Marrying into a family with an instantly recognizable last name like Beckham brings with it a heightened level of fame — and scrutiny. But for someone like Nicola Peltz Beckham, a force in her own right who’s been in the spotlight since 2013 with roles in Bates Motel, Transformers: Age of Extinction and other projects, the extra glare doesn’t exactly faze her. “I just live my life how I always have,” she tells GRAZIA USA. And in case anyone’s still wondering? “They’re great in-laws,” she adds.
Victoria Beckham and David Beckham’s eldest child, Brooklyn Peltz Beckham, 23, wed Nicola in a lavish April ceremony at her family’s Palm Beach oceanfront estate in Florida. Though Nicola can now count a famous fashion designer and former entertainer as her mother-in-law and a worldwide soccer legend as a father-in-law, the 27-year-old actress boasts a pretty impressive pedigree of her own since her dad is the self-made billionaire investor Nelson Peltz. Not that anyone would ever know. “My family is not in the limelight,” she explains. “I don’t see them like that at all.” Instead, while growing up in Westchester, just outside New York City, Nicola’s family was more about attending school sports than stadium tours. “I come from a hockey family,” Nicola says. “All my brothers play hockey and my parents are, I guess, anti-Hollywood. They didn’t grow up in L.A. or anything.”
Nicola is one of eight children her parents Nelson and Claudia Heffner Peltz share. She has a sister Brittany, the founder of interior design studio Sena. Her six brothers include Matthew, a businessman; Will, who’s also an actor; Brad, a businessman; Darren, an entrepreneur; and twins, Zachary, who’s in college, and Gregory, a junior hockey player. “It’s funny to be the first person in your family to venture off and try something new,” Nicola says, noting that her loved ones don’t seem very impressed with her many accomplishments, at least on the surface. “My six brothers are happy for me, but they just look at me as their sister. My family keeps me very, very grounded.”
Nicola is the Peltz family’s undisputed acting pioneer (her brother Will followed her lead), but a little less luck and right timing could have changed her fate, especially since she once thought she was destined to become an ice hockey player. Nicola’s grandmother took her to a modeling agency and while on set shooting, the future star asked the photographer about acting — a chance question that changed her trajectory forever. Acting, Nicola recalls, “was truthfully the only class I really enjoyed when I went to school.”
The photographer mentioned the name of a manager in New York City, an hour and a half from where Nicola was growing up, so her mother was hesitant. According to Nicola, the two made a deal that if the manager would take her, she could give it a go. If she didn’t, Nicola couldn’t bring the subject up again until she turned 18, a prospect she was unwilling to even consider. “When I met the manager, I begged for my life,” Nicola recalls. “She was like, ‘Have you done anything?’ I was like, ‘No.’ She was like, ‘Commercials? Do you sing? Do you dance?’ I was like, ‘Nope, not good at that.’ It was a hard sell, but here I am. Acting has definitely been in my bones since I was 10; it’s my first love.”
Long before she would marry the love of her life and become part of a world-famous family, Nicola rubbed shoulders with some other household names. She landed her first gig performing alongside Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill in Blackbird at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2007. “It was one of my first auditions. When I got that, I did 108 shows,” she says, noting excelling in the gig went a long way to win over her once-skeptical mother and father. “I think my parents saw how much I really, really enjoyed it, how much I loved it, and how hard I worked at it, and that’s all they really care about. Now, they’re really supportive.”
In just seven years, Nicola became a household name with her performance in the 2014 hit movie Transformers: Age of Extinction. And her success is set to continue thanks to her portrayal of Dorothy Stratten in Hulu’s limited series Welcome to Chippendales. The true-crime saga, which also stars Kumail Nanjiani and Dan Stevens, premieres on Nov. 22 and follows the story of the all-male revue’s Indian immigrant founder, Somen “Steve” Banerjee.
“It was one of my favorite sets I’ve ever been on. I’ve been a fan of Dorothy’s for so long and her story is so heartbreaking,” Nicola says of the former Canadian Playboy Playmate who was murdered by her estranged husband in 1980. “I actually watched Star 80 when I was younger and her story suck in my mind for so many years. When I got the audition, I was just really excited. I hope people like my performance. I wanted to honor Dorothy because I love her so much.”
Next, Nicola is adding writer and director to her impressive résumé with Lola James, an independent drama currently in post- production that she wrote, directed and starred in alongside Virginia Madsen, Richie Merritt and Luke David Blumm. “I was always looking for a girl like Lola when I was reading scripts, so I thought maybe I could write something,” Nicola says. “It’s been in the works for four years, but I kept it to myself because I’ve never written anything before.”
Nicola began writing the script at 23 and sent it to her acting coach, agent, and producer, who suggested she helm the project herself. “Honestly, I didn’t plan on directing it, it just happened. It was really scary for me because I never directed before,” the star says. “Being in the pre-production process for the first time in my life and being able to cast the movie and being a part of every little detail was so amazing and I really hope I get to direct again.”
When asked what her 10-year-old self would think about how far she’s come in the industry, Nicola pauses before replying. “I don’t know, I just have tunnel vision,” she says. “I just try to work my hardest, and then try to get the next job and move on to the next thing. I guess looking back, she’d be happy, but it’s hard for me to have that perspective sometimes.”
One person who does see the bigger picture and has her back is Brooklyn, who drove her to the Chippendales set every day at 4 a.m. “I don’t have a license; I’m a really terrible driver,” Nicola laughs. “If he was working, he would come bring me lunch and then we’d eat lunch together. He would pick me up and everyone on set was like, ‘Wow, you really have a great husband.’ I feel like I’m really lucky to have him and his support.”
Read GRAZIA USA’s Fall issue featuring cover star Nicola Peltz Beckham:
Like many other celebrity couple predecessors, Nicola and Brooklyn’s status exposes them to headline-making news — whether truthful or not. Tabloids and gossip sites recently ran with rumors that Nicola and Brooklyn’s mother, Victoria, were locked in a bitter feud. The genesis of the tongue-wagging: Nicola wearing a Valentino Haute Couture gown on her wedding day.
“Well, I was planning on wearing Victoria’s wedding dress,” Nicola tells GRAZIA USA to set the record straight, “and I was truly so excited to be able to wear a design that my future mother-in-law created. I thought that was so beautiful and such a beautiful story.”
Nicola’s close friend, the stylist Leslie Fremar, and mother, Claudia, were helping design the gown. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be so fun. One of my best friends and my mom.’ We connected to start designing the dress, and then a few days went by and I didn’t hear anything. Victoria called my mom and said her atelier couldn’t make it. So, I spoke to my mom and Leslie, and I was like, ‘Well, unfortunately, this can’t happen, so what’s the next step?’ I’ve been a fan of Valentino and their couture for so long. I was really lucky to be able to travel to [the atelier] to try on the dress. That’s really what happened.”
She continues, “When I read things that say [things like] I was never planning on wearing a [Victoria Beckham] dress or things like that, it does hurt my feelings. I try not to let it, but it’s just not the truth. It’s just a bit of a bummer when you’re like, ‘Oh, people think that,’ but it’s just not true.”
Brooklyn tries to take a pragmatic approach when he sees his loved ones’ names splashed across the headlines. “To be honest, my wife is obviously my first priority and I never want to see her upset ever,” he says. “When people do say ridiculous things, we just talk about it and we just move on. We have each other’s back 100 percent and we just move on together.”
Not that it’s always the easiest thing to do. “It’s a shame when there’s not more love, especially on the internet,” Nicola says. “I don’t understand the whole hating on other people’s Instagrams, but to each their own, I guess. I think it’s really about surrounding yourself with really good people. I feel really lucky to have a good support system.”
Since they both come from tight-knit backgrounds, the newlyweds are more than excited to create a big family of their own. “Brooklyn tells me every day that he wants kids yesterday and that makes me fall way more in love with him,” Nicola says. “I love that he says that. I’m so excited to be a mom one day. I just want to be as good as a mom as my mom is and give them all my attention. So, I feel like I have to do a few more work things before I have kids. But we definitely want a very big family.”
Though Brooklyn, who stars in his Facebook Watch series Cookin’ with Brooklyn, is eager, he’s also willing to put his new bride’s wishes first. “I can’t wait to start a family. I’ve always wanted to be a young dad,” he says. “I’m willing to have as many as Nicola wants. Obviously, it’s her body; she’s the one who’s going to be carrying it. Not me. So I can have 10, but as many as she wants, then I’m happy.”
The couple has even already created their own special bond with each other by joining their last names, which they can someday pass on to their children. “She didn’t want to forget her family, and I love and respect that,” says Brooklyn. “So we just came up with the decision to make Peltz Beckham a double last name for us. It made her happy and it made me happy.”
In fact, happiness radiates from the couple, especially when asked how newlywed life is treating them so far. “I just didn’t expect it to be this great to be honest,” Brooklyn gushes. “Me and Nicola, we are always together, and it gets better every single day.” And, Nicola adds, “It’s just so fun.”
GRAZIA USA’s 2022 Fall issue will be available for purchase on newsstands nationwide in October. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.