evangeline-lillyCanadian actress Evangeline Lilly became famous thanks to her role as Kate on television’s hit show “Lost,” but some fans may be surprised to learn it was the show that started her career. Lilly had a few television roles as an extra prior to being cast as ex-con Kate Austen, but “Lost” was her first speaking part.

Lilly was born August 3, 1979 as Nicole Evangeline Lilly in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, to a home economics teacher father and a beauty consultant mother. She has a younger sister who Lilly always claimed was the “actor in the family.”

She grew up in a devout Christian family and during her childhood the Lilly family did not have a television. When she was 18, Lilly served as a foreign missionary in the Philippines where she lived in a grass hut. Her parents wanted her to return home, which she did, and became a flight attendant for Air Canada. She speaks both English and French.

Lilly was discovered by the Ford Modeling Agency on the streets of Kelowna, British Colombia. She signed on to model to help pay her tuition at the University of British Colombia. Once she signed on with Ford, she opted to head into their acting branch.

Her work as an extra began in 2003 when she appeared as a high school girl leaning against a locker in the movie “Freddy vs. Jason.” She also appeared in a pool hall scene in an episode of “Smallville” and as a police officer in “The Lizzie McGuire Movie.”

Landing the role on “Lost” changed everything and shot Lilly into the realms of superstar. She was nominated in 2007 for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Drama and also nominated for a 2007 Saturn Award for Best Actress on a Television Series.

In her personal life, she has been linked to “Lost” fellow actor Dominic Monaghan. She was previously married to Canadian hockey player Murray Hone.

On the ABC series her character is referred to as “Freckles.” Her “Lost” cast mates also call her “Monkey” because of her ability to climb trees, a characteristic she shares with her television character Kate.

Lilly has used her rise to fame to help promote the video “Just Yell Fire,” a video aimed at teaching teenage girls the best way to defend themselves against rapists.

On the final day of shooting before the holiday break in December 2006, the house Lilly was living in on the island of Kailua, Hawaii, (“Lost” is filmed in Hawaii) was completely destroyed by fire. Lilly shared the house with two “Lost” actresses, both who work as stand-ins for her on the show. The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical fault.