How Evangeline Lilly Became A Hollywood Star

Evangeline Lilly is a Canadian actress and author who shot to prominence after appearing in the hugely popular TV show Lost, often regarded as one of the greatest TV shows ever. She went on to be a part of several blockbuster franchises like The Hobbit and MCU. Still, she never considered acting as her primary and was more interested in social service and philanthropy. Despite her limited affinity to acting, Lilly is a critically acclaimed actress with a Golden Globe nomination and multiple Saturn and Teen Choice Award nominations.

Since her debut in 2002, she has starred in movies like The Hurt Locker, Real Steel, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Ant-Man, Avengers: Endgame, etc., and TV shows like Lost and What If…?.

3 From Minor Acting Roles To ABC


Evangeline Lilly was born on 3 August 1979 in Fort Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised in British Columbia. She graduated from W. J. Mouat Secondary School and was later drawn to humanitarian causes and missionary work due to her Christian upbringing. Her keen interest in philanthropy led her to pursue a degree in International Relations at the University of British Columbia.

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During her time at the University of British Columbia, she faced financial constraints, which led her to work part-time jobs as a waitress and then as an attendant for Royal Airlines to make ends meet and pay for her tuition. She never considered acting a career and wanted to become a missionary and help people. But one day, she was noticed on the streets of British Columbia by an agent of the Ford Modeling Agency as per IMDB.

Lilly took the agent’s card, never planning to call back, but her financial constraints made her contact the agency. As soon as she contacted the agency, she was immediately offered work in TV commercials and minor parts in TV shows like Smallville and Kingdom Hospital, as per Rotten Tomatoes. Lilly then auditioned for a role in ABC’s survival drama Lost without any expectations of getting selected or having any idea that the show would skyrocket her career.

2 Behind The Overnight Stardom

Evangeline Lilly landed her career-defining role of Kate Austen in Lost, beating 75 girls in the audition. Lilly never thought that the show would last for more than one season and was taken aback by her casting, but little did she know that Lost would go on to become one of the greatest TV shows ever, running from 2004 to 2010 across six seasons and 121 episodes shooting her to immediate stardom.

Lost premiered in 2004 to instant critical acclaim, leaving audiences awe-struck, speculating for the next episode. Evangeline Lilly nailed the role of Kate Austen and received widespread critical acclaim, and she received her first-ever Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in 2006. Lost was a roaring success and soon became a cultural phenomenon and developed a massive fan following, as reported by Buzzfeed. Lilly starred in all six seasons of Lost and was nominated for multiple Saturn and Teen Choice awards while winning a Screen Actors Guild Award. She even starred in the numerous Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker in 2009.

1 Wanting To Quit Acting After ‘Lost’


Evangeline Lilly became a bona fide star after her appearance in Lost, which wrapped in 2010. But Lilly only really liked some of the limelight and attention that came along with the stardom and was more interested in writing and philanthropy. So after starring in the 2011 sci-fi drama Real Steel alongside Hugh Jackman, she decided to call it quits on her acting career, but Peter Jackson had other plans for her.

The legendary director Peter Jackson called Evangeline Lilly and asked whether she wanted to play an elf in the Hobbit trilogy. Lilly was fascinated by The Hobbit book series as a child and immediately said yes to the role, thus changing her decision to quit acting. And thus, she played the role of Tauriel in the last two parts of The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies, which went on to become monumental successes at the box office while also winning her an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight in 2014 as per Award and Winners along with nominations for a Critics’ Choice Movie Award and an Empire Award.

Evangeline Lilly’s career boomed after starring in The Hobbit, and she landed the role of Hope Van Dyne/ The Wasp in MCU’s 2015 movie, Ant-Man alongside Paul Rudd. The movie was a huge financial success, and she reprised her roles in the 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp MCU and 2019’s blockbuster movie Avengers: Endgame. She followed up her role in 2023’s Antman: Quantumania, playing the role of The Wasp to perfection. The Wasp became one of her most iconic roles to date and won her multiple nominations for Teen Choice Awards and Saturn Awards.

Evangeline Lilly undoubtedly has made herself an industry icon despite her limited roles. She entered the world of fame to sustain herself financially, but her sheer talent made her reach new heights of success and become an established actress. Despite her incredible success and stardom, she has never considered acting her primary profession and continued her work as an author and philanthropist.

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Source – Award and Winners, Buzzfeed, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB

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