Who, or what, is ‘Nikki Fre$h’? In Nicole Richie’s Quibi show, Goop meets Snoop
If Goop and Snoop had a love child, it would be Nicole Richie’s “Nikki Fre$h.” By uniting her passion for Mother Earth and hip-hop, Richie has landed a six-episode series on Quibi from her alter ego, Nikki Fre$h. In Richie’s own words, “Wellness has a new voice.”
Starring, executive produced by and written by Richie, “Nikki Fre$h” aims to put a comical, conscious twist on hip-hop, with her own genre of “Parent Trap” geared toward “teachers, rabbis, Virgos, but mostly moms and gays,” as she says in her elevator pitch to Good Charlotte’s Benji and Joel Madden (her real-life husband) in the series premiere.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab,” on Netflix, offers a candid exploration of female sexuality, starring legendary sex educator Betty Dodson.
Richie’s moniker stems from her “gardening stage name,” which developed a cult following after she used it as a hashtag when posting Instagram content about her edible garden. “I love being outside, and connecting to the Earth, and connecting to nature. And it’s something I wanted to share with the world, and so I decided in the medium of hip-hop was the way to go about it,” she says. Fre$h perfectly doubled as a rap name. “It has two meanings, like 2 Chainz,” says Richie.
While Nikki Fre$h isn’t an extension of Richie’s former faux-reality series “Candidly Nicole” — she says that show was “more loosely scripted” — the same team behind the VH1 series is working on “Nikki Fre$h.” (She did meet her current beekeeper on “Candidly Nicole,” though.)
Playing an over-dramatized version of herself, Richie, along with her assistant, Jared (Jared Goldstein), provides a layer of deranged comedy to educate the public about better serving the planet.
That includes Fre$h doing market research for her merch (crystal granola) at a grocery store and comparing an employee throwing away ugly vegetables to the way that the modeling industry initially treated Cindy Crawford for her mole. It’s also what leads her to her single “Get Ugly 4 Tha Veggies,” where she delivers one of many clever punchlines: “Take a bite, it’s alright, not every peach has to bounce.”
“We’re not spoofing the need for wellness or being environmentally conscious, but we’re spoofing the commodification around it,” says Carrie Franklin, executive producer of “Nikki Fre$h.”
One of Fre$h’s promotional events leads her to the “very good-looking” Bill Nye, where she introduces herself as a “trap icon” and flaunts her black-veil beekeeping hats and an “Air Bee & Bee” — a dollhouse to show her “respect” for her bees.
“[Nicole] can talk to you at length about the plight of the bees [and] can talk to you about ugly vegetables. These are all things that she really understands and can really talk about, and her way of delivering or starting a conversation about these things is through humor and music,” says “Nikki Fre$h” executive producer Michael Baum.
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Concluding each episode is a glossy music video of Richie in couture spitting green rhymes, fulfilling a longtime dream for the television personality. “I felt like Mariah Carey and Martha Stewart and Jay-Z had a baby, and I’ll never forget that moment,” she says of shooting her first music video. While Fre$h is nestled in the hip-hop world, Richie herself grew up with pop star dreams. “I’ve wanted to be Britney Spears from the time I was 16 years old. Before that I wanted to be Janet Jackson. I was fine even being their backup dancer,” she says.
Inspired by writer and farmer Wendell Berry, Richie will be releasing an eco-conscious comedy-rap album from her alter ego in addition to the Quibi series. Songs like “Drip Drip” promote the idea that everybody deserves clean water, while “The Gem Song” is just about loving crystals. Then there’s “Bee’s Tea,” which “spills the tea on the bees.” “The tea is that they are in danger, there’s colony collapse disorder,” says Richie.
Overall, Richie wants people to be inspired to connect to nature through Nikki Fre$h’s music. That, and she hopes “people love the music and turn me into the female Snoop Dogg.”
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