Lydia Nicole, born Lydia Fernandez. is a Spanish Harlem actress, comedian, screenwriter and producer based in Los Angeles, California. His career in the entertainment industry began in 1972 with the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation at New York R&B station WBLS-FM.
In 1981, she made her debut as a guest actress in The Greatest American Hero.
Nicole is best known for her role as Rafaela on Stand and Deliver, and her current project, the Common Sense web series Mamita.
Early life and education
Nicole grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York. From age 13 to 18, she worked for radio station WBLS-FM, New York as assistant music director.
This experience brought her to California to work for Casablanca Records, an early disco record label.
Nicole studied acting at Fordham University in New York before moving to Hollywood.
Once in California, she entered the UCLA writing program and studied with acting coaches Roy London and Stella Adler, as well as Broadway director Jose Quintero.
Common Sense Mamita
Common Sense Mamita is a comedy web series written, produced and hosted by Nicole. The show premiered on Latin Heat Entertainment in 2013 and has aired every Thursday every week since.
Nicole entered show business at New York’s number one R&B radio station, WBLS-FM. From 1973 to 1978, she worked with radio icons Hal Jackson, Frankie Crocker and Wanda Ramos under Inner City Broadcasting Corporation.
At 18, Nicole became ICBC’s youngest Assistant Music Director. In Los Angeles, Nicole worked with record mogul Jheryl Busby and ran R&B artist Patrice Rushen’s fan club.
In 1981, she returned to her position at ICBC as music director for two California stations, KGFJ-AM and KUTE-FM. Under Nicole’s leadership, KGFJ-AM has become LA’s top R&B and Hip Hop station.
Nicole landed her first television role in 1981 when she starred in The Greatest American Hero. She made guest appearances on shows such as Hill Street Blues (1981) and The Fall Guy (1981), and movies like Murder in Texas (1981).
In a 1983 issue of Ebony magazine, Nicole was named one of the “New Faces in Hollywood”. In 1982, she appeared in a two-part episode of The Jeffersons as a gang leader, Rachel, who robs and stabs George Jefferson.
She then landed the role of Rafaela with Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver.
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The role allowed Nicole to promote the film to high schools across the country.
In 1988, Nicole began acting in the Latin stand-up world. She was one of the few Latinas on the comedy circuit and a regular at the World Famous Comedy Store.
She also opened for her former employer, R&B singer Patrice Rushen. In 1993, Nicole was featured on BET’s Comic View.
In 1991, the lack of racial and gender diversity in stand-up comedy prompted Nicole to co-found “Funny Ladies of Color” with comic book Cha Cha Sandoval and agent Sharona Fae.
The group was made up of women of color including Sherri Shepherd, Jackie Guerra, Dyana Ortelli, Lotus Weinstock and Carlease Burke.
She also co-founded “The Hot & Spicy Mamitas”, the first all-female Latina comedy show, starring Sully Diaz, Marilyn Martinez, Ludo Vika and Dyana Ortelli. Together they released a stand-up comedy album on Uproar Records.
The group was mentioned in Darryl J. Littleton and Tuezdae Littleton’s book, Actresses: laughing, being a lady with actresses Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Lucille Ball and Margaret Cho.
Nicole took her stand-up and created her first one-woman show titled “Calling Up Papi” at the World Famous Comedy Store in which she performed the roles of 26 characters.
Nicole co-produced the comedy shows “Funny Ladies of Color” and “Hot & Spicy Mamitas”, and also wrote, produced and starred in her second solo show, A Rose Grows in Spanish Harlem.
From 1985 Nicole began working alongside filmmaker Robert Townsend on the film Hollywood mix (1988). She worked with him again in 2002 on film and web series productions.
She started as a basic assistant and went on to become an associate producer on Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy, Los Americans and Code Black Entertainment’s In the Hive.
In 2015, she produced Townsend’s film play for lovea romantic comedy film with Townsend Entertainment.
From 1991 to 2002, Nicole told her childhood story Calling up Papi to high schools nationwide and youth authorities across Southern California in an effort to promote the importance of education to children and adults. juvenile delinquents from disadvantaged neighborhoods.
She has spoken for various organizations such as Athletes and Entertainers For Kids, the Ryan White Program, Kareem’s Kids and Kathy Ireland’s Mother’s and Daughter’s Tea.
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