A native of Toronto, Ontario, fair-haired actress Katheryn Winnick began her movie career behind the camera, as a martial arts trainer for the stars. (She earned dual black belts in tae kwon do and karate, and received her bodyguard license at an early age.) Winnick soon parlayed her glamorous countenance into acting, but expressed a highly vocal interest in challenging and demanding roles, and resisted being pigeonholed as simply a pretty face. Audiences first gained exposure to Winnick on television, with her involvement in such series as PSI Factor, Student Bodies, The It Factor, and Oz. Around 2003, the actress segued smoothly into feature roles. These included bit parts in the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy 50 First Dates (2004), the Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy Failure to Launch (2006), and the slasher movie Amusement (2008).
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Of Ukrainian descent and spoke only that language until she was 8.
- Began martial-arts training at 7, was a black belt by 13, started her first school at 16 and had two more by 21. Is a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a second-degree black belt in karate.
- Studied acting at New York City's William Esper Studio.
- Spent some time studying and living in a Buddhist temple outside of Seoul, but had to leave for a movie role.
- Was one of 12 finalists in Bravo's The It Factor (2002), which followed around aspiring performers for six months as they tried to break into show business.
- Is a licensed bodyguard and a licensed self-defense instructor who has taught actors martial arts on film sets.