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Nichole Sakura Admits She Was Starstruck By Joan Cusack On Shameless

Like several long-running series, Showtime's "Shameless" has seen many stars come and go. Some, like William H. Macy, were already well-known before joining the show, while others like Jeremy Allen White became big stars during their tenure. It can be an opportunity for an up-and-coming actor to meet someone well-established in the business. Such was the case for Nichole Sakura.

Sakura's breakout role in the 2012 film "Model Minority" perhaps prepared her for her role as Amanda, Lip's (Allen) slightly chaotic girlfriend in "Shameless." Under the stage name Nichole Bloom, Sakura also appeared in "Grey's Anatomy" and "Teen Wolf," and wrote, directed, and starred in the short film "Kiko in America," before her 2014 premiere on "Shameless." Since then, she's become more recognized as the pregnant teen Cheyenne on NBC's "Superstore," and recently finished a short arc on the CBS hit "Ghosts."

Sakura joined "Shameless" as another long-time cast member tapered down her run. The inimitable Joan Cusack played Sheila Jackson, the agoraphobic mother of one of Lip's early girlfriends, who becomes entangled with Frank (Macy) as his primary love interest — as much as Frank can love anyone but himself. Cusack was already celebrated for her roles in movies like 1988's "Working Girl" and 1997's "In & Out," and of course, for being John Cusack's sister. Cusack stayed on "Shameless" as a series regular from its 2011 pilot until three episodes into Season 5, overlapping with Sakura's Season 4 debut. Sakura had an opportunity to meet Cusack on set.

Nichole Sakura and Joan Cusack have had similar careers so far

Though their "Shameless" characters didn't interact, Nichole Sakura was thrilled for the opportunity to meet Joan Cusack on the set while she was getting ready for a scene, as she told The Dodgy. "I think she's so brilliant on the show and it was one of those things [where] I didn't know who should say hi first, so I got up the courage to act casual about introducing myself, but she was the one person I got a little star struck around because I love her work so much." Sakura added that Cusack was very kind.

Like Cusack, Sakura is also building a career out of both comedic and dramatic roles, though both actors have leaned more toward comedy over their time on screen (thus far). Cusack skillfully blended quirky humor with heartfelt emotion as Sheila, the agoraphobic mom with a proclivity for kink. Similarly, when Amanda first appears in "Shameless" Season 4 as Lip's roommate's girlfriend, Sakura exercises her comedic chops as Amanda causes problems for Lip, his roommate, and her opinionated parents. When she eventually punches Lip for "making me fall in love with you," Sakura shows her dramatic range, making the audience feel sorry for her. 

Though Sakura credits "Superstore" for being her first comedic role, she told Red Carpet Report that "Shameless" was also funny, but not in the same way. She also compared her dramatic and comedic roles to The Dodgy, telling the outlet, "Comedy is more instinctual for me." That's a great talent to have.