Actress Alexa Nikolas Details “F*cked Up Sh*t” That Happened On Set Of Zoey 101
Just a few weeks after a Zoey 101 reunion made headlines, one of the actors who curiously wasn’t there, Alexa Nikolas, who played Nicole on the show, went Live on Instagram to detail just how toxic a workplace it was working on the Nickelodeon show. She spills on how Jamie Lynn Spears, Kirstin Herrera, and Victoria Justice bullied her on set, Dan Schneider‘s verbal abuse during a meeting, and how Jamie even brought Britney Spears on to set to “berate” the then-12-year-old TV star.
“It was a really amazing experience getting to know [my character] Nicole, but the experience on set ended up being drastically different than how I felt about Nicole.” Alexa began before delving into what had happened on set. She said that after being homeschooled, she was excited to spend time with kids her own age and start making friends. “But then reality kicked in and I discovered that the lead character on the show who’s supposed to be my best friend on screen didn’t really want to be my best friend in real life.” Of course, the lead character she’s talking about is the titular Zoey, played by Jamie Lynn.
“There was a character on the show, Dana… [Kristin] was older than us and … played kind-of a mean girl character that maybe had a soft spot in there that we had to find, which I’m sure that’s the truth with [the actor], to be honest. But while I was working on the show, Zoey and Dana in real life, Jamie and Kristin, started acting as a unit and I was left out. They would have sleepovers and all these different things and I was never invited to any of them and it was a sad kind of realization to deal with at a young age… once the other cast members started seeing that that was what was being portrayed by the lead character, they wanted to impress [Jamie], which I understand, so they started acting like that, too… I was really left out.”
While it started as exclusion, it wound up getting so much worse. “It started to escalate. All of a sudden, every day I was on set, they would kind of team up together and tell me I was an alien because I was so nice and they would make fun of me for smiling too much. [It was] a lot of digs on a regular basis and it was starting to beat up my self-esteem.”
While filming the last episode of season one, she had to film a portion of a scene alone with Kristin, who she knew didn’t like her. “I was so nervous to be alone with [Kristin] … we go behind a rock and there’s nobody there and she pushes me into the rocks and started telling me some not-so-nice things,” Alexa said.
Alexa and her mom went to the producers for help on various occasions, but they didn’t take the bullying seriously, she said. Still, Kristin didn’t come back for season two of Zoey 101, which Alexa thought would help. “I became very close friends with Victoria Justice … we were really close and I was like, ‘yay! I finally found a friend on set’… but then … we got into a weird dispute, I think it was about a boy … [when I got to set the next day] she was whispering to everybody and saying things about me and not being friends with me anymore.”
Unfortunately, these kinds of things seem run-of-the-mill to anyone who went to an American middle school. But what happened next was way out of line. “[The AD told me] ‘Jamie wants to talk to you in her trailer’ … I remember opening up the door and I saw someone who looked like Jamie run to the back of the trailer … and then all of a sudden, I’ll never forget the image because Britney Spears just like, came out, and she was in a bralette-thing and she ran at me and started berating me and telling me that she was going to make sure that nothing came of my career and that she was going to make sure of it … she was like, ‘no one messes with my sister,’ and she’s screaming at me.” The verbal abuse made Alexa sick and once Britney finally left, she told her mom about what happened.
After the Britney incident, she was pulled into a meeting with Dan, Nickelodeon, and Viacom, and asked her mom not to come inside — which her lawyer, who was “in cahoots with Nickelodeon” — encouraged. “[These adults said], ‘I’m a side character and I don’t matter, in industry terms. I have to put on a good face, I can’t take bullying.’ Dan was like, ‘ maybe there’s some truth in what Britney said, maybe you shouldn’t be in this industry, maybe you can’t handle it,’ just f*cked up sh*t for twenty minutes. Dan was like, ‘you know what happens to kid stars? Nothing happens to them.'”
Dan has long been plagued by rumors of misconduct on set, though most of them involve foot fetish and pedophilia conspiracy theories. “I don’t feel comfortable going into details about what I’ve seen from Dan or what Dan is… not a nice guy,” Alexa said about him but didn’t opt to go into more details than that. He was ousted from Nickelodeon in early 2018 and many felt it was connected to a possible #MeToo claim that Nick executives were aware of.
Though Alexa’s allegations in this Instagram Live don’t back up any of the conspiracy theories online, one thing is for sure — she alleges that the Zoey 101 workplace was completely toxic environment and not one suitable for a young woman.
You can watch a screen-recording of the video on YouTube, below: