"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you."
- American writer William James
She's rarely at a loss for words. And her high spirits are eminently contagious. You don't often see her without a smile — or without a new project that she just can't wait to tell you about...
No question. She's a 21st-century Pollyanna: all positive energy and innocent good will. I know. I know. Some women might consider that a put-down. Not Nicole Fitzgerald. Whether writing, reporting, acting, directing or producing — doesn't matter what project she's tackling at the moment — the 37-year old fully embraces her distinctly un-postmodern inner naïf. You see irony (the tool of choice for many of her generation) just isn't part of her repertoire. Know what I mean? After all, this is a woman who played the iconic Anne of Green Gables role and performed on the Charlottetown stage... and still considers it one of the high points in her life.
Song and stage? Acting? Anne of Green Gables and PEI? It's a long way from Whistler, n'est-ce-pas? She just laughs. "Singing and dancing — acting, being on stage — that was my life when I was a kid," explains Nicole. "If someone had told me when I was fourteen that I would become a reporter at Whistler..." She laughs again. "I would have just said: 'No. No. No. You don't understand. I'm going to perform on Broadway.'" She sighs. "But that didn't happen. And instead I got to discover this beautiful place." More mirth. "I'm exactly where I want to be right now. I just love everything about Whistler..."
And like so many other Whistlerites, her long and winding path to this Coast Mountain valley makes for great storytelling.
"I was born in Victoria," she starts. "I grew up on sailboats and beaches..." She laughs. Her parents, she says, loved racing and building boats. Though both had "real" land-based jobs, their passion was clearly sailing and the ocean. "Sometimes we had four boats on the property that my parents were working on part-time," she adds. "Their work was beautiful. The boats they built and finished were amazing." Not surprisingly, their life was far from conventional. "By the time I was 18," recounts Nicole, "we'd lived in 12 houses; my parents had built four of them... They're very creative, you know..."
Though she loved the ocean, Nicole loved singing even more. "I think I was about four-years-old when my great aunt first took me to church. And I really liked it. I came home and told my mom I wanted to become a nun. She was a bit surprised. Why a nun, she wanted to know. To me it was obvious — I wanted to be a nun because I wanted to sing. And that's what you did in church. You sang."