Nicole J. Butler can tell you the exact moment her life was set to change.
The actress has written an essay for Huffington Post about being the star of the State Farm “She Shed” commercial that has become the beloved focus of much social media banter in recent months.
According to Butler, it was 4:37 p.m. on January 30, 2018 when her agent emailed her about auditioning for the role of Cheryl, a woman who calls State Farm after her outdoor shed catches fire as her husband Victor tries to assure her it wasn’t arson.
For those who don’t know what a “she shed” is, neither did Butler.
“A quick internet search revealed that a ‘she shed’ is the female equivalent of a ‘man cave,’ only instead of being inside the house, it resides in the backyard,” Butler wrote. “Cool, I thought as I scrolled through Pinterest, nodding my approval at the array of brightly colored, creatively decorated sheds. Moments before, I hadn’t even known that she sheds were a thing and now, to my artsy eye, they’d become #goals.”
The Chicago native, who moved to Los Angeles more than 20 years ago to pursue her dream of acting, snagged the role and the commercial became a zeitgeist hit. (You can watch the spot here.)
So much so, Butler said, that people are advocating for a TV series built around Cheryl and Victor (played by Reggie Currelley) or a movie.
There’s even a hot debate over whether Victor set fire to the she shed in the first place (Butler said she joined Reddit just so she could participate in a discussion about it).
And while the actress has appeared in other commercials for other big brands, including Pizza Hut, Walmart and Target, she said she’s never gotten the type of attention she does now, like people recognizing her when she’s out and about in public.
Butler said a waitress at a restaurant where she dined recently asked if she was Cheryl and said it was her favorite commercial.
“I thanked her and tipped her extra because I can’t have her out here telling folks that ‘She Shed Cheryl’ is a cheapskate,” Butler wrote. “Smart woman, that waitress. I’m not at all mad at her hustle.”
For the record, the she shed wasn’t actually burning when Butler and Currelley were making the commercial, which was helmed by “I, Tonya” director Craig Gillespie. An editor superimposed video of a flaming shed filmed earlier, Butler wrote, describing a spark of Hollywood magic reminiscent of her own.