June 16, 2024
Nikki Rodriguez

In the new adolescent drama My Life With the Walter Boys on Netflix, Nikki Rodriguez masters the love triangle cliché.

Although the “love triangle” cliché is quite popular, it can be challenging to depict in real life. This is the struggle Nikki Rodriguez faces as the star of My Life with the Walter Boys, the newest and biggest hit program on Netflix, which debuted in December 2023. The 10-episode drama about a coming-of-age youngster centers on 15-year-old Jackie Howard, who is left orphaned following a tragic tragedy involving her family and moves to live with the Walter Family in rural Colorado. This move brings with it self-reliance, introspection, and a whole lot of boys—two, to be exact.

At first, Nikki Rodriguez didn’t think she was a good fit for this part and ruled herself out. The show’s answer, though, indicates otherwise. My Life with the Walter Boys quickly became a global phenomenon and ranked as Netflix’s top series for more than a month following its premiere. Not only did Nikki Rodriguez kill it in her part as Jackie, but the program has also attracted a sizable fan following and rekindled the passion of its first audience, who were drawn to the 2014 Wattpad book of the same name by Ali Novak.

Nikki Rodriguez discusses her approach to the part, the difficulties she experienced, and the response the play has garnered thus far in an interview with 1883 Magazine.

I want to start by congratulating you on the show’s success. For more than a month, it was the top Netflix series, and a TV program took up the second season quite early. I was simply curious how you were finding the worldwide reaction the program has received.

It’s exhilarating and crazy at the same time, and Nikki Rodriguez honestly don’t know how to process it. Everyone says, “Oh, the show is doing so well still,” when I hear these things. People adore it. And while I can definitely hear everything, Nikki Rodriguez find it a little difficult to accept anything. There’s always this nervous pause before something is put into the world because you never know how something will be viewed. When we were producing the show, we believed that we had something incredibly exceptional, that’s always the hope. It’s been incredible. I’m very appreciative. I have encountered so much kindness from people; I can’t think of a greater experience. So, it’s enjoyable, and I’m extremely thrilled.

The momentum has been building over the past two weeks, which is so great; as an actor, it must be really weird.

Yes, that’s precisely the right word. It seems rather strange. You never know how long people will continue to find it beyond the first week of release, so I’m glad that people are still finding it. But as of right now, it’s incredible and really thrilling.

Jackie, your character, is the same age as Ali Novak, who wrote the story when Nikki Rodriguez was fifteen. It’s a fantastic coming-of-age story, and the prose lends itself to a true young adult, teen-centric storyline. What drew your attention in the project in the first place?

When Nikki Rodriguez initially read the screenplay, I was immediately enamored with it! Although I had never read the novel, I immediately rented it from the library as soon as I received the audition. I was thrilled to try out for the TV show since I adored both the book and the screenplay. I know I say this all the time, but I completely wrote the role off. I simply didn’t feel like I belonged there. Which is something that actors, in my opinion, do since auditioning is difficult every time; thus, it’s simpler if you can shield yourself from it a little. After I completed it, I thought, “Well, this is really cool, and I’m just going to have fun with it.” I adore Jackie for who she is. Nikki Rodriguez endures this unfathomable catastrophe, yet despite everything, she is incredibly strong and independent and keeps moving on, choosing to live each day. She has the option to give up, and I don’t think anyone could blame her for that; instead, she makes the daily decision to look for the bright side. I was intrigued to her grit and persistence since I don’t often see that in young female characters.

That’s a really excellent way to describe things, in my opinion. This brings me to my second query. I found it interesting that the first episode introduced us to her just when a life-altering incident was occurring to her—we weren’t given a few episodes to get to know her beforehand. The way you depict sadness instantly puts the viewer in Jackie’s shoes. What was it like to portray a character who loses everything right away?

To be honest, it was a big struggle. especially considering how out of sequence Nikki Rodriguez filmed. The fact that we were filming in Calgary, Canada meant that we had to begin in the middle of the season. Thus, the weather had an impact on our filming schedule. We had to start the school year in the midst of the season and bounce about since it was snowing in April. We had already seen four episodes by the time we reached episodes one and two. The way Jackie was going through the first year of everything was a big hardship for me. In addition to traveling to a new town and adjusting to a new family, Nikki Rodriguez is juggling this whole tragedy and being entangled in a romantic triangle! We were firing out of sequence, and there were so many things going on that it was difficult to focus on just one. I really tried to make sure there was a sense of coherence and that you could follow an arc.

Nikki Rodriguez wanted to convey the detachment that comes with losing one’s whole family. Jackie is not the kind of person who would just break under the weight of everything and allow herself to be destroyed. Nikki Rodriguez could come across as a little stoic and unaffected, but I believe that’s just a coping technique for her as she only wants to get through each day. She approaches things by sort of shutting everything out, and as a result, all these other feelings begin to fill the hole left by her loss, which is eventually how she ends herself involved in a romantic triangle with two other males. Who knows? Given how long she has buried things, you could observe later on how it all does surface and impact her. However, I believe that’s how humans perceive the world, and that was my desire and purpose for her.

It’s a really human representation, I agree. In those ten episodes, she truly did go through such a journey. Of course, we see her traveling to New York in the season finale. How did her choice to go make you feel?

Upon reading it for the first time, I was genuinely taken aback because it appeared as though Jackie had finally found her footing in Colorado. I thought, “No way,” but there are two possible interpretations of this story: either she made a mess of things and chose to flee her problems, or she made the decision to choose herself over the two boys and return to New York. I understand both points of view, but I’m choosing to go with the idea that she made the decision to go to New York on her own and that it’s not always about the male!

Nikki Rodriguez truly enjoy your perspective; the love triangle has been prominently featured in everything I’ve seen on social media regarding the program. I kind of detest love triangles as a viewer since I would rather see a character’s true nature shown rather than just her involvement in one of these partnerships. The love triangle always takes center stage, never the heroine or her control over her own destiny. What emotions do you have toward the triangle?

To be honest, I did sort of anticipate it to be. I knew that the love triangle would play a major role in both the novel and the television series, so it was crucial to me that it was powerful. Though I agree with you that, in the end, I’ll always be on team Jackie, I don’t believe we can ignore the reality that Jackie is a strong, independent woman and that this love triangle is something that occurs to her rather than something she chooses. Because Alex and Cole are so amazing and unique, I wanted to be bold and honest with them so that others would adore them for who they are on all levels. Who doesn’t adore Alex’s sweetness, sensitivity, and romanticism? That’s why I wanted everyone to adore him.

Then, I wanted Cole to be loved by everyone because, well, he’s that naughty boy you adore even though you shouldn’t. In addition, he is actually rather sensitive, but you need to knock down all of these barriers. I felt that I needed to, or at least try to, do the love triangle justice. I would create playlists for Cole and Alex, among other things. One that truly captured Alex and their connection, in my opinion, was “Golden” by Harry Styles. And I had Billie Eilish’s “Halley’s Comet” for Cole. That seems to have been helpful. Thus, I believe it’s great that people are divided, so I’m delighted about it.

It was amazing to witness as a viewer how the three of you were able to create such distinct chemistry.

I’m grateful. I appreciate you letting me know that. That, in my opinion, is a credit to the casting crew. We are all really close friends who get along great and who love one other very much. To be honest, that was the finest possible outcome; I couldn’t have asked for more. I occasionally come across remarks to the effect of “Nikki Rodriguez doesn’t have any chemistry with either one.” And I ask, Did you really just watch one episode?

That actually surprises me a lot because I’ve seen so many comments claiming that people don’t mind who Jackie is “with” because you guys get along so well.

That was just what I intended to do. I’m quite happy to hear you express that, therefore. I’m grateful.

What would you personally like to see for Jackie in season two of the program, which has received a great deal of positive feedback and has been renewed for a second season?

Nikki Rodriguez will always support Jackie because I want her to pursue her goals and get accepted into Princeton because, as they say, everything that occurs between males stays between boys. I’m curious to see how her relationships with Cole and Alex have altered, as well as how she plans to return to Colorado, given that she clearly made a bit of a mess. I have no idea how that appears. I gave it some thought, but because actors are usually the last to know what will happen, I try not to worry about things too much. Instead, I’m just curious to see what comes of it. Nikki Rodriguez is very excited!