Canadian-born A.J. Cook trained as a competitive dancer before beginning her acting career at age 17 in the children's TV series Goosebumps. She started out in small roles on made-for-TV dramas until her first big break as one of the blonde Lisbon sisters in The Virgin Suicides. She went on to a recurring role on Higher Ground, a Fox Family Channel series about teens in boot camp, where she played the love interest of fellow Canadian Hayden Christensen prior to his role of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones. After another TV movie and the snowboarding comedy Out Cold, Cook found her niche as a lead actress in horror movies with Ripper: Letter From Hell in 2001. She then headlined a number of other thrillers, including Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, The House Next Door, and Final Destination 2. In 2005, she began her run in the series Criminal Minds, playing special agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau. Cook took on a supporting role in the romantic comedy I'm Reed Fish in 2006, and starred in director Ron Satlof's comedy Misconceptions in 2008. The actress took another lead role in 2011 for Bringing Ashley Home, a docudrama following a woman (Cook) determined to find her sister when she suddenly goes missing. Cook returned to the horror genre in 2013, with Wer. A member of the Mormon church, Cook lives in Salt Lake City, UT, with her husband, Nathan Andersen.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- Danced competitively for most of her childhood before deciding to try acting at 17.
- Film breakthrough was in 1999 in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides.
- Starred in Canadian TV series Higher Ground, opposite Hayden Christensen.
- Best known as Special Agent Jennifer "J.J." Jareau on Criminal Minds.