Rachel Nichols is an American actress and model, best known for her roles in the TV series Alias and The Inside.
Rachel Nichols, the daughter of Jim, a schoolteacher, and Alison, was born and raised in Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine. She attended Cony High School, where she competed in the high jump. As a sophomore at Cony, she studied abroad in France. Nichols has admitted that she “wasn’t the hot chick” in high school, referring to herself instead as a “late bloomer”. Upon graduating in 1998, she headed to Columbia University in New York City, intent on studying psychology. While growing up, Nichols enjoyed trekking through the outdoors and loved windsurfing, sailing and “just being on the water”.
According to Nichols, she stumbled into modeling accidentally: “I was in the right place at the right time and decided to give modeling a try”. While posing for companies like Guess?, L'Oreal, Nicole Miller and Abercrombie & Fitch, she also enrolled in drama classes at Columbia. She maintained a difficult schedule throughout college, balancing her studies in New York City with photo shoots in Europe. In 2002, Nichols decided to really pursue acting in earnest.
At first, Nichols appeared in various television shows in bit parts (her first auditioned role, which she won, was that of an orgy-loving restaurant hostess in a 2002 episode of Sex and the City), but later that year she won the role of Jessica, the dogged school-newspaper reporter, in Dumb and Dumberer. She left Columbia midway through her last semester to shoot the picture, but still managed to graduate on time despite the demanding modeling schedule. She wrote two term papers and took the final exam of her undergraduate career just days before shipping all of her things to Atlanta, where the movie was being filmed. Although the movie was ultimately a flop, the exposure it provided earned Nichols roles in the television series Line of Fire, as well as the 2005 horror films, The Amityville Horror, and The Woods.
In 2004, she was cast as the centerpiece of the new show The Inside, playing rookie Special Agent Rebecca Locke, assigned to Los Angeles’ FBI Violent Crimes Unit, an elite group of criminal profilers charged with tracking the city’s most dangerous deviants. The summer 2005 series received mixed reviews and a limited run, though the performances of Nichols received generally favorable marks from critics.
After the failed series, Nichols quickly found work on the another, Alias in the fall of 2005. Nichols portrayed Rachel Gibson, a computer expert duped into thinking she works for the CIA, when in fact she is working for a dangerous terrorist organization (a similar predicament from that of the lead character in previous seasons). Nichols’ character ends doing undercover missions and martial arts scenes, which Nichols had to work hard on to make appear realistic, struggling at first with the stunts. At first, Nichols’ character was created as a possible replacement for series star due to a real-life pregnancy of the lead actress.
After starring in two canceled television series in that calendar year, Nichols turned her attention back to the big screen with two movies in 2007. The first, Resurrecting the Champ, featured Nichols as the assistant to a sportswriter who finds a former boxing legend living homeless on the streets. The second, P2, marked a return to the horror genre for Nichols, as she portrayed a businesswoman who gets trapped inside a public parking garage with a deranged security guard.
In 2007, Nichols also landed one of the leads in a pilot, although the show ultimately was not picked up to series. Looking ahead to 2009, Nichols’ films include J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek (in which she plays an Orion cadet at Starfleet Academy), as well as Stephen Sommers' G.I. Joe, in which she portrays Shana 'Scarlett' O’Hara, and had to put on approximately 15 pounds (6.8 kg) of muscle for the role and train in mixed martial arts for some of the film's action sequences.
In the last years, she has played in several other movies, such as The Loop and Conan the Barbarian. In 2010, she got a recurring role in the TV series Criminal Minds as Ashley Seaver, a cadet of the FBI Academy for three episodes; her character became a show's regular at the start of 2011. However, she was let go for the show's seventh season.
Starting in 2012, she played Kiera Cameron, the lead character in Continuum.
- Nichols is the fifth to appear on Criminal Minds who has connections to the Star Trek franchise, having played a minor part wearing heavy make-up in the latest movie. Anton Yelchin, who played Nathan Harris on Criminal Minds, also had a supporting role in that movie.
- Continuum (2012-2015) - Kiera Cameron
- Conan the Barbarian (2011) - Tamara
- The Loop (2011) - Fiona
- Criminal Minds - 13 episodes (2010-2011) TV episodes - Ashley Seaver
- Meskada (2010) - Leslie Spencer
- Ollie Klublershturf vs the Nazis (2010) - Daniella
- For Sale by Owner (2009) - Anna Farrier
- U.S. Attorney (2009) - Eve Chase
- G.I. Joe (2009) - Shana 'Scarlett' O'Hara
- Star Trek (2009) - Gaila
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) - Julia
- Charlie's Angels (2007) - Suzanne
- Parking 2 (2007) - Angela
- Resurrecting the Champ (2007) - Polly
- Them (2007) - Donna Shaw
- Alias - 17 episodes (2005-2006) TV episodes - Rachel Gibson
- The Woods (2006) - Samantha Wise
- Shopgirl (2005) - Trey's Girlfriend
- The Inside - 13 episodes (2005) TV episodes - Special Agent Rebecca Locke
- Mr. Dramatic (2005) - Girl at Bar
- The Amityville Horror (2005) - Lisa
- Walk Into a Bar (2004)
- Line of Fire - Eminence Front: Part 1 and Part 2 (2004) TV episodes - Alex Myer
- A Funny Thing Happened at the Quick Mart (2004) - Jennifer
- Debating Robert Lee (2004) - Trilby Moffat
- Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) - Jessica
- Sex and the City - A 'Vogue' Idea (2002) TV episode - Alexa
- Autumn in New York (2000) - Model at Bar
- For an up-to-date Filmography: imdb.com/Rachel Nichols
- She loves to watch boxing.
- In the movie P2 she refused to shoot any type of nudity, including sheer, wet tops: “In place of the nipples there’s clearly a lot of cleavage,” Nichols said in an interview, “so we made a compromise”.
- She married in Aspen, Colorado, to producer Scott Stuben in 2008; they separated less than a year later.