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What Happened To Nicole On Zoey 101?

While many might consider Nickelodeon's programming in the early 2000s to be a veritable golden age of animated kids' television, what's often overlooked is how exceptional their run of live-action programming was during that time. Many people who grew up in the early 2000s have a soft spot in their heart for shows like "Drake and Josh," "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide," and of course, "Zoey 101." Launching in 2005, the beloved series followed Zoey Brooks (Jamie Lynn Spears) as she navigated the high-school drama of Pacific Coast Academy, a boarding school that was seemingly as expensive and expansive as an elite college campus. 

Zoey's friend group is pretty much the same throughout the series' four-season run, with one notable exception. While Zoey's posse of Chase, Logan, Quinn, and Michael would go on to become staples of the show, there was one character that was shipped off in the second season that is often overlooked by those taking a look back on the show.

The forgotten member of Zoey's posse

Nicole Bristow, played by actress Alexa Nikolas, was one of Zoey's friends through the first two seasons of the show, and while Nicole was always bright and cheerful on-screen, behind the scenes she was anything but happy. In 2019, Nikolas alleged on Instagram Live that she was ruthlessly bullied on the set of "Zoey 101," not only by lead actor Jamie Lynn Spears but several other members of the cast. 

Nikolas described how she was excluded and made fun of, and how she felt she had no friends on the set. She even recalled one instance where Britney Spears was on set and the pop sensation berated her in defense of her sister. The event was highly publicized at the time, and a source close to the scene said "Britney had the talent coordinator bring Alexa Nikolas over to Jamie Lynn's trailer — where she proceeded to scream that Alexa was an 'evil little girl,' and that she had better watch herself or she 'will never work in this town again.'" 

Nikolas was eventually fired, though no reason was publicly given for her dismissal, and the character of Nicole was written out in Season 2. Fortunately, the toxic work environment did not deter Nikolas from future acting endeavors.

Nikolas appeared in several popular shows

Following her exit from the show, Alexa Nikolas got busy, taking on roles in numerous high profile shows. Nikolas was featured in episodes of "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Criminal Minds," "CSI: Miami," "Heroes," the feature film "Red State," and she even had a small part voice acting in "Family Guy." 

In 2012, in the third season of "The Walking Dead," Nikolas starred as Haley, one of the survivors at Woodbury who befriended Andrea (Laurie Holden). Haley was a guard at the gates of Woodbury and was very skilled with a bow — at one time revealing she actually had aspirations for the Olympics. Tragically, she is killed in a firefight against Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors, shot in the chest by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). 

Following this role, Nikolas appeared in the hit series "Mad Men" as Wendy in the Season 6 episode "The Crash." This would be her last mainstream acting role to date, as her life took an unpleasant turn shortly thereafter.

Nikolas has been focusing on her personal life

In 2012, Alexa Nikolas married Canadian musician Mike Milosh, who proposed to Nikolas when he was 36, and she was just 19. The two had been in contact ever since Nikolas was 16. The two split in 2016, but in March 2021, Nikolas publicly accused Milosh of grooming her while she was a minor and abusing her throughout their relationship both physically and sexually. Nikolas published several open letters to Milosh on her Instagram, detailing the abuse and criticizing Milosh's response to her accusations.

In the last few years, though, it would appear that Nikolas has finally entered a period of peace in her life. She and partner Michael Gray welcomed their first daughter Nora in November 2020. In 2021, Nikolas released a short film titled "Metanoia," inspired by her own marriage and life's story. You can watch the film in three parts on her YouTube channel. Nikolas's perseverance through all that life has thrown at her is certainly inspiring, as is her commitment to always moving forward. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).