hit the big time with blockbuster hit Mean Girls
in 2004 - but the down-to-earth star very nearly opted for the ice rink over the silver screen.
Born in 1976, Rachel was always the performer in the family, taking up competitive figure skating when she was just four-years-old, but by the age of 13 Rachel had already tried her hand at acting at a summer theatre camp and soon decided to switch focus away from her on-ice activity.
Rachel's new-found love of acting guided her decision to study theatre at Toronto's York University, and before long she had landed a regular role on Canadian TV comedy Slings And Arrows
. It was her portrayal two years later of Regina in Mean Girls however that really put her on the acting map.
She admitted that playing such a vindictive personality didn't come easy. "It was hard
I'm not a big fan of confrontation, and there are a lot of confrontational scenes in Mean Girls
", but despite the challenges it entailed Rachel's performance won over audiences, and the movie offers that soon began rolling in gave her the opportunity to further prove her talents.
came out right before The Notebook
and because they were so different, I got to show some range,
" says the starlet. "It was simply the combination that helped me to be considered for all these different kinds of movies."
Her role in The Notebook
turned out to be a life-changing one, as she not only gained credibility as a leading lady but fell in love playing soul mate to her co-star
and fellow Canadian thespian Ryan Gosling.
Unfortunately it was not meant to be for the couple.
In 2007, it was confirmed that she and Ryan had ended their three-year relationship, and she later went on to date Michael Sheen for three years.
Rachel decided to take a break from acting but returned to box office success in 2009 with an adaptation of the bestselling novel The Time Traveller's Wife, and Sherlock Holmes
with Robert Downey Jr.
In 2011 she starred in the Oscar winning film Midnight in Paris,
with the role specifically written for her by Woody Allen, and in 2014 stars alongside the late Philip Seymour Hoffman
in A Most Wanted Man
For five years Rachel ran an eco-friendly lifestyle website with friends, and has filmed two promotional videos for the Food & Water First Movement, aiming to preserve prime farmland and source water in Canada.