Nikki Rodriguez On How The Walter Boys Is "Different" From TSITP
Plus, she has some ~thoughts~ on The Cole Effect.
It’s no wonder My Life With The Walter Boys has become an instant success. The Netflix series, which just got greenlit for Season 2 less than two weeks after it premiered, has been compared to beloved teen dramas like The Vampire Diaries and The Summer I Turned Pretty, thanks to the steamy love triangle at its center — but are those comparisons fair? Nikki Rodriguez, who stars as the show’s lead Jackie Howard, totally understands the connections that fans have been making, especially with TSITP, but she tells Elite Daily, “I think ultimately the shows are different.”
For one, My Life with the Walter Boys is set on a farm in Colorado. Jackie is sent to live with the Walters — a large family with 10 kids, including nine boys — after her entire immediate family dies in a car accident in NYC. Along with adjusting to her new life in the countryside, Jackie is also focused on trying to get into her dream school, Princeton, while being torn between two Walter siblings: the sweet and kind Alex (Ashby Gentry) and his brooding and romantic older brother Cole (Noah LaLonde).
The 21-year-old actor has consistently said she’s Team Jackie, but she totally gets why deciding between Alex and Cole is so difficult. (They’re both so crush-worthy.) While Jackie chooses Alex at first, there’s no denying Cole’s irresistible mystique. In fact, the older Walter brother’s charm has been dubbed “The Cole Effect” on the show, and TikTok agrees there’s just *something* about him. However, Rodriguez has a different name for the phenomenon.
Below, Rodriguez shares what she really thinks of The Cole Effect, the life advice she’d give Jackie, and what she wants to see in Season 2 of My Life with the Walter Boys.
Elite Daily: My Life with the Walter Boys started out on Wattpad, which is a place for fan-fictions. Are you a fanfic girlie?
Nikki Rodriguez: I'm not actually, but now that I've been working on this show, I'm so interested in it. I feel like I want to read a bunch and get into it. It's opened a whole new world for me.
ED: The author, Ali Novak, recently revealed that the relationships in My Life with the Walter Boys were inspired by those on The Vampire Diaries. Did you know that when you started working on the series?
NR: I don't know if I knew that right away. When she came to set, we had talked about it. I’ve watched the series, but I went back and re-watched it and could definitely see the similarities. Vampire Diaries is great.
ED: Are you Team Stefan or Team Damon?
NR: Team Damon.
ED: Noah actually did a Stefan scene in an old TikTok. Have you seen it?
NR: No, I haven't. But now I'm going to go look.
ED: A lot of people have been talking about the love triangle in MLWTWB. You've said that you're Team Jackie, but if you were truly in her shoes in high school, who would you be crushing on more, Alex or Cole?
NR: Both, because they're both so great for different reasons. Alex is so sweet, caring, kind, and sensitive. Cole is also very kind, but sometimes, you’ve got to peel back that layer. He's also very romantic and passionate, so I think both. I understand why Jackie is a little conflicted.
ED: Speaking of Cole, have you seen The Cole Effect on TikTok?
NR: I've seen a little bit of The Cole Effect on TikTok. I have. The videos are great. I'm loving all of the edits.
ED: Do you know what The Cole Effect is exactly?
NR: I don't know if The Cole Effect is describable, to be honest. It's just when he walks into a room, it's that. What else do you say?
ED: Does Noah have The Cole Effect in real life?
NR: People are saying, "It's not The Cole Effect, it's The Noah Effect." So yeah, Noah's great. I would say I would agree with that as well. It’s definitely The Noah Effect.
ED: What are some of your favorite videos that you've seen online from fans?
NR: Definitely the Cole ones. Those are always great. The fan edits with the boys are really good. I don't want to watch ones of myself. I just want to see everybody else.
ED: Fans have also been comparing My Life with the Walter Boys to The Summer I Turned Pretty. Do you think the shows are more different than viewers are realizing?
NR: I can understand the comparison. They both have love triangles, but I think they are different. But I'm really happy that the audiences can love both shows at the same time. The Summer I Turned Pretty is really great. It makes me happy that My Life with the Walter Boys is being compared to a show that people really love. I feel like the more shows, the merrier.
ED: Since you've seen The Summer I Turned Pretty, are you Team Jeremiah or Team Conrad?
NR: I don't know. That's another one that's very conflicting. They're both so great. I don't know how you could choose one.
ED: This season of MLWTWB ends with Jackie going back to New York for the summer. Where would you like Jackie's story to go?
NR: I have thought about this for a really long time. I think the most important thing for Jackie is that she just remembers what she wants and really chooses herself because she's going through a lot. No one's going to love and support you the way you do, so I just hope that she just never forgets her goals.
ED: What are some things that you'd want to do in Season 2?
NR: I've thought about so many different things. The idea of going to New York is so cool ‘cause it just leaves so many possibilities.
ED: But she has to eventually come back to the farm, right?
NR: In theory, yeah, but who knows?
ED: This was a huge cast. What was the dynamic like on set?
NR: We're as wild off set as we are on screen. We get along really well, and we all hang out. We got really lucky with great people, so it's fun. Sometimes, it's like you forget you're doing a job 'cause it's the best time of your life.
ED: Do you have a favorite memory from set?
NR: I would say the rain scene is one of my favorites. I've always wanted to do a rain scene. I didn't know how they made rain in the TV. It’s these big rain towers. That was one of my favorite things to do.
And then, all of the big family scenes were fun because it's so chaotic and there's so much going on. There’s a dog running around and everyone's eating pancakes, and it's just really fun. I was a little sad I didn't get to have more fun with everyone in those scenes since my character is feeling out of place.
ED: Do you and the rest of the Walter kids have a group chat?
NR: We do. Our group chat name is called Pickle Rick Owens, and we talk all the time. Mainly, it's Isaac [Arellanes] or Myles [Perez] sending outrageous TikToks or memes that the rest of us are like, “We don't really understand.” But yeah, the group chat's great and always going off.
ED: Is the name from Rick and Morty?
NR: I think that's where it came from, but also, Ashby loves [designer] Rick Owens. We all love Rick Owens, but Ashby would not stop talking about Rick Owens for three weeks straight. So, I think it was a blend of that, and then someone made a meme and put it as the picture, and here we are.
ED: I saw the cast, including you, Ashby, and Noah, took a road trip to Vancouver after filming. What was that like?
NR: That was so fun. We drove there from where we were filming in Calgary. I think it was like 12 hours or something, but it didn't even seem long at all. We stopped at this one little barn and pet cows for an hour, which was probably the highlight of my trip. Then we stayed at this really nice cabin. I don't know if you would call it that, but it was on the water. Everyone would go swimming in the morning and we played Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, which was really fun. That was definitely a great way to wrap up the season.
ED: Each one of the Walter boys has a different personality. Who do you relate to the most?
NR: Probably Danny. He's so self-assured and he stays out of the drama, which I love him for. And he's so awesome. I love Danny.
ED: If you could give Jackie some advice, especially with her boy troubles, what would you tell her?
NR: I would say, "Listen to your heart and don't get distracted by any outside thoughts or feelings."
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.