moments sometimes.  Perhaps that sounds cliché, but it’s the truth.  Oh…and a great glass of wine with friends is always a beautiful way to celebrate life.  When are we having ours T??

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Nicole Oliver has worked for over twenty years in the entertainment industry as an actor, producer, and director.  She has been nominated by her peers for several Leo Awards for her work on both the small and big screen. This multi-talented, incredibly busy mother and professional works hard to find balance between family and work, and has furthered her education with a Masters of Arts in Communication from Royal Roads University (2011).  The multifaceted Nicole is in high demand in the television, feature film, animation, corporate communications, advertising, and video game markets. Nicole is @mouthnoize on twitter