Andrea Joy Cook, known as A.J. Cook, was born on July 22, 1978, in Oshawa, Canada
Andrea Joy Cook, known as A.J. Cook, was born on July 22, 1978, in Oshawa, Canada. She is a Canadian actress best known for her role as Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer “JJ” Jareau in the CBS drama Criminal Minds (2005–2020, 2022–).
Cook has also appeared in films such as The Virgin Suicides and Final Destination 2. She was declared legally blind in the second grade due to severe astigmatism, but wore contacts and thick glasses to correct her vision. In 2007, a surgical lens implant corrected the impairment.
A dancer from age four, Cook began taking jazz, tap, and ballet lessons. She danced competitively for many years, before deciding at the age of 16 that she wanted to try acting. Cook also taught dance when she was younger and has stated that if she hadn’t become an actress, she would most likely have set up a small dance studio somewhere.
Cook’s first job was in a McDonald’s commercial in 1997. She graduated to series work with a guest role on the television series Goosebumps and parts in two television movies, In His Father’s Shoes and Elvis Meets Nixon. Cook launched her feature film career as one of five suicidal Lisbon sisters in 1999’s The Virgin Suicides. She also took a starring role in the TV series Higher Ground, in which Cook played Shelby Merrick, an adolescent girl dealing with abuse and heartache at a wilderness school for struggling teens.
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