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.