The Flash has, since its inception, put a large focus on its supporting cast, many of whom have become part of “Team Flash,” aiding Barry Allen in his various adventures. Cecile Horton, played by the talented Danielle Nicolet, has increasingly become part of Team Flash, stepping far up from when she was on the outside looking in. In perhaps one of the most marked changes for a character on the show, it was eventually revealed that Cecile was also a metahuman, gifted with empathic powers and making her a strong asset to the team.
In the upcoming episode “Masquerade,” we learn far more about Cecile and her backstory as she takes center stage. We at The Nerds of Color were fortunate enough to speak with Danielle about Cecile’s journey and what she hopes audiences will take away from this episode.
Mild plot and setup spoilers for The Flash Season 6 episode 13 follow:
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Thank you so much for speaking with The Nerds of Color! What is it like working on a show as fun as The Flash, and especially since Cecile has gotten and developed her powers?
DANIELLE: It’s so fun. It’s such a gift. It’s not often as an actor that you’re fortunate enough to be on a show that not only goes for a nice stretch of time, but the people actually watch and stay involved in. And on top of that, I’ve been so fortunate in my character in that she tends to have a bit of an evolution with each season. She’s sort of Harrison Wells-lite in that, you know, one way or another, she didn’t have powers and then she got them, and they’ve been kind of consistently growing and morphing with each season. She seems to level up a bit. And so that’s always really fun because it keeps it really fresh and new for me as an actor.
What is the process, working with the writers as you and the rest of the cast discover these new storylines that you will be undertaking each episode?
It’s interesting. We have an amazing showrunner, Eric Wallace, and I’ve never known a writer who has such clarity in terms of what this season’s arc is going to be. We go into each season with him already knowing where we’re going for the whole season, what our characters are going to be doing, and which episodes are going to be big episodes for our characters. And so for us, since we have some sense of it, we’re able to really talk to him about it as throughout the process. And he’s super collaborative and super open about making sure that we are comfortable and happy with what we’re playing and we feel like their characters, bringing value to the audience. So like for me, this back half of the season stuff with Cecile, I’ve known this was coming for quite some time and we’ve had such great opportunities to talk about it and get clear he and I both on what we wanted the message of this episode in particular and the next couple for Cecile to be. And it’s, it’s really it’s not common that you get to have that as an actor. I’m really grateful for it.
That actually leads me to another question. So, without giving too much away about this episode, we as the audience come to discover that Cecile has some repressed trauma that she hasn’t really disclosed to Joe or anyone else, and I’m curious what it was like for you, again without giving too much away, as an actor to tap into that, especially as we, I feel like we’ve generally known Cecile to be very light-hearted, she’s bubbly but this episode takes her to some deeper places.
Yeah, it was hugely important for me. Eric and I talked about this for a long time on multiple levels. So, on a grander scale, especially given everything that’s going on this last year and a half, it feels so important to put the message out there to our audience, that it’s okay to not be okay, that it’s been a really rough go for all of us, and that there’s no shame, ever in life, in acknowledging that you suffer from anxiety or depression, or other mental health challenges. And when you talk about the fact that this is an even deeper issue in the African American community, it’s much more challenging with Black families, to talk about when we’re suffering. For me personally, it’s an issue. I’m very publicly open about the fact that I have suffered with anxiety and depression issues in my life. I was raised by a mother who had mental health challenges. And I think it’s really important to de-stigmatize this notion, and that was the number one most important thing that Eric and I both felt was so important to get out there in this episode is to really share that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to go to the people that love you when you’re having challenges. And if you don’t, it doesn’t go away if you suppress it, it doesn’t go away, it manifests itself in other negative ways in your life. Granted, on this particular episode of The Flash, when one is a metahuman, and they have superpowers, it can manifest itself in rather extreme forms But for all of us, it still manifests in a negative way, if we don’t talk about it if we don’t just face it.
It’s absolutely so important, and I love that The Flash and other TV shows are turning to tackle that more, and it’s honestly very important work. What do you hope to see for Cecile and Team Flash going forward in the show, what are some sort of adventures you’d really love to see tackled on the show?
Gosh! For Cecile specifically, I’m looking forward to her now, without getting too deep into this current episode, I’m looking forward to seeing how Cecile embraces her powers, in a way that can be much more active, as opposed to her powers been pretty passive previously for the team. So I’m looking forward to seeing her really utilize her powers in an active way. Personally, I love it when Cecile and Barry are teamed up, it’s just a lot of fun for me. I love when Cecile and Allegra are teamed up, it’s also a lot of fun for me. And in terms of overall on the show, these types of episodes are my favorite. These kinds of one-off episodes where the team really has a challenge they overcome it, they do it together. And you know we all kind of face that peril and find a way to come together to solve it, I, these are my favorite types of episodes. I hope we get to do lots more of them next season.
Yeah, honestly, those are some of my favorites as well. What was the dynamic like with the cast in terms of who the best jokester on set? Who makes the best puns? I’m curious if you can give some of that insight into that dynamic behind the scenes.
Oh my gosh, that’s hard. We have a lot of funny people! Grant’s (Barry) the best dancer, Jesse (Joe) is the best singer, Kayla (Allegra) has the driest wit. I’m the best hugger — which has been really hard with this whole pandemic, I give a heck of a hug. Tom (Wells) is the craziest, and I mean that in a good way.
Candice (Iris) has the biggest heart. Danielle (Caitlin) is by leaps and bounds, the smartest one of all of us. Brandon (Chester) is the best like actual “friends person” if that makes sense. Like he’s there for you in a heartbeat.
You can watch “Masquerade” tonight at 8pm on The CW and streaming after on The CW app.