In 1998, Eric became interested in Nicole Walker, a new girl in town who was waitressing at the Java Cafe. Sami, who was working on a test shot for her "New Faces" campaign, asked Eric to be the photographer and Nicole to be the model. Nicole accepted and dreamed of becoming a rich model to escape the poverty she was living in. The photo shoot was a huge success, but Kate still wanted nothing to do with Sami's idea. However, Vivian began to aspire to take over Titan and thought she could use Sami to do it. Vivian planned to start a company to rival Titan and offered to help Sami kick off her "New Faces" campaign. Vivian decided to go to Kate with the photos of Nicole and brag about what a success she was going to be. Kate decided to beat Vivian to the punch by signing Nicole to Bella, but then she saw Vivian and Sami together. Kate realized that Sami had gone behind her back and started her "New Faces" campaign. Kate, who hated the thought of Sami and Vivian working together, reluctantly approved Sami's project and hire Eric and Nicole.
Eric became interested in Nicole and they eventually went out on a date. However, Nicole refused to talk about her past and refused to allow Eric to walk her home. Later that night, Nicole returned to her scummy apartment and received mysterious letters from someone in LA. Nicole ripped the letters up and became upset that someone had found her.
Eric and Nicole learned about a modeling shoot in Florida and Sami gave them the job. However, Nicole panicked when she learned that the location has been changed from Florida to LA. However, Eric managed to convince her to do the shoot. In LA, Nicole refused to wear a revealing suit and asked Eric to find another one, which he did. Nicole's real reason was to hide a heart tattoo with N+J on it. Later, Nicole ran into an old friend, Jay. Jay followed and harassed Nicole during the photo shoot. Later, Nicole snuck out of her hotel room to meet with Jay. Eric found them together and got into a fight with Jay. Later, Nicole lied to Eric and told him that Jay was her cousin. Nicole said she was ashamed of him because he's a junkie and was trying to hit her up for drug money.
Upon returning from LA, the photos came out great. Eric wanted to walk Nicole home from the photo lab at Titan and Nicole agreed to let him. Nicole told him that she lived in a fancy apartment building and told Eric she didn't want him to come up because her place was a mess.
The Horton's and Brady's hosted a family barbecue for the Fourth of July. Eric took Nicole to the picnic and the two became closer. Eventually, Nicole managed to move into the high class apartment building she claimed to live in. Eric learned she had lived in a dumpy apartment, but Nicole managed to cover up her living arrangements with more lies.
Nicole's past began to catch up with her and it was revealed that she and Jay were once lovers and there is a mysterious man in prison who knows Nicole.
Nicole Walker is Nicole's younger sister, who came to Salem and became smitten with Eric when she saw him working at Titan.