The Three Faces of Nancy
Soap Opera News Daytimers Magazine, December 1980
by Dorothy Vine
Article Provided By Wanda
There's Nancy Addison the woman; there's the actress who portrays Jillian Coleridge Beaulac on Ryan's Hope; there's the business woman who is one of the three founders and involved partners of Kirk's Folly, a hair ornament business.
"I am all those persons, although not necessarily at the same moment or hour of each day."
"When I'm at the studio, I'm completely divorced from all of my interests except the acting and I'm concentrating on being Jillian. When I'm not at the studio, I'm completely involved in Kirk's Folly. I'm even spending some weekends traveling to do counter demonstrations at the prestige stores we sell throughout the country."
It sounds a very full schedule and Nancy admits it is. "I'm only happy when I'm busy. I'm a worker; you could work me 24 hours a day at anything I love and I'd be fine and perfectly happy. I don't need a social life. I have friends who must party and constantly attend dinners and luncheons. That was never my style. I'm very work-oriented. Of course, I can be social with people I know well and adore and whom I'm really close to. I'm in a relationship with a man now and we go to the movies and theater and spend a lot of time together. Robert is very supportive and thinks it's great that I have two successful careers going. As long as my time with him is focused and I'm not making 20 business calls while I'm with him, he's satisfied. The weekends with him are usually spent at my house in the country and it's completely our time together. And, since I'm close to my parents, I make time to be with them also."
As Nancy explains it, Kirk's Folly represents one of two great metamorphoses in her life. The first came when she left Fisher College in Boston to return to her beloved New York and started to study acting with Stella Adler. "My whole world, my whole psychology, my whole philosophy about everything changed. Until that time, I had been fairly sheltered - almost cocooned in some ways - and had a kind of naivete about life. Studying acting with Stella was more than experience in terms of theater, it was a life-growth experience for me."
The second time came when Nancy and two friends (sisters Jennifer and Helen Kirk) formed Kirk's Folly and started to create and market their unique, handmade, custom-designed combs, barrettes and glitter-sticks.
"I come from a family where my father has a real business head and my mother was always creative," Nancy explains. "I guess both those talents have been sitting inside me all these years, waiting to come out, be recognized and used. And now I love every minute of it. I'm doing something creative and find my life is much richer. I look at everything differently. When I see an attractive vase or a painting, I immediately think, 'can I reproduce that for us in an ornament?'"
"It used to pain me," Nancy continues, "when I didn't have at least five auditions a week. Now if an audition comes up, great! But I don't have the time to think about it so much. I still want to be in films and on Broadway, but if I can't have that right now, it's all right. I'm very creative and emotional and though I adore working on Ryan's Hope and think it's a wonderful, wonderful show. Just doing that is not enough for me. The serial and a Broadway show would be terrific; the serial and three mini-series a year would be fabulous. But if I' m doing just the serial, then I've got to have something else do do."
"I'm not losing out on anything in my acting career," she hastens to add. "I'm still auditioning when things come up, but my mind is not cluttered with just trying for auditions. I don't feel that conflict within myself, thinking I'm a failure, that I'm not making it on some level, because I'm not doing ten other things at the same time in the theater where before I did feel that way. Also, the business will never supplant my acting career."
She made that point very clear to her partners when they founded the business. "Both Helen and Jennifer (whom I met in an acting class six years ago) understand I would never give up my acting. I've told them if a Hollywood film or a nighttime television series came to me, I'd leave New York - temporarily of course, because New York is my home and always will be. But even in California I could pursue the marketing of our products with the prestige stores out there. The business is a very important part of my life and will always be included in what I do."
What started simply as a fun thing, designing glitter-sticks (chopsticks they decorated) for their own hairstyles, turned into a lucrative and profitable nation-wide business. They employ four full-time saleswomen in such prestige New York stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Henri Bendel. They have six women and Jennifer's mother working at home in Rhode Island and her brother in charge of the mass-produced factory items. Since the initial $20.00 investment in supplies, the business has been steadily in the black and both inventory and sales have risen to the big-business bracket. Jennifer, an actress, and Helen, a speech therapist, no longer work at those careers, but are involved full-time in the business.
"There is no friction among us, " Nancy reveals and is herself pleasantly surprised that they have managed to resolve all business and creative decisions amicably. "Jennifer and Helen are doing it every day, full time and are very personally involved with the stores and I trust their decisions. Maybe," she laughs, "when we become an empire, we'll have problems, but for now, it's still all fun, plus the pride of achievement and success."
In addition to sharing the designing, selling, marketing and managing, the three partners also make appearances behind the counters of the stores they sell. They have already worked in Atlanta and Boston, dressed in their attractive jumpsuits, and wearing their own ornaments.
"People recognize me in the stores. They stop and chat and ask for autographs. It's all very friendly and intimate," Nancy reveals with enthusiasm and joy. "Sometimes the reactions are funny. One customer came up to the counter. looked at me with dismay in her eyes and said, 'My God, you've lost your job!' Although, I enjoy the store appearance, I do find meeting people hard," Nancy admits, "because basically I'm a little shy."
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