Born: Nicole Evangeline Lilly
Date of Birth: 3 August 1979
Birth Place: Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada
Height: 5′ 6″ (1,68 m)
Evangeline Lilly was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and raised in British Columbia by her mother and her father, a produce manager. Her father was raised in Nigeria, as her paternal grandparents were missionaries in Africa (her paternal grandfather was a Baptist minister). Lilly has English and Irish ancestry; one of her grandmothers was an English war bride.
Evangeline Lilly graduated from W. J. Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where she played soccer and was vice-president of the student council. While in college, she worked as a waitress, did “oil changes and grease jobs on big rig trucks”, and worked as a flight attendant for Royal Airlines to pay for her tuition. She grew up Christian and her faith influenced her decision to take part in a three-week mission trip to the Philippines when she was 18. Her interest in humanitarian causes and global development led her to major in International Relations at the University of British Columbia.
In 2008, Lilly starred in the Academy Award-winning film The Hurt Locker. She and the rest of the cast won the Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast and the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble. Lilly followed this role with a leading part in psychological thriller film Afterwards. In 2010, Lilly stated her intention to focus on children’s book writing and on feature film roles.
On May 11, 2010, Lilly announced on The View that she places writing and being a mother as top priorities, but she likes acting as a day job and she will continue acting when possible. In 2011, she appeared as Bailey Tallet in Real Steel. Despite having turned down a number of film offers, she traveled to Los Angeles to get the part after director Shawn Levy sent her the script. Levy said: “She’s magnificent to look at, she’s soulful, and she’s sexy. I needed someone who you believed had grown up in a man’s world. Bailey needed to have a strength and a toughness that was not at the expense of her being womanly.”
In 2012, Evangeline Lilly was cast as the Mirkwood elf Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The character, which does not appear in the original book by Tolkien, was created by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh as the head of the Elven guard who wields a bow and two daggers as weapons. Lilly, who had been a fan of Tolkien’s books since she was 13, underwent training for swordplay and archery, as well as in the Elvish language for the role. In 2015, Lilly played Hope van Dyne in the superhero film Ant-Man. In October of the same year, it was announced that Lilly would reprise her role in the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel’s first movie to feature a female hero in the title.