By Thomas Brightman – Muze Staff Writer
Photographed by Raquel Rischard

Niki, your shoot here with Raquel Rischard out in LA is gorgeous! What was the inspiration for this shoot and had you worked with Raquel before?
I had not worked with Raquel prior to this shoot, but we had met before, several times. We both live in Los Angeles and were familiar with eachothers’ work. I really love Raquel’s work, and I guess the admiration was mutual because we had both been looking very forward to working with eachother. So when MUZE contacted me about the feature, I couldn’t think of any photographer I wanted more behind the camera, than Raquel. As far as the inspiration for the shoot, the cover shot is a very different image of me than what I am use to. I was actually the last person to show up to the shoot, and aparently Raquel and the hair and makeup team had a vision of doing a Lana del Rey look for one of the sequences. That is what ended up on the cover. I am very pleased with the images we captured.

Niki, it seems that you are a definite part of the LA social scene, and have been called a socialite in many magazines. Where do you go out in LA and how do you get away from it all?
I know girls always say this, but I don’t even go out much these days! Once or twice a week I like to go out to a trendy new spot or an event to make an appearance. Last night I went to AV, it is definitely one of my favorite venues in Hollywood right now. Calvin Harris randomly showed up and played an amazing set. You never know what will happen when you go out in Hollywood so it’s exciting. This weekend I am hosting an event in Beverly Hills with a few other models and Playmates. It’s called “Babes in Toyland” because it will be a toy drive. I love being able to help others around the holidays, and what could be more fun than a red carpet toy drive?

As much as I like the glitz and glam of Hollywood nightlife, there is the surfer girl aspect to me, because I live near the beach, and grew up on the beach. Because of this, I am really loving the Bungalow at the Fairmont in Santa Monica, Brent Bolthouse’s latest nightlife creation. Its this cool little bar right on the beach, and it resembles a beach cottage. I love going there because it is so low key yet sceney. When I’m not out socializing, I am actually quite a loner! I go hikinig, or to the beach to surf by myself. I love having my peace and quiet at the beach and in the mountains. Santa Barbara wine country is also incredibly tranquil, so I go up there for relaxing weekends every now and then. This is why I love Los Angeles so much, there is so much to do for every kind of mood!

You’ve been published in nearly every men’s magazine we can think of, FHM, Maxim, Playboy, and the list goes on. Your work is quite extensive, but is there anything you are still looking to accomplish? Also,what is your most memorable shoot to date?
Yes, I have been in FHM several times, as well as Maxim, and Playboy which I was not however nude in — I would never pose nude. But the one magazine I have never been in is Sports Illustrated. That would definitely be an accomplishment! My favorite shoot to date would have to be this one. (laughs)

Look I have a great time at all of my shoots! My RUKUS cover shoot was definitely memorable, because it was on the beach and it was extremely windy that day. My hair would not stay still, so on the cover I have a major case of sex hair. This shoot was actually a lot of fun because Raquel is such a lovely woman and so much fun to work with. I’d have to say one shoot that sticks out in my mind is one very early on in my career. It was in Hawaii and we were shooting almost half way in the water, and the water was so clear, these images look like I’m in a swimmng pool. It was just unreal!

I know you played in the Lingerie Football League, so I am assuming you are a sports fan. Any favorite teams thats get your blood flowing?
Well, I’m an L.A. girl, so naturally I grew up rooting for the Raiders. I’m actually going down to San Diego for the Raiders versus Chargers game at the end of December, I’m so pumped! I am pretty much a die hard Raiders fan, I’m obviously very into football since I played football myself for so long! I am also a huge Matt Ryan fan, or “Matty Ice” as we like to call him. So the Falcons are my number two team. I do also love the Lakers, eventhough I think Football is a far superior sport in comparison to basketball.

How do you stay active now that you are not playing in the LFL? What do you do to blow off steam?
Staying active is not a problem for me, because I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I grew up swimming competitively, then played water polo up until college. Then of course I played in the LFL. I just can’t imagine my life without fitness being a huge part of it. These days I run, bike, hike, and do stairs. I’ve also been doing Yoga for the last 2 years, and I have to say it has changed my life! Not only is it amazing for your body, but it brings inner peace, mental focus, and calmness. I highly suggest giving Yoga a try to anyone who has never tried it. It could change your life.

You’ve also been tagged as the Persian Barbie, so I’m assuming one or
both parents are Persian. Do you have relatives back in the Middle East or Iran? I’m sure for anyone with ties to Iran it’s a difficult
and uncertain time.

Yes, my parents are both Persian actually. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m Persian because I’m tall and blonde. I blame that on the tiny pinch of Russian I have from my father’s side, and of course the bleach. I love America, I live here and this is my country. I will also always love Iran, because I was born there, and my grandparents and several cousins all live there. This isn’t about the government here nor there, and I don’t want to politicize this interview; this is about people. I love everyone! That includes American people and Iranian people! I wish everyone would get along.

On an unrelated note, I have something interesting to share with Muze readers about Iran; In Iran, giving someone a “thumbs up” hand signal, is the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger in the U.S. So, if you ever find yourself in Iran, do not give a thumbs up to anyone! (laughs)

Thats good information to know Niki, thanks for the caveat! So I understand you recently graduated law school and passed the California Bar Exam. How do you plan on transitioning from modeling to now being a Lawyer? Where does the modeling, acting and LA entertainment scene go from here?
I’m so excited to finally be a Lawyer! It has been my dream since the ninth grade! If you look at all my old year books, people always wrote in it “If I ever need a lawyer I am going to look you up….” This is absolutely my destiny and dream. Modeling has been amazing, and it has been a fruitful career for me. I could have never dreamed of being nominated by FHM on their 100 hottest women in the world list! That was mindblowing and unthinkable to me, so many things I have been a part of have been mindblowing! I am so thankful for all of the spreads and campaigns I’ve been a part of, and I am more than satisfied with everything I have accomplished in the last few years. At this turning point in my life I am very serious about becoming powerful as an attorney. I am not ready to completely faze modeling out of my life, but being an attorney is my number one priority now. I see myself becoming successful at anything I do, I am a very determined person. Hopefully I can find a way to combine both of my careers. I could see myself being a some sort of “Legal Analyst” on CNN, that way you all will still get to see me.

Photographed by: Raquel Rischard
Make-up: Lauren Feist
Hair: Aaron Coleman

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