She attended Cony High School , where she competed in the high jump. I took several years of very highly structured dance classes for me to be able to control myself. She was noticed by a modeling agent during lunch one day and was invited to work in Paris ; she eventually paid her tuition with the proceeds from her modeling work. Early acting credits[ edit ] Nichols had done commercial work and had a bit part as a model in the romantic drama film Autumn in New York  when her modeling agent helped her get a one-episode role in the fourth season of Sex and the City She later said she had "never really done a proper audition before", and added that "I had such fun [filming on set], that day actually made me want to pursue [acting] more seriously.
When Harry Met Lloyd Although the film was panned by critics,  making it was a learning experience for Nichols. She said, "I was a sponge for the entire time I was in Atlanta [during filming] and freely admitted that I had no idea what was going on. I had never done a big film before, I had never been the lead in a film before and any advice anyone wanted to give me, I was more than willing to take. According to Variety, her character was to be "a DEA agent who goes undercover at a high school".
The pilot they produced did not satisfy studio executives, however, and Tim Minear was brought in to create a new pilot for the series in late September , replacing the Kesslers as executive producer and showrunner. The series premiered in June and critical reception was mixed; it had been scheduled opposite the popular Dancing with the Stars on ABC, and due to low ratings six of the 13 produced episodes were aired.
Breakthrough[ edit ] Following The Inside, Nichols found work on the fifth season of the serial action series Alias in , being cast that July.
Of working on Alias, Nichols said that "to say it's the nicest set on the planet is an understatement". Nichols worked with Garner's personal trainer;  she said she "already knew that [Garner's] job was extremely hard.
But I didn't know how difficult it was until I started training for just one fight. But Alias was canceled in November , making its fifth season its final. I was like, 'No, I'm not going to read for this film. Jackson living homeless on the streets. Also that year, Nichols had a bit part in the fact-based political drama Charlie Wilson's War and was cast in a new science fiction drama television series Them ,  which was ultimately not picked up by Fox.
About the dress her character wears for much of the film, Nichols said, "When I read the script originally, it wasn't a dress, it was a small nightgown with no bra or underwear. Then I read the first scene where she gets wet, and I went: She said, "I wasn't going to run around for two months without a bra, I thought that was inappropriate.
But in place of the nipples there's clearly a lot of cleavage. So we made a compromise. Nichols' considerable physical attributes, henceforth, seem to occupy most of the screen. She's sympathetic, hysterical when required and likeable. Overall, the film was well received by critics. If a short, curvy, sun-kissed heroine [Ferrera] has a tall, thin blond as a roommate, that blond is destined to be a bitch. No way around it. Nichols to play the movie's designated blond baddie, a cold, arrogant vixen who tries to undermine [Ferrera's character's] triumphs in romance and onstage.
It was speculated that she would play Janice Rand ,  but she would actually play an Orion cadet at Starfleet Academy , as revealed by TrekMovie. The Rise of Cobra in late And then when I finally got to read it myself I really, really liked it I liked that there were two kick-ass female roles. And I liked the fact that it wasn't just a big action movie And there was comedy in it. I was genuinely really happily surprised when I read the script.
The Rise of Cobra was not well received by most critics,  but performed well at the box office. Joe, Nichols' next project was the horror film For Sale by Owner , where she played the half of a newly wed couple buying a house with a secret past.
The film only received a direct-to-DVD release. Television and independent films[ edit ] Nichols starred as a police detective assigned to investigate the murder of a young boy in the small-scale crime drama Meskada , which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and received a limited theatrical release in North America.
In the 3-D sword and sorcery film Conan the Barbarian , a reimagining of the film of the same name which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger , Nichols starred as a master of martial arts, a priestess, and the love interest of the titular character. The casting choice came amid uproar from the series' fanbase as she was brought in to replace exiting actresses A. Cook and Paget Brewster. However, as the season went on, viewers eventually gave her character a warm reception.
It was a long process," she said. The series premiered on Showcase on May 27, , and its first episode became the highest-rated single episode ever on the network. Nichols starred opposite Tyler Perry in the thriller Alex Cross , as the blighted colleague of a psychologist and police lieutenant. I loved that about it. The film was released for selected theaters and VOD. The following year, she obtained a recurring role as a "problem employee at the law firm she works at" in the fourth season of Chicago Fire.
Nichols allowed her hair to return to its natural blond color for the ceremony, as it had been dyed red for her consecutive roles in Star Trek and G. The Rise of Cobra.