Rachel McAdams

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One of Hollywood's hottest young talents, Rachel McAdams hit the big time with blockbuster hit Mean Girls in 2004. The down-to-earth beauty very nearly opted for the ice rink over the silver screen, however.

Rachel was born to Lance, a truck driver, and nurse Sandy McAdams in London, Ontario, on October 7, 1976. Growing up alongside her younger half-sister Kayleen and brother Daniel, she was always the performer in the family, taking up competitive figure skating when she was just four years old.

By the age of 13 Rachel had already tried her hand at acting at a summer theatre camp. Inspired by the experience she soon decided to switch focus away from her on-ice activity. "I didn't deal well with the pressure in skating the way I seem to in acting," she said. "The nerves got to me, and I'd get paralyzed. Whereas when I'm acting, the nerves propel me into action."

Though she continued to skate throughout high school, Rachel's new-found love of acting guided her decision to study theatre at Toronto's York University. Making the most of her time in the big city, she also enrolled in acting lessons, studying alongside fellow star-to-be Scott Speedman of Felicity fame.

Rachel"s first screen outing came when she landed the lead role in the 2001 sci-fi TV movie Shotgun Love Dolls, and before long she had landed a regular role on Canadian TV comedy Slings And Arrows. The 2002 comedy The Hot Chick brought the fledgling star's first Hollywood credit, but it was her portrayal two years later of Regina in Mean Girls that really put her on the acting map. She admitted, however, 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."

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. "Mean Girls 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. In a case of life imitating art sparks began to fly for the duo, who were born in the same hospital and both raised in small-town Ontario.

Unfortunately it was not meant to be for the couple. In 2007, during a break from filming after enjoying back-to-back success in The Wedding Crashers, Red Eye and The Family Stone, it was confirmed that she and Ryan had ended their three-year relationship.

On the work front she was more in demand than ever, though, making her comeback alongside Pierce Brosnan as a blonde bombshell in the Forties-set Married Life on her return in 2008, and signing up for three further big screen projects.
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