Elisha Cuthbert is one tough cookie. She loves hockey, the occasional glass of whisky (Jack Daniel’s) and is unapologetic about partying with her friends. When you meet the Calgary-born, Montreal-raised actor, the first thing that strikes you is her petite frame (she’s 5-4) and her full, pretty features—her mischievous, pouty mouth, upturned nose, striking blue eyes and milky skin are hypnotic. Those looks have held her in good stead, helping her clinch coveted Hollywood roles and woo millions—including Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, who was reported by the New York Post to have a serious crush on the actor, which may have something to do with the dozen or so Internet fan sites devoted to the 23-year-old. But make no mistake: Cuthbert is no pushover and it’s her striking tenacity that one imagines is the real driving force behind her steady rise to fame.
Cuthbert began her career in Montreal and, shortly after nailing her first audition, started working regularly on the Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark?, broadcast on YTV. In 2001, at 19, she won a Gemini Award for her leading role in the made-for-TV film Lucky Girl. The inevitable move to Hollywood followed, and that was when she decided she wasn’t about to languish in the wings like so many pretty young hopefuls before her. “I decided if I didn’t get something in six months, I would go back [home] and maybe go to school,” she says. Two weeks before her self-imposed deadline, she landed the role of Kimberly Bauer, daughter of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, on the hit Fox series 24.
“When I was first cast on the show, I never [felt like], ‘Oh my god, it’s Kiefer Sutherland, I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m freaking out,’” she reflects. “He was so supportive and so pleasant to be around.” And after four seasons on 24, it seems Cuthbert has come to view Sutherland as something of a mentor.
“I learned a great lesson from him: no matter how big you get or how big the show gets, there’s still room for being on time, being friendly, making sure everyone is happy.” When asked about her character’s near biblical run of bad luck (Kim has been plagued by everything from being stalked by a cougar to being trapped in a bomb shelter), she is matter-of-fact. “I remember reading some of the scripts and going, Why are they doing this to me? I mean, either they think I’m really, really good or they hate me.”
Find out what’s next for Elisha by reading the complete article in Flare’s September issue – in stores now!