Claire Harper Claire Harper | May 27, 2021 | People Feature
As musical artist and actress Nia Holloway prepares for her first on-screen role to air this month, the Atlanta native reflects on her musical theater start, major career shift and what the future holds for the 25-year-old. Plus, the bombshell beauty shares some of her favorite spots to frequent when she's back home in the A.
STYLED BY MARGARET GALVIN; HAIR BY NAOMI HOLLOWAY; MAKEUP BY CHARLIE RIDDLE
For 9-year-old Nia Holloway, it was her school’s production of 101 Dalmatians, where she coplayed the part of Cruella de Vil, that sealed her fate. “No one’s been able to get me off a stage since,” recalls the Atlanta-born actress. “I definitely caught the musical theater bug first,” adds Holloway, who—take it from us—has the voice of an angel.
Iorane floral dress, ioranetogo.com
It was that angelic voice—and her acting talents, of course—that landed the now 25-year-old the role of Nala in the national tour of Disney’s The Lion King as the youngest person to ever play the role. For six years Holloway toured with the company, before making the decision to transition from musical theater to television.
“While on tour, I started dong a ton of self-tape auditions,” says Holloway. “After a year, I landed a guest star role, which inspired me to take the plunge and head west to L.A. for pilot season,” she shares. Eager and full of determination, Holloway made a pact with herself that she wouldn’t leave until booking a regular season. Two weeks later, she met AJ Johnson, the character that would become her breakout television role in The CW’s The Republic of Sarah, airing June 14.
Laura Lombardi Anima earrings, lauralombardi.com.
Centered on the small New Hampshire town of Greylock, the drama series follows Sarah Cooper (Stella Baker), a rebellious high school teacher who, faced with the destruction of her town at the hands of a greedy mining company, implements a cartographical loophole to declare its independence. Enter AJ, Sarah’s best friend and roommate, and also a Greylock police officer. “My favorite part about AJ is her compassion. She always has Sarah’s back, but she isn’t afraid to pull her coattail, and vice versa,” says Holloway. “She’ll tell you exactly what you need to hear, and it might sting a bit, but she’s also there to listen with open arms,” adds the actress of her character. Without risking giving too much away, Holloway leaves us with this intriguing bit about the series: “The Republic of Sarah is a beautiful glimpse of what happens when people become the change they want to see in their community.”
Now, as the anticipated release date of her first on-screen role nears, Holloway heads back home to Georgia until what we’re sure will be an influx of new projects begin. “I love the balance you get in Atlanta,” says the actress, who, spoken like a true Atlantan, names Waffle House as the scene of some of her best hometown memories. “You get the big-city vibe, but Atlanta also embodies down-home living.” Here, the captivating beauty shares some of her go-to haunts in town.
Place to shop…
Little Five Points
Local dining spot…
TV show of the moment…
Girlfriends (Netflix binge)
Place to grab a drink…
Two Urban Licks
Ponce City Market
Photography by: Photos by: Sam Gold