Virenia Gwendolyn Peeples (born December 10, 1961 in Hollywood, California), better known as Nia Peeples, is an American R&B and dance music singer and actress. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Nicole Chapman on the hit 1980s television series Fame. Most recently, she portrayed Karen Taylor Winters on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. Her maternal grandparents are both immigrants from the Philippines.
Her maternal grandparents are both immigrants from the Philippines. Her father has Scottish, Irish, English, Native American and Italian ancestry. Her mother is of Filipino, German and Spanish descent. She was raised in West Covina, California. She attended UCLA on a music scholarship, during which time she performed as Liberace's opening act in Las Vegas on weekends. Peeples was married to Lauro Chartrand (1997 - 2004) (divorced) has a child and is an ex-wife (1989 - 1993) (divorced) of singer Howard Hewett and they have a son, Christopher (b. 1990). She was also married to American telenovelas actor Guy Ecker (1984 - 1986) (divorced).
In 1988 she hit #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with "Trouble," which climbed to #35 on the Hot 100. Her most successful single is "Street Of Dreams," which hit #12 on the Hot 100 in 1991.
She made a music video in 1986 of "All You Can Dream", directed by Alan Bloom and conceptualised by Keith Williams, for the purposes of promoting the values of UCLA. She appeared in Prince's video for Raspberry Beret.
Notably, Peeples portrayed performing arts student Nicole Chapman on the hit TV series Fame. In 1987 she was in the movie North Shore as Kiani. She hosted the short-lived American version of Top of the Pops as well as a weeknight dance music program called The Party Machine, and portrayed Texas Ranger Sydney Cooke in the CBS hit series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1999-2001.
Nia Peeples joined the cast of The Young and the Restless in 2007, playing the role of Karen Taylor, and was released from the role in the spring of 2009. Her last air date was in May 2009.