It Girl

Why Not Nicola Peltz Beckham?

The actor and model — one half of Hollywood’s sweetest nepo baby power couple — takes on writing and directing with Lola.

Written by Mickey Rapkin
Nicola Peltz Beckham in a photo shoot as NYLON's February 2024 It Girl

Nicola Peltz Beckham arrives at the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge in a comic fury — black Alo Yoga sweatshirt, Smurf-blue Bottega bag on her shoulder, phone charger in hand as she desperately seeks a power outlet. She’s just come from a photo shoot, she says, and she’s been lugging two bottles of sake around all day in a cloth Versace shoe bag. “My friend’s having a girl’s night,” she explains. “I didn’t want to come empty-handed.”

Peltz Beckham, 29, made her directorial debut earlier this month with the dark indie film Lola, which she also wrote, about an exotic dancer (played by Peltz Beckham) and her alcoholic mother (played by Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen). And she would look like any other frazzled up-and-coming Hollywood creative at the peak of awards season if it weren’t for that ring. The oval-shaped diamond recalls a Ring-Pop, or perhaps the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. Though unlike the rink, the diamond, a gift from her husband Brooklyn Peltz Beckham, appears larger in person. Is she concerned that some enterprising thief might cut off her finger and run, I ask? But she just laughs, admitting, “Everyone asks me that.”

Diesel dress, bag, and shoes, Dion Lee top, Jennifer Zeuner earrings, Talent’s own necklace and rings

Over peppermint tea, the actor tells me that she first came to the Polo Lounge when she was 12 or 13. It was a special occasion, she says. Her mother flew her to Los Angeles so Peltz Beckham could sign with her first talent agency. She recalls loving the pink and green pastels around the legendary hotel which, in a way, informed the color palette of Lola. The film is told largely through the eyes of Arlo, Lola’s kid brother, who likes to paint his nails and face. “How he looks at the world,” she says, “even though it’s maybe a dark situation, how beautiful his perspective is on the world. That’s what I wanted to capture.”

Peltz Beckham did not set out to be a director. She appeared on three seasons of Bates Motel and in a Transformers movie with Mark Wahlberg. More recently, she played slain Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten on an episode of the Hulu miniseries Welcome to Chippendales. (She also appears in the latest Balenciaga campaign.) Actors often develop their own material out of frustration with what the town is offering them. But Peltz Beckham rejects that suggestion today. She wrote the script mostly as a creative exercise. But when she shared it with a producer, he suggested she direct Lola herself. Hollywood has historically championed young men stretching their wings. This story needed a female perspective, she always thought. Put another way: Why not her? Peltz Beckham began spending her nights drawing storyboards by hand.

Marc Jacobs clothing and shoes, Jennifer Fisher earrings, Talent’s own rings

On the surface, Lola is an unlikely match between filmmaker and subject. Peltz Beckham grew up in Bedford, New York, the daughter of billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, who is currently embroiled in a proxy fight with Disney. Lola, meanwhile, dances at a low-rent strip club in Hollywood to support her gender-non-conforming brother.

If you think that discrepancy hasn’t already been discussed with some glee in press coverage of the film, you haven’t been following the tabloid frenzy over her 2022 wedding. At this point, Peltz Beckham is used to her background attracting a certain amount of skepticism and schadenfreude, and she plows ahead with a winningly sunny conviction in her passions.

Diesel dress, Dion Lee top, Jennifer Zeuner earrings, Lady Grey and Harlot Hands rings (right hand), Talent’s own necklace and rings (left hand)

Thinking about Arlo, who was inspired by her godson, taught her to trust her instincts, she tells me. In one scene, Virginia Madsen’s character, ostracized by the church and frustrated by her own circumstances, locks her son in the bathroom and shaves off his long hair — stripping him of his identity and his armor. Peltz Beckham had initially cut the scene from the script (because a reader deemed it “too much”). But when additional shooting was required, she put it back in. It is the most honest moment in the film.

Miu Miu clothing and sunglasses, Stylist’s own bracelet, Talent’s own necklace and earrings

“I’m so happy Virginia trusted me,” she says. “Because it is scary to trust someone else’s vision. I’ve been there.”

The production was a family affair. Her mother (“my best friend”) was on set daily, taking coffee and lunch orders from the cast and crew. Quincy Jones, a family friend, contributed the score. Brooklyn, meanwhile, drove her to work and shot behind-the-scenes artwork, which forced him to make a surprising confession.

“I look to my left and I kid you not, Brooklyn is in a bush hiding from the paparazzi. From then, we literally have not separated.”

Several scenes in Lola take place in a strip club. “There’s all these strippers on set,” she says. “These beautiful women. Brooklyn goes, ‘I’ve never been to a strip club.’” I’m sorry, what? “He said, ‘This is my first time.’ I’m sure he was happy that day, all these beautiful women dancing.”

Peltz Beckham first met Brooklyn through one of her six brothers; she crashed their Coachella house, but she and Brooklyn barely crossed paths. A year later, Nicola was outside a Halloween party with a friend when she spied Brooklyn. “I walked through the door of the party and security stops my friend. And I was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no. He's with me.’ The security was giving him a hard time and he's like, ‘Oh, could you please wait?’ And I look to my left, and I kid you not, Brooklyn is in a bush to my left, hiding from the paparazzi. And I look down and I go, ‘Brooklyn, oh my God, can you please help?’ From then, we literally have not separated.” She isn’t exaggerating. Since they got married, she says, she can “count one hand” the number of nights they’ve spent apart.

The Attico coat, Blumarine skirt, Safsafu bow earring

But where they’ve spent their nights is a better story. After selling their Beverly Hills home in 2022, Peltz Beckham recently revealed that she and Brooklyn are “saving up money to get [their] dream house.” Now, she tells me they never actually spent a single night at their first house, that gated property, which — according to the listing — featured a quartz crystal in the entranceway “that neutralizes unwanted energy.”

They’d owned the 7,700-square-foot property for less than nine months, she explains, already laughing. “We never slept one night in that house. I was filming Lola. And we got the house. Then, we realized, Oh, this is not what we thought. Everything wasn’t what we thought. We thought we could move in and everything’s going to be great. Welcome to being an adult!”

Was it a security issue? “It was not private,” she says. “When you drive up, you could just see everything. My parents and his parents definitely said, ‘We told you!’ We had one barbecue there. Will, my producer, he brought his kid and his wife.” Her mom was there, along with Nicola’s acting coach. “Brooklyn made hamburgers. We left two beach towels there — God knows they’re still there, I don’t know — then we sold the house. It was a very expensive learning experience.”

Verasce clothing and shoes, Jennifer Zeuner earrings, Boochier bracelet and ring (right hand), Talent’s own rings (left hand), A-Morir phone

The newlyweds never moved out of Nicola’s Century City condo, where they’re in the midst of a light renovation while they plot their next move. In the meantime, there are nights in with Selena Gomez and her boyfriend, music producer and nascent chef Benny Blanco (who “makes probably the best burger I’ve ever had in my life,” Nicola says). And vacations with her in-laws, Victoria and David, where she and Brooklyn regularly blast Spice Girls music. So much for the so-called feud between them.

“Brooklyn and I are obsessed with ‘Holler.’ Literally when we’re on the boat, or on vacation, we’re like, You have to dance with us.”

Much has been made of the Peltz Beckham marriage — word of his cameo getting cut from Lola somehow became international news — yet Peltz Beckham is remarkably at ease talking about him. Perhaps because the relationship is genuine. Parental wealth is the couple’s shared reality, but after watching the Netflix docuseries Beckham last year, she had a deeper understanding of his childhood growing up in the public eye.

Miu Miu clothing; Stylist’s own bracelet; Harlot Hands and Nickho Rey rings (right hand); Talent’s own necklace, earrings, and rings (left hand)

“One thing that stood out to me,” she says of the footage, “is when Brooklyn was a baby in the back of the car. And all those people. He would tell me — he tells me all these things. I’m sure you go through this with your partner, whatever stories. But you don’t see them. So hearing it for so long, but then actually seeing it in the documentary, I was like, Wow.” She caught the first two episodes at the London premiere, and then, she says, she and Brooklyn went back to the hotel with his brother Cruz where the three of them binged the rest of the series. She always understood Brooklyn, she says, “but putting an image to what he was saying — to grow up like that, it’s just different.”

None of it, however, has dampened their desire to become parents themselves. Every time they mention starting a family, it becomes clickbait. Brooklyn will tell anyone he meets that he’d like to be a dad as soon as Nicola is ready. “I love that he really wants to be a dad,” she says, confirming that she, too, wants a big family. For now, the Peltz Beckhams have their hands full with five dogs, including a three-legged puppy named Angel. Sometimes, she says, “I will just stare at my dogs and be like, Look how perfect they are.”

There is no timeline on starting a family or, for that matter, finding a home. Though she says: “Hopefully I’ll spend one night at my next one.”

The Attico coat, Blumarine skirt, Safsafu earring

Top Image Credits: The Attico coat, Safsafu bow earring

Photographs by Max Montgomery

Styling by Caitlin Burke

Hair: David Von Cannon

Makeup: Georgi Sandev

Talent Bookings: Special Projects

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Associate Creative Director, Video: Samuel Schultz

Contributing Style Director: Jan-Michael Quammie

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Editor in Chief: Lauren McCarthy

SVP Fashion: Tiffany Reid

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