10 Things You Didn't Know About Nicole Byer—by Nicole Byer

In her own words, Nicole Byer reveals the food that repulses her, which reality show she'd join in a second and the cultural phenomenon that left her cold.

By Nicole Byer Mar 31, 2021 10:00 AMTags
Watch: "Nailed It!" Host Nicole Byer Decorates a Cake With E!

Our favorite celebrities may be open books, living their lives for all the world to see, but even they like to keep a few secrets. Until now. Welcome to E! News' 10 Things, where the stars themselves spill the goods just for you.

We're just glad Nicole Byer had some available time in her day to stop and chat.

Barely slowed by the double whammies of a global pandemic and a broken ankle that required surgery, the actress, podcast host and Emmy-nominated host of the Netflix baking competition Nailed It! has been working on a slew of projects, including the upcoming films Unplugged and Mack & Rita and the NBC sitcom Grand Crew. But first, she's back on TV as the new co-host of Wipeout with John Cena.

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Asked how it felt to be so busy (and be enjoying so much success) amid all the crazy things happening in the world these days, Byer told E! News, "It feels so strange and surreal because I'm like, 'Ooh, this is a nice thing that happened.' And then I'm like, 'Oh my God, my cousin got COVID, I hope she's okay.'"

So, for anyone out there who feels as though they've been riding a roller coaster for a year, the 34-year-old entertainer can relate. 

"People have hills and valleys in life," Byer said. "I feel like I had mountains and ditches. It was the highs of highs and then I broke my ankle at the end of the year, last year in November. So I was immobile for the last two months of 2020. And I was like, 'Yup, because 2020 ending this way seems on game, seems on par. On par for the course.' So yeah, it was a really f--king wild year. That's the only way I can describe it."


But the decided highs include Nailed It!, season five of which started streaming March 26, and Wipeout—both, coincidentally, shows that more often than not features people giving a task their all and then failing spectacularly, but in an entertaining, often heartwarming way.

"It's been a lot of fun just to see how confident people are," she explained. "In order to go on television and be like, 'Oh, I really want to prove to my kids that they're wrong and my baking is great,' and then they make the worst thing I've ever tasted. That takes a lot of confidence. Some would say delusion, but also I feel this delusion because I was like, 'I'm an actor or a comic.' That's delusional, to be like, 'People are going to want what I'm serving.'

"So I guess," Byer concluded, "I feel like I have a lot in common with these people, because I failed so much in my career before anything hit. So I guess it's a kinship."

Whatever her own secret recipe is, it's for damn sure now that people do want what Byer's serving, and they're hungry for more. In between helpings, get to know her a little bit better—in her own words—as she takes part in E! News' 10 Things:

1. The best gift anyone has ever given me...I'm trying to think, because I've been given many things and cried. I cry a lot when I'm happy...But I got into yin-yangs this year—which is such a stupid-sounding sentence. And Sasheer [Zamata, co-host of the podcast Best Friends with Byer] gave me these yin-yang balls! I'm truly not sure what they're for, but they're delightful. It was a real treat. I opened it, I screamed, I was so happy and they just sit on my nightstand.

2. The first thing I do when I walk into the house usually is scream for one of the people I live with, because I have something to tell them or I'm just saying hello. But if I don't scream, I put my keys in a drawer, because if I don't put them in a drawer I will lose them, and then I take off my shoes.

3. If this career hadn't happened, I'd probably be a mechanic or a bus driver. My friend Emily Heller asked me years ago, "What do you think you would have been if you weren't an actor?" And I was like, "Definitely a bus driver." And she said, "Why?" And I said, "Because I like cars and buses are just big cars."

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4. The last thing I Googled... I can recall it because I did it an hour ago. Purple dining room chairs. Purple dining chairs because I want purple dining chairs.

5. The food item that repulses me the most is pickles. Pickles, mustard, relish—anything that's vinegar-based—and mustard...And if there is a pickle touching the bread on my sandwich, I just scoop the f--king bread.

6. If I had to join one reality TV show, it would be RuPaul's Drag Race. Are you kidding, why?! Because I love drag queens! Why would I do well? I would skate by with my charisma, my uniqueness, maybe my talent. But they'd be like, "Nicole, you're wearing not something nice." And I'd be like, "I don't own nice stuff, sorry."

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7. The cultural phenomenon everyone else was obsessed with that I couldn't get into was Game of Thrones. I guess I'm just not a fantasy girl. Lord of the Rings is another. I don't get it. Anything that people really love watching, I just do not get it.

8. I bought a Scrub Daddy after seeing it on TV. I saw a commercial for a Scrub Daddy and I said, "Well, I have to have a sponge that smiles at me." And let me tell you it is the best f--king sponge I've ever used. You barely have to touch anything. It's phenomenal. It's really f--king great.

9. I got star-struck meeting Viola Davis. I met her at the Emmys and when I met her she was eating a cheeseburger and it was at the Governors Ball. And I was like, "I'm so sorry. I know you're trying to just live your life, but I love you. Thank you." Also when I met Chadwick Boseman, I lost my s--t.

10. Here are two unpopular opinions: I do not think Home Alone is a Christmas movie. I also think soup is bad.

Seasons 1-5 of Nailed It! are streaming on Netflix. Wipeout premieres Thursday, April 1, at 9 p.m. on TBS.

—Edited by Natalie Finn

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)