Template:Realworld Template:2008spoiler Rachel Nichols (born 8 January 1980; age 40) is an actress who has been cast as an Orion in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.  Nichols previously worked with Abrams (as well as Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci) on the popular series Alias, where she had a recurring role as CIA agent Rachel Gibson during the show's fifth and final season.
Nichols was born and raised in Augusta, Maine, where she attended Cony High School. After graduating from Cony, she attended Columbia University in New York. She began modeling during her time at Columbia, which included doing photo shoots in Europe. In 2000, she appeared as a model in the film Autumn in New York.
Although she intended to study psychology when she initially began attending Columbia, she ultimately took up drama courses and opted to pursue a career in acting in 2002. She made her television debut that same year in an episode of HBO's Sex and the City, starring Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country actress Kim Cattrall. Shortly thereafter, she received her first major film role, playing the female lead in the 2003 comedy Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.
Nichols later had supporting roles in the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror (opposite her Star Trek co-star Jimmy Bennett) and the 2006 drama The Woods. She also appeared in the 2005 film Shopgirl, along with Clyde Kusatsu and Randy Oglesby. Most recently, she co-starred with Teri Hatcher in the 2007 drama Resurrecting the Champ. She also has the lead role in the horror/thriller P2, which will be released in theaters on 9 November 2007.
Nichols was most recently seen in the 2007 political drama Charlie Wilson's War. Her co-stars in this film included fellow Trek alumni Erick Avari, Cyia Batten, and Faran Tahir, the latter of whom is working with Nichols on the new Trek movie. She will next be seen in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, opening July 2008. Nichols has also completed work on the film For Sale by Owner, which co-stars Joanna Cassidy. After Star Trek she is set to appear as Master Sergeant Shana M. O'Hara, a.k.a. Scarlett, in Paramount Pictures' live-action G.I. Joe film.