Nicole Evangeline Lilly (born August
3, 1979) is a Canadian actress, known best for her role as Kate Austen in
the ABC drama, Lost.
Lilly was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, to a devoutly
Evangelical Christian family. Her father is an economics teacher, and her
mother is a beauty consultant. Lilly also has two sisters. Her youngest
sister, Andrea, has been described by Evangeline as "the actor in the
family". During her childhood, the family did not have a television.
Before leaving the town of Fort Saskatchewan she briefly attended three
elementary schools, Fort Elementary, Rudolph Hennig and James Mowat
Elementary. During a phone interview with the local paper, The Record,
Lilly was quoted saying, "When I was a kid, the Fort was tiny. I could
ride my bike at five years old from one end of town to the other ... To me
Fort Saskatchewan holds a lot of really great memories. I just consider it
a little happy hideaway."
Lilly served briefly as a foreign missionary and lived in a grass hut in
the Philippines. She was offered permanent missionary work there for two
years, an offer she nearly accepted but eventually declined because of her
parents' wishes. Lilly was a flight attendant with Royal Airlines, and
speaks French fairly well. She also worked at Green Bay Bible Camp near
Kelowna and at Earls Restaurant in Abbotsford, B.C.
Lilly was discovered on the streets of Kelowna, British Columbia, by Ford
modeling agency. Although she initially decided to pass on a modeling
career, she went ahead and signed with Ford anyway, to help pay for her
University of British Columbia tuition and expenses. Despite being signed
to Ford Models, she was never actually a fashion model, working instead
with their acting branch.
She was previously featured in several provocative television commercials
for LiveLinks Chatline, a service billed as the "best place to meet local
singles for dating, friendship, or phone chat"; her image is still used to
promote the service. She also appeared on G4's Judgment Day. She appeared
uncredited in the 2003 film Freddy vs. Jason as a high-school girl leaning
against a locker, and in several episodes of Smallville as an extra. She
also had a guest appearance on the ABC supernatural horror series Kingdom
Hospital (2004). Lilly's first speaking role was on Lost. She also
appeared in the 2003 teenager film The Lizzie McGuire Movie as an
(uncredited) Italian police officer.
When Lilly was cast as Kate in Lost, her main concern was acquiring a work
visa to enter the United States. With production literally days away and
no news about the visa, casting directors were forced to grudgingly begin
re-casting the role of Kate. After nearly 20 auditions, Lilly's work visa
was approved/cleared but she arrived on set a day late.
Lilly at the 2008 Toronto International Film FestivalHer salary in 2004
for Lost was $80,000 per episode. On the heels of her role in Lost, she
was voted one of the Breakout Stars of 2004 by Entertainment Weekly.
Although Lilly placed 13th in the FHM "100 Sexiest Women in the World" of
2006 and initially placed 2nd on Maxim's "Hot 100" list of 2005, she
slipped to 67th in Maxim's 2006 list. On December 14, 2006, Lilly was
nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress-Drama. Action figures
of Lilly's Lost character were released during the holiday season of 2006.
Once she has finished filming Lost, Lilly plans to stop acting and pursue
a career as a humanitarian worker; however she has not ruled out returning
to TV at some point in the future.
Lilly was once married to Canadian hockey player Murray Hone. Since 2004
she has dated on/off her Lost co-star, Dominic Monaghan. Her fellow Lost
actor Josh Holloway also calls her "Freckles", sharing the nickname his
on-screen character Sawyer gave her. She is also known on set for being a
tomboy, Christian, and "potty mouth".
Lilly has stated that she "live in a bubble", specifying that she is not
familiar with popular culture and does not watch television or own a TV
set. She has also said that she would not appear in a nude scene or
perform in sexual scenes that she would consider "gratuitous".
On May 9, 2007, Episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Evangeline Lilly described
her deep need to leave her home town after her high-school graduation. She
did much travelling at this point in her life, moving from town to town
approximately every six months. She stated that in each town she took on a
persona; for example, she would decide in one town to take on the role of
a "nerdy bookworm" and in another, a ditzy "cheerleader" type. She has
jokingly stated that, as such, she would frequently date different men.
Lilly has also used her celebrity status to help promote Just Yell Fire, a
video aimed at teaching teenage girls how to defend themselves against
rapists. During the summer break between the first and second seasons of
Lost, Lilly spent time visiting the poor in Rwanda.
On December 20, 2006, Lilly's house in Kailua, Hawaii, was completely
destroyed by fire while she was on the Lost set with one of her two
roommates, both of whom work as her stand-ins on the show. The second
roommate was off-island at the time of the blaze, which occurred on the
final day of shooting before the show’s holiday break. The cause of the
fire was an electrical problem.