American actress and former model Rachel Nichols was born on January 8, 1980 in Augusta, Maine. While studying psychology at the Columbia University in New York City, she stumbled on modeling and proceeded to pursue a career in the field. While posing for several campaigns for lines such as Guess and Abercrombie & Fitch, she continued studying, eventually enrolling in drama classes. She made her acting debut in 2000, when she played a bit role in the romantic drama Autumn in New York. In 2002, she finally decided to pursue a full-time acting career.
Nichols first appeared in several television shows—her first being Sex and the City—before being cast in the comedy film Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, where she played the headstrong student Jessica, the inadvertent love interest of Harry (Derek Richardson) and Lloyd (Eric Christian Olsen). She left the university to shoot the film, although she’d later graduate. The film was not a success, but she still managed to get other film roles, including those for The Amityville Horror and The Woods.
Nichols’ first regular television role came in 2005, when she joined the cast of the crime drama The Inside. She played the female lead Rebecca Locke, the novice agent who is mentored by Virgil Webster (Peter Coyote), whose past as a kidnap victim gave her the ability to establish the mindsets of the victim—and the criminal—in crimes they are investigating. She received favorable marks from critics, but the series itself got mixed reviews and the show was ultimately cancelled after seven episodes.
That same year, she signed on to play a role in the spy series Alias. She played the role of Rachel Gibson, a former member of The Shed whose life is similar in many ways to the series lead Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner). She was eventually recruited by the APO to steal information from her previous bosses. Her character was supposed to provide back-up support to Garner’s, especially as the latter was pregnant during production; it was also hinted that if Garner leaves the series, the focus will shift to Gibson. However, that same year Alias ended its run. Since then, she returned to acting for the big screen, playing roles in features such as Charlie Gibson’s War, Resurrecting the Champ and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2. In 2008, she was chosen to play Shana O’Hara in the film G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, and Orion in the 2009 Star Trek movie.
Currently, Nichols stars in the Showcase scifi series, model Continuum