The nationwide search for Hairspray's central character, Tracy Turnblad, took months. After the producers had seen hundreds of actresses, Nikki stole the show. "I called the producers and the studio, actually, and I said, 'I think it's going to be this girl, and she works in an ice cream parlor,'" says Adam Shankman, Hairspray's director.
But instead of just telling Nikki she had the part, the producers decided to surprise her! They told Nikki they were following the final four potential Tracys with a camera, and they began filming her at the ice cream shop. Then, they asked her to watch a videotaped message from Adam. "Hey, Nikki. I think that you should probably, you know, make yourself a big ice cream cone because it's you, honey. You got the part!" he said.
Nikki was so excited, she was screaming! "I'm standing here today because I followed my dreams and my dreams came true," Nikki says.