While growing up in a small town in Maine, Rachel Nichols had zero ambition of becoming a professional actor. A chance occurrence with a modeling scout on the streets of New York City, however, would soon have her starring in advertising campaigns for Abercrombie and Fitch and Guess Jeans. These ad campaigns drew the attention of a New York casting agent, who asked Nichols to read for a small part in the romantic drama "Autumn in New York" (2000), which she ultimately landed. Other roles soon followed, including recurring parts on the television shows "Alias" (ABC, 2001-2006) and "Criminal Minds" (CBS, 2005-), as well as supporting roles in blockbuster movies such as "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009), "Star Trek" (2009) and "Alex Cross" (2012). Thus, in a little over a decade, Nichols' acting career that seemingly began on a whim blossomed into numerous career-defining performances across a broad spectrum of television shows and movies.
For Rachel Nichols, life began in the bucolic New England community of Augusta, ME. With a population of less than 20,000, Augusta was the type of small town environment where dreams of Hollywood stardom were often viewed as impractical. It's for this reason that Nichols entered New York's Columbia University with the intention of becoming an analyst on Wall Street. As fate would have it, however, Nichols, who considers herself a "late bloomer" in the looks department, was randomly approached by a modeling agent while walking on the streets of New York City. The agent convinced her to take up a career in modeling, and before long Nichols was appearing in advertising campaigns for L'Oreal, Nicole Miller and Guess. She continued to pursue her studies at Columbia, eventually graduating with a degree in Economics and Math. But by the early 2000s she was already appearing in small roles in shows like "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) and the 2000 film "Autumn in New York," starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder. Soon enough, a career in acting did not seem too far off for the small-town girl from Maine.
Nichols' first major role came in 2003 when she was cast as the love interest in the tired comedy "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd." Critics universally panned the film, but Nichols continued acting in major films such as "The Amityville Horror" (2005) and "The Woods" (2006), before landing a recurring role on the ABC spy series, "Alias." Nichols came on during the fifth season of the show and was being groomed to take over for Jennifer Garner as the lead. She even endured hours of intense fight training in order to be fully prepared for the role's many physical demands. However, the show was unexpectedly cancelled after the fifth season. Not to be deterred, Nichols landed supporting roles in some of the highest-grossing films of the 2000s, including "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007), "Star Trek" and "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra." before being cast in a recurring role in the CBS procedural drama, "Criminal Minds." Nichols was let go after a yearlong stint on "Criminal Minds," but in 2012 she was cast in what became her most challenging role to date. As the lead in the Canadian science-fiction series, "Continuum" (SyFy, 2012-15), Nichols played a futuristic cop who must travel back in time in order to stop crimes from happening in the present day.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
First film role, a bit part in "Autumn in New York"
Made TV debut on episode of the HBO show "Sex and the City"
Had a supporting role in the remake of "The Amityville Horror"
Joined fifth season of ABC's "Alias" as computer expert Rachel Gibson
First starring role, the horror film "P2"
Portrayed Gaila, an Orion Starfleet cadet in J. J. Abrams' "Star Trek"
Cast as Shana 'Scarlett' O'Hara in the live-action film adaptation of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra"
Landed recurring role on CBS' "Criminal Minds" as Ashley Seaver
First starring role on a television series on SyFy's "Continuum"