Estelle Skornik, the actress who plays Nicole, is unknown in her own country.
The only time Nicole appeared on French screens was in a documentary about
advertising. But 24-year-old, Polish-born Skornik is especially a hit in
Chosen from 50 hopefuls to star in the initial Clio advertisement, Estelle
was a student who studied drama to overcome her shyness. Recognizing the
difficulties, her aim is to break into serious acting, and has featured in
two films so far (Les gens sans face, based on the Georges Simenon novel, and
Albert Souffre), and appeared on stage in Le Misanthrope.
Estelle would prefer to read a book rather than making conversation. You
would find her in a café, not a nightclub. Or maybe at her favourite
restaurant, Chez Goldenberg in the Jewish quarter of Paris. Unlike Nicole,
she does not have a new escort with every advertisement - her relationship
with her boyfriend, 25-year-old art director Laurent Bismuth, goes back to
their school days. About her only similarity to Nicole is that she drives a Renault
The perception of Nicole as being quintessentially French might not be agreed
with in France itself. French car buyers are technologically adventurous, and
Renault's recent renaissance in the French market demands a less jovial
campaign. Their cars are so well-geared to French tastes that to push the
home country connection would be stating the obvious.
As to more ads? Skornik feels Renault and Publicis manage to get a family
feeling, and she gets on well with her co-star, Max Douchin, who plays Papa.
Renault are on more of a roll than ever, and Fiona Love confirms that a new
commercial is being shot as this article is written, and Publicis 'indeed
plan to continue in the same vein throughout the coming year.'
An earlier version of this article appeared in CAP in Autumn 1995.
Connect to the Unofficial Estelle Skornik Home Page for the 'net's best collection of Nicole pics
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The author would like to thank Ms Fiona Love of Publicis Ltd., and the editor
of Renault UK's customer magazine, Autoworld for their earlier assistance
in this article in CAP magazine.