Nikki Reed - American Actress, Singer - Songwriter, Director - Screenwriter and Activist

Nikki Reed is an American actress, model, singer-songwriter, director and screenwriter. She is best known for her role as Rosalie Cullen in the Twilight saga. But beyond her acting career, Nikki Reed is also known for her activism, for the many causes she passionately supports, for her flourishing business in the respect of her values and nature, and more recently for her photography talents.

Video: Nikki Reed Receives the Innovator Award at the 2022 EMA Awards

Nicole Houston Reed was born to a Christian mother of partial Italian descent and a Jewish father. She has repeatedly stated that she had a difficult childhood, as her parents divorced when she was two years old. She was raised by her mother and without religion, but Reed identified as Jewish and decided to grow up in her father's religion.

In 2002, when she was only 14 years old, she left the family nest to live alone in Los Angeles. There she met Catherine Hardwicke, a friend of her mother. When Reed told her that she wanted to become an actress, Hardwicke offered to work on a script with her. They wrote the script for the film "Thirteen" in six days.

The producers offered Reed one of the lead roles in the film. It was a role they had difficulty casting because it was considered "uncomfortable" for most young actresses. Reed accepted the role. Her performance was recognized with an Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Performance, as well as several other nominations. The film received positive reviews and earned Reed some recognition in Hollywood as a writer and actress.

After the success of "Thirteen," Reed returned to Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles to finish her studies. But she was forced to drop out again after a year, due to pressure from "mothers who were sneaking into the school at lunchtime to confront and harass [her] about the film". Strong-willed and eager to complete her education, she managed to graduate from high school by being home-schooled.

Reed played the rebellious and sexy girl for several years, notably in the film "The Lords of Dogtown" (2005), and "Mini's First Time" (2006) in which she plays the lead. She also appeared in several episodes of the series "Newport Beach" (2006).

Not forgetting her first steps in the film industry as a screenwriter, she later wrote the script for a film set in New Zealand in the 1960s and 1980s. Unfortunately, she had trouble selling her script, as many Hollywood producers considered her "too sexy" to be taken seriously.

Her fame took off internationally in 2008 thanks to her role as Rosalie Cullen in the iconic vampire saga "Twilight", with the first film directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The second film of the saga, released in 2009, earned Reed a nomination for Best Actress at the Teen Choice Awards.

In 2009, she directed a video for one of her friends, Sage. Reed said they made the video with very little time and money, but she was still very proud of it. That same year, she also directed a video for the band 100 Monkeys, whose leader, Jackson Rathbone, was one of her co-stars in Twilight, and a friend with whom she remains very close.

In 2011, she teamed up with Staples and Do Something for their third annual school supply drive. Staples Inc. is a U.S.-based retail company that provides products and services designed to make work and learning easier. is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to motivating young people to make positive change online and offline through campaigns.

At the same time, she took her first steps into music by co-writing and performing the song "Now That I've Found You," with her then-husband, singer and songwriter Paul McDonald. The single was released in November 2011, followed by the video featuring them both in 2012. That same year, the couple released their first EP entitled "The Best Part." Their song "All I've Ever Needed" is featured on the soundtrack of the last movie of the Twilight saga.

In 2014, Reed and McDonald divorced on amicable terms after two and a half years of marriage, due to their professional projects keeping them apart too often. That same year, she got together with actor Ian Somerhalder. They got married in April 2015 and are parents of a baby girl since July 2017.

In 2015, she participated to the Lindt Gold Bunny and Autism Speaks Celebrity Auction Kickoff in New York, and opened up to Yahoo Entertainement, with conviction, about her causes, starting with autism. Reed has been closely affected by this disease, through her brother who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. "I have a personal connection with this, and so I've always found it important to involve myself in the things that I really resonate with. Autism Speaks is actually a foundation that I've been involved with for many, many years now and I kind of discovered that connection on my own. When I found out that Lindt was partnering with them, it seemed like a really natural thing for me to come on board."

She also emphasizes how crucial awareness is, and is grateful to Lindt "for wanting to spread awareness and create a conversation surrounding something that people know so little about."

Her dedication to this cause extends to her work. She directed the short film "Think Normal", dedicated to ESPY's autistic winner, Jason McElwain.

She also supports, alongside her husband Ian Somerhalder, Thrive Market, an online store that helps low-income families gain access to healthy, affordable food. Thrive Market offers organic and non-GMO foods at discounted prices, and also gives a free membership to a low-income family every time someone purchases a membership.

This cause is especially important to Reed because she didn't have access to these types of products as a child. "I grew up eating the dollar menu off of fast food [menus], and that's all we had available to us. And so had I known about something like this, had something like this been available, my whole childhood would have been changed". For her, eating healthy should not be a privilege, "this is about equality".

Speaking of equality, Reed is also a huge feminist. She advocates for a more inclusive Hollywood industry, with better roles for women. "I think it’s really important for us to not only play but create roles for women that gives them more to do than just be something one-dimensional and one-note, more than the girlfriend, the mother, the sister, the bitch, you know?". She would like to be able to play roles that she can contribute to, and that can benefit her in return.

She encourages girls to support each other and be their best selves. "Be the generation that changed the world. Be the generation that broke the cycle of girls competing with one another, bringing each other down, pinning girls against each other."

She also advocates self-confidence and body positive, and invites people to love themselves as they are, without guilt. "It’s the days I get to let my skin breathe and my frizzy hair flies free that I cherish the most. That I feel the most ‘me’. So if there is one message I could have given my younger self, it would’ve been this: Be gentle with yourself. Know that every girl your age has acne, that it’s okay to feel insecure about your height, your weight, or the size of your boobs. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t spend your energy wishing you could change it."

Equally an outspoken animal rights activist, she volunteers at shelters in her spare time, and designed a limited edition collar and leash for the shopping site Gilt to benefit ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals. She was honored with the ASPCA Compassion Award for her contributions to animal welfare in October 2014.

She is also an Ambassador for the Humane Society of the United States, a U.S.-based organization with the goal of promoting animal advocacy internationally, and has also collaborated with the Freedom of Animals brand to create a collection of sustainable, cruelty-free luxury handbags, with proceeds going to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. "I have always been an animal lover, but even with my plant based diet and no fur policy, I hadn't quite made the connection between what I choose to eat and what I choose to wear. I think Morgan approached me because I had a very consistent message that I wanted to be heard. […] I am an animal rights activist and most of what I have focused on for the past 10 years falls into that. I am all for education, and also understanding of the journey. It's not about being perfect, it's not about being extreme, it's about knowing there are options out there, to help us reduce our need for products made from animals, and increase our demand for US made products." – Nikki Reed, for Forbes magazine.

In 2015, she went to the California State Capitol to testify in support of the Assembly Bill 147 which allows the public to adopt cats and dogs that were used for medical testing. "Animals used for science should not be discarded—the cruelty that they endure being used for research purposes is harsh enough. Let’s not further the abuse by claiming the rescues are not equipped to help them live out the rest of their lives peacefully."

Her love for animals has been part of her life since she was a child. She told Yahoo Entertainment that this passion goes back to her grandfather, who spoke out against laboratory tests on chimpanzees in the 1950s and 60s. "It really is something that's deeply rooted for me, and I will continue [to be vocal about it] for the rest of my life. […] It's beyond passion now. It's a necessity. It's essential for people to understand this — otherwise, we won't survive. That's it."

Reed and her husband, Ian Somerhalder, were both honored with the inaugural Humanitarian Award from JARR (Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch), a no-kill shelter and sanctuary in the Napa Valley for companion and farm animals. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding compassion, advocacy and dedication to animal welfare.

More than an animal activist, she is an activist for Mother Nature, because to Reed, everything is connected. "I feel like everything is connected. Through curiosity and compassion I found my love of animals turning into love for the Earth, and finding solutions for living with less waste became a natural next step. I’ve always loved animals. I started rescuing and fostering when I was little, and it never stopped. My mom has a huge heart and she always allowed us to bring home, feed, and rehabilitate any animal that needed a home. As I got older, I started connecting the dots between animal welfare and environmental degradation, and I continue to devote my life to learning better ways to be a human."

From 2017 to 2018, every Sunday, Reed dedicated her social media to Years of Living, a multimedia storytelling and education effort to inform, empower and unite the world in the face of climate change. Her Sunday posts promoted carbon pricing as a solution to climate change, and shared stories about the everyday consequences of environmental pollution.

In 2017, Reed and her friend Morgan Bogle partnered to create a sustainable jewelry brand called BaYou With Love. This minimalist and eco-friendly fashion line is designed entirely in the United States, in ethical factories and with non-traditional materials, such as recycled cotton canvas and post-consumer plastic. BaYou With Love also collaborated with Dell, a company that processes recycled technology, to make a new jewelry collection with gold from recycled computers.

"BaYou with Love was created to bring greater awareness to the human impact on our planet, and show that beautiful items can come from sustainably sourced and recycled materials. By recycling gold that was once considered ‘waste’, Dell and I are working to create an environment where we continuously reuse resources and strive for zero waste." – Nikki Reed, for Entity Mag.

On the business side, Nikki Reed is also the Ambassador and Creative Director of LØCI, a vegan sneaker brand. She has created an exclusive collection of high-end unisex vegan sneakers for men and women.

She is also a Strategic Advisor for Genexa, a clean medicine company.

Drawn to all art forms, she is also passionate about photography. In partnership with Leica Camera AG, a leading international camera manufacturer, she presented her first ever photo exhibition on November 3, 2022, at the Leica Gallery LA. "Imagery makes us feel beyond what words can articulate, and I knew I was forever changed by a perspective seen through my lens".

Titled "Into The Unknown", her photo exhibition invites us to reconnect with nature. "Six years ago, I made a conscious decision to take a chance on myself. I felt called to express myself through a new medium, inspired to expand the experience of our culture in a different way: to embark on a journey filled with a level of depth that only art can evoke. As a first step of commitment, I turned to my camera. The very camera I hold today was the first camera I picked up just six years ago, serving as a tool that brought me right to the center of my being. Imagery makes us feel beyond what words can articulate, and I knew I was forever changed by a perspective seen through my lens.

To me, the gift of holding a camera brings presence and stillness, the promise of creativity as we step into the unknown. It keeps us exactly where we are, in that very moment, bringing us closer to what truly matters through compassion and connection. It connects us to something outside of ourselves. My hope is that these images bring us back to nature. We protect that which we love, so we surely need to find a way to fall in love with nature.


Article par Julie Poutrel pour Adama Toulon.