Nicole Ari Parker is an American actress best known for her role as the tough but compassionate attorney Teri Joseph in the television series Soul Food (2000-2004), which was based on the 1997 film of the same name.
In the series she showcased her singing voice in several episodes, but as of yet has not embraced this ability full-time careerwise.
Parker also had a guest appearance on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing a singer. She also had a lead role in the 1998 film Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
Early in her career Nicole appeared in several critically-acclaimed independent films including The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, Boogie Nights, 200 Cigarettes, and the 1999 Sundance Film Festival winner The Adventures of Sebastian Cole.
She starred with her husband, model and actor Boris Kodjoe, in UPN's situation comedy Second Time Around.
Nicole is the only child of her divorced parents health care professional Susan Parker and dentist Donald Parker. Nicole Ari (her middle name) Parker was almost the only girl of color at her private all-girls school Roland Park Country School.
Nicole spent hours play-acting in her Baltimore home and as a child wanted she wanted to be like the sexy, sassy Willona from the sitcom Good Times.
Nicole studied hard - despite her habit of clowning around in the classroom - and won roles in various local theatre productions.
At the age of 17, she won best actress in the state of Maryland's high school competition and decided that it was time to follow her dreams.
Although her parents were less than thrilled, she began to find work at the Baltimore Actors Theatre, and then moved on to the Washington Ballet Company before applying to the New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts behind her parents' back.
She graduated with an acting degree in 1993.
After a string of odd jobs (she used to scoop ice cream for a living), bit-roles and working for pennies in the theatre circuit, Nicole was offered the breakthrough role on Soul Food.
She eloped with actor Joseph Falasca in March 2001. Their marriage lasted only 8 months and they divorced later that year.
She married her Soul Food: The Series co-star Boris Kodjoe on May 21, 2005 in Gundelfingen, Germany.
She gave birth to their first child, a girl, Sophie Tei-Naaki Lee Kodjoe, on March 5, 2005. She gave birth to the couple's second child, Nicolas Neruda Kodjoe, a boy, on October 31, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nicole and Boris reside in Atlanta, GA.
She has legally changed her name from Nicole Ari Parker to Nikki Kodjoe since her marriage to Boris.