When it comes to her DAYS OF OUR LIVES downtime, Arianne Zucker (Nicole) divides her time between supporting charities she strongly believes in and traveling and embarking on new adventures. Here, Zucker shares her passion for two causes near and dear to her heart and reveals the details of her latest adventure: a white-water rafting trip she took to Colorado during the show’s last hiatus.
Soap Opera Weekly: What causes do you find yourself most eager to lend your name to?
Arianne Zucker: Anything to do with animals and abused women.
Weekly: Is there a particular pet charity you support?
Zucker: I did my first event for a group called Dogs in Danger. It was a doggie fashion show and a lot of fun. It’s a newer charity for abused and abandoned dogs. There are so many out there, and they try to get the dogs adopted [and] find homes for them.
Weekly: What made you get involved with them?
Zucker: My dog, Bam Bam, is a rescue dog, so being part of something like this is really important to me. Anything that helps raise money to [save] even one dog, I’m proud to be a part of.
Weekly: You mentioned charities that support abused women, too. Is there one you strongly support?
Zucker: Yes. There’s a very important one called The Shepherd’s Door. I attended their event last summer. They asked me to host it this year, but unfortunately I was not available. It’s really interesting. As much as I love animals, the woman who runs The Shepherd’s Door told me there are actually more facilities for abused animals than there are for abused women.
Weekly: Isn’t that sad?
Zucker: It is. In essence, women are just starting not to be afraid to say they are being abused or were abused, because it’s a frightening fate to state; to even say it and recognize it. This organization helps women recognize the signs of abuse.
Weekly: And provides a safe haven for them, right?
Zucker: Exactly. Listen, we all make our own choices. But just to know that there’s a place for someone to go to if they’re in an abusive relationship is a great thing. If they’re afraid for their lives or for their loved ones’ lives, there are places that will help them.
Weekly: Aside from a safe place to go to, what else does The Shepherd’s Door offer?
Zucker: They work with women one-on-one. They give them someone to confide in about their fears. It’s a sensitive subject, and these women need to talk about it. That’s the first step.
Weekly: Your charity work is definitely commendable, but hopefully you take a little time for yourself, too. What did you do on your last hiatus from DAYS?
Zucker: I went to Aspen for the first time. I went white-water rafting with a group of friends. It’s the coolest sport. A lot of fun. It was phenomenal.
Weekly: Were you nervous?
Zucker: No. I only did a level three, which isn’t super-high. It was amazing, actually. Level three is a three-hour rafting ride. The water is freezing, but the air is warm. It’s such a cool experience, if you’re an outdoor sort of person.
Weekly: What prompted you to try something like this?
Zucker: I got invited, and I always wanted to go white-water rafting. I’m such a tourist. If I go somewhere and there’s something new to do, I grab my camera and go. I’m the one saying, “Let’s go try this. Let’s go do that.” I like trying new things and being a tourist.
Weekly: Isn’t this a tad dangerous?
Zucker: It can be, but the guides who are with you white-water raft twice a day. They don’t take you down rapids you’re not experienced enough to do. We were in Aspen. The rapids are lower there. Besides, we weren’t doing a more extreme level, four or five. Those are the ones you have to wear helmets to do.
Weekly: Were there any scary moments?
Zucker: No, not at all.
Weekly: What about a highlight from the whole experience?
Zucker: The highlight was how gorgeous it was out there on the water. The highlight was getting in that raft, putting on your wetsuit, going out there and being in nature; living life. That was exciting. It’s such a high to do those kinds of things in your life. Most people are stuck in their day-to-day life and never [embark] on any adventures.
Weekly: So what’s next on your to-do list?
Zucker: I would like to go on a level four or five, work up to doing bigger rapids. They’re bigger and steeper, and you get all soaked out there in your raft. That would be awesome.
Weekly: What about tackling something else, like skydiving or bungee-jumping?
Zucker: No. I’m not a jumping-out of-a-perfectly-good-airplane type of person. Anything on the ground is fine with me. As for midair adventures, I’m not interested.